This chile relleno recipe is the ultimate Mexican stuffed pepper, with roasted poblano peppers stuffed with melty cheese, battered and lightly fried.
Homemade Chiles Rellenos
It's time for more stuffed peppers in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends. Are you ready? How much do you love stuffed peppers? I've been a stuffed pepper fanatic for years.
Chili peppers are ideal for stuffing, as they are typically hollow vessels just begging for some kind of stuffing.
Plus, many of them have thick skins that not only add tons of flavor, but also stand up to cooking, whether you are frying, roasting or baking.
There are so many wonderful combinations.
This particular stuffed pepper recipe is a traditional Mexican dish, probably the first, the original, certainly the most iconic stuffed pepper recipe of all. We're talking the awesome Chile Relleno, and I already know you will love them.
You may have enjoyed a simple chile relleno at your favorite Mexican restaurant, or perhaps while visiting the New Mexican or southwest region of the United States.
To try them is to love them, but why wait for the restaurant. Now we can make them at home!
What is Chile Relleno?
Chile Relleno is a popular stuffed pepper recipe in Mexico and the United States where the peppers are normally roasted and peeled, stuffed, battered and fried. The name "chile relleno" translates to "stuffed pepper".
In Mexico, poblano peppers are more commonly used, though they are also made with jalapeno peppers and others. In the U.S., a variety of peppers are used, such as the variety of Hatch peppers, Anaheim peppers or others.
Stuffings vary, though the most popular are cheeses, meats, or a combination.
They are quite easy to make, and customize to make them your own favorite way.
Let's talk about how to make chiles rellenos, shall we?
Chile Relleno Ingredients
- Chiles. Use 4 poblano peppers (or use New Mexican peppers, Hatch peppers, Anaheim peppers or others). Today I used some medium-sized Hatch peppers.
- Cheese. 6 ounces shredded cheese (use a melting cheese, like Mexican Chihuahua, white cheddar, Monterrey jack). Use 1.5 ounces or so of cheese per pepper, depending on the size. You can use other stuffing ingredients. See the recipe notes below.
- Eggs. 2 large eggs, separated, for the batter.
- Flour. 1/2 cup flour or more as needed to coat the stuffed peppers before you batter them.
- Salt. Pinch of salt or more to your personal taste.
- Oil. Oil for frying. Use vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil or another neutral oil.
How to Make Chiles Rellenos - the Recipe Method
Roast the Chili Peppers. Roast the peppers over an open flame, or use your oven broiler, until skins are blackened on each side. Over flame, it should only take about 5 minutes. In the broiler, it could take 10 or more minutes.
Remove peppers and transfer to a plastic bag, and seal them up. Allow to cool. Once cooled, peel off the blackened skins. See my post on how to roast chili peppers. There are few different methods for roasting them. Use whatever is easiest for you.
Get your oil going at this point. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large pot at medium high heat to 375 degrees F. Do not let the oil boil.
If you do not have a thermometer, test the oil with a tiny drop of flour. It will immediately sizzle up. Then you know the oil is ready for frying.
Stuff the Peppers. Cut a slit into each poblano chile lengthwise with one long cut, then remove the seeds and innards with a knife or spoon. You can leave them in if you want to, as there usually isn't very much inside.
Stuff each pepper with 1.5 ounces of cheese, but do not overstuff them. Make sure you can still close the pepper. Use toothpicks if you'd like to hold them closed.
Batter the Peppers. Separate the egg yolks from the whites and add the egg whites to a large bowl. Beat the egg whites until they fluff up and form stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.
An electric egg beater is ideal, or just beat them vigorously with a fork. Gently stir in the egg yolks to form your egg batter.
Add flour to a separate bowl with a bit of salt. Dip the stuffed chile peppers into the flour to coat them, then dip them into the egg batter to coat them completely. The flour helps the batter to better stick to the peppers.
You can see it isn't an overly thick coating of batter, which is what you're looking for. This will result in a thinner, crispier coating that isn't over-saturated with oil.
Fry the Chiles Rellenos. Set the battered, stuffed peppers into the hot oil and fry them for 2-3 minutes per side, or fry until golden brown. I like to turn them once I see a golden color around the edges.
Carefully remove the peppers from the oil and set them onto a paper towel lined plate to drain any excess oil. Deep frying them makes the peppers nice and crispy.
Don't they look wonderful! Nice and crispy! Not too much coating. Just how I like them.
Serve them up with your favorite salsa or sauce!
Boom! Done! Easy enough to make, aren't they? I love a good authentic chile relleno recipe. So delicious. Plus, you have options! You can use different peppers and also vary up your choices of stuffing. See below.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Best Peppers for Chiles Rellenos. Poblano peppers are very common for making chili rellenos, though many Hatch chiles are incredibly popular, like the Big Jim. Anaheim peppers are great for this recipe
- Stuffing Options. The classic chile relleno calls for melty cheese, though you can stuff your peppers with other ingredients, such as chopped or ground meats, shredded chicken or pork, onion, garlic, or a combination of meats and cheeses. Try them stuffed with this picadillo recipe.
- Sauce Options. I enjoy serving mine with a delicious salsa roja or enchilada sauce. A big question from New Mexico is "Red or Green?" Do you want red sauce or green sauce? Try it with this salsa verde recipe. Delicious!
- Chile Relleno Burrito. One more contemporary popular way to serve up chiles rellenos is to wrap one in a flour tortilla with salsa or sauce, tomatoes, avocado, extra cheeses, refried beans and more. We're talking chile relleno burrito! How wonderful!
- Try the Casserole Version. Chiles Rellenos are so popular that cooks have transformed this dish into a casserole. This Chiles Rellenos Casserole uses all of your favorite ingredients and reimagines it in casserole form. Super delicious! And great for serving a crowd. Families will love this one.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this classic chile relleno recipe. How did you change it up? What cheese did you use? Which peppers? What stuffing choice? I'd love to hear it!
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Chile Relleno Recipe
- 4 poblano peppers (or use New Mexican peppers, Hatch peppers, Anaheims or others)
- 2 eggs separated
- ½ cup flour separated
- 6 ounces melty cheese or equivalent of shredded cheese
- Pinch of salt
- Oil for frying
- Roast the peppers over an open flame, or use your oven broiler, until skins are blackened on each side. Over flame, it should only take about 5 minutes. In the broiler, it could take 10 or more minutes.
- Remove the peppers and transfer to a paper or plastic bag and seal them up. Allow to steam and cool. This will loosen up the skins.
- Once cooled, peel off the blackened skins.
- Slice open each pepper lengthwise with one long slit, then remove the innards with a knife or spoon.
- Stuff each pepper with cheese, but do not overstuff. Make sure you can still close the pepper.
- Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a wide pot to 375 degrees F. Do not let the oil boil. If you do not have a thermometer, test the oil with a tiny drop of flour. It will immediately sizzle up.
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites and add the egg whites to a large bowl. Beat the egg whites until they fluff up and form stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. An electric egg beater is ideal. Gently stir in egg yolks.
- Add flour to a separate bowl with a bit of salt. Dip the stuffed peppers into the flour to coat them, then dip them into the egg batter to coat them completely.
- Fry each pepper about 2-3 minutes each side, or until they are a golden brown.
- Remove the peppers and set them onto a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil.
- Serve with your favorite salsa or sauce!
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 9/19/22 to include new information and photos. It was originally published on 5/19/14.