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Chile Rellenos Recipe

Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4 servings


For the Picadillo

Optional for Picadillo

  • cumin
  • coriander
  • chili powder
  • hot sauce
  • ¼ cup raisins chopped
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds toasted, chopped

For the Chile-Tomato Sauce

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1-3 fresh habanero peppers or dried
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz tomato sauce

For the Chile Rellenos Batter

  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1 tablespoon flour plus extra for dredging the chiles
  • ½ teaspoon salt

To Assemble and Cook

  • ½ gallon peanut oil
  • 4 large poblano peppers stems attached
  • 4 oz Queso Chihuahua or Queso Oaxaca, 4 slices, optional


For the Picadillo

  • Saute the ground pork and chopped onion until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the garlic and continue cooking until the meat is cooked through.
  • Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Break up the tomatoes and simmer until a thick consistency is achieved.
  • Add the optional seasonings as desired.
  • Stir in the optional raisins and nuts about 5 minutes before cooking is complete.

For the Chile-Tomato Sauce

  • Roughly chop the bell and habanero peppers, (or grind the habaneros if using dried), onion and garlic.
  • Combine all of the ingredients except the tomato sauce in a pan, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, for 8 minutes.
  • Puree the mixture in a blender.
  • Add the tomato sauce to complete.

For the Batter

  • In an electric mixer whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
  • Mix in the yolks one at a time.
  • Finally mix in the flour and salt.

To Assemble and Cook

  • Preheat a pot of vegetable oil to 375° F.
  • For traditional chile rellenos, begin with four poblano chiles that have their stems intact.
  • Roast the peppers over a gas flame on the stove, on a grill, or under a broiler until charred all around. Or drop them in a deep fryer until the skins are blistered.
  • When cool enough to touch remove the skin. Do not remove the stems.
  • Make a small slit in the side of each chile and scrape out the seeds. Fill each chile with about ⅓ cups of the picadillo.
  • Poke the optional cheese in, if using. Do not overfill the pepper. Leave enough room that you can close the slit and make a small flap. Thread the slit in each pepper with toothpicks to close it.*
  • Dredge each stuffed Chile lightly in flour.
  • Holding the stem, dip each Chile into the batter, let some of the excess drain back into the bowl, and then carefully place in the hot oil.
  • Fry until they are a deep golden color, turning them once, for about four minutes.
  • Serve with the chile-tomato sauce.


Renowned chef Rick Bayless, the American doyen of authentic Mexican cuisine, freezes his stuffed chiles to hold them together before frying. This bypasses the toothpicks altogether.
If you don't want any heat, just eliminate the habaneros. Or if you prefer it just a little spicy, use one jalapeno instead.