Rajas con Crema aka Rajas Poblanas is an easy Mexican dish made with roasted poblano peppers, cut into thin strips and smothered in the most decadent, cheesy and creamy sauce . Serve it as an appetizer with tortilla chips, as a side dish with warm tortillas or as a filling for tacos and quesadillas.
What is Rajas con Crema or Rajas Poblanas?
Somewhat similar to queso fundido, rajas con crema is a very popular Mexican dish that is usually served as an appetizer, side dish or as a filling for other dishes.
Rajas (rah-Has) in Spanish means “strips”.
Rajas con crema refers to roasted poblano chiles cut into thin and long strips, and cooked with onions and corn in a rich cream sauce – made with Mexican crema or sour cream, heavy cream and lots of cheese.
Some family recipes don’t include fresh corn but I personally think this ingredients balances the flavor of the roasted peppers perfectly.
How Does Rajas con Crema Taste?
This Rajas con Crema recipe gets mildly smoky and spicy flavor from the charred poblanos. Corn kernels add a sweet, crisp bite and the addition of Mexican cream and melted cheese gives this recipe the richness and cheesiness of an indulgent and satisfying dip.
Rajas Poblanas (Rajas con Crema) Ingredients and Substitutions
For the full list of ingredients and quantities, check the recipe card below.
- Fresh Poblano Peppers: In terms of spiciness, chile poblanos land somewhere between green bell peppers (no heat) and jalapeño peppers – in the heat scale. Although sometimes you can get a spicy one, most are just zesty. Like in many other Mexican recipes that include poblano peppers, the chiles get roasted first, before it gets added to the dish. There are several ways to roast a pepper and we provide two different methods in this recipe (in the open flame of a gas stove or under the broiler). Check out this post about How to Roast Poblano Peppers (6 different ways)!
- Mexican Crema: Crema Mexicana can be found in the dairy aisle of the grocery store. You can also use use crème fraîche which consistency is a bit thicker than crema or sour cream which is a bit lighter.
- Corn: Although some Mexican recipes for this easy dish, I think it adds flavor and and extra layer of texture. I always keep frozen corn at home which you can add without thawing. During corn season, using fresh corn is a goodoption.
- Butter: I use a combination of oil and butter to sauté the onions. You can use unsalted or salted butter. Alternatively, you can replace the butter with oil. A neutral tasting oil such as vegetable oil or olive oil can be used.
- Cheese: This recipe calls for Monterey Jack cheese. Good melting cheese like Oaxaca cheese (found on the specialty cheese area or in the dairy area next to ethnic products) and even mozzarella cheese
How to Make Rajas con Crema?
For detailed instructions and cooking times, check the recipe card below.
- The first step is to roast the poblano peppers until they have completely charred skin. You can broil them, char them on an open flame or in a dry cast-iron skillet. Roasting peppers in the oven or grilling them also works.
- Next, transfer the charred peppers to a plastic bag to steam for a few minutes.This step makes peeling the chili peppers much easier. Remove the stems and seeds, cut the poblanos into strips and set aside.
- In a skillet, sauté the sliced onions until translucent, stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic. Stir in the corn, then the rajas and cook for a few minutes.
- Stir in the half and half and the Mexican crema and cook until bubbling. Remove from the heat and add the cheese.
- Remove from the Stir until the cheese completely melts. Serve with warm flour tortillas, corn tortillas or tortilla chips.
Tips for Success
- If you can’t find poblanos, this easy Mexican recipe can be made with Anaheim peppers. Green bell peppers will work in a pinch.
- If you want to add extra heat to this dish, roast the poblanos with spicier chili peppers such as jalapeño or serrano pepper. Another option is to use cayenne pepper or pepper flakes.
- If serving this dish as an appetizer or dip, you can use chopped onions and cut the poblano strips into smaller bite size pieces for easy scooping.
- Turn this into a vegan rajas con crema recipe! Check this Vegan Mexican crema recipe or use vegan sour cream, plant-based milk (like oat milk) and vegan cheese.
- For a hearty main dish, add cooked shredded chicken to the cheesy sauce.
What’s the Difference Between Mexican Crema and Sour Cream?
The main difference between sour cream vs Mexican crema (crema Mexicana) is the consistency and fat content. Mexican Crema has a higher fat content and is thinner and more pourable than American sour cream. Sour cream is thicker and can be dolloped and not drizzled. As for taste, sour cream is a bit more tart.
- As an appetizer, serve with corn chips, tortilla chips or soft warm tortillas.
- Serve this as a side dish with roasted or grilled meats.
- As a filling, this decadent creamy dish can be used to make tacos, burritos and quesadillas.
- Serve rajas poblanas as part of breakfast or brunch with scrambled eggs and Papas con Chorizo (Potatoes with Mexican Sausage).
- Make rajas into a hearty main course by adding cooked shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken “rajas con pollo”.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers?
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- To reheat, microwave in small intervals, stirring often until heated through. Leftovers can also be reheated covered, in a preheated oven or in a skillet over low heat.
Take a Look at These Other Mexican Recipes
- Shrimp Enchiladas
- Pollo Asado
- Shrimp Ceviche Recipe
- Charro Beans
- Chile Colorado Recipe
- Pomegranate Margarita
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Rajas con Crema Recipe
- 6 medium poblano peppers
- 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper if you prefer the dish spicy optional
- 1 tablespoon neutral mild oil (vegetable oil, corn oil or olive oil)
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium medium onion thinly sliced (white, yellow or brown onion)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 12 ounces frozen corn or 2 fresh corn (kernels removed)
- 1/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
- 1/3 cup Mexican crema or creme fraiche
- 3/4 cup Monterrey Jack cheese shredded
- Kosher or sea salt and ground black pepper
Roasting or Charring the Poblano Peppers:
- To Char: Char the poblano peppers, one by one, over the gas flame until blackened and blistered on all sides. Enclose the charred peppers in a bag, and allow to steam for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Broiling: Line a baking sheet pan with aluminum foil (optional). Place the poblano peppers on the baking sheet.
- Set an oven rack about 6-inches from the heat source and turn on the broiler to high. Place under the broiler and let the peppers broil, turning them as needed, until completely charred and blistered. Transfer the peppers to a bag to steam (alternatively, cover the baking pan with aluminum foil and allow peppers to steam for 8 to 10 minutes).
- Transfer the peppers to a cutting board and peel off as much of the skin as possible. To make peeling easier, I rub off the skin with a piece of paper towel. It usually comes off quite easily.
- Remove and discard the stems and seeds, and cut the peppers into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices (rajas)
- Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions until they soften and become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Stir in the corn and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring as needed. Add the poblano peppers or rajas and cook, stirring frequently until the corn becomes tender, about 2 minutes (cook a bit longer is making this recipe with fresh corn).
- Add the half and half and Mexican crema (or creme fraiche) and stir together to combine. Cook until bubbling, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cheese stirring until completely melted and smooth. Serve hot with warm flour tortillas or with tortilla chips.
- The poblano peppers’ skin comes off easily if you allow them to steam in a closed bag right after they’ve been charred or broiled. A resealable bag, a regular plastic bag or a paper bag can be used.
- To make the dish extra spicy, you can add a jalapeño or serrano pepper. Cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes can also be used. Start with 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and go from there.
- If you can’t find poblanos, this easy Mexican recipe can be made with Anaheim peppers.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.