My favorite recipe for Chile Relleno features roasted Poblano chiles stuffed with two kinds of cheese, then beer-battered and fried to crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside perfection. It’s definitely worth the extra effort.

In 2004, I tried Chiles Rellenos for the very first time. Since that fateful day, I have never ordered anything else at a Mexican restaurant.

Without a fool-proof recipe and proper motivation, though, I never dared to attempt My Favorite Food at home. That is, until Sheila, a reader, generously shared one with me. She makes it every year for her husband’s birthday, the lucky guy!

I decided to use beer batter for my Chile Relleno recipe because I’m from Wisconsin and we beer-batter everything we can get our hands on. It just felt right.

 

 

Two freshly fried chile rellenos with Mexican Rice and refried beans on a white plate with Dos Equis beer bottle in the background. Half the beer is poured into a glass.

 

Recipe ingredients:

Ingredient notes:

Beer: I use a lighter-bodied lager which has a lot of flavor, too.

Peppers: Traditionally, Chiles Rellenos is made with poblano peppers, which are dark green, glossy, and found in the produce section near the Bell peppers. However, they are also delicious made with fresh Pasilla chiles or Anaheim chiles. Whatever you can find works!

Monterey Jack cheese: Any melty cheese will work well, like queso asadero, Oaxacan cheese, or Chihuahua.

Step-by-step instructions:

For making the batter:

Make the beer batter by mixing together the flour, egg, oil, and salt in a bowl. Then pour in just enough beer to make a thick batter that clings to the spoon, about 6 to 8 ounces. Don’t over mix. Let the batter sit out at room temperature while you roast the peppers; it needs to rest about 30 minutes before it’s ready.

For roasting the chilies:

You have 3 basic ways, using the broiler, the oven, or open flame. I go a little more in-depth in how to roast peppers, but here are the basics.

Broiler: Move the oven rack 6 inches from the broiler and preheat to HIGH heat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and arrange the whole chiles in a single layer. Broil the chiles, watching closely, until the tops are blackened and blistered but not ashy white, about 5 minutes. Turn the chiles every few minutes until all sides are black and blistery.

Oven: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and arrange the whole chiles in a single layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the skins are blackened and blistered but not ashy white, turning occasionally to cook every surface of the pepper.

Open flame: Turn a gas burner (or grill) to HIGH. Place chiles directly over the open flame. Using tongs, carefully turn the chiles until all sides are blackened and blistered but not ashy white. (This method sets off the smoke detector in my house.)

Once roasted, place the hot chilies in a bowl and seal with a tight layer of plastic wrap. This creates steam that helps loosen the skins. When they are cool, gently rub off the skin and make a single slit in each pepper to remove the seeds, leaving the stems attached.

For making the cheese filling:

Mix together the cheese, tomatoes, and onion in a medium bowl. Stuff the mixture into each of the chiles, then use a 2 to 3 wooden toothpicks to suture the opening shut and seal the cheese filling in. It works, I promise.

Frying the peppers:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, and place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. This will be a place to keep the fried battered peppers hot while you’re working in batches.

Pour 2 to 3 inches of oil into a large saucepan or Dutch oven, or fire up a deep fryer. Heat the oil to 360 degrees. A digital thermometer is crucial for getting the oil temp right.

Working with only one or (at most) two chiles at a time, dip the cheese-stuffed chiles in the beer batter, letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl. Carefully lower the battered pepper into the hot oil and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes.

Remove the peppers using a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, then place on the wire rack in the oven to keep warm as you cook the others. Before serving, take out the toothpicks.

Roasted poblano chiles that have been skinned and seeded on a sheet pan.

 

Roasted poblano chiles stuffed with a two-cheese filling and secured with toothpicks on a sheet pan.

Freshly fried chile rellenos on a cooling rack.

 

Overhead shot of two freshly fried chile rellenos with Mexican Rice and refried beans on a white plate with Dos Equis beer bottle in the background. Half the beer is poured into a glass.

Recipe tips and variations:

Yield: One recipe makes 8 peppers.

Make ahead: If you have time, knock out the roasting of the peppers and store them in the fridge for later.

Storage: Eat right away, then store the leftover peppers in the refrigerator to eat the next time you’re hungry.

Leftovers: You can reheat in the microwave, but if you have time, use the oven to help crisp up the batter.

Pepper safety: Some peppers are hotter than others. If you’re sensitive to capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers spicy, use disposable gloves and a paper towel to prepare the peppers. The paper towels have a grabby texture that really helps remove the blackened skin.

Roast a couple extra peppers: If you lack confidence in your skills, roast some extra chiles so you have a little wiggle room in case one falls apart. And I promise it gets easier with practice.

Frying tips: Don’t overcrowd your pot, frying only a pepper or two at a time so the oil stays hot. Make sure the oil comes back to 360 degrees before adding the next batch. If the oil is too cool, the batter will soak up too much oil and be greasy. A good-quality digital thermometer comes in very handy for reading oil temperatures accurately.

Holding area: Create a warm place in the oven to transfer the fried peppers so they stay hot until you’re ready to serve them. Set the oven to 200 degrees, place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet in the oven, and add the finished peppers as they come out of the oil.

