Layers of tasty hatch chiles and melted cheese topped with a light-as-air crust, this easy chile relleno casserole is a simple showstopper!
Why you want this recipe:
- Super simple
- Slight kick from the chiles
- Airy, souffle-style crust
- Melted, gooey cheese
- All the taste of authentic chile rellenos without the hard work!
What do I need for Hatch Chile Relleno Casserole?
Canned Hatch Green Chiles
While you can use fresh peppers for this recipe, I don’t notice a big difference between fresh and canned peppers. Canned whole green chiles work beautifully for this, and they cut out a ton of time. You’ll want the 27 oz can.
I use fiesta blend cheese from Walmart for all of my Mexican recipes. It’s a combination of multiple kinds of cheese: monterye jack cheese, cheddar cheeses, queso quesadilla, and asadero cheese. You could use a combination of mozzarella and cheddar as well. Pepper jack cheese would also work, but it will make your casserole much more spicy!
For this recipe, you’ll be separating the eggs so that you can whip the egg whites up to create that lovely souffle-like topping. The yolks add richness to this easy recipe.
In testing this recipe, I used full-fat milk. There’s no reason you can’t replace the milk with a dairy-free alternative if you choose. Skim milk is another great option if you’re trying to save on calories!
All purpose flour works great in this recipe. I have never tested this with any other form of flour, but if you do give it a try, leave a comment and let us know how it went!
You can top this casserole with a number of ingredients. Sour cream, green onions, chopped cilantro, guacamole, or pico de gallo are great options!
What are classic chile rellenos?
Your classic chile rellenos like you’d get in a Mexican restaurant, are composed of green chile peppers stuffed with cheese and fried in an egg batter. These are absolutely delicious, but the standard chille relleno recipe is time-consuming and challenging for a beginning cook.
This easy casserole drops some of the harder elements (like skinning, stuffing, and deep frying the peppers). It keeps the flavors, through layering cheese and chiles, then topping with an egg batter. This makes it a great recipe for a beginning cook who wants to capture the deliciousness of a classic chile relleno. The techniques are simple, but the flavor is not!
Notes on Chiles
I’ve gotten many comments asking what kind of green chiles you can use in this recipe. While I wrote this recipe to use hatch green chiles, you can also use poblano peppers and anaheim peppers. Basically, any thick-walled green chile will work here. Be aware that there are some differences in flavor if you change the green chile variety.
Hatch Green Chiles
These chiles come from New Mexico. They’re long and very similar to Anaheim peppers, but are slightly hotter. In this recipe, I’ve used hatch green chiles for a few reasons, namely that they come canned and easy to use. I also love the kick they offer, but since I wanted this recipe to be something you can serve to a large crowd, I needed to avoid making it too spicy. Hatch green chile is the perfect balance!
These chiles come from California, and are extremely similar to the hatch chiles. This makes them a good substitute for the chiles in this recipe. While Anaheim peppers can get fairly spicy, the average Anaheim is going to be less spicy than the average hatch pepper. If you’re looking to dial down the heat in this casserole, feel free to sub in Anaheim peppers!
These chiles are known for their dark green skins. They’re also shaped a little differently, being shorter and more squat than either hatch chiles or Anaheim peppers. Poblano peppers are, on average, more spicy than hatch chiles, so they’re a great choice if you’re looking to kick the spice up a notch!
Jalapeno Peppers, Habanero Peppers, and Serrano Chiles
I do not recommend any of these chile peppers for this recipe. They are much spicier than the chiles this was tested with, and will result in an extremely spicy casserole.
Other Green Chile Recipes
Do I need to roast my chiles?
Roasted chiles can be a delicious addition, and the original chile relleno recipe that inspired this recipe certainly uses roasted chiles. However, I have not found a huge taste difference between using fresh peppers and roasting them, or just using canned chiles. Because this casserole has the chiles layered between cheese and egg, then baked, the crisp freshness you get from roasting is lost in the process.
