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Chiles Rellenos

Scott Phillips

Servings: 8

Fried in a fluffy batter and served with a roasted tomato sauce, these stuffed poblano chiles are a Mexican classic. The filling is based on Cuban picadillo, a blend of ground beef, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and raisins.


For the filling

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped garlic (6 medium cloves)
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1-1/4 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped (about 2-1/4 cups) or one 28-oz. can whole plum tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. 80% lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup lower-salt chicken or beef broth

For the sauce

  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 lb. ripe tomatoes, cored and halved horizontally
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 tsp. finely chopped garlic (4 medium cloves)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • Kosher salt

For the chiles

  • 8 large poblano chiles
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 4-1/2 oz. (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature, separated

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 630
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 420
  • Fat (g): 48
  • Saturated Fat (g): 8
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 12
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 25
  • Cholesterol (mg): 150
  • Sodium (mg): 930
  • Carbohydrates (g): 35
  • Fiber (g): 6
  • Protein (g): 20


Make the filling

  • In a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering hot. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the onion and cook until pale golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the green pepper and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and 2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the oil begins to separate and pool, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the meat and stir, breaking up any lumps. Add the almonds and raisins and stir occasionally until the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

Make the sauce

  • Position a rack 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Put the onion and tomatoes cut side down on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and broil, turning the onion once or twice, until charred and softened, about 8 minutes.
  • Pull off the tomato skins with tongs. Blend the tomatoes and onion to a coarse purée in a blender or food processor.
  • Heat the oil in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until shimmering hot. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Stir in the tomato purée, cumin, oregano, and 2 tsp. salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the oil begins to separate and pool, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and keep warm.

Roast the chiles

  • Wrap the chile stems in foil to keep them from charring and falling off.
  • For a gas stove, arrange the chiles over a lit burner (you can fit two to three per burner). For an electric stove, arrange all chiles on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and position it 4 inches below a hot broiler. As each side blackens and blisters, turn the chiles with tongs until they’re blistered all over.
  • Immediately put the chiles in a large bowl, cover, and let steam for 15 minutes. Remove the skin with your fingers or a paper towel. (It’s OK if you can’t remove all of it.)
  • Remove the foil from the stems, and slit the chiles lengthwise, starting about 1/2 inch from the stem and ending about 1/2 inch from the point. Remove the seed core, being careful not to damage the stem.

Stuff and fry the chiles

  • Video: Watch Shelley Wiseman stuff and fry the chiles.
  • Spoon about 1/2 cup of the filling into each chile and then press the cut edges together. (If the chiles tear, press the torn edges together.) Arrange the chiles on a tray or baking sheet.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, put a paper-towel-lined large rimmed baking sheet on it, and heat the oven to 200°F.
  • Clip a deep-fry or probe thermometer to an 11- or 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan or cast-iron skillet. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium heat to 350°F.
  • Meanwhile, mix the flour and 2 tsp. salt in a shallow bowl. In a wide bowl, beat the egg whites and 1/2 tsp. salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. On low speed, add the yolks one at a time, and beat just until they’re fully incorporated.
  • Working in batches of 2 or 3, hold a chile by the stem, lightly dredge it in the flour, and then dip it in the egg batter, using a silicone spatula to coat all sides. Lower the chile gently into the hot oil. Fry until one side is golden, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon and tongs, carefully turn the chiles and fry until the other side is golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet in the oven to stay warm while you finish the remaining chiles.
  • Serve the chiles on a pool of the sauce.

To vary the filling, you can add 1 cup of rice or 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack. To use both, add just 1/2 cup of each. Extra filling is great on its own or served over rice (if it doesn’t have rice in it).


Rate or Review

Reviews (5 reviews)

  • britnif02 | 02/19/2017

    Yes, a lot of work. But you're looking for recipes on fine cooking. You're up for it! Most importantly, it is well worth the work. Agree on splitting up the tasks so you're not too tired to enjoy the finished result. I've NEVER met a chiles rellenos at any restaurant that comes close to this flavor. Our au pair at the time was from Saltillo, Mexico and she gave it two enthusiastic thumbs up.

  • cookslots | 09/21/2013

    I agree that the recipe was a lot of work, but we had fellow Fine Cooking subscribers over for dinner and shared the work ahead of time. Then we all hung out in the kitchen and worked together on the assembly. The results were the BEST chiles rellenos I have ever tasted. I highly recommend with the caveat that you will be doing some cooking. I served it with an old FC recipe called Mexican Tomato Rice and Beans. Made it with long grain brown rice and it was great. Kept it warm in the 200 degree oven.

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