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Roasting Chiles in the Oven

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2010

Roasting fresh chiles releases their natural flavor compounds.

Fresh chiles tend to bring bright, floral notes to food. Roasting them breaks down their cell walls, releasing more flavor compounds and caramelizing their sugars, which results in a deeper, nuttier taste. But to capitalize on roasted taste, don’t rub off skins under water. In tests, we’ve found this washes away flavor.

Oven Method

Small chiles can be roasted whole. For large chiles, like poblanos or Anaheims, slice 1/4 inch off the top and bottom, pull the core out, make a slit down one side, and then press the chile flat into one long strip.

1. Arrange chiles on foil-lined baking sheet (place skin side up if roasting strips).

2. Broil chiles until charred. Flip small whole chiles over to char both sides.

3. Transfer chiles to bowl and cover with plastic wrap; steam 20 minutes.

4. Peel off skins (but not under water, to preserve flavor). Remove seeds from small chiles.