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Roasting Chiles on the Stovetop

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.

Stovetop Method

Small chiles, like jalapeños, can be quickly roasted over a gas burner—but it’s a chore to do them one at a time. Here’s how we made the process more efficient.

1. Place wire cooling rack over gas burner and turn burner to high.

2. Arrange chiles on wire rack directly over flame and char on all sides, turning with tongs. Steam as with oven method (below); peel skins.