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.
In 2004, I tried Chiles Rellenos for the 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 attempted My Favorite Food at home. Until now.
Yes, there are some steps involved.
And yes, it’s worth every ounce of effort.
A huge thanks to reader Sheila who shared her recipe, the one she makes for her husband every year on his birthday!
Traditionally, Chiles Rellenos is made with poblano peppers. However, they are also delicious made with Pasilla Chiles or Anaheim Chiles. Whatever you can find works!
There are a few different ways to roast the chiles. I’ve listed them out in the recipe instructions and have a more detailed post here. Once they are cool, rub of the skin and remove the seeds. If you lack confidence in your skills, roast some extra chiles! And it gets easier with practice.
Obviously the star of the filling is WISCONSIN CHEESE. If you’re going through all this trouble, you might as well use the best stuff. I used a blend of Queso Fresco and Cotija cheeses. You could use just one or the other, but why would you want to do that?
Sheila also adds a mix of raw tomatoes and onions to her filling. I tried it and I give it thumbs up! Fantastic. If you have issues with texture, or if you’re just obsessed with cheese, consider those veggies optional.
Fill your chiles and close them with toothpicks. I know you’re thinking: “This is never going to work.” But it does. Trust me!
I veer slightly off course from Sheila’s original recipe at this point.
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. You’ll want to let the batter rest for 30 minutes, so the recipe cleverly has you make that first.
Fire up your deep fryer (or pot of oil and thermometer combo) and start frying. I generally fry one chile at a time, possibly two, and then transfer them to the oven to keep warm while I finish the rest.
And of course, don’t forget to remove the toothpicks.
Generally, the Mexican restaurants smother Chiles Rellenos in red sauce. Sheila and I agree this makes no sense! It just masks the deliciousness of the Chiles Rellenos.
Chile Relleno Recipe
- 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 poblano, pasilla, or anaheim chiles
- 4 ounces Wisconsin Queso Fresco cheese
- 4 ounces Wisconsin Cotjia 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
- 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. 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 Queso Fresco, Cotija, and 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.
- 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.
- Adding the tomatoes and onion to the cheese filling is optional. You could also add chicken or beef (seasoned, cooked, and cooled).