Chile Relleno Casserole

Feel free to play around with the stuffing, Mexican chorizo is great for this, but we've also used hot Louisiana pork sausage. Or you can skip the pork all together and just use a jack cheese stuffing. Note that this casserole serves 8; you can easily cut the ingredients in half and use an 8x8 dish for the casserole.

  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 8 poblano chiles
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
  • Salt
  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo (or other spicy sausage)
  • 1 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled (can sub feta)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
  • One dozen eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup Monterey jack or mild cheddar cheese, shredded


1 Char the whole poblano chiles: The first step is to char the outside skin of the poblano chiles. The easiest way to do that is directly over the flame of a gas burner (see How to Roast Chiles over a Gas Flame).

You can also do that over a grill, or in a broiling pan under a broiler (don't use a thin baking sheet or it will warp under the high heat). Just put the chiles close enough to the heating element so they char and blister on the surface.


Turn the chiles so that they get completely blackened all around. Place the blackened chiles in a bowl and cover with a plate or damp towel. Let the chiles steam in their own heat for several minutes.

2 Sauté onion, garlic, add tomatoes, salt, and simmer: While the chilies are cooling, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan, on medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more.

Add the tomatoes (break up any whole tomatoes before adding to the pan). Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat to low. Gently simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

3 Peel the blackened skin off the poblanos: Carefully peel and discard the blackened skin off of the chilies. Cut off the stem ends. Carefully remove the seed pod without tearing the chiles (which you will stuff later).

chile-relleno-casserole-method-2 chile-relleno-casserole-method-3

4 Cook the chorizo: Put the Mexican chorizo in a large frying pan and set the heat to medium high. Break up the chorizo with the edge of a metal spatula as you cook it. Cook until cooked through, about 4 minutes.

5 Spread tomato sauce over bottom of baking dish: Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread the tomato sauce over the bottom of an 8x12 inch baking dish. The tomato sauce should be the consistency of a thin spaghetti sauce. If it is too thick, thin it out with a little water.

6 Make stuffing: In a large bowl, mix together the stuffing of the cooked chorizo, cotija, and oregano.

7 Stuff chiles with chorizo mixture and place on top of tomato sauce in the baking dish.


8 Whisk eggs, flour, baking powder, salt: In a large bowl, vigorously whisk the eggs. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.

9 Sprinkle chiles with cheese and pour egg mixture over them: Sprinkle chiles with half of the jack or cheddar cheese. Pour egg mixture over chiles and sprinkle with remaining cheese.


10 Bake: Bake at 375°F until top starts to brown and the eggs are set but still soft, about 30 minutes.

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  • ruthann

    I stuffed the pablanos with vegetarian chorizo, chicken, onions and garlic mixed together. Well….the casserole came out of the oven looking spectacular. We tasted it and decided it is definitely worth all the work. Will be making it on occasion….tho not often because it takes a lot of time and patience. 5 stars for flavor….2 stars for ease.

    I wish I could post a picture. It was beautiful!


  • ruthann

    This is much harder than I expected and I’m a good cook! The pablanos were so soft….maybe I grilled them too long? It’s still in the oven so we shall see if the effort is worth it or if I should just enjoy these at a restaurant. Jury is out for now.

  • Jan Wheeler

    I made this using six custard cups, split it six ways, baked just like you would egg custard dessert, 30 minutes in a pan of water, it was amazing!!

  • Sandy

    I made this recipe Saturday. I doubled the amount of meat for my carnivorous group, but the chub pack of chorizo I had looked like canned dog food and tasted like an old jar of paprika. So I tossed it and ran to grocery store, bought hot Italian sausage and rushed home. I added half a cup of diced onion, chopped garlic, and a half tsp each of cumin, coriander, and cayenne, and 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika. Big Winner.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sandy, I’m so glad you checked the chorizo first before putting it in the dish! So many cooking disappointments would be avoided if people just checked their ingredients. Good to know it works with hot Italian sausage.

