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Cheese and poblano empanadas

Cheese and poblano empanadas with creamy chipotle sauce

These homemade cheesy poblano empanadas are filled with rajas or roasted poblano peppers, and a mix of queso fresco, oaxaca cheese, and goat cheese. I love poblano peppers, they have the perfect blend of heat and flavor. In general, poblanos are relatively mild, however sometimes they can be on spicier side. They are also ideal for stuffing and can be prepared filled with a variety of different filling combinations.

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Roasted poblano and cheese empanadas

In Ecuador, I didn’t grow up poblano peppers, however my mom talked about them frequently– she grew up in New Mexico and these chili peppers were one of the things that she missed the most. She used to make and sell chiles rellenos for extra cash while she was in college; and I’ve heard from family members that hers were really good. So, even though I didn’t grown up eating them, there must be something in my genes that made me love these peppers from the first bite.

Empanadas filled with roasted poblano peppers and cheese

 Most recipes for poblanos usually involve roasting them and then peeling off the skin. The poblano chiles can be roasted in the oven, on the grill, or on a gas stovetop. If the weather permits it’s best to grill them since it keep the fumes outside.

Roasted poblanos or rajas

The fumes from roasting poblanos in the oven or on stove can be very strong – I was telling my mom that roasting poblanos reminded me of the student protests/clashes with the police when I lived in Loja. These protests would take place every once in a while and would usually involve the police dispersing the students with the use of tear gas – if you happened to be out when this occurred, you would either rush home, or take refuge in a friend’s house, or even inside the nearest random store (which would close the doors) – depending on how close you were to the main plaza you would usually smell or feel slight effects from the gas.

Poblano and cheese empanadas with chipotle sauce

I also suggest using gloves when peeling the roasted poblanos, and if you wear contacts (like me) don’t make the mistake of not using gloves – it will be very painful when you touch your eyes to remove your contacts that night. The roasted and peeled strips of poblano peppers are also known as rajas, which translates literally as strips. Rajas can be used in quesadillas, tacos, sauces, salads, soups, and obviously empanadas.

Cheese and poblano empanadas

 For these cheesy poblano empanadas, I used a mix of queso fresco, oaxaca cheese, and goat cheese. You can use the exact same mix or adjust it based on what you have available and the types of cheeses that you prefer. I recommend using at least one crumbly cheese, like queso fresco, goat cheese, feta, or cotija; and at least one type of cheese that melts nicely, like oaxaca, mozzarella, monterrey jack or quesillo. I served these poblano and cheese empanadas with a creamy yogurt chipotle sauce.

Recipe for homemade empanada dough 

Cheese and poblano empanadas recipe

Cheese and poblano empanadas

Easy recipe for homemade cheesy poblano empanadas filled with rajas or roasted poblano peppers, and a mix of queso fresco, oaxaca, and goat cheese.
4.76 from 41 votes
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Course: Appetizer, Snack, Starter
Cuisine: Fusion, Latin American, Mexican, Tex-Mex
Keyword: Cheese and poblano empanadas, Empanadas, Rajas, Roasted poblano peppers, Spicy
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12 -15 medium sized empanadas


  • 8 poblano peppers
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • ½ cup Oaxaca cheese can also use grated mozzarella or monterrey jack cheese
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 12-15 medium size empanada discs use this recipe for homemade empanada dough for baking or store bought empanada discs
  • 1 egg whisked – to use as egg wash

Serving sauce suggestion:


To roast the poblanos:

  • The poblano peppers can be roasted on the grill, in the oven under the broiler, or over the flame on a gas stove. I recommend grilling as the first option, place the peppers on a hot grill and grill on each side until they are blackened or charred. Next best option is to place them on a baking sheet and put them under the broiler (set to high) and roast on each side until charred. For the stove stop method, my least favorite because the fumes can be strong, use thongs to hold the poblano peppers and place them close to the flame, turn until they are blackened.
  • Place the poblano peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 10 minutes– this will help them sweat so that the skin becomes very loose and easy to remove.
  • Peel off the skins from the roasted peppers, cut them half and remove the seeds and stems. Remove any liquid inside the peppers.
  • Cut the poblano peppers into strips and then cut them into small pieces, about ½ inch to 1 inch wide.

Poblano empanada assembly:

  • To assemble the empanadas, place a spoonful or two of the cheese mixture and some chopped roasted poblano peppers or rajas on the middle of each empanada disc.
  • Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges. You can either use a fork to help seal the empanadas, or use your fingers to twist and curl the edges creating a churito or curl type seal. You can also use an empanada mold to seal the empanadas.
  • If you have time, for best results, especially since these empanadas contain cheese, chill the empanadas for at least 30 minutes before baking, this will help them seal better and prevent leaks.
  • Before baking, brush the top of the empanadas with the egg yolk; this will give a nice golden glow when they bake. If you are making several batches of different empanadas and have any poblanos left over, you can place a small piece of the pepper on top of each empanada as a marker to help identify the filling.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400F for 20 minutes or until golden.
  • Serve the poblano and cheese empanadas with your choice of dipping sauce.

Step by step preparation photos for roasted poblano (rajas) and cheese filled empanadas

Poblano peppers
Roasting poblano peppers on the grill
Grilling poblano peppers
 Roasted and peeled poblano peppers or rajas
Cut the poblano peppers into squares for the empanada filling
Mix of queso freso, oaxaca cheese and goat cheese with onions and oregano
Place the cheese and poblanos on the empanada disc
Seal the empanadas using a fork or making a curled type seal on the edges
Before baking, brush the empanadas with egg wash
To differentiate the empanadas, you can add a small piece of the filling to the top
Cheese and poblano empanadas
Poblano cheese empanadas with chipotle sauce
Recipe for poblano empanadas

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    1. Either option is fine: they will keep a little longer if frozen after baked and it will be quicker to re-heat an individual empanada on demand. On the other hand you will have that fresh from the oven taste if you freeze them before baking and then bake.

  1. Do you think this empanada would go with a tequila cocktail that is fruity and tart?

    Sounds like a great combination!

    1. I was tempted to add some chorizo! As I’ve said before, what I love about empanadas is that the fillings can be customized so easily :)

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