Chile Relleno: the simple vegetarian-friendly recipe for a popular Mexican dish

Total time: 45 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
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By Cookist
for the chile rellenos
large poblano peppers
monterey jack cheese, shredded
8 ounces
Oil for frying
Egg yolks
Egg whites
All-purpose flour
1/2 cup
1/2 tsp
for the salsa roja
roma tomatoes, quartered
yellow onion, halved
3 to 4 cloves
Fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp

Whether you're a vegetarian or are an omnivore in the mood for a hearty meat-free dish, you'll love this amazing vegetarian chile rellenos. Chile rellenos are a classic Mexican dish made from roasted poblano peppers stuffed with cheese. The peppers are then battered and deep-fried and served with dollops of freshly made green or red salsa, which makes each bite irresistible.

Chile rellenos are a perfect hearty, but easy-to-make vegetarian dinner you can throw together in no time. Serve chile rellenos with your favorite Mexican side dishes like rice, beans, and elote for a tasty dish your family will request again and again.

What Are Chile Rellenos?

Chile rellenos are a traditional Mexican dish from the state of Puebla. This Spanish name means “stuffed peppers” in English. Chile rellenos are made by stuffing peppers with cheese, vegetables, meat, and other ingredients. The peppers are then dipped in batter and fried, then served with a topping of salsa.

What Are the Best Peppers for Chile Relleno?

The best peppers for making chile relleno are poblano peppers. They're not too spicy, and they're big enough to hold the cheese and additional fillings. If you can't find poblanos, Anaheim, Hatch, and pasilla peppers are excellent alternatives.

How to Make Chile Relleno

Whether you're a pro at making chile rellenos or this is your first time, don't worry. Making homemade chile rellenos is easy. Here's how to make chile rellenos step-by-step.

Roasting the Peppers

Place the peppers on a baking tray lined with foil. Turn on your broiler. Once heated, broil the peppers for 5 minutes on each side, or until the skin has blackened and blistered. Cover the peppers in foil to steam them. This is essential for making them easier to peel. Leave the peppers for 5 minutes, then peel.

Stuffing the Peppers

Cut a small incision in each pepper using a small knife. Stuff the peppers with cheese, then close them up and secure the incision with toothpicks.

Making the Egg Batter

Grab two bowls and separate the egg yolks from the whites. In a third shallow bowl, add the flour. Next, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add the yolks in one at a time. Dredge one pepper at a time through the flour to coat, then dip them in the batter.

Frying Chile Relleno

Heat oil in a skillet, then fry a few of the peppers for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Arrange the fried peppers on paper towels to remove excess oil and to cool slightly. Repeat until all the peppers have been fried.

As they're cooling, make the salsa by blending the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, and salt in your blender. Pour the mixture into a pan and bring it to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, then dollop the salsa over the peppers. Serve and enjoy!

Tips for Making the Best Chile Relleno

You can make chile rellenos a day or two in advance.

Buy the largest peppers you can find so you can pack them with more filling.

For a spicier flavor, leave the seeds in the peppers.

Unless you have a large skillet, you may need to work in batches. Whatever you do, don't overcrowd the pan.

Shredding the cheese yourself will ensure it melts more evenly.

What to Serve With Chile Rellenos

Chile rellenos are extra tasty when served with traditional Mexican side dishes like cilantro-lime rice, grilled Mexican street corn, pinto or black beans, refried beans, or a Mexican slaw.

Chile Relleno Variations

The most fun (and delicious) thing about chile rellenos is they're endlessly customizable. Add your favorite vegetables like corn, avocado, broccoli, sweet potato, and beans to the filling.

Swap out the Monterey Jack for cheddar, provolone, gouda, mozzarella, or any other cheese that's easy to melt.

If you're not a vegetarian, you can try adding turkey, chicken, beef, or pork to your stuffed peppers.

How to Store Traditional Chile Relleno

Once cooled, put leftover chile rellenos into an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat them, bake them at 375F for about 10 minutes.


Line a baking tray with foil. Set the peppers on the foil and broil them for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the skin blisters and blackens. Turn them over to broil the other side.

Take the peppers out of the oven. Tent foil over the peppers. Leave for several minutes, then peel off the skin.

Make a small cut in each pepper. Stuff the peppers with cheese. Use a toothpick to close and secure the incision.

Line a baking tray with paper towels. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or deep pan over medium-high heat.

Separate the egg yolks and egg whites into two bowls. Pour the flour and salt into a shallow bowl.

Beat the egg whites to form stiff peaks. Beat one egg yolk at a time into the egg whites.

Dredge the peppers through the flour, then dip them in egg batter.

Gently put the peppers in the oil and fry for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Set them on the paper towels to drain.

To make the salsa, blend the tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, garlic, cilantro, and salt.

Heat olive oil in a pan, add the sauce and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!


Neutral cooking oils with a high smoke point are best for frying chile rellenos. Use vegetable, canola, refined coconut, or grapeseed oil.

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