  • Judy

    Can you put this together a day ahead and do the cooking the following day or does it have to be baked right away?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Judy, great question! I haven’t tried cooking it ahead. If anyone else has, feel free to chime in.

  • Mary Gallagher

    I am considering making the full recipe in 2 smaller pans and cooking one for us now and freeing the other pan for later…would this work with the eggs? I have done this successfully with casseroles that include eggs mixed into a sauce, but never with plain eggs. Thank you for any advice.

  • Denise

    And… If you happen to have left overs…. No…. You’ll have do a double batch… Make burrito add some refried bean sprinkle some cheese warm up…. and pig out!
    they are to die for….

  • Lily Becerra

    I just did recipe, I loved it!! Will definitely do again, I opted for no meat so replaced with more Cotija cheese and mushrooms to make it meatless! I used dried oregano. Thank you so much!!

  • Rox ~Anne

    I just made this, but I layed the poblano peppers flat after opening them up, then covered with 4 different cheeses and continued to make layers till no more Chile, then covered with the egg mixture. Haven’t eaten it yet, as it is still baking. Cross your first.gets, cuz I just winged this recipe.

  • Scott G.

    I used pepper jack cheese in this recipe. It gave it some needed heat. We love this.

  • Michelle

    I substituted soyrizo and goat cheese crumbles and it was SO good! I also cut open the peppers and just folded them around the filling rather than stuffing them. Worked great!

  • Melissa

    I halved this recipe. I didn’t have the Mexican chorizo as I doubt my city even had it so I just added more cheese. I had Queso Fresco (google can I substitute it for Cojito? not reallly? I’m going to anyways) and found a marble colby in my fridge. Fresh oregano? nope, but i have some dried Mexican that has to work! (google how to halve half of a fresh to dried spice ratio?) too confusing, I will wing it. I had everything else so this was a test to see if I could indeed work with what I had. I used fire roasted diced tomatoes, (thin sauce? nope mine was thick and chunky). Now how about roasting them poblanos? I had never done it before and used the under the broiler method. Did I over roast them? This dark stuff doesn’t want to come off! Okay do the best you can. Forget it, I’m throwing these away! Ugh, whatever so they will have some dark bitterness to them, keep going! As hard as I didn’t try to screw this up and truly thought it wouldn’t turn out, it was fabulous! And that is why every time I google a recipe I want to make, I chose the Simply Recipes because it never lets me fail! Thanks again! :)

  • Sarah

    My friend who is from El Salvador tells me they stuff their rellenos with meat and cheese. So maybe but Mexican, but Salvadorian? ;) Anyway this recipe was a HUGE hit! My husband, 4 years old, and 20 month old cleaned their plates! So delicious, and much faster/easier than making chili rellenos, yet just as satisfying. I will be making this again and again! Thanks!

  • Franklin

    Prepped this last night and made it for lunch today. Turned out very, very good. I used El Patio tomato sauce and longanisa instead of chorizo (not being a fan of the lower quality sausage that most chorizo is.) 2 small things I’ll do next time: 1. Make my own chorizo and 2. Use a tad less tomato sauce. I found it a bit too soupy on the bottom.

  • Jennifer

    I agree with Ray above. I am a NM native too and it is so much better with Aneheim chiles. You can find them at most Super Wal-Marts.

  • Laurie

    I made this recipe tonight with a small twist. I stuffed the poblanos with a mixture of mushrooms and shrimp that I had sauted first and added some lemon juice to. Everything else I did was pretty close to the recipe. My husband loved it, said it was company worthy and preferred that I used something lighter like shrimp rather than cheese/chorizo. I love anything resembling a good chili relleno made with poblano, but this did turn out nice. I was curious how the egg mixture would turn out, but it had lots of body similar to a whipped egg batter you would normally fry chilis in. Thanks for posting such a good recipe! We’ll make it again.

