This easy chile relleno casserole is made with fresh chile peppers for authentic Mexican flavor with low effort. This casserole features layers of spicy chiles combined with gooey cheese and topped off with an egg batter. Get chile relleno flavor without deep frying!
I love Chiles Rellenos, but making them is pretty complicated. This casserole is an easy way to get all the taste of chile relleno without all the work! So since I am always looking for cooking shortcuts I love this casserole!
The easy casserole recipe is meatless and is baked and not fried. It goes well with Arroz Verde or Mexican rice if you want to serve a vegetarian Mexican meal. It is also suitable for breakfast or brunch!
What is Chiles Rellenos?
Making authentic chile relleno involves stuffing chile peppers with cheese, covering them in batter and deep frying the peppers. The deep fried peppers are then served with a spicy red salsa.
Authentic chiles rellenos are delicious, but I don’t deep fry stuff at home and stuffing and battering individual chile peppers is tedious. So this chile relleno casserole is a much simpler way to get a similar taste.
What Kind of Peppers to Use?
The simple answer is that you can use any kind of chile pepper you want in this casserole. Poblano peppers and Anaheim peppers are frequently used to make chile relleno. But hatch chiles, jalapenos or any other kind will work.
I like to make this casserole with a combination of chiles. The combination of four different types of chile peppers, Poblano, Anaheim, California and Jalapeno peppers make a slightly spicy and delicious casserole.
Last summer I got a big batch of hatch chiles and made the casserole with all hatch chiles. It was so spicy! My husband wouldn’t eat it, so my son and I had to eat it all ourselves. This was no hardship at all!
So choose your chiles wisely, because the spiciness of the chiles will determine the spiciness of the casserole. It is probably best to try it first with just a few hatch or jalepenos in the mix to see how you like it.
Can I Use Canned Chiles?
Canned chiles work fine to make this chile relleno casserole. I like to use fresh chiles because then I can vary the spiciness and control the type of peppers used.
Canned chiles tend to be mostly Anaheim peppers, which are mild. They make a delicious and kid friendly casserole. In addition use canned chiles lets you skip the step of roasting the chile peppers, so this becomes a quicker recipe.
What Size Casserole Dish?
Changing the size of the casserole dish changes how the casserole comes out. I have made this in a small casserole dish, which is about 6 inches by 9 inches. This makes the casserole thick, which is perfect if you want to cut it into squares.
I have also made it in a larger 8 inch by 12 inch casserole dish. This makes a flatter, thinner casserole which is better for scooping onto chips as an appetizer.
Roasting the Peppers
The first step in making the casserole is to roast the fresh peppers. Roasting makes it easy to remove the outer skin layer and gives the peppers a nice flavor.
There are lots of ways to roast peppers. The basic idea is to char the skin with high heat. You can do this by using a gas oven or a grill or just baking them. Lately I have been using my air fryer to roast peppers, which is quick and easy.
However you cook the peppers heat them until the skins are blackened, flipping once or twice. This will take 20-30 minutes if you are baking them, and 5-10 minutes if you are using an open flame, grill or air fryer.
Then take the peppers off the heat and put them in a plastic bag or covered bowl. Let them steam for about 10 minutes which will loosen the skin. After 10 minutes gently peel off the skin and throw it out.
Once the peppers are roasted you can cut the tops off and discard insides and the seeds. Then it is time to assemble the casserole.
How to Make Chile Relleno Casserole
Layer 1 – Chile Peppers
This casserole is made up of layers. The first layer is the chile peppers that you just roasted, or canned peppers if you prefer.
You can leave the peppers whole or chop them into bite sized pieces. I prefer to chop them because it makes serving the casserole easier.
Spread the peppers in a casserole dish and cover the bottom of the dish with the roasted peppers.
Layer 2 – Cheese
The next layer is the cheese. I use Monterey Jack cheese for this layer. This cheese melts well, so it gives you a nice gooey layer, but it is mild so the chile flavor stands out.
You could also use queso fresco, but it doesn’t melt well and I prefer the texture of a melty cheese. Cheddar would also work as a cheese for the dish.
Layer 3 – Egg Batter
The third layer of the casserole is an eggy batter made by mixing eggs with milk, cornmeal, baking powder and salt, similar to the coating you would find on the fried chiles rellenos.
Mix the batter well and then pour it over the other two layers. The eggs will bind the other two layers together as they cook.
Bake the Casserole
Once the casserole is assembled it is baked at 450 F for 15-20 minutes. The casserole will puff up and get brown on top as it bakes. As it cools it collapses back down to have a flat top.
Toppings for Chiles Rellenos Casserole
This casserole is excellent served by itself, but it also delicious with added toppings. Here are some toppings that you could add:
- pickled jalapenos
- sour cream
- green onions
- pico de gallo
- tortilla chips
Serving the Casserole
This dish is pretty versatile! You can cut it into squares and serve it with the toppings, or just spoon it onto tortilla chips. Wrap the leftovers in corn tortillas and you have a quick burrito for breakfast or lunch.
You can serve this casserole anytime you want a Mexican inspired side dish. It is excellent for taco Tuesdays or a holiday like Cinco de Mayo or Mother’s Day brunch.
My kids loved this with tortilla chips, and it makes a great game time treat for football snacking. It is an easy side dish you can serve for lots and lots of occassions.
Find More Party Appetizers
- 2 poblano chile peppers
- 2 anaheim chile peppers
- 1 California green chile pepper
- 1 Jalapeno chile pepper
- 6 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Roast the chile peppers by broiling or cooking over a flame until the skin is blackened.
- Let them sit in a bowl covered in plastic wrap for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450.
- Peel the blackened skin off the peppers, then remove the seeds and chop.
- Use a 9 x 6 inch casserole dish for a thick casserole you can cut into squares. Use an 8 x 12 inch casserole dish for a thinner casserole better for tortilla chips.
- Spread the chili peppers in a casserole pan and sprinkle the cheese on top.
- Combine the eggs, milk, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a bowl, and mix well making sure there are no lumps.
- Pour the mixture over the chile peppers and cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly brown on top.
- Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, jalapenos, avocado, green onions or other toppings.
You can use other types of chile peppers if you like, such as hatch chiles. The spicier the chile peppers the spicier the resulting dish will be.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 152Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 326mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 9g
Nutrition facts are estimates.