Chili-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Nothing spices up a recipe rotation like a little spice. Chili-stuffed poblanos won’t leave you panting for a glass of water, but they’ll break you out of a meal rut faster than you can cook them—which is pretty fast. 

Classic Flavors for Modern Palates

Chili-stuffed poblano peppers are just what they sound like: halved and cleaned poblano peppers broiled, then filled with ground meat, chili, and cheese. The result is a delicious chili filling encompassed by a tender, slightly spicy blistered poblano. Of course, the specifics of the recipe can be interpreted in a variety of ways, allowing for a lot of wiggle room to accommodate household preferences. 

This dish has descended from Mexican tradition, evident in the both bold flavors and main ingredients. It’s possible that chili-stuffed poblanos drew inspiration directly from dishes called chiles en nogada and chiles relleno, both of which have ties to the city of Puebla and feature poblano peppers stuffed with meat. However, chili-stuffed poblanos have traded in the filling of their potential ancestors (which includes things like nuts and raisins) for a more crowd-pleasing variation that relies heavily on meat, tomato, and cheese. 

Healthy, Hearty, and Authentic to Boot


A favorite among dieting enthusiasts, chili-stuffed poblano peppers are unusual in that they can accommodate very low carb meal plans. Another unusual aspect of this dish is the fact that, although it has certainly been modified to fit a wider range of palates, its authentic roots are immediately evident. Despite being altered somewhat, main staples of Mexican cuisine like bold spices, creative use of peppers, and a meat stuffing are all present in chili-stuffed poblanos. 

Making Chili-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Creating chili-stuffed poblanos can be extremely simple or highly involved, depending on whether you’re the type who wants to create everything from scratch or make things as simple as possible for yourself. Assuming you don’t have time to dedicate to making chili from scratch, the process of preparing chili-stuffed poblanos will look something like this:

  • First, you will want to preheat your broiler and begin cooking the meat on the stove.
  • Once the meat is cooked and drained, you can stir in a can of chili, ½ a cup of cheese, one chopped tomato, as much or as little green onion as you’d like, and any salt, pepper, or other seasonings. 
  • Meanwhile, remove seeds from as many poblanos as you’ll need, and cut them lengthwise. 
  • Brush the peppers with oil, and broil them with the backs up for about five minutes, or until the skin blisters. 
  • Using tongs, turn the peppers over, add your filling to the open side, and sprinkle with additional cheese before broiling for another minute or two. 

Once the peppers have cooled somewhat, they’re ready to serve. You can mix up some pico de gallo while your chili-stuffed poblano peppers cook if you’d like, but the dish will be delicious without any additional toppings, too. 

Changing Up Chili-Stuffed Poblanos

Because this dish is so simple, plenty of recipes exist to accommodate different tastes and diets. 

Some common variations include:

  • Using ground turkey instead of beef for a healthier option
  • Adding rice to the filling
  • Making the chili from scratch so it’s spicier, or includes beans 

Beyond adding a meat and chili filling to a blistered poblano pepper, there are no hard and fast rules for making chili-stuffed poblanos. Feel free to experiment with toppings and filling ingredients until you strike the right balance. 

The same old favorites inevitably get a little stale over time; this conundrum presents the perfect opportunity to throw a little spice into your dinner routine with chili-stuffed poblano peppers.