  • Charlotte Toerber

    Dear Elise,

    I asked last week if you had suggestions for a vegetarian version of this casserole because I was doing a Mexican buffet and I thought I needed a vegetarian dish. You responded that it might be good with spicy potatoes. I ended up taking your advice and stuffed the poblanos with “Mexican Roasted Potatoes.” This casserole with the spicy potatoes ended up being the hit of my buffet. I roasted potatoes using the recipe below, with the potatoes diced at a bit smaller than 1/2 inch. I included the cotija cheese with the potatoes. Was wonderful and every one loved it. Can’t wait to try this recipe with the sausage.

    Best Regards, Char

    Mexican Roasted Potatoes
    8 medium potatoes, peeled and dice
    1/3 cup of olive oil
    2 teaspoons dried oregano
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt (plus more to sprinkle on top)
    freshly ground black pepper
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
    1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard

    1 lime, juiced (or more to taste)

    1-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    2-Combine all of the ingredients, except the potatoes and lime in a jar and shake to thoroughly mix ingredients (or whisk in a bowl).

    3-Pour your diced potatoes into a jelly roll pan, and toss with the oil mixture. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.

    4-Roast for about 40 minutes, until the potatoes are well cooked, and browning on the edges. Take out of the oven, and sprinkle the juice of one lime over it. Taste test, and add more lime juice or salt, if needed and serve.

    Great! So glad it worked out for you and those potatoes sound delicious. ~Elise

  • Charlotte Toerber

    Dear Elise,

    I’m in the process of trying to plan a Mexican buffet menu. I’m intrigued by this casserole. A few questions. If I wanted to make this the vegetarian dish on the buffet (though I love Chorizo)would I use the same amount of cheese or add some?

    Also, did you ever try the piccadillo recipe that was posted. Also sounds interesting, though still leaning towards that chorizo.

    Any other thoughts for a vegetarian Mexican entree if I decide I just have to do this Chorizo one (which everyone seems to love).

    Hi Charlotte, the chile rellenos I grew up with were only stuffed with Monterey jack cheese. You can sort of stuff the chiles with whatever you want. If you are going vegetarian, then skip the chorizo. Use chopped cooked potatoes that have some spice on them. Or use a Mexican or jack or cheddar cheese. ~Elise

  • Karrie Youngblood

    I was looking for a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning. I am getting tired of the same old thing. (Biscuits and gravy, much to my daughters chagrin) I found this recipe and decided to try it. It looked so good. I live in Rural Alaska so couldn’t get chorizo so substituted breakfast sausage. The poblano peppers at the store looked really bad so I substituted in Anaheim peppers, and because I am sometimes lazy, I chose to layer the peppers instead of stuffing them. Also I chose to grill the peppers instead of cooking them in the oven. In Alaska we grill all year long. Other then that I followed the recipe to the tee (LOL). It was wonderful, so good in fact that there wasn’t any left over. Next time I make it I will try to get poblono peppers, because I love them. I love your recipes, I have made quite a few and your blog is fast becoming my go to site for recipes. Food network is coming in second!

  • Linda Smith

    Holy Wonderful – Blog-Woman !! Absolutely love Chile-Rellenos … but what a pain to make the ‘real’ ones. This recipe gives me all the flavor with 1/10 the work. We had them this week and I can hardly wait to make them again !! I only made a 1/2 batch, next time a full one for sure, we gobbled up 3 chilies each, waaaay too quickly :=)
    I couldn’t find the cheese called for, so just used cheddar & cheddar-jack. Stuffed ’em with a shredded cooked (boiled) chicken breast and cheddar mix. 1 small breast was plenty for the smaller batch, seasoned it with just a touch of chili powder and voila … dinner in a dish .. gotta love casseroles.
    The most difficult part was roasting the chilies, LOL, I just did it on a small stainless rack like one you’d use to cool cookies on, over my gas stove burner. I could do 2 – 3 at once since they were on the small side, and the rack enabled me to stand them on their ends so the whole chili got blackened.

