If you like Chiles Rellenos, this easy to make casserole is for you! This dish has all the flavor of a Chile Relleno without all the mess and fuss.
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I grew up in SoCal, which meant that absolutely scrumptious Mexican food—the authentic kind—was always readily available. That was a treat, let me tell you. I was a lucky kid. We ate at some of the greatest little Mexican food joints probably once a week.
My mom used to make this chile rellenos casserole recipe that was one of my favorite dishes. In fact, this recipe was perhaps the most requested one in her entire dinner rotation—I would have eaten it twice a week, every week.
My mom like the casserole plain, without all the extra toppings. But now that I’m all grown up, I served it my own way. My family likes this easy chile relleno recipe topped with a little enchilada sauce that we pass on the side. Pretty much everyone in my family also likes a generous dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions. Plus, of course, fresh cilantro!
I adore authentic chiles relleno Mexicanos, but honestly, any decent chile relleno recipe is pretty difficult to make. Charring and peeling the peppers takes a huge chunk of time—and sometimes the batter doesn’t adhere well to the pepper. That creates its own host of problems. Then there’s the frying… UGH. No matter how accomplished you are as a cook, no matter how many times you’ve fried something, there’s still a massive mess to clean up after frying in your own kitchen. I’m talking a whole kitchen mess—floors, walls, dishes, etc. Plus, if your oil isn’t hot enough you end up with a greasy or soggy chile relleno batter.
Let me tell you, that is NOT a pretty picture.
This recipe avoids all that by making a delicious casserole dish similar to a baked chile relleno recipe or a stuffed chile relleno recipe. I use readily available whole canned Ortega chilies, and layer them with a cheese filling. Yuuuum. Top that off with a fluffy soufflé-like egg batter for a perfectly textured dish.
Thinking about chiles relleno “breakfast casserole” is not what comes to mind. Yet when you consider the ingredients (eggs, milk, chiles, etc.), it’s not hard to see that the dish actually works pretty well served for breakfast. When I’m choosing to make it deliberately as a breakfast dish, I sometimes leave off the enchilada sauce. That helps to make the dish taste more like an egg dish than a Mexican entrée.
As I’ve grown up I’ve found that with chile relleno casserole Pioneer Woman has a pretty similar recipe. I like mine better—it uses more cheese and has an awesome topping combination—but it was good to know that lots of people are finding out about this healthy chile relleno recipe. It’s a super easy weeknight dinner. There are not hours of clean up grease splatter all over your kitchen, and it’s every bit as delicious!
Give it a try and see for yourself.
Chiles: Authentic chiles rellenos are made with either Anaheim or Poblano chiles. This recipe uses whole, canned Ortega chilies—those are Anaheim chilies. Conveniently, they come already charred and peeled. Peeling and charring is one of the most time-consuming parts of a chile relleno dish, so have it pre-done is a real time saver.
Anaheim chilies are the mildest of the chilies; they have a wonderful, slightly sweet taste. All you need to do is remove them from the can, pat them dry with a paper towel, and split them in half lengthwise to remove the seeds. Then… enjoy!
If you like things on the spicy side, feel free the leave the seeds in. My family likes the sweet chiles without the seeds, so that’s what I serve.
Fresh vs. Canned: If you want to try this chile relleno casserole recipe with fresh chilies (which I think is the correct spelling, not “chile relleno casserole recipe with fresh chilies”), you absolutely can! You’ll just need to do that charring and peeling on your own. I’ve made this recipe with fresh chilies a few times and I really can’t tell a difference in flavor in the finished dish. Traditionalists will insist that on using fresh chilies in this recipe. But I just think using the Ortega chilies from a can yield just as delicious as a casserole as fresh chilies—and the canned chilies are way easier.
If you want to go for the fresh route, here’s the basic process:
- Place the chile directly on an open flame, like a gas burner or a barbecue. You really need that open flame to correctly charr the chile. Turn the pepper every minute or so, never letting it sit too long on one side. The skin on the chile will begin to blacken and blister—you might occasionally hear a popping sound.
- When most of the skin is covered with black areas or blisters, place the chile in a plastic bag and seal it. As the peppers sit in the bag, the skin will steam and, after a few minutes, you can easily peel them. Using this method, you should generally only need your fingers for the peeling process.
- Once peeled, rinse the peppers under running water and pat them dry.
- Split the chilies in half lengthwise and remove the seeds (or leave them in for a spicier dish!)
If you want to make this chiles relleno casserole with fresh poblanos (a slightly spicier chile), you can follow the exact same charring and peeling process. I prefer Anaheim chilies, but some folks like this casserole spicier than I do.
Meat: You may notice that this is a vegetarian dish as written. While I’m definitely not a vegetarian, it is nice to know that I can whip something up for my family that doesn’t have any meat it. Just because I can.
I think that this dish is fantastic without any meat. I prefer it with only the ingredients listed, and I’m pretty confident that it doesn’t need any meat. The eggs and chilies give it enough substance to be filling, and enough flavor that I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.
However, I know I have some carnivores in my audience. So be aware that you can make this chile relleno casserole with ground beef. Just brown the beef before adding it into the casserole and bake as normal.
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Chiles Rellenos Casserole
- 4-7 Ounce Cans Whole Green Chiles Drained
- 8 Ounces 2 Cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Shredded
- 8 Ounces 2 Cups Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
- 5 Eggs
- 1 1/4 Cups Whole Milk
- 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Cup Enchilada Sauce Warmed
- 1 Cup Sour Cream
- 1 Cup Cilantro Roughly Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Green Onions thinly Sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 X 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Remove chiles from can, split in half lengthwise, remove seeds, and rinse. Lay on paper towels and pat to dry.
- Add eggs, milk, flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder to a medium bowl and beat until smooth.
- Arrange a single layer of chiles in the prepared baking dish, cover the bottom completely. Sprinkle 1/3 of each cheese evenly over peppers. Repeat with two more layers. Pour egg mixture over chiles.
- Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes, or until center is set. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.
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