Looking for a mild pepper perfect for Mexican cuisine? You've come to the right place. Poblano peppers are often used in Southwestern dishes, some of which we'll share with you. Until then, read about their origin, taste, and why you should cook with them.

What Are Poblano Peppers?

poblano peppers on a white background

Poblano peppers got their name from the place they originated: Pueblo, Mexico. They're often used in Mexican and Southwestern cooking in dishes such as chiles en nogada (stuffed peppers in walnut sauce).

Appearance

Poblano peppers have thick, dark green skin and can grow to be anywhere from three to six inches long. Their skin is a lighter shade of green while they're still developing. Once they've matured, their skin may turn a dark red or purple color.

You may have eaten a poblano pepper without even realizing it. If you've ever had an ancho chili, you've eaten this pepper; ancho chilis are simply dried poblanos.

Taste

Fans of milder peppers will love the poblano pepper, since the spiciest poblanos are only 1,500 Scoville heat units (SHU). To put that into perspective, the hottest pepper in the world -- the Carolina Reaper -- comes in at 2,200,000 SHU.

poblano peppers in a bowl on a table

That being said, it's important to keep in mind that 1,500 SHU is still high enough to give off noticeable heat. When you compare the poblano to similarly thick peppers, like green peppers, the poblano packs a punch.

Poblano peppers are on the thicker side, meaning they're close to the bell pepper in terms of crunch and "meat." Their thickness makes them excellent candidates for stuffed peppers. Overall, their taste has been described as being quite rich and earthy.

Where To Find Them

Unlike some of the peppers out there, poblano peppers are easy to find. They're in high-end stores like Whole Foods and larger chain supermarkets like Walmart. Poblano peppers are also fairly inexpensive.

Ways To Use Poblano Peppers

Chiles En Nogada

We couldn't leave stuffed peppers off this list; it's one of the best-loved dishes requiring poblano peppers! This recipe is a tad more on the gourmet side, so you'll need a lot of ingredients for the sauce, stuffing, and garnish. But, once you finish it, you'll be left with poblano peppers stuffed with fruit, pine nuts, and tomatoes. A creamy walnut sauce tops everything off beautifully.

Chiles Rellenos

Chiles Rellenos on a plate next to rice

This is technically a variation on stuffed peppers with a twist. Chiles rellenos are often deep-fried and battered, which makes them taste way better. The recipe does call for a good number of ingredients, but you'll be able to make an authentic Mexican dish. The peppers are stuffed with shredded cheese and spices.

Side note: there are vegan variations of stuffed poblano peppers available.

Roasted Poblano Peppers

An easy side dish that takes under 20 minutes to prepare is roasted peppers. You'll need a couple poblano peppers, some tinfoil, and cooking spray. You can always top the peppers with sauces or garnishes afterward. You also have the option of sprinkling some spice onto them before you roast them, though they're flavorful enough on their own. In fact, roasting them brings out their flavor the most.

Rajas

Also known as creamy poblano pepper strips, this dish takes about 25 minutes to make and yields four to six servings. You won't need many ingredients, and the recipe is a bit simpler to make. You'll essentially be mixing the peppers with onion, cheese, corn, and a few other ingredients.

Calabacitas Con Elote

Calabacitas Con Elote on a white plate

This recipe is a delicious side dish (or main dish) you can whip up in a pinch. It's also a very versatile dish -- you can easily add diced pork or strips of roasted poblano peppers. Just combine the peppers with corn, zucchini, garlic, tomato, and a few spices of your choice. The chef recommends serving with rice.

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