Just the cheese, please: If you love the pure, unadulterated texture of melted cheese, just leave the raw tomato and onion out of the filling.

Red sauce: Mexican restaurants usually smother Chiles Rellenos in a lake of red sauce. Sheila and I both agree this makes no sense, it just masks the delicious texture of the crispy batter.

Serve with: Serve the Chiles with super easy Mexican rice and beans. And chips and salsa. Maybe some guac on the side.

Yeehah! More deliciously Tex-Mex recipes right here:

Cowboy Caviar

7 Layer Dip

Mexican Rice

Taco Stuffed Tomatoes

A square image of two freshly fried chile rellenos with Mexican Rice and refried beans on a white plate with Dos Equis beer bottle in the background. Half the beer is poured into a glass.

Chile Relleno Recipe

Roasted chiles stuffed with two kinds of cheese, then beer-battered and deep-fried! This tried-and-true reader Chile Relleno Recipe is worth the effort.
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Calories 405

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for frying
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Lager beer 6 to 8 ounces, as needed
  • 8 fresh poblano, pasilla, or anaheim chiles
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 small roma tomato diced, optional (see notes)
  • 1 small onion about ¼ cup, finely chopped , optional (see notes)
  • Mexican rice for serving, optional
  • Beans for serving, optional

Instructions 

  • To make the beer batter, whisk the flour, egg, oil, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in just enough beer to make a thick, clingy batter. Do not overmix. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while roasting the chiles.
  • To roast the chiles under the oven broiler, arrange an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler and preheat over HIGH heat. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and arrange the whole chiles in a single layer. Broil the chiles until the tops are blackened and blistered but not ashy white, about 5 minutes. Turn the chiles every few minutes until all sides are blackened. 
  • To roast the chiles in the oven, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Arrange the whole chiles in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the skins are blackened and blistered but not ashy white, turning occasionally to promote even roasting. 
  • To roast chiles over an open flame, turn a gas flame (or two) to HIGH. Arrange chiles directly over the flame. Using tongs, turn the chiles occasionally until all sides are blackened and blistered but not ashy white. This method sets off the smoke detector in my house.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand until chiles are cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes.
  • Leaving the stems on and chiles intact, carefully rub off and discard the blackened skin (I wear gloves and use paper towels). Using a small, sharp knife, cut a slit in one side and remove the seeds from each chile.
  • In a medium bowl, combine Monterey Jack cheese, tomatoes, and onion if using. Divide the mixture among the chiles. Using wooden toothpicks, close up the slits in the chiles. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. 
  • Preheat deep fryer or pour 2 to 3 inches of oil into a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Heat to 360 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer.
  • Working with 1 or 2 chiles at a time, dip the stuffed chiles in the beer batter, letting the excess batter drip back in to the bowl. Place in hot oil and deep fry, turning once (I use two spatulas), until golden brown, about 4 minutes. 
  • Using a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer chiles to the wire rack in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining chiles. Serve with rice and beans if desired.

Notes

  1. Adding the tomatoes and onion to the cheese filling is optional. You could also add chicken or beef (seasoned, cooked, and cooled).

Nutrition

Calories: 405kcal
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Thank you very much, looking forward to any help. If I by chance recover it I will share it with you. It is a refreshing change. Ty, T.

    1. Hi TJ, my friends in Mexico think it might be Chile Rellenos with Nogada sauce. This a thick, cream sauce made with lots of dairy and ground up walnuts. To me, that doesn’t sound like what you described. What do you think? Imagine something with milk, cream, and cheese. You specifically said not a cream sauce… so I’m thinking this isn’t it. But I wanted to run it by you. Just do a google search for “chiles en nogada” or something like that and take a look. I’d love to know what you think and get any feedback (even though I’m already fairly certain you’re going to give me a thumb’s down). Let me know! Thanks! -Meggan

  2. Hi am looking for a white or clear sauce for the Relleno’s. Not a Mexican cream sauce. I have had it before the cause was lost when my mom in law passed. I know she used chicken broth & flower chopped tomatoes, green onions pluses spices. Sound familiar??? I would love any help you could offer… thank you, TJ.

    1. Hi TJ, I’m not sure off the top of my head. I order Chile Relleno whenever I can, but it’s always served with “Ranchero sauce” which is red in color. But let me ask my friends in Mexico, do some research, and see what I can figure out. I’ll reply back ASAP! Thank you! -Meggan

    1. Sure Carol! Here’s what Sheila said: “After stuffing, I coat the chiles lightly in flour. I take eggs (1 egg per 2 chiles) and whip them into a meringue, once it is nice and firm I add the yolks and fold them in. This makes it more like a batter easy for dipping, but it breaks down the whites so I try to move quickly. Dip the chiles in the egg mixture and fry until golden.” I definitely want to try this myself, too! Good luck and thanks.

  3. I will definitely try it with your beer batter idea!!! Definitely easier than what we go through!! :) Thanks for sharing Meggan!!

  4. If this doesn’t fall under the category of, “As good as it gets”, then nothing does. Talk about the best of both worlds – beer batter and Mexican – WOW! Great idea!5 stars