  • Kath

    Thanks for the great recipe, Elise! I had 5 poblano chiles from the flea market in Orland, California. I adjusted the amounts of the ingredients and made a casserole that was a bit smaller. We LOVED the results! Leftovers were great heated up for breakfast. :)

  • Claudia

    This dish is soooo good. It’s a little time consuming but it’s so worth it. Awesome left over! It was even better the next day. Even if you don’t need to feed 8 make it and freeze the rest

  • Gloria

    I made this recipe last night and WOW! My husband and I just loved it. I substituted queso fresco for the cotija cheese. That tomato base is wonderful. I will use that same tomato base with my next pasta dish. I forwarded the recipe to my daughter and we dubbed it “Italian Style Chili Rellenos”.

  • Jennifer

    We love rellenos but my hubby was not so sure about a casserole version. We all agreed it was great, though. Next time I’ll make it for breakfast vs dinner, I think, and I’ll maybe add some kick to the tomatoes. I also think you could make this with Hatch roasted chiles that you can find all over Colorado in the late summer – that would make it really easy, too.

  • Debbie

    This was a very fun recipe to make AND tasted great! Thanks much!!

  • Travis

    Every time I try Elise’s recipes they turn out to be my favorite. This recipe takes a little while, but the end result is a flavor safari into Mexico!
    I do like to tweak the recipes in certain ways, depending on the day. Here is what I did for the stuffing:
    I took shredded chicken, and seasoned it with tequila, diced chipotle peppers(seed removed), lime juice, salt, pepper, lots of oregano, poultry seasoning, diced stuffed green olives, chile powder, and a portion of my favorite ground sumatra coffee from starbucks (just trust me on this one). This went well with mexican and monterey jack cheeses.
    Thanks for the recipe Ellise!

  • Pat

    I am becoming addicted to food blogs! Love yours Elise. Too bad I live in Oz, and have no access to poblano chilies. As I keep returning to this darn recipe, trying to imagine the taste. Yesterday I bought these small round red chilis, a bit larger than a golf ball, thinking I might have a go. Holy dooley hot!! .. not quite haberno, but a bit too hot to make the dish above. Is there any method to ‘tone’ down a chilli Elise?
    (i have already blackened and peeled them) so not quite sure where to go now).

    Not knowing the heat of a poblano – Is it closer to a capsicum? or still hot enough to be a chilli?

    Aye aye aye. In the chili world, red is hotter than green, and small is hotter than big. So you’re going in the wrong direction with that one Pat! ;-) See if you can find a mild green chili. In California they are called Anaheim green chilies. In New Mexico they are called Hatch green chilies. Everywhere else they are simply called green chilies. Poblanos are just big green chilies, slightly different flavor than the Anaheim, but Anaheim are used as well in chile rellenos. Regarding toning down a hot chile, you can do it 2 ways. Either spread that chile out among more food (with a blackened hot chile you can make a jerk marinade after removing the blackened part) or you can mix in a lot of fat – either through sour cream, full fat yogurt, or avocados. Fat absorbs the chemical that makes the chiles hot, which is why Mexican food is so often served with sour cream and Indian food with yogurt. Good luck! ~Elise

  • Deborah

    OH yes! Just finished the dish. Did a little subtitiuting like basil in ground chicken, presentation is simple and beautiful. A bit too much egg, otherwise it’s a hit. Looks exactly like the picture. Tastes great. Will share at work tomorrow. I suggest decreasing the egg amount to half, and saving some sauce for topping.

  • Tartine

    Elise, I posted my review on this recipe on the Cooks Illustrated Bulletin Board, so please forgive the cut and paste job. This was excellent, even though I substituted the 12 eggs with 12 equivalents of the Costco brand Kirkland Egg Starts!! I can’t believe how good this was. Here’s my review:

    I had bookmarked this recipe too, and finally made this tonight. I highly recommend this recipe if you want chiles relleno but don’t want the fried version. If you decide to make this dish it’s an easy recipe, even if it’s not a very quick one. Then again, for the CI folks this would be a cake walk. I couldn’t believe the rise I got out of this dish, considering I subbed the entire 12 eggs the recipe calls for with Kirkland Egg Starts. This was such a visually appealing dish that I had to photograph. Following are the notes:

    1) The only modification I made was using 100% egg whites. Yes, I’m sorry but I just couldn’t bring myself to use 12 eggs on top of the 1 cup of Cotija and the 1.5 cups of Monterey Jack (cheddar is the other option). I knew I was taking a risk but I was confident that the 1/3 cup of flour and the 1 tsp of baking powder that the recipe asks you to add to the eggs would help my Kirkland Egg Starts set up. They did, beautifully. And I made sure I let it go the full 30 minutes to ensure the eggs were not runny. Once I saw the color and the rise, I knew I would be home free if I let the dish cool down to the tepid state. Believe me that was hard because the smell from this was awesome.

