Roasted Poblanos in Cream Sauce (Rajas con Crema)

Flame roasted poblano chiles, cut into strips and cooked with onions, Mexican crema, and Monterey Jack cheese. Serve with tortillas.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8.


  • 6 fresh poblano chiles
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced lengthwise (root to tip), 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup Mexcian crema (Mexican sour cream) or crème fraîche
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese


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1 Char the whole poblano chile peppers on all sides. The best way to do this is over an open flame of a gas stove. Just place the raw whole chile peppers directly on the grate covering the flame and let the flame blacken the outside skin of the peppers. When one side has blackened, use tongs to turn the chile over a little so the flame can blacken another side. You can also use a broiler to blacken the chile peppers, but direct flame is the best way. Sometimes with a broiler the chiles end up cooking too much before they blacken. They should still be a little firm. This is easier to control when you cook them directly over flame. Once the peppers are blackened all over (you can still have a few green spots), place them in a paper bag or a thick plastic bag, close the bag, and let the chiles steam in their own heat for a few minutes.

2 When the chiles are cool to touch, remove them from the bag. Working over a sink (this part is messy) use your fingers or a damp towel to strip off the blackened parts. Try to avoid running the chiles themselves under water, as that may wash away some good flavor. But you may find it easier to rinse your hands with water as you are stripping the blackened bits off.

3 Once the blackened outer skin is removed, open up the chiles and cut out and discard the stems, seeds, and inner veins. Cut the chiles into long strips, about an inch wide. Many recipes call for thin strips, about a half inch wide, which you can do if you want. I just like them with thicker strips. Set aside.

4 Heat the butter (can use vegetable oil instead if you want) in a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.

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5 Add the poblano chiles to the onions. Sprinkle the chiles with salt. Add the Mexican crema and the milk. Gently stir to coat the chiles. Let cook for several minutes, until the chiles are completely cooked through and the sauce is bubbly and a little reduced, then sprinkle in the grated jack cheese. Stir with the hot crema sauce until the cheese has melted and mixed in with the crema sauce.

Serve with warmed corn or flour tortillas.

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  • Emily P

    My version is the same but I add tomatoes and I use a thick Greek or Icelandic yogurt instead of the crema. Healthy and muy bueno!

  • Melissa Howard

    Would this work well with frozen roasted Poblanos?

    • Elise

      Hi Melissa, I don’t see why not. If you try it, please let us know how it works out for you!


    You can also add corn.

  • Tracy27

    Oh man, I’ll try anything in a cream sauce once, and these look like they’d be delicious added to fajitas or enchiladas. I’m tempted to try it this weekend using some of our AZ farm’s surprisingly scorching G76 chiles (an Anaheim hybrid) – ours are packing way more Scovilles than a typical Anaheim this season, so the cream might cut that bite nicely and let more of their flavor shine. We’ll see!

  • Melissa Pitre

    Oh my goodness! This was amazing! I made it with Hatch peppers because we have an abundant supply of them right now. We chose to grow hatch, banana, bell, and jalapeno peppers this year and pass on the Poblanos. The substitution worked wonderfully! My husband ate this until he was stuffed (which never happens!). Thanks for the great idea.

  • The Duo Dishes

    We have made rajas in many ways in the last year. It’s amazing just how great this simple dish can be. We’ve done with and without adding crema. No matter what, they are so good.

  • Nivedita

    Hey Elise,
    Great to see one of my favorites! I also cook 2-3 cloves of smashed garlic with the onions. Once I happened to have a cilantro chutney on hand that went fabulously with it.

  • Christian Gehman

    In step 2, where you write”strip off the blackened parts.” — don’t you really mean “strip off the blackened skins? … Since the slightly charred, blackened flesh is what you want …

    Yes, strip off the blackened skins, though for the most part, it’s just the skin, not the flesh underneath if you have been careful about charring the chiles. The chile flesh that you use ends up having some of that smokey taste, but it itself in’t charred. ~Elise

  • jamie

    I love poblanos in creaminess. One of my favorites is to stir roasted poblanos in with steamed cauliflower, mash lightly with some sour cream, cream cheese, and cheese, and top with bread crumbs before baking – but this looks like it hits all those flavors/cravings with a lot less work. And what a perfect side for arroz con pollo – thank you!!!

  • Fhatyha

    This is one of our fav’s dishes in my home but with a few differences. We put bacon in ours as well as cream cheeses instead of the cream.

  • Julie

    Thank you for this recipe. We love poblano chilies and it is wonderful to have a new way to use them. Soon it will be Hatch chili season here in the southwest and I bet that the “big Jim” variety of Hatch chilis would work as well. I’ll let you know.

  • Mike

    Are poblano and pasilla chilis the same things? They look identical, tho I’m not sure about the flavors. I never seem to see both in the same store; either one or the other.

    The answer is that it depends on what part of Mexico you are from. According to Diana Kennedy, in most of Mexico the chiles are different. The poblano (dried called Ancho) chile is wide and triangular shaped. The pasilla chile is long and narrow. But in certain parts of Mexico, parts from which many people in the US emigrated, poblanos are called pasillas. Thus the confusion. ~Elise

  • fluffybit

    This is also great over chicken and rice and also Shrimp.

  • Jane

    Woah, this is right up my alley. Two of my favorite flavors/textures! The poblanos in the grocery stores have been nice and firm and fresh lately, even here in Massachusetts, so looking forward to trying this. I’ll bet it would be good with Hatch chiles, too, or a combo. Thanks for a unique recipe!

  • Susan

    Looks great. Recently i bought fresh chiles that i thought were poblanos, but they were a fabulous chocolate brown color. Do poblanos come in different shades based on their ripeness or variety?