If you really want to roast your fresh chiles before using them in chile rellenos casserole, you can follow this tutorial from The Flavor Bender to get perfect roasted chiles in the oven!
How to Make Easy Hatch Chile Relleno Casserole
Step 1 | Prep the Chiles
Start by draining your can of whole chiles. Then, cut them length-wise and remove the seeds. If you want to make this casserole easier to serve, you can also cut the chiles into smaller pieces.
Step 2 | Layer 1: Chiles
You’ll want a 9×13 inch casserole dish. Spray the dish with cooking spray, then lay your chiles in a single layer across the bottom of the dish. Make sure that you can’t see the bottom of the dish.
Step 3 | Layer 2: Cheese
Then, sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the chiles. Spread the cheese in an even layer so that you can’t see the chiles below. on top of the cheese, remaining chiles
Step 4 | Layer 3: Chiles
On top of the cheese, layer the remaining chiles. You do want to reserve one chile in order to decorate the top, but you can use up the rest on this layer.
Step 5 | Layer 4: Cheese
This is the final layer of cheese. You’ll use the remaining cheese to create an even layer on top of the chiles.
Step 6| Whip the Whites
Next, we’ll start on the egg mixture. You’ll need to separate your eggs. The egg whites go into a mixing bowl. Use a stand or hand mixer to beat the egg whites into stiff peaks. This is the foundation of that light and fluffy topping!
Step 7 | Make the Topping
While your whites are beating, you can put the egg yolks into a medium bowl. Add the milk and flour and whisk them together.
Step 8| Fold in the Whites
Once the whites are beaten stiff, fold them into the milk mixture. Don’t over-fold or over-stir it — you want to keep that lovely lightness from the whites. Once the whites have been completely incorporated, spread the mixture evenly on the top of the casserole dish.
Step 8 | Decorate and Bake
You can chop the last chile into small strips and use it to decorate the top of the casserole. Place the strips on top of the topping, then push the strips down slightly so that they are still visible, but are not sitting on top of the topping. Then, cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350° for 1 hour.
Last, remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes to get that gorgeously golden-brown top!
How to serve
This casserole is perfect as a breakfast dish! It’s also great for Meatless Monday dinner, as it is a meatless casserole. My favorite use for this is as a potluck dish. It’s a huge hit at every event I’ve brought it to. People love the combination of fluffy topping, cheesy goodness, and slightly spicy chile!
What to serve with Hatch Chile Relleno Casserole?
Chile Relleno Casserole is best served fresh — that topping gets soggy after a bit. However, if you need to store leftovers, they will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
No. This casserole does not freeze well. The topping gets soggy, and the filling can get runny during defrosting.
If you’re interested in substitutions, please see the ingredient notes above (The “What do I need for Hatch Chile Relleno Casserole?” section). If you are interested in a substitution that’s not covered in the ingredient notes, either comment below, or send us a message through our Contact Us form, and we’ll get back to you!
Easy Hatch Chile Relleno Casserole
- 27 oz can of whole hatch green chiles
- 1 lbs grated cheese
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 2 Tbsp flour
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Drain your chiles, then cut them in half and remove the seeds.27 oz can of whole hatch green chiles
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Lay half the green chiles in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Cover the chiles with 1/2 of the cheese.1 lbs grated cheese
- Set aside one chile (to be used for decoration). Using the remaining chiles, place another layer of chiles over the cheese.
- Cover the chiles with the rest of the cheese.
- Separate the eggs. Whip the whites until stiff peaks form.4 eggs
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, milk, and flour.2 cups milk, 2 Tbsp flour
- Fold the stiffened egg whites into the milk mixture.
- Spread the egg mixture evenly on top of the casserole.
- Slide the remaining chile into thin strips. Press the strips down slightly into the egg mixture on top of the casserole.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes to brown the top.
- Allow casserole to cool for 15 minutes, then serve!