Chile Rellenos (Mexican style with cheese-filled chilies) Recipe

Chile’s rellenos – Mexican style stuffed and roasted peppers in a roasted tomato salsa – was one of the very first dishes I learned to cook using the method my dad taught me. It involved most cans. I'm pretty sure the only reason we used canned chilies back then was that it wasn't possible to get good fresh Poblano pepper in New York in the early 80's. It's not a problem anymore (and certainly not a problem near my current home in the bay), and both my recipe and my technique have improved since those early canned-based days. I’ve been experimenting with different chili roast methods and dozens of dough recipes and techniques, and I’ve finally nailed that salsa. Here's what I've learned.

Why it works

  • Roasting chili and tomatoes kills two birds with one stone and cuts down on preparation time.
  • By combining the hot chorizo ​​with the cheese, the filling gives a more hearty taste and structure than the cheese alone.
  • Whipping the egg whites provides a light, airy coating.

Read more: How to Master Tasty Chiles Rellenos

  • Serves 3 to 4
  • 1 hour
  • 1 1/2 hours


  • For Salsa Ranchera and chilies:
  • 6 Poblano pepper
  • 2 pounds of tomatoes (1 kg; about 6 medium)
  • 1 small yellow onion (about 6 ounces; 170g), divided in half, not peeled
  • 2 to 3 serrano chili
  • 6 medium-sized garlic, non-skinned
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) chicken stock or water
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed coriander leaves and soft stalks (1/2 ounce; 15g)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of virgin or vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • To fill:
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of virgin or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion (about 6 ounces; 170g), fine cubes
  • 1 teaspoon (about 2 g) of dried oregano
  • 225 g of fresh Mexican chorizo ​​or ground pork
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 ounces (285 g) grated jack, pepper jack, Chihuahua or cheddar cheese; 16 ounces (450g) if you make choked version (see note)
  • To fry:
  • 2 cups (475 ml) of vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs separated
  • 1 cup flour (5 ounces; 140 g), divided


  1. First

    For Salsa Ranchera and chilies: Adjust rack to 4 inches under broiler and preheat chicken color to high. Place Poblanos, tomatoes, onions, serranos and garlic on a foiled, foamy baking sheet. Cook until chili is black on top, approx. 5 minutes. Turn chillies to expose another non-black surface and continue to scare for another 5 minutes. Turn chili once more, toss tomatoes, and continue to cook until chili is black everywhere, a few minutes longer.

  2. 2nd

    Transfer tomatoes, onions, garlic, serranos, stock and cilantro to the bowl with a food processor or blender. Wrap the Poblanos with foil from the baking sheet and set them aside to steam. Process the salsa until smooth, but still a bit chunky.

  3. Third

    Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lard or oil in a medium-sized saucepan until just starting to smoke. Immediately pour all the salsa into a pan (it bubbles very violently). Burn to a simmer and cook until reduced by approx. 1/2 cup. Season with flavor with salt and pepper and set aside.

  4. 4th

    To fill: Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of lemon or vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add onion and cook with stirring until softened and gently browned, approx. 4 minutes. Add oregano and chorizo ​​or pork and cook it, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Immediately transfer the pork mixture to a bowl of grated cheese and toss to combine. Set aside.

  5. 5th

    Peel the chilies gently without tearing them. Make a slit in one, and remove most of the seeds. Spoon cheese / pork mixture into the cavity and gently close the chilli again, slightly overlapping the edges. Repeat with the remaining chili. If you produce a choked version, you should have approx. 1 cup of filling left (see note).

  6. 6th

    To fry: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 ° F. Adjust heat to maintain temperature. Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Whisk egg yolks one at a time until incorporated (do not whisk completely). Sprinkle with 1/4 cup flour and whisk until flour is incorporated. Set aside.

  7. 7th

    Place remaining flour on a low plate. Carefully pick up a chili and roll it in flour for coating. Transfer to egg mixture and gently turn to coat. (You may need to make the mixture over the top if the chili is too fragile.) Use your hands or a flexible fish spatula to gently push a chili into hot oil. Repeat until the pan is full, making sure not to strain it. If there are any unstressed stains on the top surfaces of the chilies, toss them a small amount of dough on top. Cook until the underside is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn gently and cook until the other side is browned, approx. 2 minutes longer. Transfer cooked chilli to a paper towel plate. Repeat until all chilies are cooked.

  8. 8th

    For the traditional version: Spoon salsa into the bottom of a stew. Top with the chilli and spoon some more salsa over them. Serve immediately (or bake in a 375 ° F oven for a few minutes to reheat if desired).

  9. 9th

    For the stifling version: Spoon salsa into the bottom of a stew. Top with the chilli and spoon some more salsa over them. Spread the remaining filling mixture over the top. Bake in a 375 ° F oven until melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

special equipment

Rimmed baking sheet, food processor or blender, instantly read thermometer


Chile’s rellenos are typically served only with sauce on top, but you can make a cheese-covered, choked and baked version if you prefer.

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