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Easy rajas recipe

Rajas con crema are the perfect topper for tacos, nachos, and even burgers. Roasted poblano peppers are combined with sautéed onions, cheese and cream to make a delicious appetizer or snack. You can serve them with tortilla chips and eat them as a dip, or tuck them into a warm soft tortilla for a tasty dinner.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

You may also be interested in my classic margarita recipe and my queso fundido stuffed chicken recipes.

Rajas in terracotta bowl.

Why you should make this recipe

  • Quick & Easy – This recipe is very simple, and it’s ready in about 30 minutes.
  • Versatile – Rajas are very versatile. From tacos, nachos and burritos to a topping for burgers and even a dip, you can enjoy them in so many ways.
  • Make Ahead – You can prepare the peppers and onions ahead of time, then combine them with the cream and cheese when you are ready to serve.

What are rajas?

Rajas are strips of poblano peppers that are roasted and peeled, then combined with sautéed onions, garlic, Mexican cream and cheese. 

I love them on tacos and nachos, obviously, but they are also really good on a vegan burger.

Rajas con crema with a poblano pepper.


These 4 ingredients do the heavy lifting in this recipe. In addition, you’ll need garlic, oil, salt & pepper.

Ingredients on marble table.
  • Poblano peppers – This mild chili pepper is the base of the recipe. The dried version of a poblano is an ancho chili.
  • Onion – A yellow onion is perfect, as it lends a bit of sweetness.
  • Crema Mexicana – Mexican cream is similar to sour cream, but it slightly thinner and has more of a tangy flavor. Substitute with sour cream if crema is unavailable.
  • Oaxaca cheese – A mild, stretchy cheese similar to mozzarella or string cheese. Major cheese pull appeal.

How to make this rajas recipe

This Mexican recipe is a snap to make. If you’ve never roasted and peeled peppers before, don’t worry – it’s much easier than you might think.

  1. The first step is roasting the poblano peppers. You can do this on a grill or under the broiler in the oven. You can even do it in a hot pan on the stovetop if you don’t have a grill or an oven.
  2. Set an oven rack 4 – 6 inches from the broiler. Place the peppers on an aluminum sheet pan.
  3. Roast the peppers on all sides until the skin is blackened and blistered. Immediately put them into a plastic bag and seal or into a small bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
  4. This will steam the peppers and make the skin easier to remove. Once the peppers have rested for 5 – 10 minutes, peel the charred skin off and discard.
Roasted poblano peppers on sheet pan.

Open the peeled pepper up and remove the seeds and membrane, then slice into thin strips. You may want to consider wearing gloves, if you have sensitive skin.

Roasted poblano peppers opened up and seeded.

How to cook poblano peppers

If roasting and peeling poblano peppers is not on your agenda, you can simply slice them into thin strips and sauté them along with the onions.

The reason for roasting and peeling the peppers is to remove the skin, which can be a little tough and chewy. It makes for a more a pleasant bite if you’ve removed the skin, but ultimately, it’s up to you.

Rajas FAQ’s

Can you sauté poblano peppers?

Yes. If you don’t want to roast and peel them, you can absolutely slice them up and sauté them with the onions. They’ll have the skin on, which some people don’t like, but it is your preference.

Is a pasilla pepper the same as a poblano pepper?

No. A chilaca pepper is the fresh version of a pasilla. An ancho pepper is a dried poblano.

How long do rajas last in the fridge?

Store the leftover rajas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Are rajas spicy?

No. Poblano peppers are mild. If you are very sensitive to spicy foods, you may find it has a little heat. Generally poblano peppers are not hot, but every now and then, you’ll get one that is hotter than normal.

Rajas with poblano peppers and cream.

Variations and substitutions

  • Some recipes add corn to the mixture. This would be a great addition with fresh sweet corn in the summer months.
  • Substitute Anaheim peppers for poblanos, if you can’t find them.
  • Substitute sour cream for the crema Mexicana.
  • If Oaxaca cheese is unavailable, use mozzarella.

You can also make these a vegan recipe by omitting the cheese and crema, or finding vegan alternatives for those two items.

Serving suggestions

Helpful tools and equipment

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Cheryl Bennett
Rajas are a delicious blend of roasted poblano peppers, onions, cream and cheese – perfect for tacos, nachos and burgers.
4.69 from 19 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 people
Calories 199 kcal


  • 4 poblano peppers
  • 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 3/4 cup crema Mexicana or sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Oaxaca cheese or mozzarella
  • 1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano optional


  • Place an oven rack 4 – 6 inches from the broiler. Preheat broiler in oven (or heat grill).
  • Place poblano peppers under the broiler and roast for about 5 minutes, until skin is blistered and blackened all over. Flip peppers over and repeat.
  • When peppers are blackened all over, remove from heat and seal them in a plastic bag or put in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let them sweat for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Transfer to a cutting board, then peel the thin, blackened skin from the peppers. Slice them open and remove the seeds, stem, and membranes, then slice into 1/2" strips. Set aside.
  • Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Sauté onions until they just begin to take on color, about 10 -12 minutes. Lower heat to medium low, add garlic and stir to combine.
  • Add poblano strips, salt, pepper, Mexican crema, and oregano if using, to the onions. Stir to combine and let it warm through for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Add Oaxaca cheese and stir frequently over low heat until cheese is completely melted.
  • Serve while warm.



*If you have sensitive skin, I would advise wearing gloves when working with peppers.
Add in 1/2 cup of fresh sweet corn for a summer variation to this recipe.
Substitute crema Mexicana with sour cream. You can add in a few tablespoons of cream cheese to give your rajas extra body and creaminess.
If Oaxaca cheese is unavailable, substitute with mozzarella.


Serving: 1gCalories: 199kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 6gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 396mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day 🙂

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Originally published 1/31/16.


  1. How sad that I didn’t even know what rajas were! But now I can see how they would be all kinds of awesome in a gordita, especially one with cheese. Super delicious, Cheryl!

    1. Stacy, you are a Texan! I’m sure you’ve had them before & maybe just didn’t put a name to it! I love poblano peppers, if you like a little heat… You’ll like these! xx

  2. Your description of the gorditas made my mouth water!!! And your rajas sound perfect. We’ll be rooting for the Broncos, too!!!
    P.S. So glad to see you in the Sunday Supper group this week!!! xo

  3. Cooking on the boat and searching for a recipe to sauté poblanos. This was perfect added to our kielbasa sausage. I did add red peppers as they needed to be used. So so good and will definitely add to my recipe box.

  4. I had these ages ago and totally forgot the name. Poblano peppers are my faves so I made this right away. Even better than the ones I had in the restaurant. I used them in chicken enchiladas and they were amazing!

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