A twist on chile rellenos (without frying), this easy Cheese Stuffed Poblano Peppers recipe is great to enjoy as a side or main dish!
Poblano peppers’ unique taste is (probably) most famously displayed in chile rellenos, which is of Mexican origin and involves stuffing the pepper, coating it with a light batter, and frying. Although we love chile rellenos and their many variations, this dish highlights the pepper more and is much lighter. The flavors are simple, yet extremely satisfying.
We absolutely love using poblano peppers in recipes. If you do as well, check out our Roasted Poblano and Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese, Chicken Fried Steak with Ancho Poblano Gravy or our Ancho Chile Corn and Poblano Crab Cakes.
- Poblano Peppers: A mild green pepper from Puebla, Mexico usually used in the popular dish chiles rellenos.
- Pine Nuts: Small nuts coming from pines. They have a buttery flavor and are commonly used in traditional basil pesto, but are amazing in a variety of dishes like pasta and these cheese stuffed peppers.
- Muenster Cheese: A semi-soft pale yellow cheese with a mild flavor that melts easily and is perfect for these stuffed peppers. It is a great option for grilled cheese sandwiches as well.
- Smoked Paprika: The addition of the smoky flavor in the paprika complements the flavor of the poblano peppers in this recipe.
- Thyme Leaves: The thyme leaves add a nice earthy final touch to the stuffed poblanos.
These cheese stuffed poblanos are super easy to make and they don't require any special techniques.
- Cut a hole in the side of the peppers. You will create "boats" out of the peppers to hold the ingredients. The part of the pepper that is removed will be diced and added to the filling with the cheese.
- Par-cook the peppers: Place the peppers on a sheet tray in a preheated 350°F oven, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Stuff the peppers: Remove the peppers from the oven, stuff them with the cheese, diced peppers, and toasted pine nuts.
- Finish cooking the peppers: Place the stuffed peppers back in the oven and cook for another 5 minutes. Finally, broil the peppers for 2-3 more minutes to ensure that the cheese is completely melted. Once done, sprinkle the smoked paprika and thyme leaves on top and serve.
Here are several substitutions that can be made in this recipe:
- Peppers: If you cannot find poblano peppers, you can use bell peppers instead for this recipe. This will change the final flavor of the dish but it will still be tasty!
- Pine Nuts: If you have a nut allergy, you can replace the pine nuts in this recipe with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds (pepitas). Or omit them altogether.
- Smoked Paprika: If you don't prefer the smoky flavor, use sweet paprika or hot paprika in its place.
- Make it spicy: Add a bit more heat to this recipe by sprinkling a bit of cayenne on top at the end. Or use jalapeño peppers in place of the poblanos.
- Try a different cheese: Switch it up with a different melty cheese such as Gouda, Havarti or Swiss cheese.
- Add shredded chicken or pork: If you want to make these a bit heartier, add cooked shredded chicken or pork to the filling.
No special equipment is needed to make this recipe. All you need is a sharp knife and a sheet tray.
These cheese stuffed poblano peppers are so quick and easy to prepare that we recommend making them fresh.
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat these peppers in a microwave or in a pre-heated 300°F oven until heated through.
Top Tip to Enhance Flavor
The pine nuts are for texture and taste since muenster is not an overly assertive cheese. We have used a variety of nuts and they all work well, so this is a perfect place to experiment. Toast the nuts first for a more pronounced and, frankly, better flavor.
The smoked paprika is the perfect addition if done in an oven as it gives a little “outdoor grill” flavor to the peppers without overwhelming them with smokiness.
The last tip is the par-baking of the pepper “shell.” This softens the pepper to a perfect consistency for us. It’s not mushy, not crunchy, but somewhere in between – think al dente! We have also done this with jalapeño peppers as well with spicy and flavorful results. But the poblano is still our number one choice.
Poblano peppers are very very mild in terms of heat and spiciness. For comparison, they score around 1000-2000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on the Scoville scale (the scale used to rate the heat level of peppers). A jalapeño can range from around 2500 SHU on the mild side to 8000 SHU, and habanero peppers score 150,000 SHU.
When dried, poblano peppers are referred to as ancho chiles.
Although any good melting cheese works well, we particularly enjoy muenster for both the texture and the flavor. Muenster is not prone to shedding fat and becoming a greasy mess, such as cheddar, and is mild enough in flavor to let the pepper be the star.
We hope that you enjoy this recipe for Cheese Stuffed Poblano Peppers. If you give it a try, leave us a comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
Looking for more recipes like this? Check these out:
These are our favorite main dishes to serve with these Cheese Stuffed Poblano Peppers:
Cheese Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- 1 sheet tray
- 4 Poblano peppers whole
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 10 oz muenster cheese cut in small dice
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
PREPARE THE PEPPERS
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Slice the very top of the pepper off lengthwise, exposing the seed pod but keeping the stem intact. Reserve the sliced-off part of the pepper and dice them into small pieces. For the pepper itself, gently remove the seeds and excess white pith where the stem attaches and to create almost a boat-like vessel for the stuffing.
- Once the peppers are cleaned, put them on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool before stuffing.
STUFF AND COOK THE PEPPERS
- While the empty peppers are baking, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Combine the pine nuts with the muenster cheese and small-diced, raw excess pepper that you removed and stuff the par-cooked peppers with the mixture.
- Put your now-stuffed peppers on the baking sheet and return to the oven for 5 minutes, then remove.
- Turn your oven to broil and wait a few minutes for it to heat up. Place stuffed peppers in the oven on the center rack for about 2-3 more minutes or until the cheese is completely melted.
- Once the peppers are done, remove from the oven, sprinkle the smoked paprika and thyme leaves on the peppers and serve!