Chili Relleno is a classic Mexican dish that you can enjoy any time of year. Roasted chiles are filled with melty cheese and then lightly fried, creating mouthwatering results every time. Read on and watch the video for my twist on the cheese filling!
I love stuffed peppers, and so I decided to finally share my Chili Relleno, a traditional Mexican recipe that you may have already heard of! This has it all – a homemade sauce, a Oaxacan cheese filling, tender roasted poblanos and a light, crispy batter!
“Chile Rellenos” translates simply to “stuffed peppers” in English. It’s a simple name for a relatively simple recipe! I say relatively because there are quite a few different ingredients involved, as well as detailed instructions to follow. But, once you have everything you need and a little bit of time on your hands, any ambitious cook can pull these off.
I’ve been making and testing more and more Mexican recipes recently, and this Chili Relleno has quickly become one of my favorites. I think it’s because of my twist on the cheese filling. Instead of just stuffing the poblano with a stick of cheese, I saute vegetables and mix in shredded Oaxaca cheese. This mixture is what sets my chili relleno apart.
But, today, we’re here to talk peppers! Let’s get started.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Poblano – Don’t forget to roast your poblanos before you stuff them – it makes all the difference! Poblanos are rich and earthy, and much more mild than other Mexican peppers.
- Oaxaca Cheese – A classic Mexican cheese for a classic Mexican dish. If you can’t find any locally, you can substitute with Monterey Jack.
- Roma Tomatoes – Dice your tomatoes for the filling, as well as for the roasted red salsa in your Chile Relleno.
- Flour – For your batter and for frying. The added gluten ensures a crunchy and crispy result.
- Oil – You’ll need a neutral oil for frying and for the cheese filling. There are several different options out there. I like to use canola, but vegetable or avocado oils work as well.
- Onion & Garlic – To add even more flavor to the filling and salsa.
- Eggs – These are essential for getting a crisp, golden brown exterior.
- Jalapeno Peppers – To add some heat to the salsa. Be sure to wear gloves when handling to avoid skin irritation.
- Lime – Also to be used in the salsa! The tart flavor balances out the other, spicy ingredients.
- Seasoning & Garnish – You’ll need crushed Mexican oregano and salt. You can also use Cotija cheese and fresh cilantro as a garnish for this Chile Relleno recipe.
HOW TO MAKE CHILI RELLENO
1. Start with the Salsa. Slice the tomatoes and jalapenos, then cut your onion. Place the tomatoes and jalapenos on a baking sheet with onion and garlic and broil until charred. Blend everything until smooth, then pour into a saucepan to simmer. Season and set aside.
2. Roast the Poblanos. Broil your peppers until the skins blacken and blister. Remove from the oven and peel the charred skin from the roasted poblanos. Cut a small slit down the middle so that you can fill them!
3. Make the Filling. We’re no just stuffing a stick of cheese inside – no, no! Heat your oil and add onion, tomato, and Mexican oregano in a small saute pan. Cook until the onion becomes clear and then stir in the shredded Oaxacan cheese until it melts and set aside.
4. Stuff the Peppers. Add the cooled, melted cheese and gently press the sides together. Place some flour in a dish and gently coat each stuffed poblano. Meanwhile, heat your oil in a large saucepan.
5. Mix the Batter. Separate the whites of your eggs and put the yolks aside. Beat the egg whites, then add the mixed yolks. Sprinkle in a bit of flour and salt.
6. Fry & Serve. Dip each pepper in the batter and fry two at a time until golden brown. Serve with your salsa, crumbled Cotija cheese, and fresh cilantro, if desired. Enjoy your Chili Relleno!
What is the Difference Between a Chile Relleno and Chile Poblano?
Chile Relleno is a recipe for a traditional Mexican dish that involves stuffing poblano peppers with cheese and then frying them in a light and fluffy batter.
Chile poblano isn’t a recipe, but rather a pepper native to the Mexican state of Pueblo! Today, they are grown all over the country. Poblanos aren’t very spicy and are considered mild peppers.