    2) I did not use separate skillets for the tomato sauce base and the sausage. Once the tomatoes were done, I poured them into the pyrex, wiped the pan with paper towels and proceeded to saute the chorizo. I was determined to keep the mess to a minimum.

    3) I subbed 1/2 tsp of dried oregano for the 1 tsp fresh because I was out.

    4) For roasting the poblanos, I lined the broiler pan with heavy duty aluminum foil so once the chiles were done, I just removed the liner and my pan was clean.

    5) The recipe asks you to cool the chiles in a brown paper bag or heavy duty plastic bag when they come out of the oven. Just use a grocery paper bag. Slip the whole pan into it, and just lower the opening of the bag shut as much as you are able to.

    6) Be careful not to overcook and char the chiles. Blistering and browning is fine. A couple of the chiles were so soft they fell apart but being used to making stuffed grape leaves, i applied the concept and it worked out fine.

    Thanks Elise for yet another winner. I make many of your dishes, but rarely post. This was beyond good!

  • andrea

    I always wrap chiles in a damp linen towel after taking them out of the oven, instead of the freezer bag method. It saves money since I seem to go through them a lot.

  • Anu

    I made this for Mother’s Day brunch and it was a huge hit! I used chopped mushrooms, zucchini, onion, and some soy ground round with spices mixed in, instead of chorizo (we had vegetarians to cook for). Thanks for a great recipe – it’s a keeper!

  • anya

    Elise, this looks great. It makes me long for all the great Mexican food in Tucson – my hometown too. In particular, there was this great little place off Grande that served Barbacoa. We’d get a bag of this thinly sliced beef in a marinade and take it home and BBQ it. Do you know what this would be? I hope you are familiar with this – if so, you know how delicious this is! I check your site about every day and I have made a number of your excellent recipes.

    Hi Anya, sounds like carne asada. ~Elise

  • Karen

    Fixed this recipe last night and it was great. My husband really liked it. I had difficulty finding chorizo and cotija cheese; used Italian sausage and Jack cheese instead. I might try the feta next time. Also, I halved the recipe and it worked out fine.

  • Deborah Rosen

    OK – I need some education here! Are these chilis hot?

    Depends on how you define hot. Poblano chilies are considered somewhat mild. Hotter than Anaheims, but not as hot as jalapenos. ~Elise

  • Jean

    Thanks for a great recipe — I made it yesterday in stages – it lends itself to doing the peppers early, stuffing later, eggs later still. Mine was a bit soupy, but probably because I subbed egg substitute for 4 of the eggs and also maybe under-did it a bit. It was absolutely delish with soyrizo.
    Thanks — great photo too!

  • Shayla

    I was so excited to see this recipe. Made it today and it is a huge hit! It’s even better than one my favorite taco-ria used to serve because of your addition of tomato sauce. I did one thing differently, after the tomato sauce, I layered cheese, green chili, sausage, more cheese, then another layer of green chile, because my chilis always turn out too soft to keep whole. I love your website! Thanks!

  • Jeanette

    This recipe is a keeper, very yummy.

  • Susan from Food Blogga

    They are time intensive to make but so worth the effort after even one mouthful.

