This Authentic Chile Relleno Recipe takes you step-by-step on how to make this traditional Mexican dish of poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, dipped in egg batter and lightly fried. Serve with frijoles de olla, a crisp salad, and salsa ranchera—Ugh, so good! Check out the video.
Recipe first posted May 24, 2021. Last updated with clearer instructions on November 29, 2023.
There’s been a drastic chile relleno shortage in our lives and I’m on a mission to change it. These indulgent, charred poblano peppers filled with melting cheese are on the top of my list of favorite Mexican food, but I never make them.
It probably has something to do with the fact that Armando can’t eat them (too much dairy) and it doesn’t seem fair that he has to watch us devour one of his childhood favorites. It was actually his idea to make them however, especially when the kids fessed up that they’ve never tried chile rellenos….like ever. What kind of Mexican kids grow up never having chile rellenos?!
Mine apparently, until now.
what is a chile relleno?
A Chile Relleno (or stuffed chile or pepper) is a plant-based dish that is loved on both sides of the border.
In Mexico you’ll find fresh and dried peppers filled with all sorts of things from picadillo to shredded chicken to black beans. In the United States they are most commonly filled with cheese, dipped in a light, fluffy egg batter and fried although these are also popular in Mexico too.
If you are looking for something a bit healthier, check out Ale’s Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Quinoa Salad.
what kind of peppers to use for chile rellenos?
The most common type of chile pepper used to make chile rellenos is a roasted poblano pepper, but you can stuff and fry any pepper you’d like. The nice thing about a poblano chiles is it is usually relatively mild, but depending on its growing conditions can sometimes be spicy so be careful.
If you are sensitive to heat use Anaheim peppers instead, they are very mild. Both of these peppers are large and are the perfect one-pepper-per-person size.
In New Mexico they use hatch chiles, which make awesome chile rellenos. They also can be on the spicy side, so keep that in mind if you don’t like spice. If you really love the spice, use jalapeño peppers instead and serve two to three peppers per person.
how to make the perfect chile relleno
Making chiles rellenos is a bit involved. This is probably a weekend situation more than a weeknight meal. They are worth every minute though so definitely give this recipe a try!
step one: char the peppers
The easiest way to do this is over the open flame on your gas stove. If you don’t have a gas range, you can also char them on a grill or under the broiler. The reason I don’t char the peppers under the broiler with the other vegetables for the Salsa Roja is because I think they get a bit overcooked. If the broiler is your only method however, you can char all the vegetables at the same time.
Place the charred peppers in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or place in a plastic bag. Let steam until they are cool enough to handle. Gently peel the blackened skin off of the peppers, being careful not to rip or tear them. You can use your hands or paper towels for this.
step two: make the salsa ranchera
Now let’s make the Salsa Ranchera or the red sauce that is served with the Chile Rellenos.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and serrano peppers on the baking sheet. Leave the skin on the garlic cloves, this will prevent them from burning.
Broil vegetables for 15 minutes or until charred on all sides. The vegetables will all char at different times, so keep an eye on them turning each one and removing it from the baking sheet as they are done cooking.
Once they are blackened on all sides, remove the garlic peel and the stem from the serranos and blend everything all together in the blender along with a cup of water, some salt, and fresh or dried Mexican oregano.
step three: stuff the peppers
Cut a slit down the side of the peppers and carefully remove the seeds with your fingers. Get out as many as you can and remove the rest by running under cold water.
To shred the Queso Oaxaca, peel off strips of the cheese like you would if you were eating a string cheese stick. The thinner you can get them, the better.
Fill each pepper with about 3/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded Oaxaca cheese depending on the size of the peppers. And 1-2 epazote leaves if you’d like. Other cheeses you could use would be: Monterey jack cheese or mozzarella.
Close the peppers and keep them closed by threading a toothpick through the two sides.
step four: make the egg batter
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they have stiff peaks, then slowly add the egg yolks, one at a time, and a generous pinch of salt until the yolks are incorporated.
Transfer this egg mixture to a shallow pie plate or baking dish. Pour 1/2 cup of flour into another baking dish and season generously with salt.
step five: dip and fry
This is where things get a bit tricky. You are going to batter and fry the chiles two at a time because you want to put the chiles in the hot oil immediately after coating them in the egg batter.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. I like to use a neutral oil for this like avocado oil or grapeseed oil but you could use a light olive oil too.
While the oil is heating, dust the peppers one at a time in the flour, coating them on all sides. Then dip each pepper in the egg batter using a small rubber spatula to help the batter stick to the sides of the peppers.
Once the oil is hot, add the peppers two at a time and fry until lightly golden brown on one side. Keep turning and frying until they are cooked on all sides and warm all the way through, about 5-8 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
what to serve with them
I like to serve the chiles right away while they are still hot with the Salsa Ranchera and Frijoles de la Olla aka a Perfect Pot of Beans or my vegan refried beans. A crisp green salad is also great. Choose one that has a lemony dressing to cut through the fat of the dish. My Classic Caesar would be perfect!
If you want to fry them in advance, they keep wonderfully in a low (200°F) oven up to an hour or until you are ready to serve.
Top 5 Most Popular Authentic Mexican Recipes
- Slow Cooker Borracho Beans
- Pork Pozole Rojo
- Homemade Flour Tortillas
- Red Mole Pork Tamales
- Grilled Fish Tacos
my most delicious chile relleno yet!
I want you to give this classic chile relleno a try because I know how ridiculously happy they will make you! Let me know when you make them by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
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