Chiles Toreados will bring any Mexican meal to the next level! Those sauteed chili peppers have an amazing smoky taste and are perfect to use as topping for tacos, quesadillas, or pretty much your favorite dish.
Chiles toreados are a popular Mexican dish made with pan-seared or charred fresh green chilies, typically serrano or jalapeño peppers. They are a popular side offered at any taco stall and are loved because of their spicy and smoky flavor.
In Mexican taquerias, you’ll find those chiles to be just sautéed and served along tacos de adobada or any type of street taco. But in some restaurants, they’re also seasoned with salt, lime juice, and a splash of soy sauce, Maggi sauce, or Worcestershire sauce.
Traditionally, toreado peppers are first lightly pressed, then rubbed between hands or against a countertop. This causes the oil from the seeds to be released and distributed into the chili, making it even spicier!
- Chiles: Jalapeños, Serrano chiles, or chiles güeros are the most common types of chiles used to make Mexican sautéed chili peppers. If you can’t find Mexican peppers, feel free to use any type of fresh hot chili pepper available to you.
- Onion: Add some sweetness and balance the spiciness of those sautéed hot peppers. You can use any type of onion you prefer.
- Oil: Use your favorite type of cooking oil, I used olive oil.
- Seasonings: Besides salt, other seasonings can be used to make this recipe, such as lime juice, soy sauce, Maggi sauce, or Worcestershire sauce.
How To Make Chiles Toreados
Wash thoroughly your peppers under cold water and then pat dry them well with paper towels to remove any moisture in the chilies.
With the palm of your hand, gently press down against the countertop in a rolling movement.
Top Tip: This will help to release the oils and flavor from seeds. Skip this step if you don’t want your chiles toreados to be extra spicy.
Using the tip of a knife, make a small cut deep into each chili pepper.
Heat a cast-iron skillet or comal over medium-high heat until smoky. Add oil and immediately add chili peppers.
Stirring constantly, cook peppers for about 5 minutes until you’ll see some charred marks appears.
Add onions, and stir until they’re soft and caramelized and the peppers are cooked through.
You can now sprinkle with salt and serve or season as suggested in the next step.
Season and Serve
- In a medium bowl add soy sauce, olive oil, and Worcestershire sauce, and whisk to combine.
- Add sautéed chilies and onions, drizzle with lime juice, and toss everything.
- Allow resting for 5 minutes before serving the chili toreado with your favorite dish.
Tips & Tricks
- Don’t skip cutting chilies. Doing this will prevent them from bursting while cooking, which can lead to burns on your hands and arms.
- Leave the stems on. So you can easily pick the chiles toreados up with your fingers and eat them.
- Use a large pan. So the peppers can blister and get a nice crispy texture, if you overcrowd a small pan, they will steam instead. If you don’t have a large pan, you can cook the chiles in small batches.
- Add seasoning at the end: It’s best to season the chilies with salt at the end of the cooking process, as the salt can draw out the moisture and make the chilies mushy if added too early. Also, you can make the sauce seasoning in a separate bowl, this way everyone can drizzle and season chilies to their liking.
- Different types. You can use a mix of different types of chilies, like serrano peppers, sweet peppers, etc. Just remember that if they are also different in size, you’ll have to sauté some first as they will take different cooking times to be done.
How To Serve Toreados Peppers
Chiles toreados are served mostly as a side for tacos de bistec, quesadillas, and other Mexican street food, but they can also be served on top of arroz rojo or white rice, as a side dish for chicken adobo.
Pretty much they can be served with anything you’d like to add some spice! I love to use them as topping for pizza or stuffed into tortas like this torta de jamón.
How To Store And Reheat
Chiles toreados last up to 4-5 days in the refrigerator. To store them, allow the chiles to reach room temperature then transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and place them in the fridge.
This is a very easy recipe, so I always have some chili toreado in my fridge because they can turn a simple dish into something exceptional.
If you want to freeze them, place them in a zipped bag and store them for up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating them.
To reheat your chiles toreado, place them in a frying pan or skillet over medium heat. It will take a max of 2 minutes of stirring to have them warmed up again.
What does toreados mean?
Toreados is a Spanish term that can be translated as “bullfighting” or “bullfighter,” but in the context of Mexican cuisine, toreados refers to a cooking method that involves pan-searing or charring ingredients, particularly fresh chilies.
Are chiles toreados spicy?
Yes, chiles toreados are generally spicy, as they are made with fresh green chilies such as chiles serranos or jalapeño peppers, which are known for their heat. The level of spiciness can vary depending on the type and amount of chilies used, as well as whether or not the seeds and membranes are removed before cooking. If you prefer your dish to be less spicy, you can adjust the heat level by removing the seeds and membranes.
More Mexican Sides
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- 15 Jalapeño or Serrano peppers (read notes)
- 1 medium onion (sliced)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt (optional)
- 1 lime (juice)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Take a chile pepper and with the palm of your hand, gently press down agains the countertop in a rolling movement.
- Using the tip of a knife, make a small cut deep into each chile. Set aside.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or comal over medium heat until smoky. Add oil and immediately add chili peppers.
- Stirring constantly, cook chili peppers for about 5 minutes.
- Add onions, and keep stirring until they’re soft and caramelized and peppers are cooked through.
- Remove from the pan and sprinkle with salt before serving. Or…
- In a medium bowl add soy sauce, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce, whisk to combine.
- Add sautéed chilies and onions, drizzle with lime juice and toss everything. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Making a small cut in the chilies will prevent them from bursting while cooking.
- Leave the stems on to pick the chiles toreados up with your fingers and eat them.
- Use a large pan so the peppers can blister evenly.
- You can use a mix of different types of chilies, like serrano peppers, sweet peppers, etc. Just remember that if they are also different in size, you’ll have to sauté some first as they will take different cooking times to be done.
Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.