  • Grace

    I have made this from the Sunset Magazine Recipe for Easter Brunch. It was very good, a tad salty. you do not need any extra salt – the cotija cheese can be salty. Enjoy

  • Ari

    An alternative for cheese or chorizo (being Mexican, I’ve never eaten or heard of a chile relleno de chorizo), is picadillo:

    For about 4 portions:

    1/2 cup water
    6oo grams ground beef (sorry, I don’t use pounds)
    1 tablespoon oil
    2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 onion, finely chopped
    1 large tomato, finely chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    1 cup cabbage, chopped
    1/2 cup almonds, halved
    5 olives, chopped
    10 capers, chopped
    A dash of sherry
    Salt and pepper to taste

    In a saucepan, add water and ground beef, breaking up the meat. Cover for about a minute. When the meat starts browning, stir it so it can brown evenly. Cover for another minute. Add the oil, garlic, onion and tomato. Stir. Cover and let boil. Add the pepper, cabbage, almonds, olives and capers. Add the sherry. Stir well and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover until it boils. Lower the heat, and cook covered for about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid has mostly evaporated. Mostly, not completely.

    This recipe tastes great alone, in enchiladas or chiles rellenos. I hope you find it useful!

    Hi Ari, thanks for the picadillo recipe, it looks great! I too had never heard of chorizo being used as a stuffing for a chile relleno, but it was pretty good, especially with the cotija cheese. Then again, this is more of a TexMex recipe than a Mexican one. ~Elise

  • oceanbug

    OMG I can’t wait to make this.
    I have a recipe I call a chilie relleno cassarole, you need to use freash, roasted green chilie in it. Here it is just for your info.

    Chili Relleno Casserole

    1 lb Hamburger meat
    1 doz, Green Chilies
    1 ½ cups Cheddar cheese
    8 Eggs
    ¼ cup Flour
    1 1/2 cups Milk

    Brown hamburger meat with spices salt and pepper and onion.
    Beat up eggs, flour and milk and add Tabasco salt and pepper.
    Layer green chilies sprinkle salt, hamburger meat, cheddar cheese finish with cheese
    Cover and bake covered at 350 for ½ hrs remove foil and cook another ½ hr done when knife inserted comes clean.

  • jonathan

    I’ve seen recipes that suggest feta as a substitute for cotija, both being more on the salty side. Just crumble it very well (like the cotija) and use sparingly. Hey Elise…Muir Glen fire-roasted dice tomatoes for the tomato sauce? You said “thin” sauce, so did you drain beforehand or puree afterwards? This looks like a nice alternative to the typical brunch/breakfast holiday casseroles that call for a ton of bread in them.

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    This is one dish where substituting chicken chourico or spicy turkey sausage would be great (for those of us who don’t do pork). I love cotija cheese, and live near enough to a good Latino market to be able to find it easily. Thanks for another great recipe.

  • merd

    I agree with Ray… get your Hatch on! The Poblanos will have a wonderful flavor without as much heat. Is cojita kind of like the hard, crumbly version of ricotta cheese? More salty than sweet? I bet it adds a nice dimension to the dish. Have to look for it and try some :)

  • Ray

    This recipe sounds great, but being a native of Southern New Mexico I would suggest using Mesilla Valley green chilis from Hatch NM. They have a smoother flavor, but more bite than Poblanos.

  • lacey

    Another idea for those who may not want to go for the whole casserole or the eggs is to roast the chiles and stuff, then bake in the oven as individual rellenos until the cheese melts. My favorite Mexican restaurant in Houston does this – their stuffing is the juiciest shredded, seasoned chicken and tons of jack cheese. my mouth waters.

  • Debby

    You lost me at “cotija cheese” I find it to be the most repulsive of all cheeses. Might there be a substitute for it? Because it, otherwise sounds WONDERFUL.

    If I wasn’t using cotija, I would use Monterey Jack or cheddar. ~Elise

  • Nick

    I just saw a recipe for this yesterday somewhere, but this one looks better…A dozen eggs? Why so many, to hold everything together?

    Hi Nick, The casserole serves 8 people. If you want, you can easily cut it in half. ~Elise

  • jennifuh

    Sounds delish, but I hate eggs with a passion (sorry!). Is there any way to cut back on or eliminate the eggs? I make my chiles rellenos with a beer batter, though I can’t imagine filling a casserole dish with beer batter :-) Maybe cornbread batter?