Chile Relleno Casserole with Homemade Sauce

If untangling the best parts of a tedious recipe and weaving them back together in a simpler way sounds appealing, you and this chile relleno casserole are about to get real cozy.

Vertical image of a slice of an egg bake over tomato sauce on a white plate, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

With certain dishes that you might make to order a few at a time, the method for transforming it into a crowd-pleasing casserole is obvious. Take French toast, for example. Layer the bread in a baking dish, douse it in an eggy custard, toss in the oven, bake, and call it a day.

Or rather, call it breakfast.

Case in point: deconstructing roasted, stuffed, battered, and fried poblano peppers to make a layered, eggy casserole.

A similar transformation takes place when making stacked enchiladas montadas instead of your classic rolled and filled enchiladas. It’s simpler to construct, with the same comforting and delicious flavors you crave.

I love taking something familiar and creating a new dish that still flaunts its best original features. Feel free to disagree with me here, but I find this to be one of most satisfying ways to flex your creative culinary muscles.

Vertical image of an egg bake in a white dish next to a pink spatula.

If you’ve ever enjoyed chiles rellenos, you know the deal. It’s a joyous symphony of satisfyingly gooey melted cheese stuffed – hence the “relleno” portion of the name – into a roasted poblano pepper, batter-dipped, and fried. Yum.

But with this recipe you can skip the painstaking construction and the pan full of hot oil with an eggy breakfast casserole that’s easy enough to make before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee.

Poblanos are roasted under the broiler until they’re charred and blistered, making the skins easy to remove. The result is smoky, slightly sweet, tender, and delicious. And you can even roast the peppers ahead of time if you’re not into early morning prep work.

If you have a gas range or grill, rotating the poblanos over an open flame is another option. For more tips, read our guide that features three different methods for roasting peppers.

Vertical top-down image of a slice of an egg bake over tomato sauce on a white plate.

After slicing, the roasted peppers are layered with shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese that will flawlessly melt into gooey nirvana…

As for the batter the poblanos typically take a dip in before frying, an eggy base reinforced with a little flour is poured over the top instead, resulting in a perfectly puffy casserole.

If you’re wondering what baking powder is doing in this recipe, here’s the gist:. it keeps the eggs fluffy and gives the base an airy lift.

Served with a tangy tomato sauce made with garlic, onion, cumin, and jalapeno that’s prepared while your casserole bakes in the oven, this winning dish is a fantastic option for breakfast or brunch. But feel free to serve it any time the mood strikes.

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Horizontal image of a slice of an egg bake over a base of tomato sauce on a white plate.

Chile Relleno Casserole


  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x

Description

Give classic chiles rellenos a reboot and make a tasty breakfast casserole layered with smoky roasted poblanos, fluffy eggs, and cheese.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Casserole:

  • 2 1/2 pounds poblano peppers (about 8 large)
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 small)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder blend
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

For Garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion tops

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler on high and make sure the rack is about 6 inches from the heating element. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil.
  2. Arrange the peppers in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets and place in the oven.  Flipping occasionally with tongs so they roast evenly, broil until the skins are charred and blistered on all sides, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn off the broiler.
  3. Transfer the peppers to a large mixing bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside and allow the peppers to steam for 10 minutes.
  4. While the peppers are steaming, preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or a 3-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper for the casserole to a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Add the eggs and milk to a large mixing bowl and whisk until frothy. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  6. Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl and peel the peppers. Remove the stems and seeds, and slice the peppers into long strips.
  7. Spread half of the peppers in the bottom of the baking dish and top with 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar. Repeat with the remaining peppers and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top.
  8. Place in the oven. Bake until the eggs are set and the casserole is puffy and golden-brown around the edges, about 45 minutes.
  9. While the casserole is baking, make the sauce. In a medium saucepot over medium heat, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil is shimmering, stir in the onions, jalapeno, cumin, salt, and chili powder blend. 
  10. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock, stir, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  11. Boil for 1 minute, then remove the pan from the heat and puree with an immersion blender until smooth, or transfer to a high-speed blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary. Allow to cool for a few minutes before blending in a countertop appliance and vent the top to avoid pressure buildup and steam burns, placing a clean kitchen towel over the opening in the lid if needed. Return the sauce to the pan.
  12. Bring back to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the tomatoes are cooked and the sauce has thickened slightly. Whisk in the vinegar and season to taste with additional salt if necessary. Place a lid on top to keep warm.
  13. Remove the casserole from the oven. Set it aside to rest for 10 minutes before slicing into portions. Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce on each plate and top with a slice of the casserole. Garnish with the cilantro and green onion tops and serve.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Breakfast

Keywords: chile relleno, casserole, breakfast, vegetarian

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Gather, Measure, and Prep Ingredients

Preheat the broiler, selecting “high” if your oven has multiple temperature options, and set one of the oven racks about 6 inches from the top coils.

