Poblano peppers (Capsicum annuum) are a type of chili pepper native to Mexico that can add zing to your meals.
These nightshade vegetables are typically dark green and resemble other varieties of peppers, but they tend to be larger than jalapeños and smaller than bell peppers.
What do they taste like?
Fresh poblanos have a mild, slightly sweet flavor, although if they are left to ripen until they’re red, they taste much hotter.
Dried poblano peppers that are nearly ripe and deep red are known as ancho chilis, a popular ingredient in mole sauces and other Mexican dishes.
This article provides a complete overview of poblano peppers, including their possible benefits and uses.
Poblanos are low in calories and rich in fiber and several micronutrients.
In fact, 1 cup (150 grams) of raw poblano peppers provides (
- Calories: 30
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 7 grams
- Fiber: 2.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 134% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Potassium: 6% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 3% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 3% of the DV
- Iron: 3% of the DV
Poblanos are particularly rich in vitamin C, a micronutrient that also acts as an antioxidant to help fight underlying damage from free radicals, which otherwise may promote disease (
Dried poblano peppers, or ancho chilis, have higher amounts of vitamins A and riboflavin and other nutrients, compared with fresh poblanos (
Poblano peppers are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and several other nutrients.
Due to their high amounts of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds, poblano peppers may provide health benefits.
However, there is no substantial research on the health effects of eating poblanos in particular.
Rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants help fight oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals.
Free radicals are reactive molecules that lead to underlying cell damage, which in turn may increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia, and other chronic conditions (
Therefore, eating an antioxidant-rich diet high in foods like poblanos may help improve the body’s antioxidant defenses, which could mitigate damage caused by oxidative stress and could even be linked to a longer lifespan (
May help against pain and inflammation
Capsaicin may also fight inflammation and help alleviate pain.
There is limited research on the effects of dietary capsaicin, especially from poblano peppers, on pain. Still, studies in humans and rats suggest that capsaicin supplements may fight inflammation (
One 2014 study in 376 adults with inflammatory bowel diseases and other gastrointestinal issues found that capsaicin supplements prevented stomach damage (
Still, be sure to consult a healthcare professional before taking capsaicin supplements to treat a medical condition.
Could boost immunity
What’s more, the capsaicin in poblano peppers has been linked to optimal immune function.
While there’s no substantial research on the health effects of eating poblanos specifically, studies on the compounds in these peppers suggest that they may have anticancer effects, help fight inflammation, and even boost immunity.
Poblano peppers can be used in a variety of ways.
They can be enjoyed raw in salsas and other dips, as well as added to chilis, taco meat, or sauces.
To prepare a poblano pepper for these dishes, halve the pepper lengthwise, remove the stem and seeds, and then dice it into pieces.
You can also roast poblano peppers whole and then remove the skin, stem, and seeds.
One of the most popular ways to enjoy poblanos is stuffed with ground meat, beans, rice, spices, corn, and tomatoes.
To make stuffed poblanos, halve the peppers, remove the seeds, and roast them in the oven at 350°F (177°C) for 10–15 minutes.
Stuff each pepper half with filling and sprinkle cheese on top, then put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.
You can also find a variety of other poblano pepper recipes online.
You can enjoy poblano peppers in salsas and tacos, or make stuffed poblanos by filling them with meat, beans, tomatoes, corn, and cheese and baking them in the oven.
Poblano peppers are named after Puebla, Mexico, which is the state where they are believed to have originated.
Thanks to their versatility and mild flavor, poblano peppers are thought to have been a staple ingredient in the diets of the Aztec people (
In fact, dried poblano peppers — also known as ancho chilis — are even featured in certain varieties of mole, a type of sauce that has been a mainstay in Mexican cuisine for hundreds of years (
Today, poblano peppers have become a popular ingredient around the world and are frequently featured in dressings, dips, sauces, and even cocktails.
Poblano peppers originated in Puebla, Mexico, and were a staple in the diet of the Aztec people. Today, they are a popular ingredient featured in many cuisines around the globe.
There are a few varieties of dried and fresh poblano peppers available, each of which differs in terms of flavor, heat, color, and ripeness.
Here are the main types:
- Green poblano peppers. These peppers are unripe and tend to have a milder taste than riper varieties.
- Red poblano peppers. Ripe poblano peppers are red in color and are typically spicier and more flavorful.
- Ancho chilis. Made from dried red poblano peppers that are almost ripe, ancho chilis tend to have a smoky, slightly fruity flavor.
- Mulato chilis. Similar to ancho chilis, this variation is derived from dried red poblano peppers. However, mulato chilis are made from fully ripe peppers and have a sweeter taste with hints of chocolate and licorice.
There are several types of dried and fresh poblano peppers available, which vary slightly in terms of their flavor, color, ripeness, and spice level.
Are poblano peppers hot?
Though poblano peppers are much milder than other types of chili peppers, like serrano or habañero peppers, they are still slightly spicy.
According to the Scoville scale — which is a scale used to estimate the spiciness of chili peppers — poblano peppers weigh in at about 1,000-2,000 heat units, or about half as much as jalapeños (
What to do with poblano peppers
Poblano peppers can be enjoyed raw or roasted and make an excellent addition to sauces, soups, and dips.
They can also be stuffed with ground meat, rice, and veggies or used to add a spicy kick of flavor to recipes like cornbread, chili, or guacamole.
Growing poblano peppers: How to do it
Poblano peppers are easy to grow at home and make a great addition to any garden.
Be sure to plant the seeds indoors about 8–12 weeks before the last frost date and place the tray by your window or another area that is warm and well lit.
The soil should be kept moist, and seedlings should be transplanted to separate pots once they’re around 2 inches (5 cm) in height.
Once they’re ready to transplant into the garden, be sure to plant them in an area that receives full sunlight and water regularly to keep the soil moist.
Poblano peppers vs. jalapeños
Compared to jalapeño peppers, poblano peppers are larger in size and significantly less spicy.
Poblano peppers also tend to have a slightly smoky taste while jalapeños have a brighter flavor, which is sometimes described as light or grassy.
Canned poblano peppers vs. fresh
Canned poblano peppers can be a convenient ingredient to keep on hand and can be swapped in for fresh poblano peppers in most recipes.
In fact, unlike fresh poblano peppers, canned varieties are already blistered, which can help save time on cooking and meal prep.
When to pick poblano peppers
Poblanos can be harvested once they are around 4–6 inches (10-15 cm) long and have developed dark green skin with a glossy sheen.
However, if you prefer spicier poblano peppers or are planning to dry or smoke them, you should wait until the peppers turn red and fully ripen before harvesting.
Poblano peppers are a mild variety of chili peppers that are highly nutritious and equally delicious.
They’re rich in vitamins A and C, carotenoids, capsaicin, and other compounds that may act as antioxidants, have anticancer activity, and fight inflammation.
Poblano peppers can be added to soups, tacos, or salsas, or stuffed with meat, beans, rice, and cheese.