Chile Relleno Recipe

5 from 14 votes

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Try this chile relleno recipe for a deliciously bold Mexican-inspired dish suitable for any occasion. This version is traditional, except I’ve added sauteed vegetables to the cheese filling for an extra punch of flavor you’re sure to love. 

chili relleno ready to serve on a plate.


Spice up your dinner table and impress your friends with this classic recipe for chili relleno. Today’s recipe has everything you need to master these cheesy pan-fried Mexican stuffed peppers. 

Start by oven roasting, peeling, and stuffing poblano peppers with an irresistible cheese and veggie filling. Then, hand batter and fry each one to crispy golden brown perfection. And no chili relleno recipe is complete without a roasted red salsa made completely from scratch. It is the crowning jewel in this culinary masterpiece!  

Try not to be intimidated by all the steps to make chili relleno. It’s really not that complicated once you get the hang of it, and you’ll quickly feel like a kitchen master. 

Looking to try your hand at some other Mexican cuisine? Recreate popular restaurant dishes such as chilaquiles, red enchiladas, and authentic carnitas right at home! 

chili relleno ready to serve on a plate.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Poblano – Once roasted, these peppers are smoky, spicy, and a bit sweet.  
  • Flour – Adds crisp and crunch to the batter. All-purpose flour is perfect. 
  • Oil – Choose a neutral vegetable oil with a decent smoke point such as canola or avocado. 
  • Oaxaca Cheese – A mild earthy cheese sometimes called the “mozzarella of Mexico.” Monterey Jack works just as well. . 
  • Tomatoes Choose Roma tomatoes for the cheese filling and the salsa. 
  • Onions and Garlic – Adds zest and zing to the filling and salsa. 
  • Eggs Help create a perfectly light and crispy batter. 
  • Jalapeños Add a sharp kick of spicy heat. 
  • Lime – Bright and tart, this helps balance out the spiciness of other ingredients. 
  • Seasoning & Garnishes For seasoning, you need salt and Mexican oregano. Garnishes include fresh cilantro, Cojita cheese, or queso fresco. 

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photo collage of roasting poblano peppers.
photo collage of preparing batter for chili relleno

How to Make Chile Rellenos

  1. Start Roasted Red Salsa. Slice the tomatoes and jalapeños lengthwise and place them skin side up on a baking sheet with the quartered onion and garlic. Broil for about 6-8 minutes, until the veggies are charred, then remove the pan from the oven and allow time to cool.
  2. Blend & Simmer. Transfer the vegetables to a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the juice of one lime and salt. Cover and set aside.
  3. Roast & Peel Peppers. Broil poblanos on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes each side. You want the skin to blister and blacken. Remove from the oven and cover with a kitchen towel — this steams them quickly, making it easier to peel off the charred skin.
  4. Slice Peppers. Leaving the stem intact, slice a small slit in one side of each poblano and set aside.
  5. Make Filling. Heat oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add in the onion, tomato, salt, and Mexican oregano. Cook until the onions turn translucent, then stir in the shredded cheese until it melts. Set aside.
  6. Prep Chilis. Gently divide and fill the peppers with the cheese mixture. Lightly press to seal the sides together. Cover a tray with flour and coat each chili. Shake off the excess and place them all on a tray. Set aside. 
  7. Heat Oil. Put the oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat and line a baking tray with paper towels.
  8. Beat Eggs. Separate the egg whites into a large mixing bowl and the yolk into a small one. Beat yolks with a fork and whites with an electric mixer until stiff white peaks form. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add in yolks until you have a pale yellow, light and fluffy mixture.
  9. Fold In Flour. Use a spatula to gently fold flour and salt into the egg mixture until smooth and incorporated.
  10. Batter & Fry. Working in batches of two, coat each chili with the egg batter. Gently place in the hot frying oil for about 3-5 minutes per side, or until Batter is crispy and golden brown. Transfer to the lined baking sheet when done.
  11. Serve & Enjoy. Serve each chile relleno on a plate with plenty of roasted red salsa, freshly chopped cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese.
close up of ready to eat chili relleno

Tips From Kevin

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.

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.

inside of chili relleno with filling oozing out

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Can You Make Chile Relleno Without Removing Skin?

I don’t recommend it. The skin of poblano peppers is papery, tough, and hard to digest. Do yourself a favor and make sure to peel those chilis!

What Goes With Chili Rellenos?

Enjoy chili rellenos with your favorite Mexican side dishes like Arroz Rojo, Arroz Verde, or these Authentic Refried Beans
It’s also nice to serve them with something a bit lighter like this Mexican Caesar Salad or your favorite grilled veggies. 

Can You Prep Chili Rellenos Ahead of Time?

You can make the salsa, roast the chilis, and stuff them with cheese up to a day ahead of time. However, hold off on the batter until you are ready to fry, serve, and enjoy them. 

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crispy chili relleno in red sauce on plate

Chile Relleno Recipe

5 from 14 votes
This authentic chile relleno recipe features roasted poblano peppers that are hand battered, stuffed with cheese, and fried to perfection.
Servings: 6
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Ingredients 

Filling

Batter

Roasted Red Salsa

Garnish (optional)

Instructions 

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.

Poblanos

  • 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.

Filling

  • 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.

Prepare oil

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Line a baking tray with paper towels and set aside.

Batter

  • 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.

Fry

  • 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.

Serve

  • 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.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 337kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 635mg | Potassium: 718mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1926IU | Vitamin C: 130mg | Calcium: 90mg | 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: main dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
plate with a fried chili relleno

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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30 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’d like to make this recipe gluten-free. What flour do you recommend using in place of the standard all-purpose wheat flour to achieve the right texture and taste? Looking forward to making these with our abundant crop of home-grown peppers!

    1. I’m not an expert to advise there Jean, but I think a rice flour. Research online for the correct info and then incorporate into recipe here.

  2. 5 stars
    First time to try making chili rellenos and I did it! Your instructions and tips were super helpful. Thank you for such a delicious recipe. We know will make again. Next time will be much easier! Thanks so much-

  3. 5 stars
    These were outstanding! That batter was super light with a crispy outside and that cheese filling was out of this world.

  4. 5 stars
    Don’t tell my mom, but I like yours better. Crispy coating and the cheese filling as so good. I love the sauce you made, it was overall the best recipe I’ve tried of yours so far.

    1. The coating is a beautiful crunchy and delicate one, I love it too. Thanks for trying this and for taking the time to come back and let me know Maria. I won’t tell your mom either, haha!

  5. My husband grows poblano peppers every year, and I make Rachel Ray’s roasted poblano sauce and freeze in small portions. However, I’ve always wanted to make the dish you published bc we order this at restaurants frequently! He recently bought an air fryer – just wondering if this recipe would adaptable to this new appliance. Thanks

    1. Not sure on all the workings of an air fryer, but if you do venture to try it, please come back to let me know and I’ll update recipe card Lisa!

  6. 5 stars
    Looks delish Kevin! I couldn’t find the video but can visualize what you did by the very descriptive instructions and pictures! I think these would be great fun to make. Thanks, love your recipes. Jan in MA