Horizontal image of assorted measured and prepped ingredients next to a bowl of fresh poblano peppers.

Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil for easy cleanup. Get out a large cutting board and a chef’s knife.

Shred the Monterey Jack and cheddar with your box grater. For this recipe, we’ve opted to use these readily available cheeses rather than the classic cotija or queso Oaxaca typically used for the filling, since we prefer their melting quality in a casserole. Feel free to use pepper jack if you want to add a little extra spice.

Measure the milk, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and chicken stock. Vegetable stock can also be used if you wish to keep this recipe vegetarian.

Open the cans of tomatoes and set them aside, and set out your eggs.

Horizontal image of a seasoned flour mixture next to a whisk.

In a medium mixing bowl, measure the flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and the freshly ground black pepper. Whisk until thoroughly combined and set aside to use in the casserole.

Measure and then whisk to combine 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the chili powder blend in a small bowl. This will be used for the sauce.

Chop the onion and jalapeno and mince the garlic.

If more heat is what you’re after, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper along with the spices whisked into the flour.

If you prefer to keep the dish at a mild heat level, since chiles rellenos is not typically an incredibly spicy dish, you can also minimize the spiciness of the sauce by removing the jalapeno seeds and ribs.

Step 2 – Roast the Peppers

Arrange the poblanos on the baking sheets, fitting as many as you can in a single layer on each without overcrowding – placing them too close together will cause them to steam, rather than roasting.

Horizontal image of rows of poblano peppers on lined baking sheets.

Place the peppers under the broiler and turn on the oven light if your oven door has a window on so you can keep an eye on them. You could also keep the oven door open a crack instead. As soon as the tops become charred and blistered, use tongs to rotate each pepper.

Be careful while doing this! You’ll need an oven mitt to protect your hand as you hold the baking sheet steady.  If you are holding a pepper by the stem with the tongs, it may slide right out as the skins soften. Try to manipulate them from the center instead.

Horizontal image of blistered peppers in a bowl.

Continue flipping as needed until the skins are dark and blistered all over, for about 15 to 20 minutes total.

Remove the pans from the oven. Turn off the broiler and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Horizontal image of covering a bowl of blistered peppers with plastic wrap.

Transfer the peppers directly into a large mixing bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside, allowing the peppers to steam for about 10 minutes. This will make it easier to remove the skins.

Step 3 – Mix the Dry and Wet Casserole Ingredients

While the peppers are steaming, lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or a 3-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray and make the egg mixture.

Horizontal image of whisking a thin yellow batter in a metal bowl.

Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the milk, and whisk until frothy and well combined.

Add the flour and spice mixture to the egg mixture a little at a time, whisking between additions. Continue whisking until thoroughly combined with no lumps.

Step 4 – Prep the Peppers

Open the plastic carefully, being mindful of the steam that will be released. Get out a clean cutting board and chef’s knife, and a bowl to collect the discarded skins, stems, and seeds.

Horizontal image of peeling and cutting blistered poblanos on a wooden cutting board.

Working with one pepper at a time when they’re cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skin. Using a clean dish towel or fork will help to loosen the skin before peeling.

Slice down the middle and use your knife to gently remove the stems and seeds. Repeat with the remaining peppers.

Slice the roasted poblanos into long strips. You should have about 3 cups total, and any extras can be saved in the refrigerator for another use.

If you prefer to skip roasting poblanos altogether, I can offer a little shortcut. You know those canned green roasted chilies? These are often actually poblanos or Anaheim peppers, a green mild type that’s already been prepped for you.

If you opt to make this substitution, I won’t tell if you don’t! Fire-roasted canned tomatoes can also be used in the sauce in place of regular to boost the smoky flavor of the finished dish.

Step 5 – Assemble and Bake the Casserole

Scatter half of the sliced peppers over the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and top with 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar. Repeat with another layer of each.

Horizontal image of scattered shredded cheese and chopped peppers at the bottom of a rectangular baking dish.

Pour the egg mixture over the top. Keep in mind that the eggs will puff a bit as they cook, so you don’t want to use a baking dish that’s so small it’s filled to the rim.