Do You Take the Seeds Out of Chile Rellenos?
It’s important to remember that Chili Relleno is a recipe, not a pepper. To prepare this dish, you use poblano peppers. You can decide whether or not to remove the seeds – it really comes down to your personal preference! Remember that most of the heat in peppers is found in their seeds. While poblanos are mild, there is a bit of spice there.
How to Serve this Chili Rellenos recipe
Spoon some roasted red salsa on each plate, top with a chile relleno, more sauce, crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese and freshly chopped cilantro.
How Long Do Chile Rellenos Last in the Fridge?
If you have leftover Chile Rellenos, you can store them in the refrigerator. Place in an airtight container, separate from the salsa. They should keep for up to 3 days.
When you’re ready to eat them, place a wire rack over a baking sheet. Bake at 375° F for about 10-minutes, or until warmed through and the cheese is melted.
Large peppers are best
Try to find large poblano peppers that are unblemished, too bent or curved so you can stuff these easily.
Experiment with Different Cheeses
My first pick in a cheese filling for this chili rellenos recipe would be Oaxaca cheese or Monterey Jack, but feel free to try your favorite white or cheddar cheese. Read more about Mexican cheeses here.
Try Different Fillings
While the traditional relleno is stuffed with cheese, I love to try different fillings. My tomato and onion sautéed with the melted cheese is a great version, but feel free to use other sautéed vegetables or ground meats, too.
Chili Relleno Recipe
- 6 large poblano peppers
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
- 10 oz Oaxaca cheese shredded (or Monterey Jack cheese)
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 plum roma tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup white onion diced
- 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano crushed
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Roasted Red Salsa
- 2 lbs Roma tomatoes about 8 large
- 2 jalapeno peppers stems removed
- 1 large white onion
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 lime
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- queso fresco
- cotija cheese
Roasted Red Salsa
- Slice tomatoes and jalapenos lengthwise. Remove skin from onion, and cut into quarters.
- Place tomatoes and jalapenos skin side up on a baking sheet with onion and garlic. Place baking tray under broiler and cook for 6-8 minutes until charred. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Transfer to a blender or food processor, puree until smooth. Pour into a saucepan, bring to a boil and then simmer 5 minutes. Season with juice from one lime and salt to taste. Set aside, covered.
- Place poblanos on a baking sheet under an oven broiler until the skins blacken and blister, about 5 minutes per side.
- Remove pan from oven and cover with a kitchen towel to steam making the skin easier to remove. Peel the charred skin from the roasted poblano peppers.
- Cut a small slit down the middle of the peppers on one side, careful not to remove the stem. Feel free to remove some of the seeds if preferred (but they are not that hot). Set aside.
- In a small saute pan heat the oil and add the onion, tomato and season with salt and Mexican oregano. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Stir in the shredded cheese until melted and set aide.
Prep the chiles
- Carefully divide and stuff the peppers with the melted cheese mixture. Gently press the cut sides together. I do not seal with toothpicks.
- Place 1/2 cup or more flour on a tray or large shallow dish. Gently coat each stuffed chile on all sides with flour and gently shake off excess. Repeat with all and set aside on tray.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Line a baking tray with paper towels and set aside.
- Be sure eggs are room temperature for maximum volume when beating. Separate the whites into a large mixing bowl and place the yolks into a small bowl, mix with fork. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Next, beat the egg whites on low, adding in the egg yolks a little at a time until all of them are fully mixed in. The batter should be light, fluffy and pale yellow. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup flour and salt on top and using a spatula, gently fold in until batter is smooth and flour incorporated.
- Dip each floured chile in the egg batter and gently place them in the hot frying oil, two at a time. Fry the peppers for 3-5 minutes per side, until the batter is golden brown and crispy.
- Transfer the peppers to the lined baking sheet to drain excess oil.
- Spoon some roasted red salsa on each plate, top with a chile relleno, more sauce, crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese and freshly chopped cilantro.
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.