How To Roast Fresh Chile Peppers


Gas Stove

This method works well for roasting a small quantity of chile peppers but it does not work well for tomatoes or garlic. Use a long handled cooking fork with a handle made with a non heat-conducting material. Pierce the pepper with the fork and hold the pepper over a gas flame (or grill flame), about 4" from the heat source. Keep turning the pepper until it is evenly charred on all sides. The pepper skins should turn black when properly roasted. Place the roasted peppers in a plastic bag and seal the bag. (You can also use a small wire grilling basket and char a few peppers at a time.)

Stove Top Chile Grill

dry stove top grill

For tomatoes, garlic, or a larger quantity of chiles you can use a stove-top grill such as the one shown below. This fits over a gas or electric burner. Sit the chiles on top and turn occasionally to allow even charring.

Use tongs to keep the vegetables turned for even charring.  This does not work well for tomatoes because the juices drip through to your cook top.

Oven Method

The oven method works well for chiles, garlic and tomatoes.

Preheat your oven to 450°F (232°C) Spread the peppers evenly on a cookie sheet, in a single layer. Roast the peppers for about 4-5 minutes until the skins blister. Watch carefully so they do not burn. Place the roasted peppers in a plastic bag and seal the bag.

Clean And Peel

Allow the chile peppers to sweat in the plastic bag* for about 10 to 15 minutes. When you remove them from the bag they will be easy to peel. Rinse the peppers under cool running water (wear gloves!). Peel the chile, remove and discard the skin, seeds, and the veins. (It may be desirable to have a small amount of the charred skin remain, depending on the dish. This can be a flavorful addition to fresh salsa).

*You may also use a paper bag but we find the peppers sweat more in plastic.  You can even put your hand right in the bag and peel the chiles leaving the skins inside the bag.

Warning - Handling Chiles

Always wear gloves when working with hot chile peppers. This is no time to be macho. Never touch your eyes when working with chiles, fresh or dried.

Alternately you may want to coat your hands with a small amount of cooking oil before you handle chiles. This prevents some of the oils from adhering to your skin.  Once your chile chores are completed wash your hands well with warm soapy water.


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.