Horizontal image of an unbaked egg dish in a rectangular baking dish.

Place the casserole in the oven on the middle rack and bake until the eggs are cooked through, for about 45 minutes.

Horizontal image of an egg bake in a white dish next to a pink spatula.

The edges will be golden-brown and puffy with a bit of browning on top as well, and the center of the casserole will be fully set.

Step 6 – Make the Sauce

While the casserole is baking, move on to the sauce. I think this homemade component is the key to the whole dish that really makes this meal something special, whether you’re enjoying it for breakfast during the week or brunch on a leisurely weekend morning at home.

Horizontal image of sauteing aromatics in a pot.

If you’ve already done enough prep for the day and you’re ready to sneak in your first Lazy Sunday nap instead, you could serve this casserole with a citrusy pico de gallo and a dollop of sour cream or Mexican crema.

Then again, if the thought of tasty made-from-scratch pico has piqued your interest, we have a recipe for that too!

Add the oil to a medium saucepot over medium heat and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions, jalapeno, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon chili powder blend. Stir to coat the veggies in the spices. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, for about 30 seconds. Scraping to release any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, pour in the canned tomatoes and chicken stock, then turn the heat up to medium-high.

Horizontal image of a pot with aromatics and chopped tomatoes cooking.

Bring the mixture to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Either using a handheld immersion blender or transferring the mixture to a high-speed blender or food processor, puree until you have a smooth sauce.

Be sure to allow the sauce to cool a bit for safety before blending if you need to, and vent the top of countertop appliances by removing the lid plug or food pusher, placing a towel over the top to prevent splatters. We don’t want any steam burns here!

You can also loosely wrap a clean kitchen towel around the top of the pan when immersion blending to prevent splatters. Never use an immersion blender in a shallow pot, and make sure the blades are fully submerged in the liquid.

Horizontal image of a pureed tomato sauce stirred with a blue spatula in a pot.

Return the sauce to the pan if you used a countertop blender or food processor. Bring the sauce back to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.

Whisk in the vinegar, and season the sauce to taste with additional salt if necessary. Cover the pot with a lid so it stays warm.

Step 7 – Plate and Serve

Remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. This lets the ingredients set completely and helps to keep the eggs from deflating, which can happen if you slice into it too soon.

Horizontal image of removing a slice from an egg casserole with a spatula.

Chop the cilantro and green onion tops for the garnishes while you wait.

Horizontal top-down image of a slice of an egg bake over tomato sauce on a white plate.

Spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce on each plate and top with a slice of the casserole. Garnish each serving with cilantro and green onion tops and serve.

Forget the Fork Altogether

I’m not necessarily suggesting that you dive in face first (though I guess you could do that…)

Horizontal image of a slice of an egg bake over a base of tomato sauce on a white plate.

This casserole is best when it’s fresh from the oven, but I’ve also been known to reheat the leftovers with some roasted potatoes and extra cheese, all rolled up in a tortilla with plenty of sauce to make a hearty breakfast burrito.

Craving a little extra texture? Feel free to serve some homemade tortilla chips on the side!

How will you chow down on this delectable casserole? Share your creative serving suggestions in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.

Gooey, melty cheese adds richness to everything in my life. If you feel the same way, try these cheesy recipes next:

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Ashley Martell on December 1, 2014. Last updated on October 31, 2022. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu and Nikki Cervone.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

19 thoughts on “Chile Relleno Casserole with Homemade Sauce”

  1. A local Mexican restaurant, Adobe, serves Chiles Relleno and I order it every single time I visit. It’s absolutely delicious. I’ve searched online for recipes to follow for Chiles Relleno but every time I’ve tried it just doesn’t come out tasting anything like the delicious dish from Adobe. I saw the picture from this article on the Foodal homepage, though, and I knew I absolutely had to try it in this casserole form. It seems easy to follow and the ingredients are all easily acquired, thank goodness. I’m going to try cooking it sometime this week and I’ll reply with photos and comments! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Thanks for posting this as I’ve been wanting a low carb version. I like the casserole style as well and I’l try it this weekend. Another thing I like is that I think I have most of the ingredients already in the kitchen except for the poblano peppers. Thanks again for posting this dish.

    Reply
  3. I have always been a fan of lasagna, casseroles, and mexican food. This is a combination of my favorites! I have had lasagna style enchiladas before, and they are pretty good. But this recipe has me excited. I love peppers and I don’t know why it hasn’t occurred to me to do it this way already. It’s so simple! Some might be inclined to take a short cut by not roasting the peppers. Don’t skip this step! The peppers will not have their full flavor, and will just taste like bell peppers. They really need to be roasted for their full flavor to come out.

