Chiles Toreados: Authentic Blistered Mexican Peppers Dish

chiles toreados
Chiles toreados is a popular Mexican side dish, favored for its bold, spicy, and umami flavor profile. The dish features pan-fried, blistered jalapeno and serrano peppers with sauteed onions, lime juice and soy sauce.

What Are Chiles Toreados?

Chiles toreados, also known as Mexican blistered peppers, is a side dish with blistered serrano and jalapeno peppers served in a simple but rich sauce of lime juice and soy sauce.

Popular in taquerias across Mexico, this dish has also grown to be a staple appetizer at many restaurants throughout North America.

There are many variations of the dish, but chile toreados is all about sauteed peppers at its core. Serranos and jalapenos are sauteed in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until they have beautiful charred skin outside but have softened considerably on the inside.

After being perfectly cooked, the peppers are added to a simple sauce, resulting in a juicy, spicy, bold flavor—the perfect mouth-watering combination!

Chiles toreados blistering in a pan.
Chiles toreados blistering in a pan.

What makes chiles toreados so unique is their versatility. Add them to tacos, pork pozole, carne asada, tamales, and other delicious Mexican dishes! Chiles toreados brings one of the cuisine’s most vital flavor profiles: heat.

Blistering peppers by sauteing them in oil brings out some of the more vibrant and smoky characteristics of the serranos and jalapenos while also giving them a wonderful oily texture that pairs well with the pop of citrus from the lime juice.

What Are The Peppers In Chiles Toreados?

Traditionally, chiles toreados are made with Mexican chili peppers. Jalapenos, seranos, poblanos, and chiles güeros have become the most popular peppers used in this dish. 

Greeb chili peppers for chiles toreados.
Greeb chili peppers for chiles toreados.

The reason for this is that these particular cultivars of Capsicum annuum yield fruit that are large and juicy enough to saute in oil. While you could theoretically make this dish with smaller peppers such as chiltepins or the siling labuyo from the Philipines, the dish would then lack the soft and tender texture offered by the meatier flesh of the jalapeno and serrano.

How Hot Are Chiles Toreados?

Chiles toreados are spicy thanks to the serranos and jalapenos commonly used in the dish. Jalapenos average between 2,500-8,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, and serranos are even hotter at 10,000-25,000 SHU.

You can reduce the heat levels if you substitute chiles güeros for the serranos, as chiles güeros are similar in spiciness to jalapenos.

A common trick used in the preparation of chiles toreados is known to make the dish even hotter! If you first lightly press on or rub your peppers before sauteing them, then the natural oils of the pepper will be expressed from the seeds within. This evenly distributes capsaicin throughout the pepper, ensuring every bite brings the heat.

What To Serve With Chiles Toreados

As mentioned, you can enjoy all great Mexican food with chiles toreados. While the dish is most traditionally seen alongside popular street foods such as tacos, tostadas, and quesadillas, you will also find it served in some of Mexico’s high-end, modern dining restaurants.

It doesn’t get much better than having some chiles toreados with tacos. Adding these hot peppers to the classic side of black beans and rice will give the basic dish a burst of flavor and texture.

What Are The Spices In Chile Toreados?

Mexican cuisine is famous for its wide variety of spices, but chiles toreados are usually prepared very simply. Occasionally, you might see someone add a little salt or cilantro over chiles toreados, but the dish is traditionally presented simply as fried peppers in a sauce.

The sauce itself is very straightforward. It’s usually about one part soy sauce to two parts lime juice; that’s it!

Traditionally, chiles toreados were prepared just by adding a small amount of lime juice to the peppers after they were fully sauteed. Soy sauce adds umami and salty characteristics that perfectly balance the heat from the peppers and the acidity from the lime juice. Worcestershire sauce is a suitable substitute for soy sauce if preferred.

Is Serrano Toreados The Same As Chiles Toreados?

You may find chiles toreados pre-prepared in cans at your local grocery store, but with different names such as serrano toreados or jalapenos toreados. Serrano toreados specifies that serranos will be the primary chili pepper used in that particular dish preparation. 

Serranos are likely the spiciest option for this dish, so you should try jalapenos chiles toreados if you’re looking for something milder.

How To Make Chiles Toreados

Chiles toreados is a straightforward recipe at home, and between prepping and cooking, it will only take about 10 minutes in total!

The following chiles toreados recipe will contain a balance of both serranos and jalapenos, but you’re welcome to add more or less of the serranos depending on how spicy you want your dish.

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chiles toreados

Serrano & Jalapeno Chiles Toreados

  • Total Time: 10 minutes


Mexican blistered peppers in a tangy umami sauce. Perfect as an appetizer or side dish!


  • 1 tbsp light cooking oil
  • 4 serrano peppers
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


  1. Start heating a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Gently press your peppers against a cutting board or kitchen surface. Be sure not to crush the pepper, the goal here is to express the oils within.
  3. If you're adding onion, finely slice and set next to peppers.
  4. Add cooking oil to the skillet and slowly add in your peppers.
  5. Let every side of the peppers fully char, occasionally turning them to ensure they cook evenly. This will take 5-8 minutes. If you're also cooking onions in your chiles toreados, add them in shortly after the first side of the peppers starts to char, about 2-3 minutes in.
  6. Once your peppers have fully blistered and have even marks of caramelization along all sides, remove the skillet from the heat.
  7. Add your lime juice and soy sauce. Stir or toss the peppers to make sure that they are evenly coated.
  8. Transfer peppers and sauce to a serving bowl or plate. Serve immediately, or let them cool down to room temperature.
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Leland has spent most of his life in both the garden and the kitchen. A veggie garden is a place of harmony between his love of cooking and working with plants. Naturally, he loves peppers and plants about a dozen new and interesting varieties every year. His current pepper project is preparing to overwinter a jalapeño plant which he hopes will continue to flourish until the next flowering season. Leland is always excited to learn about new spicy and flavorful chilis, and he is constantly looking for new recipes to put his new peppers to the test!

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