Chile Relleno Casserole

5 from 1 vote

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Chile relleno casserole is loaded with roasted peppers, melted cheese, and smoky Mexican seasonings. Topped with a spicy salsa Mexicana, there’s plenty of heat cooked into every layer of this light and fluffy casserole!

chili rellenos casserole on an orange ceramic plate with salsa on top


This baked chili rellenos casserole recipe is the easiest way to enjoy the popular Mexican meal! It takes just over an hour to prepare but makes enough to feed a village — or at least half a dozen of your hungriest friends.

Not only will you learn how to prepare an easy, fluffy chili relleno casserole, but you’ll also receive a step-by-step guide on making an irresistible salsa Mexicana. The two go together like chips and salsa — almost (though the salsa sure is perfect for dunking tortilla chips). 

my chili rellenos casserole recipe with salsa mexicana on top

It’s also a good lesson in the varying spice levels of popular peppers, including jalapeños, serranos, poblanos, and chile de árbol.

overhead: ingredients needed for chili rellenos casserole

If you’re not a spice person, you can play with different chiles to make this recipe a tolerable heat — or serve it with some guacamole, avocado crema, or sour cream to calm the fires a bit.

overhead: chopping charred poblanos on a wooden cutting board for chili rellenos casserole

Tip From Kevin

Whip those egg whites

Beating egg whites for a chili rellenos batter serves to incorporate air into the mixture, resulting in a lighter and fluffier texture. This aeration helps to create a delicate, crisp exterior when the chili rellenos are fried. In this instance of a casserole, the beaten egg whites also contribute to the structural integrity of the batter, and enhances the texture and mouthfeel of the dish.

In a way it reminds me of a breakfast omelette in texture.

overhead process shot: baked chili rellenos casserole recipe

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Poblanos – Tone down the spice by removing the seeds and carefully cutting the pith and membrane from the pepper — all of these contain capsaicin, the source of the heat. 
  • Eggs – Bring to room temperature to make them easier to mix into the batter. 
  • Flour & Baking Powder – All-purpose flour is best for this chili rellenos casserole recipe — nothing fancy! The baking powder will help the batter rise. 
  • Cumin – This adds a smoky, savory heat to the batter. You can substitute with chili powder or even taco seasoning
  • Milk – Substitute with heavy cream for a richer, denser casserole. 
  • Oaxaca – Dreamily melty, creamy, and rich. The closest substitute is Monterey Jack — but it’s still not the same! 
  • Salsa Mexicana – Quickly blend some Roma tomatoes, white onion, and garlic, and add a few delicious extras:
    • Mexican Oregano It’s different from regular oregano!
    • Jalapeños –  Or use spicier serraños.
    • Chile de Arbol A small, spicy pepper that tastes similar to cayenne pepper, also a good substitute.
overhead: a large slice of chili rellenos casserole with salsa mexicana on top on an orange ceramic plate

How to Make Chile Relleno Casserole

  1. Roast & Peel Peppers. Char the poblanos on a grill or stove, then let them sit in a brown paper bag until cool enough to handle. Remove from the bag and scrape off the charred skin with a knife. Remove the stems, then slice open to remove the seeds and membranes. Set aside. 
  2. Mix the Batter. Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Add whites to a large bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg yolks back into the whites along with the flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, cumin, and milk. Mix until combined.
  3. Layer the Casserole & Bake. Spread 1⁄2 of the batter into a greased 9×13” baking pan. Lay 4 of the poblanos on top and sprinkle with half of the shredded Oaxaca. Add the remaining 4 poblanos and cover with the rest of the batter. Top with the remaining cheese and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown. 
  4. Rest & Serve. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving with salsa Mexicana and pico de gallo as desired.
closeup: chili rellenos casserole on a ceramic plate with salsa on top and layers showing

How to Make Salsa Mexicana

  1. Boil. While the chili rellenos casserole bakes, make the salsa. Core the tomatoes and add to a saucepan with the onion, jalapeños, chile de árbol, and garlic. Add enough water to cover the vegetables and boil for 3 minutes. 
  2. Blend. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a blender and add the salt, pepper, oregano, and ½ cup of water from the saucepan. Blend until smooth.
  3. Simmer. Wipe down the saucepan, add some oil, and return the puréed salsa to the pan. Cook on medium-high for 5 minutes, salt to taste, and remove from the heat.
  • Electric Mixer – Much faster and easier to whip egg whites with an electric hand or stand mixer. 
  • Blender – Use a high-powered blender or food processor to blend the salsa Mexicana.

Storing and Reheating 

Transfer leftover casserole to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Eat within 4 days. 

Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes until warmed through.

extreme closeup: my chili rellenos casserole with layers showing

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make chili relleno casserole with canned chiles?


Yes. You can purchase whole, canned poblanos for this chili rellenos casserole recipe. Be careful not to purchase peppers that have been stored in brine — they will be way too salty and sour.

Do chili rellenos taste “eggy”?


While the batter does contain 6 whole eggs, it doesn’t taste like you’re eating an omelet or quiche. Instead, it comes out very light and the cumin in the batter combats some of that “eggy” sweetness. 

To prevent overly eggy chili rellenos, avoid overmixing the batter. This will yield a denser result that has a much stronger flavor.

How can I prepare chile rellenos casserole ahead of time?


There are two methods I’d recommend. You can prepare all of the individual components up to 48 hours in advance, store in the refrigerator, and assemble just before baking.

Or, prepare the casserole entirely and refrigerate before baking — but only up to 24 hours ahead of time because the liquid from the peppers starts to affect the batter.

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Chile Relleno Casserole

5 from 1 vote
Chile relleno casserole turns your favorite stuffed peppers inside out! Enjoy roasted poblano and Oaxaca cheese in this easy, fluffy bake.
Servings: 6
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients 

Salsa Mexicana

Serve

Instructions 

  • On a hot grill, under a broiler, or over an open flame on the stove top, char the outside of the peppers completely. Transfer to a brown paper bag or zip top plastic bag. Close bag to seal and let peppers rest for 10 minutes.
  • When peppers are cool enough to handle, use a small paring knife to gently scrape off and discard the outer skins. Remove and discard the stems. Make a small incision down one side of chiles and carefully remove any membrane threads and seeds. Set each aside on parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking sheet.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9×13" baking pan or casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside. Shred the cheese, cover and set aside.
  • Separate the yolks into a small bowl and the whites into a larger bowl. Beat the whites until stiff peaks form. Add the yolks to the whites along with the flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, cumin and cream. Beat on low until incorporated.
  • Pour 1/2 of the batter into bottom of prepared pan and spread evenly. Layer 4 of the poblanos on top open face and add half of the shredded cheese on top. Add remaining 4 poblanos on top open face to cover and then remaining batter, spreading evenly on top. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake for 40-45 minutes until puffed and golden brown on top.
  • Meanwhile make salsa. Cut core from each tomato. Place tomatoes, jalapeños, chile de árbol, onion and garlic in saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cook 3 minutes. Remove cooked vegetables and chiles to a blender and add the salt, pepper, oregano and 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Puree until smooth. Season to taste.
  • Next add oil to dry saucepan and over medium-high heat cook the pureed salsa for 5 minutes. Season with salt.
  • When ready, remove casserole from oven and let rest 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with salsa Mexicana and optional pico de gallo.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 1743mg | Potassium: 528mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1322IU | Vitamin C: 142mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: Mexican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): chile rellenos casserole

Kevin

Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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