    Reply
  4. WOW!!! That looks amazing. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. My husband, and I are always on the look out for new things to try. This is a keeper I am definitely going to put ingredients on our shopping list.

    Reply
  5. That is one mouth-watering plate right there, just noted the recipe down, i’ll definitely make time to make this Chile Relleno Casserole, question though, can one omit the peppers and do with out?…am not much of a pepper fanatic 😉

    Reply
  6. At first glance, this looks like a lasagne! It certainly has that substantial feel to it and you wouldn’t guess it was actually a really low-carb dish. It would be great served as a vegetarian main course too!

    Reply
  7. Many years ago, I ate chile relleno at a party. I have been a fan of it ever since, but have probably had it only once or twice in many years. I would love if someone would just make this for me and serve it to me. This might be do-able recipe for me to try, however when it comes to chili rellenos, it’s a dish that I don’t want to wait for it to be prepared and cooked, I just want it ‘now’.

    Reply
  8. The picture almost makes it look like a lasagna. I’ve never tried relleno casserole before but I’m a fan of the layers already. Using eggs to keep the structure is a nice touch. I imagine that this will ba a perfect meal inn itself, but I wonder how it would fare as part of an ensemble.

    Reply
  9. Oh. My. God. Why in the world did I never think of doing this myself??? I love chile rellenos AND I love lasagna (casserole *wink wink*). This is like a harmonious collision of the things I love. I am making this tonight!

    Reply
  10. I’m glad I saw this recipe. I don’t usually have poblano peppers on hand, but now I’m adding them to my shopping list, because this recipe sounds delicious. I’ve had chili rellenos many times, but have never made them at home. This sounds like the perfect way to get the taste I love, with the ease of a casserole.

    Reply
  11. Holly Cow, that looks amazing! I recently have cut down significantly on my dairy intake, but I always leave a little room for CHEESE!!! When my family and I used to go out to eat Mexican food, I would almost always order the Chile Relleno, of course, stuffed with cheese and deep-fried.

    Now, while today, I try to avoid fried foods and try to minimize my dairy intake, I love the idea of a Chile Relleno Casserole! I’m definitely going to try this one. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    Reply
  12. Wow cheese and mexican! Two words that would make me rush to the table !
    But I don’t really like adding that chicken bouillon, as I’m a vegetarian so I was wondering if there were any alternatives or maybe I should just leave that out entirely?

    Reply
  13. This looks yummy. It sounds simple enough as well. I think I will test this one out soon. It sounds like something everyone in my family would enjoy. I like stuff that I can make ahead of time as well. It would be handy to have it ready to go and just be able to pop it into the oven at the right time.

    Sometimes, planning meals around all of our varying schedules can be a challenge, so dishes like this are great.

    Reply
  14. wow! I’m all in on this one! I often love Chile Relleno, and often order it when I go out to a Mexican restaurant. I never considered making a Chile Relleno Casserole. But, it sounds simply delicious. I would like to add some different kinds of cheeses along with some garlic.

    Reply
  15. I am really curious to try this out, being that chile relleno is one of my favorite dishes to order when I go out for Mexican food! I cannot get enough of the spicy, cheesy goodness! I will definitely be testing this out!

    Reply
  16. I think my challenge would be getting the peppers chard to the point of becoming black. Nevertheless it is worth a try and I will actually get my friend to make me some salsa. She makes it form scratch and boy the difference is uncanny. Never buy store salsa again.

    Reply
    • Looking 4 a very tasty salsa 4 my chiles rellenos …. Ur right the salsa it’s what make it a big difference , can I have yours….. thank u so much .

      Reply
  17. This looks awesome, but that is a lot of chillies! How hot is this? Or is it more spicy then ‘blow the roof off my mouth off’ kind of heat? I love chillies, but I fear my stomach may not be able to cope with this dish!

    Reply
  18. This looks like a pretty particular chile relleno… I live in Mèxico and chiles rellenos have always been there on family reunions, birthdays, regular foods, and my mom makes them really different to this one, I’m not sure at all about how is the actual recipe, but she cuts the chile serrano and puts some cheese into it, and then she makes this egg layer? (I don’t know how to explain it, sorry) and she covers the chiles with it and she makes a really good caldo, so it’s like a chile relleno soup. But I guess that is always a good thing to look up for variations, especially when it comes to food.

    Reply

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