An authentic chile relleno recipe made from roasted poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, dipped in a fluffy egg batter and fried until golden brown! This traditional Mexican dish is fun to make and better than any restaurant version you’ll ever try!
Chile rellenos were one of my favorite things to eat growing up. My mom often made them during the season of Lent since they don’t contain any meat, but these peppers are way too good to only be served at that time.
Luckily, she spoiled us and made them for my family throughout the entire year. I could never say no to peppers stuffed with loads of melted ooey-gooey cheese and fried in a light and fluffy batter. Could you?!
After a few years of having the recipe on my to-make list, I’ve finally perfected it and am so excited to be sharing it with you!
What are chile rellenos?
Chile rellenos (or ‘stuffed peppers‘ in English) are a traditional Mexican dish made from roasted poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, then coated in a fluffy egg batter and fried until golden brown.
They’re sometimes served with a simple red or green salsa, or even wrapped in a tortilla with refried beans to make chile relleno burritos.
How to make chile relleno
First, prepare your poblano peppers by roasting them in the oven or on the stovetop, and then removing the blistered and blackened skin. This softens the skin and makes them super easy to stuff.
I’ve included instructions on how to roast the peppers in the recipe card below, but if you’re looking for step-by-step photos of this process, check out this post on how to roast poblano peppers which goes into more detail that’s extra helpful for beginners.
Once your peppers are roasted and the skins are peeled, gently cut a slit down the middle of the pepper with a knife and stuff them with cheese. I used a block of Monterey Jack cheese that I cut into strips, but you could also use shredded cheese if you prefer.
Then carefully close the peppers and bring the edges of the slits together. Secure the edges together with a toothpick or two so the cheese doesn’t fall out of the chiles.
Next, make the egg batter by separating the yolks and whites from 3 eggs. Place the egg whites into a large mixing bowl and the yolks into a small bowl.
Using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until they become stiff peaks form, about 3-5 minutes. Then continue beating them on low and add in egg yolks one at a time until they’re all mixed together. The batter should be light, fluffy and golden yellow.
To coat the chiles, I recommend setting up an assembly line with the peppers on the left, all-purpose flour mixture in the middle and the egg batter on the right.
Using one hand, grab a stuffed pepper and roll it in the plate of all-purpose flour. Make sure it’s coated on all sides, and then give it a tap to remove any excess flour.
Then using your hand, grab the flour-coated pepper and dip it into the egg batter. Make sure it’s also coated on all sides. Quickly and gently place the pepper in the hot frying oil and fry on both sides until golden brown.
Transfer the chile rellenos to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain and collect any excess oil. Continue frying the remaining peppers and then serve immediately!
I served mine with a super simple red salsa made from tomatoes, onions, garlic, a jalapeño and cilantro, but that’s completely optional. You could use any salsa you have on hand (a salsa verde would be delicious with these), or just with a big dollop of sour cream or drizzle of Mexican crema.
Helpful tips and variations
- Buy the largest poblano peppers you can find. That way you can stuff the peppers with a lot of filling and you won’t have any leftovers.
- Use a different cheese. Feel free to use another type of cheese if that’s all you have. Traditionally, chile relleno is made with Oaxaca cheese, but you could also use mozzarella, cheddar, provolone or another good melting cheese.
- Add a different filling. To make this a more well-rounded one-chile meal, feel free to mix in some other ingredients to the filling. Some good options would be carnitas, shredded chicken or picadillo.
- Don’t overcrowd the frying pan. I typically fry 2 chile rellenos at a time even though the pan could fit 3.