Real Chiles Rellenos

Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
1 hr
Additional Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 5 mins


  • 4 large poblano peppers

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging

  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • ½ onion, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano, crushed

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Cholula)

  • teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 5 egg whites, at room temperature

  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

  • 1 cup oil for frying, or as needed

  • 4 tablespoons sour cream for garnish


  1. Set an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven's broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place poblano peppers on the foil.

  2. Broil in the preheated oven until the skins are blackened and blistered over 80% of the surface, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Remove from the oven and turn the broiler off. Transfer peppers to a resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and let peppers steam and cool for about 20 minutes. Remove cooled peppers from the bag; scrape off and discard blackened skin.

  3. Cut a slit lengthwise into the side of each pepper, then remove the seeds and veins. To reduce spiciness, rinse out any remaining seeds with water, then pat dry with paper towels.

  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Place 1/2 cup flour into a shallow bowl for dredging.

  5. Mix mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and Cheddar together in a bowl until thoroughly blended. Divide into four equal portions, then lightly squeeze each portion in your hands to make a cone shape. Insert each cone through the slit into a pepper, then pin the openings closed with toothpicks.

  6. Dredge stuffed peppers in flour, then dust off any excess. Place onto the prepared baking sheet and into the freezer for at least 30 minutes while you make the sauce. Keep remaining dredging flour available for Step 10.

  7. To make the sauce, purée stewed tomatoes in a blender and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Pour in puréed tomatoes, chicken broth, vinegar, oregano, cumin, black pepper, hot pepper sauce, and cinnamon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until sauce is reduced by half and thickened, about 20 minutes.

  8. While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C) and warm a platter in the oven.

  9. To make the batter and finish the chiles rellenos, mix 1/3 cup flour with salt in a bowl. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Lightly mix in egg yolk and flour mixture until a fluffy batter forms.

  10. Remove peppers from the freezer and dredge in flour again. Shake off excess flour, then use a spoon to gently dip each pepper into egg batter until completely coated.

  11. Heat frying oil in a heavy cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, gently place coated peppers into hot oil and fry until batter is golden brown and cheese filling is hot, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer fried peppers to the warmed platter while you finish frying.

  12. To serve, ladle a generous spoonful of sauce onto each plate, then place a pepper in the center with a dollop of sour cream over top. Serve hot.

    close up view of Chiles Rellenos garnished with fresh herbs on a plate

Recipe Tips

As written, this recipe is very mild.

Try different cheeses like pepper Jack, Oaxaca, and quesadilla cheese.

Freshly shredded cheeses will stick together best when forming a filling.

Try filling the peppers with meat, beans, sour cream, or rice.

Be sure your egg whites are at room temperature so they beat up nice and fluffy.

You can find Mexican oregano and cumin in the Mexican spice section of any grocery store. 

Editor's Note

Nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount of breading ingredients. The actual amount of breading consumed will vary. We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. The exact amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

424 Calories
23g Fat
34g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 424
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 9g 47%
Cholesterol 91mg 30%
Sodium 1240mg 54%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 21g 43%
Vitamin C 72mg 80%
Calcium 395mg 30%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 590mg 13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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