My Favorite Mexican Food Side Dish: Creamy Poblano Rice

I feel like I should apologize for loading my blog with so many recipes lately. I usually try to spread them out, but we’ve eaten so many good things this past week, I feel like I need to share them before I forget them. Don’t laugh at me. It happens. I blame the menopause. Today, I want to share my new favorite side dish. I’m calling it Poblano Rice because I’m creative like that.

Poblano Rice - Before Baking - Inside NanaBread's Head



The Complete Package loves rice. I’ve mentioned this before. He’s addicted. I whipped this up one night to go with Mexican food, and now it’s our favorite side. It starts with poblano peppers, either canned or fresh. I’m in Texas, so I usually go for fresh.

Roasted Poblanos - Poblano Rice - Inside NanaBread's Head Blog


Oh, baby. Poblanos are my favorite. I could eat them every day. I roast them over an open flame on my gas stove, steam them, peel and de-seed them, then chop. Then snitch a few. Then slap my own hand, usually. For this dish, I throw them into cooked or leftover plain basmati rice and add sour cream, monterrey jack cheese, garlic salt, salt & pepper. So simple, and yet so very satisfying.

Ingredients - Poblano Rice - Inside NanaBread's Head Blog


NanaBread’s Creamy Poblano Rice
1 cup Texmati basmati rice, uncooked
1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt (or 1 tsp. regular table salt)
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt + 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 fresh poblano peppers – roasted, skinned, seeded & chopped OR 1 can of sliced poblano peppers (7.5 oz.), drained
1 cup sour cream (low-fat is fine; I even use fat-free Greek yogurt)
1 1/2 cups of grated pepper jack cheese
cayenne pepper, to sprinkle on top (optional)

In a medium size heavy-bottom pan, add the vegetable oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and heat the oil just until it starts to shimmer. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until the rice turns chalky white and some of the grains start to brown very lightly. Carefully add the water, throw in the salt, and stir to keep the grains from sticking. When your rice begins to bubble vigorously, give it one last stir. Place a lid on the pan, reduce the heat to low (I set mine between 1 and 2 on my stove dial), and set your kitchen timer for 25 minutes. Once done, remove the lid and allow the rice to cool. TIP: this is a great way to use leftover steamed rice. Just start at the ‘stir in everything else’ portion of the recipe.


In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked rice, sour cream, poblano peppers, garlic salt and one cup of grated pepper jack cheese. Mix it up and give it a taste.


If it needs more garlic salt, regular salt or you want to throw in some cracked black pepper, now is the time to add it. Once it’s perfect, spoon it into a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed or oiled. Spread it out evenly and top with the last 1/2 cup of grated pepper jack cheese. Man, I love cheese. All the cheese. Not Limburger, but all the others.

Grated Jack Cheese - Poblano Rice - Inside NanaBread's Head Blog

If you like spice, sprinkle on a little cayenne pepper. It really kicks it up a notch. I highly recommend it. Highly.


Pop your baking pan, uncovered, into a hot oven (375F) for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and serve it with your favorite main course. This week, it was my recipe for carnitas.

Poblano Rice - Ready to Serve - Inside NanaBread's Head


Two weeks ago, it was fajitas. Next week, it could be fish tacos. The possibilities are endless and the world is my oyster. Hmm… poblano rice with grilled oysters, shrimp and veggies? Or poblano rice with carne asada. Or poblano rice with the Pioneer Woman’s tequila-lime chicken. Dang. Now I’m hungry. Again.

Update: On June 2, 2016, I updated the photos for this blog post. The originals were poorly lit and frankly not very appetizing. If you followed a Pinterest link to get here and the photos don’t match, don’t worry. It’s the same recipe, just with hopefully more appetizing representations of one of my favorite family recipes.  -jeanne



Filed under Food & Recipes

35 responses to “My Favorite Mexican Food Side Dish: Creamy Poblano Rice

  1. Oh yummy!!!!!!!!!! I made Baked Brown Spanish Rice last night to go with our Mexi-chicken roll ups, but I think I will try this next time!

    • You’ll have to check back in and let me know if you liked it! Personally, I just can’t seem to get enough of it, and neither can TCP. We’ve had it 3 times in the past month or so. It’s so good.

