Chile Rellenos with Chipotle Cream Sauce

Chile Rellenos with Chipotle Cream Sauce

While I’ve made no mistake that Mexican is my favorite type of food, I don’t know if I’ve touched upon how obsessed I am with chile rellenos. They are my absolute favorite meal of all time –ย it’s hands-down what I’d pick if I were only able to eat one type of food for the rest of my life. Whenever I eat Mexican, it’s almost a guarantee that one will be ordered, if not for my actual meal, then most definitely as a side.

Chile Rellenos with Chipotle Cream Sauce

The problem, though, is that a lot of restaurants don’t know how to make a proper one. I only like poblanos stuffed with cheese; never ground beef, and I always have to clarify that just to be sure. I also like a light, yet crispy batter, and the cheese has to be stringy and delicious. I’ve had my fair share of bad chile rellenos, but also some of the best. This recipe, one of my mom’s specialties, takes the cake. Usually when she makes these, she layers them in a bed of enchilada sauce, but I like the chipotle cream sauce in this. It adds a bit of dimension to the already delicious poblano.

Chile Rellenos with Chipotle Cream Sauce

These chile rellenos came out very spicy, I am guessing that the poblanos in the store were of just a higher heat level than normal. With saying that, if your tolerance for spice is low, then I would absolutely recommend making these with canned whole green chiles. They are much more mild and won’t leave your mouth on fire. The cream sauce’s spice is completely up to you – add more of the chipotles for a spicier sauce. I used about 3 chipotles plus 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce and the spice level was perfect for me. The crispy batter and the melty cheese helps bring down the spice level a bit, but, we are making Mexican food after all, and I wanted to make something spicy – the main thing I love about chile rellenos.

Chile Rellenos with Chipotle Cream Sauce


Chile Rellenos with Chipotle Cream Sauce

2 medium tomatoes
1 cup red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
2-3 Tbsp oil
1 cup heavy cream
1-3 chipotle peppers, depending upon desired spice level, chopped plus 1 Tbsp of adobo sauce
4 poblanos (alternatively, you can use canned whole green chiles if poblanos are too spicy)
3 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1 Tbsp flour, plus more for dusting
4 oz monterrey jack cheese, cut up into thick strips, plus about 1/4 cup shredded to sprinkle on before they bake
Vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Begin by placing the tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle the oil, making sure to coat everything. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the onions are soft and the tomatoes begin to split from their peel and are completely cooked through. Place the ingredients in the baking dish into a food processor and blend until smooth.

In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream and chipotle peppers over medium heat. Add the blended tomato and onion mixture. Heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Turn your broiler onto high and place the poblanos in (if you are using a can of whole green chiles, skip to where you stuff them with cheese, as you won’t have to pre-cook them), watching carefully and charring all sides by turning frequently. Once the peppers have been charred, place in a paper bag or an airtight container and let sit for about 10 minutes. Once the peppers have softened, peel the skin off, it should slip off easily. Make a small slit and take out all of the seeds inside, being careful not to tear the pepper up too much. Stuff with the cheese; about 1 oz for each pepper. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, place the 3 egg whites in and beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Fold in the yolks and 1 Tbsp of flour gently until all incorporated. Place enough oil in the bottom of a nonstick pan to cover the bottom, about 1-2 Tbsps and heat over medium high heat.

Place about 1 Tbsp of flour on a plate. Roll the poblanos that are stuffed with cheese and make sure to coat them with the flour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the skillet, place a large spoonful of the batter into the oil.ย Nestle the poblano stuffed with cheese into the batter and spoon over another spoonful on top. Cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and flip over and cook on the other side until golden brown. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining poblanos.

In the bottom of an oven-proof dish, spoon about 3/4 of the chipotle cream sauce in. Place the fried poblanos on top. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. Serve with another spoonful of chipotle cream sauce on top if desired.

Chile Rellenos with Chipotle Cream Sauce

Chile Rellenos with Chipotle Cream Sauce

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26 thoughts on “Chile Rellenos with Chipotle Cream Sauce

    1. haha thank you!!! I wish I could send you some of my leftovers since I always have too much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. One of the Mexican places by my office that I want to take you to has the best chile relleno burrito – it’s stuffed with cheese and herbs, then covered with a roasted tomato habanero salsa, and their amazing beans! You will love it!

    1. Oh my goddddd I wish I could go there today, that sounds amazingggg! You always know the best Mexican restaurants, you’ll have to have a few to take me to because I’m sure I’ll want it more than a couple of times!

    1. Thank you so much!! They’re pretty easy to make after you get the hang of them- if you make them I hope he loves them!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I had a question which chipotle pepper do I use the dry one or the fresh on and do I chop it up when I place it onto the sauce or how?

        1. Hi! You use the canned type (here’s what they look like: you can just roughly chop them or mince them fine – it all depends on your preference. I chop them up so there’s not huge bits of them throughout the sauce. If you’d rather, you can always add them to the blender and puree them smooth when you put the tomatoes, onions, and garlic in.

          Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

    1. haha they are absolutely the BEST – that is, as long as you get a good one…sometimes they are listed as poblanos on menus ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ll definitely need to try one soon!

    1. Hi Kay! The only reason I don’t have process images is just because I don’t get the greatest light in my kitchen – but I think you’re right in recipes like these where it would be helpful to see the battering process to try and include those images. I will definitely do that in the future and will try to update this post with process images. Thanks for the suggestion, I really appreciate it!

  2. I found some magnificent poblanos in my supermarket the other day, decided to make chile rellenos, and went shopping on the Internet to find a new recipe, being not satisfied with any of my previous efforts. I found your recipe, and was a bit dubious at first. I looked around your site a bit and thought to myself, “What does a North Carolinian know about Mexican food anyway?” See, I’m a Native Texan who has also lived in New Mexico, so I’ve eaten some damned fine chile rellenos over the years, but successfully making them myself has always eluded me. Still, I was captivated mostly by the photos, and decided to try it. Well let me tell you, I’m glad that I did, because I discovered that a North Carolinian does indeed know a thing or two about chile rellenos! This dish is absolutely righteous, and is among the 2-3 best I’ve tasted anytime, anywhere. I never would have believed a cream sauce would work with this, but knock me over with a feather, it turned out beautifully and is so delicious! Thanks for a rockin’ recipe!

    1. Thank you so much! You have no idea how much your comment means to me – especially coming from a Texan! And the among the top you’ve ever had? Seriously, that is one of the biggest compliments ever. I am so glad you gave these a try – it really is my absolute all time favorite dish. Again, thank you so much for letting me know what you thought of the recipe and I’m so happy it turned out so well! Hope you have a great day!

  3. You have no idea how hard it was for a Texan to say all that, but it’s well-deserved. I certainly wouldn’t say it’s an easy recipe — at times I felt busier than a one-armed paperhanger — but I’ll definitely do it again. Battering the little suckers without tearing them to shreds was always tough for me, but your “nestling technique” worked like a charm, which was yet another pleasant surprise.

    The best I’ve ever had was at Rancho de Chimayo north of Santa Fe. Yours was also good, just in a different way, and most definitely the best by my own hand.

    Thanks again, I’ll try some of your other dishes soon!

    1. Haha! You’re right – it’s a little labor-intensive, but trust me, you’ll get the hang of it and then you’ll be able to churn them out no problem. The nestling part is what makes it much, much easier than if you were to batter them whole and then fry- it definitely can get messy if you’re doing it that way.

      I checked out their menu, and whoa – it looks amazing. If I’m ever near Santa Fe that will be an absolute must. I think I’d want one of everything on that menu! Since we don’t get all that great Mexican food here in the south, that menu alone was enough to make my mouth water.

      Thanks again! So glad you enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks for a wonderful chile rellenos recipe! Try pancake batter for a easy and delicious change!

  5. Okay, where ever you are right now, look around for someone to give you a really good pat on the back!!!!! I loooooove CHile rellenos tooo! and i try them everywhere and have had a few really good ones and this– if all the steps are followed– is soooo on the top of the list! mmmmmm
    That sauce is amazing. Reminds me of another amazing sauce from my states best authentic mexican restaurant — for 5 years in a row! They would never give out the recipe for the sauce and this comes close. — I added some grilled shrimp and fresh avocado as a top garnish just before serving. My sisters loved them too and they are far better cooks than i am.
    Thank you. Great post, great instructions. Perfect addiction to on line Chile Relleno Recipes.

  6. I should add too, that your way of laying down some batter and then setting the pepper in it and spooning more on was a great help. The last time i made them figuring out how to keep the batter on was complicated. This was a great way to simplify that and i think they look good when you can see a bit of the oh so enticing poblanos!

    1. Hi Katherine! Thanks SO much for all of your kind words – your comment definitely made my day!! I’m so glad you loved the sauce and I’m happy the instructions were clear enough to follow! Topping them with grilled shrimp and avocado sound AMAZING. I actually have some chiles in my fridge right now that I’m going to make into chile rellenos this week and I will definitely be adding those additions! Thank you again – so glad you and your sisters loved them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Wow, love this recipe. I live in New Mexico and eat a lot of rellenos. We of course have access to fresh hatch and lemitar chile here which I use, but your sauce, wow! What a lovely change to the same ol, same ol red or green here. I bought some fresh lemitar chile today and your sauce will take these to a whole nother level! Thanks! Excited to cook now.

    1. Hi Betty! Thank you so much! I’m so jealous that you have access to those chiles all the time- I usually have to buy them in bulk, roast, and freeze them when they are in season! The sauce is definitely different from the usual- and if you like the smoky heat from chipotles, you’ll really like this one! Hope it comes out great!

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