Rajas con Crema are roasted poblano peppers cut into strips and sautéed with onions, garlic, and Mexican crema. They can be served as a filling for tacos, tamales, quesadillas, and more! Simple, comforting, and gluten-free!
Recipe first posted on March 26, 2021. Last updated with new photos and video September 27, 2023.
If you grew up eating Mexican food or are simply a lover of Mexican cuisine (like I am), then you’ve probably enjoyed Rajas con Crema before. This simple, creamy mixture of charred poblano peppers, onions, garlic, and faintly tart cream are perfection.
Rajas are relatively new to me. I can’t remember exactly the first time I tried them but I think it was my dear friend, Aida who first made them for me (check out her version of rajas) when we were working in the test kitchen at CHOW.com. She tossed a few ingredients into a pan and in minutes had an incredibly flavorful lunch. I remember thinking there must be some kind of magic going on because how could something so simple taste so good.
Rajas are not just delicious and easy, they are also really inexpensive and can be turned into a million different meals. They can be enjoyed tucked into corn tortillas for a delicious vegetarian taco or folded into a quesadilla or simply enjoyed on their own as a cozy side dish.
Rajas are made for meal prep. You can make them up to 5 days in advance and turn them into lots of different Mexican dishes, like a topping for a rice bowl or vegetarian taquitos (or the tacos, quesadillas or side dish I already mentioned).
what are rajas con crema?
Rajas (pronounced ra-has) are roasted poblano chiles cut into rajas or strips (which is how you say strips or slices in Spanish). They are eaten all over Mexico but are a very popular taco filling in central and southern Mexico.
Roasting chiles over an open flame is an ancient way of preparing them and a practice that has been done all over Mexico since pre-colonial times. I love this beautiful drawing of flame-roasted chiles painted by a Mexican artist from 1541. Once the Spanish arrived and brought cows and dairy milk with them, additions of soured cream and cheese were added to the charred peppers.
When rajas are con crema, they are coated in a cream sauce made with Mexican crema, which is a thinner, less sour version of American sour cream. Look for it at your local Latin market.
Sometimes they are also con queso. Which is when cheese is mixed in almost like a queso fundido with gooey bits of Monterey Jack cheese or any other melted cheese you might love.
- Poblano peppers or Anaheim peppers would also work
- Mexican crema or substitute a mixture of American sour cream and heavy cream
- White onions or red onion
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
how to make This Recipe
Char peppers. The first step is to roast the poblanos by placing them directly on an open flame of a gas stove. You are looking for the skin of the peppers to really blacken and char.
*CHEF’S TIP: If you don’t have a gas stove, place the peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and broil under the broiler until blackened and charred on all sides. Turn frequently so they get evenly roasted.
Cover. After they are charred on all sides, set them on a large platter and cover with plastic wrap. This steams them a bit and makes it easier to remove the blackened skin once they cool down.
Prep peppers. Once they are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, remove the stem and seeds and cut the peppers into strips.
Sauté onions and garlic. Then comes the good stuff—melt a good amount of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and season generously with salt and pepper. Once the onions are starting to get tender, add the garlic, season with some more salt and pepper and let those two get nice and caramelized.
Add peppers and cream. Add the poblano pepper strips and cook just until they are warmed through, they are already cooked so you don’t want them to get too mushy. Finally in goes the crema. If you can’t find Mexican crema, substitute half American sour cream and half heavy cream. Let this simmer for a few minutes until everything is coated in cream. Taste and season again with salt if needed.
Feel free to experiment with this basic recipe. Here’s a few different ideas to try:
- Add 1 cup of fresh or frozen corn kernels.
- Stir in about 4 ounces of cheese at the end. Monterey Jack, Oaxaca cheese, or mozzarella are good melting cheeses, but also a sharp cheese like Cotija crumbed in at the end is good.
- Add a teaspoon of herbs like dried or fresh Mexican oregano, marjoram, or thyme.
- Stir in cooked shredded chicken.
how to serve
As we’ve discussed, this recipe is perfect as a filling for so many Mexican dishes. One of my favorites are Aida’s Tamales de Rajas that we made for one of our tamales classes a couple years ago.
But as I was doing a bit of research for this recipe both Pati Jinich and Gabriela Cámara mentioned in their cookbooks that they love rajas on top of a special type of cornbread made in Mexico.
If they both recommended it, how could I not try it?
I decided on Pati’s version of this cornbread which is almost like a corn pudding cake, I don’t know, it’s hard to describe but you can find the recipe in her first cookbook, Pati’s Mexican Table.
This fluffy corn cake made with whole corn kernels and whipped egg white topped with the smoky roasted rajas was a perfect plant-based dinner.
Rajas Con Crema FAQ’s
How do I store and reheat leftovers? Let the rajas cool to room temperature then spoon into an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheating is simple just warm in the microwave or over medium-high heat on the stove. Add about 1/4 cup of chicken broth if it seems dry.
How do I add more flavor? When you are dealing with so few ingredients it is important that you use enough salt to bring out all the flavors in the dish. If your rajas are tasting kind of bland, season with more salt and taste again.
more poblano pepper recipes to try!
- Chiles en Nogada
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Chorizo and Poblanos
- Charred Poblano Corn Crepes
- Chiles en Nogada Tacos
- Spicy Chorizo and Poblano Stuffing
- Carne Asada Torta with Roasted Poblano Salsa
it doesn’t get much easier than this
When the results are much greater than the effort, there’s no excuse not to try something new! When you try these Rajas con Crema please let me know by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
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