  2. I love Mexican food but have to admit I don’t even know if a poblano is hot? If so I probably won’t be able to handle it. Looks really delicious, though!

    • It depends, Kandi. Some are hot and some are mild. If you’re looking for poblanos in cans, look to see if the cans are marked. The canned variety I’ve shown are mild. You would enjoy them, but I would suggest NOT sprinkling the cayenne pepper on top if you’re sensitive to hot peppers. I LOVE the flavor of poblanos. They’re the same peppers usually used in chili rellenos, if you’ve ever had those. Mmmmm…. so good.

  3. I wish I had the love for cooking that you do! Cooking is a chore for me right now.
    Everything you make always looks so delish, and I tell myself that I am going to try it out, and then never do. One day, I swear, I’m going to get in the mood to cook again and will come to your blog and PW’s for inspiration!

    • I do love to cook, and so does TCP. For us, it’s like relaxation therapy. It’s very zen to have the kitchen to yourself and the freedom do whatever you want. Of course, it helps that it’s just the two of us now, and there’s no pressure to feed a family and worry about everyone’s like and dislikes. We have very similar taste. But make no mistake, we’re not experts by any means. We just have enthusiasm on our side!

  4. Great recipe! My rice never comes out right… and I trap ALL the steam in there. I just learned something valuable today. :)

    • Okay, Michelle. I’m going to confess that when I get a comment from another blogger, I instantly go to their blog to learn more about them. I love my readers, and if they can take the time to read my blog, I can certainly return the favor. So at first, I was going to tell you that I love the retro robin’s egg blue KitchenAid mixer your blog is named for. Then I was going to say how much I truly loved your domestic goddess gravatar photo. But THEN…. oh, my goodness. Then I saw that you’ve posted a recipe for Pancit Bihon. Am I dreaming? My neighbor used to bring pancit bihon home from a little bakery in Chinatown in Houston. It was the most wonderful noodle dish in the entire world. Then she moved and the little bakery closed and I haven’t found pancit bihon again in at least 15 years. I’m telling you here and now… if I can find that Mama Sita’s mix and some pancit noodles, I will be making your recipe and earning myself a one-way ticket to noodle heaven. Thank you, Michelle. You stopped by to comment on my rice, and you’ve given me a great gift in return!

  5. Amy

    You forgot a step: how do you keep from eating it straight out of the mixing bowl? This looks sooo good! Cheese and rice and sour cream are so awesome together.

    • Hahaha… well, there’s nothing to prevent you from consuming it before it’s baked. All of the ingredients could be eaten in the pre-baked state without having to worry about food poisoning or intestinal issues. However, I can state from personal experience that it’s even better when it’s hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted and gooey. I love those poblano peppers and the kick the cayenne gives it, too.

  6. You had me at pepper jack cheese. Looks yummy! Wish my boys ate peppers…

    • Well, technically you could just leave out the poblanos and make this with the pepper jack cheese. Or you could chop the poblanos into smaller pieces so they might not identify them. Think it would work?

  7. Kat

    Marcus is one crazy varmint when it comes to rice – obsessed would be a tame way to put it. This dish (we’ve been on a huge pepper/spice kick lately!) would be AMAZING in our rotation!

    • I love your use of “crazy varmit” when describing Marcus’ love of rice. TCP is a rabid fan, too. Since you love the spice, be sure to add the cayenne on top. Can’t wait to heat what you and Marcus think once you’ve tried it.

  8. Malia

    Nana, can I make this then freeze it for later?

    • Absolutely, Malia. Just mix it up, spread it into a baking dish, cover it tightly with plastic wrap then foil and freeze it for up to two weeks. Remove from the freezer and let it sit for 20-30 minutes to thaw, then sprinkle with cheese and bake as directed. OR you can freeze the leftovers in individual serving containers for quick sides or easy lunches. I hope you enjoy it. It’s a favorite in our house.

  9. Allison

    I’m dying to make this, but can’t find canned poblanos. Where did you find them (store and section of store)? I’ve looked at Kroger, Target and Central Market. I’m generally pretty good at hunting down ingredients, but this one is eluding me. Wondering if I should try Fiesta, or another similar grocer?

