This Chili Relleno Casserole recipe is a casserole version of the classic Chile Relleno dish. Made with layers of whole green chiles, Pepper Jack Cheese, cheddar cheese, and a fluffy egg batter, this vegetarian dish is perfect as a comforting main meal or yummy side dish!
Table of Contents
Authentic Chili Rellenos are a classic Mexican dish made by stuffing chili peppers with meat and cheese, coating them in batter, and deep frying them until they are golden and crisp. They are incredible and one of my favorite menu items to order, but not as easy to make at home.
This easy casserole version takes the essence of Chili Rellenos and turns it into a quick weeknight meal! It is a great recipe to have on hand to use as a side dish for my Mexican Whole Roasted Chicken or can be used as a main dish with sides like Mexican Rice.
My friend Jana shared this recipe with me and it's one of our new favorites. It came from one of those family recipe book compilations from the 90's with the note "good" next to it, which is a clear indication of a winner if ever there was one.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This easy recipe is so versatile, you can change it to match your flavor preference or heat level perfectly!
- We'll be using simple ingredients you may already have in your pantry.
- Quick to make, this dish comes together in less than an hour!
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Green Chiles - We'll use one large can of whole green chilies. You can use fresh chile peppers if you prefer by roasting them on the grill until charred, then sealing them in a ziploc bag for 20 minutes before peeling off the outer charred skin.
- Milk - Any milk will work here, but using whole milk will give you the creamiest taste.
- Eggs - Eggs in this dish will hold everything together and give it a thicker casserole-like substance that you can cut into slices. They also make this recipe a good source of protein!
- Flour - All-purpose flour will work well here to help the casserole keep its form.
- Seasoning - We'll use a simple but flavorful combination of kosher salt, smoked paprika, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Cheese - I've used a mix of cheddar cheese and Pepper Jack cheese, but you can use a Mexican cheese mix, Monterey Jack cheese, or Mozzarella cheese if you wish.
How to Make Chile Rellenos Casserole
- Make first layer. Take the chiles out of the can and split them lengthwise. You don't need to bother washing or removing seeds. You can do this if you want it a bit milder, but we like a bit of an extra kick in ours. Place half of the chilies in the bottom of the dish.
- Add cheese. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese on top.
- Repeat layers. Repeat with another layer of chilies and the remaining cheese.
- Make sauce. Blend the milk, eggs, flour, salt, paprika, and pepper until smooth.
- Add sauce on top. Pour the mixture over the top of the chilies and cheese.
- Bake. Bake the casserole for 40-50 minutes until it is set. Remove it from the oven and slice it to serve hot.
Chile Relleno means "stuffed pepper" in English. Sometimes called Chili Rellenos, it's a classic Mexican dish made by stuffing poblano peppers with ground meat and cheese, coating them in an egg batter, and deep-frying them until they're golden and crisp! Chile poblano is just another name for a poblano pepper. Poblano chiles are more flavor than jalapeños but are milder in spiciness.
Yes! There are a few ways you can prepare ahead to save time on the day. You can roast the peppers and keep them in the fridge for up to 2 days. Roasted peppers will also keep in the freezer for up to 3 months to use in the casserole later. Alternatively, you can assemble the whole casserole and keep it covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours before baking. You can even assemble the casserole and freeze it before baking - this way it will last for up to 3 months. Simply defrost in the refrigerator overnight and bake as usual.
Store chile rellenos casserole after it has been baked and cooled in an airtight container, or covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven.
Freeze a baked and cooled casserole for up to 3 months - it is best to freeze it before baking it though, so the cheese can melt on the day of serving it.
Tips for Success
- Remove the seeds from the chilis and wash the chilis if you don't want the casserole to be as spicy. Alternatively, you can use bell peppers to get a completely mild version.
- Serve your Chile Rellenos with some Mexican Rice, Refried Beans, and Mexican Restaurant-Style Salsa, or try some Pico de Gallo, Texas Cowboy Caviar, or Grilled Mexican Street Corn.
How to Roast your Own Peppers
If you prefer, you can use fresh peppers to make this recipe, but I would recommend roasting them first to enhance the flavor and make them a bit softer for the casserole. Roasting peppers is easier than you might think.
You can roast peppers on an open flame on a gas stove or grill, but I normally use a broiler as I find it easier.
- Wash the peppers and pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Slice the peppers in half, removing the stems and membranes, but you can leave the seeds if you want a bit of extra spice.
- Place the pepper halves in a preheated oven with the broiler on high and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the skins are charred black and wrinkled.
- Remove from oven and immediately put the peppers in a glass bowl, covering it tightly with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to rest for about 30 minutes so they can soften a bit in the steam. This will cause the skins to loosen a bit as well.
- Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel the charred skin away from the pepper "meat" and discard the skins. Use right away or store in a jar in the fridge with 2 tablespoons of olive oil for 3 days or in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer for up to 6 months.
See my post How to Roast Red Peppers for full instructions, hints, and tips!
Substitutions and Variations
- Turn up the heat. Add some cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or red pepper flakes to the egg mixture for more spice, or choose a hotter pepper (see below).
- Change the peppers. Each type of chili pepper will have its own heat threshold of spiciness that is usually measured on the Scoville scale that goes from 0 (Bell Pepper) to 1.4-2.2 million (Carolina Reaper Pepper). Poblano Peppers are very flavorful and have a bit of a kick to them, but they really aren't very intense. They are spicier than anaheim peppers but milder than hatch green chiles, which in turn are milder than jalapeno peppers. Use the type of pepper that you prefer for the level of heat, but bear in mind that each pepper can vary in heat within its type.
- Cheese. You need 3 cups of cheese total, but you can use any kind of decent melting cheese that you like. You can add some extra cheese to the top of the casserole if you like.
- Tomato Sauce. Some recipes for chile rellenos use some kind of tomato sauce on the side. Try my Ranchero Sauce for a bit of spice and extra flavor, or my Mexican Salsa for a milder flavor.
- Stuff the peppers. Instead of slicing the peppers in half and using them to make layers, you can keep the peppers whole, slice the tops off, and hollow them out. Then use cheese sticks to stuff the peppers, then lay them in the casserole dish, adding the egg mixture and extra cheese on top.
- Add meat. Authentic Chile Rellenos will be made with ground beef as well as an egg mixture and cheese, so you can add a ground beef layer to the casserole for a more authentic flavor if you like.
More Mexican Food Recipes
- Easy Chorizo con Papas (Mexican Potatoes with Chorizo)
- Huevos Rancheros
- Best Ground Beef Enchiladas Recipe
- Chicken Flautas
- Grilled Pork Tacos al Pastor
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Easy Chili Relleno Casserole Recipe
- 1 (27-ounce) can whole green chilis
- 1½ cups milk
- 6 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ pound cheddar cheese, grated
- ¼ pound pepper jack cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Split chilies lengthwise - no need to bother washing or removing seeds. Place half of the chilies in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese. Repeat with another layer of chilies and the remaining cheese.
- Blend milk, eggs, flour, salt, paprika, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Pour over chilies and cheese.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes until set and golden brown on top. Remove from oven and slice to serve.
- Storage: Store after it has been baked and cooled in an airtight container, or covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven.
- Freezing: Freeze for up to 3 months - it is best to freeze it before baking it though, so the cheese can melt on the day of serving it.