Rajas con Crema, also known as Rajas Poblanas, features slices of roasted chiles in a rich cream sauce. This poblano pepper recipe makes a flavorful side for taco night!
A Mexican taquiza is the perfect opportunity to serve a dish of deliciously rich rajas con crema.
Description of Rajas con Crema
Rajas in English means “slices or strips”, and con crema means “in cream”. Because the side dish is almost always made with poblano peppers, it also goes by the name rajas poblanas.
After roasting poblano peppers, we cut them into slices and stir them into a creamy white cheese sauce. The sauce is rich and seriously delicious, made with Mexican crema, onions, corn, garlic, and plenty of cheese!
What is a Mexican Taquiza?
Now, for those who don’t know, a taquiza is essentially a taco party where the food is served family-style. It’s an opportunity to gather with friends for fantastic Mexican food!
Although, “taco party” doesn’t fully describe it. Yes, there are taco fillings, but typically, they aren’t basics like ground beef. It isn’t uncommon to see Pork Mole, or Tinga for making shredded chicken tacos. Along with the mains, there are usually Mexican side dishes as well.
Usually, there are pots of black beans or charro beans, Mexican pickled carrots, and authentic refried beans. And of course, typical taco toppings along with fresh homemade guacamole and several types of salsa.
Again, a party like this deserves a special side dish, and I think this poblano pepper recipe is perfect!
Ingredient Substitutions for Rajas Poblanas
- Poblano peppers– Milder than a jalapeno, poblanos have plenty of flavor, especially when they are roasted. Feel free to use any other type of chili pepper that you prefer. If you want less spice, you could use Anaheim chiles.
- Mexican crema– You can buy this ingredient, or make your own using my crema recipe. Otherwise, sour cream, heavy whipping cream, and creme fraiche are good substitutes.
- Cream cheese– This adds creaminess and tanginess to the dish, and it melts beautifully. You’ll want to use a block of cream cheese, not the varieties sold in plastic containers. Soft and whipped cream cheeses will separate and curdle.
- Mexican cheese– I like to use shredded Oaxaca cheese in rajas con crema, but any shredded white cheese that melts well is fine. Good substitutes for Oaxaca are Chihuahua, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella.
Roasting Poblano Peppers
There are several ways to roast peppers. These instructions will apply for any type of sweet or spicy pepper.
- Wash and dry each pepper.
Regardless of the roasting method you use, you’ll first need to wash the outside of each pepper with cool water. Be sure to thoroughly dry them off with paper towels.
- Roast them, using the method of your choice (options shown below).
- After roasting, steam the peppers to loosen the skins.
When you’re finished roasting the chiles, they’ll be very hot. Use tongs to transfer them to a bowl, or a large paper or zip top plastic bag.
Close or seal the bag, or if using a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or something else to trap the steam inside.
Keep the peppers there to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the stem, skin, and seeds.
At this point, you should be able to gently tug the stem upward and it will come right out, usually with the seeds attached. If not, carefully slice the pepper in half from top to bottom and remove the seeds.
Finally, remove as much of the blistered skin as you can. You can use your fingers to remove it or use paper towels to rub the skins off. There may be a few stubborn spots where you won’t be able to remove the skin, and that’s fine.
Options for Roasting Chilis for Rajas con Crema
- With your grill preheated to about 450°F, place the poblanos directly on to the grill grates.
- Use tongs to flip each pepper occasionally, until the skin blackens and bubbles. This takes 2-3 minutes on each side.
Gas Stove Top Burner
- Place one or two poblano peppers directly over the open gas flame set to medium heat.
- Use tongs to turn each pepper occasionally, until the skin blackens and is bubbly all over.
Oven Broiler (Or Toaster Oven Broiler)
- Position an oven rack 6 inches below the broiler, then preheat the oven (or toaster oven) broiler to 500°F.
- Place whole, uncut peppers on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Broil, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes, until all sides are black.
There is also the option of roasting poblano peppers on a sheet pan in a 450° oven, but it does take a bit longer. Depending on the size of them and how many you are roasting, it can take as long as 40 minutes.
To shorten the roasting time, you could cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, then roast them cut side down on the pan.
Roasting Poblano Peppers in an Air Fryer
- Lightly spray peppers with oil and place them into the air fryer basket.
- Use the highest setting on your air fryer and set the cook time to 6 minutes. After the first 6 minutes, use tongs to turn the peppers over and set time for another 6 minutes.
- Continue cooking and turning them until the peppers are black and bubbly all over.
Want other ideas for using poblanos?
Poblano peppers are one of the ingredients in Creamy Chicken Enchiladas Suiza and Green Enchilada Sauce. They are also used in recipes for Mexican Poblano Corn Chowder, and Stuffed Green Peppers.
FAQ and Recipe Notes
Most often, rajas poblanas iis served as a Mexican side dish, but stir in some cooked shredded chicken or beef and it makes it a delicious main course!
There are several peppers with less spicy heat than a jalapeno, including Mirasol, dried Guajillo, poblano, dried ancho, banana, and Anaheim.
If you have any leftovers, store them in a covered container in the fridge and use them up within 3 to 4 days. Unfortunately, cream sauces and cheese sauces don’t freeze well.
To reheat the rajas con crema, place the contents in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until it’s warmed through. Avoid using high heat, as the consistency of the sauce will become grainy. For the same reason, avoid reheating the leftovers in a microwave.
Rajas con Crema (Poblano Pepper Recipe)
- 6 fresh poblano chiles
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium white onion cut lengthwise into 1/4" slices
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 8 oz corn kernels
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- 4 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream or crème fraîche
- 1 cup Oaxaca cheese grated (See Note 1)
Roasting Poblano Chiles
- Either roast and char the chiles over an open gas flame (stovetop), under a broiler, or on a BBQ grill.
- Roast the poblanos on stove top flame, turning them over occasionally, until skins are charred and blistered, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can place them on a baking sheet under an oven broiler until the skins blacken and blister. Or, place them on a hot barbecue grill and cook until the skins blacken and blister.
- Transfer the poblanos into a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel, or seal in a brown paper bag to steam for 5-10 minutes. Peel the charred skin from the roasted poblano peppers and slice them into 1 inch strips.
- Melt butter in a saucepan or skillet and saute onions over medium high heat until softened. Add garlic, roasted poblano slices, corn, salt, pepper and cumin. Cook for 2 minutes stirring often.
- Lower heat to medium, add the cream cheese and Mexican crema. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes or until the cream starts to bubble.
- Add shredded cheese, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let it sit covered until the cheese melts. Serve immediately with warm tortillas, tortilla chips or as a side dish (See Note 2).
- Good substitutes for Oaxaca are Monterey Jack, Chihuahua or Mozzarella.
- To serve as a main dish, add cooked and shredded chicken or beef.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.