    • Hi, Allison!
      I get mine at HEB. If you don’t have one close by, then YES to Fiesta! They should have them for sure. I love the San Miguel brand that’s pictured in this post, but any brand will probably do. I buy the ones cut into strips, and they are better if they say ‘roasted’ somewhere on the label. That little bit of char on the peppers gives them better flavor. Let me know if you find them and give this a shot. Our family loves this dish! -jeanne

  10. Brian

    Didn’t have the tin of poblanos, but made this using a small can of Old El Paso chilis and it was a major hit with both spouse & kids. Can’t wait to try it with the spicier peppers. On to the baked beans recipe!

  11. tracy

    I made this lastnight but used Monterrey jack cheese with jalapeños cause I thought it would spice it up but I was wrong. This will def be made again because it was yummy I was just expecting more flavor. Besides the cheese I used poblanos that I roasted not from a can. Thanks for this recipe cant wait to play with its spiciness.

    • Hi, Tracy! Glad you liked the rice. When I want to spice it up, I add cayenne pepper or a chipotle pepper. If you like it really hot, try adding a minced habanero with the poblanos.

      I created this to go with spicier main dishes, which is why it’s on the milder side, but I love spicing it up when needed. Go for it! -jeanne

  12. Janice

    Thinking of making this to go along with tacos for a high school volleyball team feed. Did you use a 9×13 pan? How many servings?

    • Hi, Janice.
      I used an 11″x7″ pan for this rice, which made 6-8 servings. You could easily double or triple this recipe for your HS team. I’d recommend making the plain cooked rice in several batches so it cooks properly, then toss it all in a large mixing bowl to add the other ingredients. If you use disposable aluminum baking pans, I’d also recommend baking it 325F instead of 375F, for 1 1/2 times longer. That way you could bake a much larger quantity without fear of burning the bottom of the rice in the thinner aluminum pans.
      Hope that helps! -jeanne

  13. Jenny G

    Oh my goodness! 1st of all, I LOVE poblanos! Im literally speechless and cannot wait to cook!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Pate'

    Ok. I will try this tomorrow since I offered to bring a Rice side dish. As a mid-westerner, I have never made rice from “scratch” (Uncle Ben’s is a distant, and appreciated relative) so I have that to look forward to. Do you think I can I add roasted corn and still come out OK? Can’t wait to try this.

    • Yes! You can add roasted corn to this dish. Why not? Sounds great, actually, since roasted corn & poblano peppers pair well together. If you’re more comfortable with Uncle Ben’s, you could try it. The recipe uses cooked rice, so a batch or two of cooked Uncle Ben’s is worth a try. I say go for it, and let me know how it turns out. I’ll be interested to see what you thought of adding the roasted corn, so keep me posted! -jeanne

  15. Misty

    Hi there! I just found this recipe thru Pinterest magic. I have quite a few Poblano’s from my garden this year and was searching for ways to use them. How would you suggest switching canned for fresh in this recipe???? Thanks!

    • Hi, Misty!
      Thanks for dropping in! First, let me say that poblanos are my favorite of all the peppers, so I’m insanely jealous you have then growing in your garden. What a treat! I do use fresh poblanos in place of canned when I can get my hands on them. It’s easy to swap them out.

      If you have a gas stove, place fresh peppers directly on the grill over high heat and char the peppers, flipping them when they get blistered and black. Once they’re totally blackened, place them in a heavy Ziploc freezer bag, close it tightly, and let them sit and steam for 15 minutes or so. Using a paper towel, remove the charred skin, stem and seeds, and chop the roasted flesh into pieces. Then just stir them in like canned peppers.

      If you don’t have a gas stove, you can use your oven’s broiler by setting the peppers on a cookie sheet and broiling them on the highest rack setting until they are blistered and charred. You can also use an outdoor charcoal grill, if you’re into grilling, which would be great because roasted poblanos on a burger with pepper jack cheese is also a favorite of mine. #bonus

      Hope you enjoy the rice and your homegrown poblano peppers, Misty! -jeanne

  16. Christie

    This is our families favorite mexican side dish. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply to Kat Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s