Easy Chiles Rellenos Recipe
I thought I could share a family-favorite Mexican dish with you, that’s full of flavor — and restaurant quality — yet super quick and easy to make.
I have enjoyed Mexican foods my whole life. As I recall, when I was younger, they were often the cheapest restaurant you could eat at. Nowadays, where I live, they’re often the most expensive. So we started to wonder if we could make more restaurant-quality Mexican dishes at home. Some we can, others not so much. But by far, the most successful is our easy make-at-home chile rellenos, which are not only simple to make — once you take the right approach — but they’re super inexpensive, too! This “centsible” recipe will feed your whole family for the price of one plate of chile rellenos at a restaurant!
Of course, I want my family to eat healthily, too. And, although we aren’t vegetarians per se, I am happier when nothing has to die for our evening meal, you know? So when we looked around our market for better solutions, we discovered Nellie’s Free Range Eggs. Nellie’s Free Range Eggs are dedicated to the humane treatment of its hens, and their eggs are Certified Humane. Also, the hens live on a network of 125 free-range, small, family run farms. Plus, they’re truly a super food — highly nutritious. They’re super delicious, too. Plus, we know the eggs were produced with kindness, which is a comforting thought for me. Nellie’s eggs are a true “comfort food!”
So, here’s how we make for-real, full-of-flavor chile rellenos at home — and no deep frying necessary! This is a recipe that easily scales up or down if you like.
First, I crack and separate 6 eggs. Actually, I often double the recipe because they’re so good.
With Nellie’s Free Range Eggs, the shells are healthily robust so they’re easier to use than most (more fragile) eggs. You can see the freshness — the egg yolks stand up taller, and are rounder, often fertilized, and the color is a rich orange-y color than the flat/pale eggs from factory farms.
Then, I whip up the egg whites. Nellie’s work especially well here, and fluff up quickly and considerably more than you might expect. Whip them with an electric beater or mixer until soft peaks will form.
Next, beat your egg yolks with a half-tablespoon of flour. The flour gives it a bit of texture, making them more of a batter than a fluffy omelet, but if you like, you can leave that out.
The Nellie’s Free Range Egg yolks will be a darker orange than factory-farmed eggs, yet as they are blended, they’ll turn a lighter yellow when ready — not fluffy but lighter with a little air mixed in.
This process takes us five to ten minutes, mostly depending on how fast I can find the electric beater. Here’s our whipped, fresh eggs, ready to be mixed together — quickly yet with a little care.
First add some of the fluffy whites to the yolks and stir with a silicone scraper.
You’re not really trying to preserve the fluffiness of the whites yet, just lightening up the yolks.
Then add your yolks to your whites and gently “fold” them together. The movement is to “cut” into the fluffy whites and sort of flop the yolks over on top of them, repeating that gentle motion until they’re mostly blended together.
Folding the yolks and whites together will just take a minute. They don’t need to be completely blended but should look something like this. You’ll have a very light and fluffy batter ready.
Heat a non-stick or cast-iron skillet on medium to medium-high heat, depending on how dark you want your chile rellenos to be. Add oil as needed for your pan — as little or as much as you like/need.
Then, ladle in some batter in the size you like for your chile relleno. Try not to crowd your pan to make them easier to turn cleanly. If you want to cook a lot fast, just use another pan.
(If you have one of those frying pans that has gotten warped over time, this can actually be a help here — just ladle the eggs around the edges.)
Place some chopped canned chiles onto your eggs, keeping them toward the middle, as they can sputter and burn if they make direct contact on the pan while cooking.
You have some flexibility here, and can add as little or as much of the chiles as you like. You can also add other ingredients, like grilled onions, garlic, different chiles, mushrooms, and so forth. I usually put a tablespoon of so of chiles on mine, while some of my kids like them cheese-only or chiles-only.
Add a layer of grated cheese on top of your chiles — again, as much or as little as you like. I’m using a Mexican cheese blend here, but you can use whatever you have on hand and enjoy. We’ve used everything from sharp cheddar to mozzarella (stringy!) to cream cheese with canned/chopped jalapenos for jalapeno-popper flavors. All delicious!
Note that, if you’re a purist, you can get whole canned chiles, insert slices of cheese inside, and lay them on top of the eggs, but we found that they took longer to cook and melt the cheese, which led to the eggs often getting overcooked, and you know, they were harder to eat, too. But as my good friend, Tony Alva, once said, “Go for what you know!” and do whatever you like. With eggs as delicious as these, you really can’t go wrong!
Here’s the big secret — simply ladle another layer of the egg batter on top of the chiles and cheese, with just enough to cover them. SO EASY! And no deep-frying needed!
Once the outside edge is set, flip each relleno over. If some of the batter falls out when it’s flipped, feel free to shape it back in before it’s cooked and set. Super easy and forgiving.
At this stage, I often cover them with a lid, to ensure they cook all the way through and the cheese is fully melted. Notice how they puff up like miniature Mexican souffles!
You can cook them as dark or light as you like, though I prefer them a light golden brown, as shown. Not shown: Several hungry children claiming their next chile relleno!
Top your rellenos with warmed “Red Sauce.” It is found next to enchilada sauces in your supermarket, and is similar to red enchilada sauce, which we also use, too (enchilada sauce can be slightly heavier, and typically includes some cumin, yet they are very similar).
On the other hand, if you are a verde person, you can use warmed green enchilada sauce — with or without blending with sour cream. YUM!
Because these chile rellenos take no more time to make than pancakes, we usually serve with canned refried beans (or crock-pot pinto beans), Spanish rice (boxed, usually with some extra canned “tomatoes with chiles”), and some warmed tortilla chips, too — just like your favorite Mexican restaurant serves! Garnish with chopped cilantro, green onions, extra grated cheese, and fresh salsa, if you like.
Altogether, each plate is delicious, healthy, conscientiously-made, and costs us less than a dollar to serve. Which is great, because our family wants multiple servings when the food is restaurant quality — yet made fresh at home — with a fresh and healthy boost from Nellie’s Free Range Eggs!
- 6 Nellie’s Free Range Eggs (may be doubled easily)
- 1/2 tablespoon White Flour (per 6 eggs)
- 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar (optional)
- 1 can chopped chiles (about 1 can per 6 eggs)
- Grated cheddar cheese (or Mexican cheese blend)
- Red Sauce (or Enchilada Sauce)
- Separate eggs.
- Whip egg whites with an electric beater or mixer until soft peaks form. Cream of Tartar may be added to help maintain “fluffiness.”
- Add 1/2 tablespoon flour for each 6 yolks.
- Beat egg yolk and flour until the color lightens, 1-2 minutes.
- With a scraper/spatula, gradually fold the yolks into the whites, until mostly blended.
- Add oil as needed to a non-stick skillet (or griddle) on medium (golden brown) to medium-high (darker brown) heat.
- Ladle batter into skillet for each relleno. Do not crowd your pan.
- Layer about 1 tablespoon of chopped chiles down the middle of each relleno.
- Layer about 1 tablespoon of grated cheese on top of the chiles.
- Layer egg batter on top of each relleno, enough to cover the cheese and chiles.
- When sides are set (about two minutes) carefully flip over.
- Cover and cook until egg is cooked and cheese is melted (another two minutes).
- Serve with warm Red Sauce (or enchilada sauce).
- Serving suggestions: Serve with Spanish rice, refried beans, and warm tortilla chips for the full restaurant-at-home experience. Garnish with fresh, chopped green onions and cilantro, and fresh salsa, if you like.
- Variations: Feel free to vary the chile, cheese, and sauce combinations, with different kinds or blends, as you like.