Poblanos, as I’ve discovered, are the most versatile of green chillies, my go-to heat. I use puree them for this corn and poblano chowder, cut into strips and fried with potatoes to stuff in tacos, simmered with pulled pork, even diced to season bacon jam. They have a rich flavor that’s almost fruity with relatively low heat, registering at 1,000-2,500 on the Scoville Scale, right between pimientos (100 – 900) and jalapeños (3,500 – 8,000). Steamed, stuffed, or blended, they are delicious either way.

Photo by Stef Yau. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


I discovered the bitter way that ripe green poblanos are not best raw.  The very simple must-do prep step is seeding and roasting them before use to bring out their flavor.

Before handling your poblanos, cover your hands with plastic bags. (This is a great way to recycle your empty bread wrappers!)  If you do have to do this bare-handed, please don’t do like I did and like scratch your eye. Capsaicin is an oily substance and takes some time to wear off of your skin.

I cut the in half, discard the inner white membrane along with the stem and seeds. Sometimes I cut them into half again. Then I pop them directly over the gas burner on my cooktop, over a medium-high flame. Do not leave them alone. Use tongs. They will start smoking and crackling, and the outside of the pepper will blacken and char.

smoking poblanos

Poblanos have a very thin skin that is loosened by the charring. Once it’s cool it’s easy to rub off.

roasted poblano

I also use this technique to roast red bell peppers.