These Baked Chiles Rellenos are a healthier take on the classic Mexican dish! Broiled poblano peppers are stuffed with a turkey and veggie filling then baked instead of fried. This baked version of the authentic Mexican recipe comes together in just 30 minutes and is full of fresh flavors. Plus it can be made vegan too!

This is one of our favorite weeknight dinner recipes thanks to it being so simple to make and also reheating beautifully – it’s the perfectly lunch recipe the next day. Stuff with your favorite ground meat, veggies, spices, beans and even rice to make a pepper that is customized for each person!

With similar flavors to the Authentic Mexican fried chiles rellenos, ours are broiled for an easier, quicker, and healthier version of the recipe that’s truly a weeknight meal winner! Served with our insanely flavorful roasted salsa verde and cashew cream, you can’t go wrong with this pepper recipe.

Overhead image of stuffed poblano peppers on white plates set on a gray background with salsa in a bowl off to the side

What are Chiles Rellenos?

If you’ve had chiles rellenos before, you probably know they aren’t the healthiest choice on a cantina’s menu. The recipe starts with a broiled and charred poblano pepper, stuffed with meat and cheese. The poblano is then dredged and fried to finish for the ultimate comfort food.

We wanted to create a lighter and healthier version of the classic authentic recipe, so got to recipe testing. After several versions of testing, we created this foolproof baked version of the recipe that still packs so much flavor. Plus it’s less messy to make in your kitchen too, no deep frying necessary!

In our baked recipe, the roasted poblano chiles are stuffed with a mixture of lean turkey (or chicken), black beans, crunchy jicama, spices, and a touch of cashew cream. Then a sprinkle of shredded cheese, a quick broil, and a dose of roasted salsa verde creates a satisfying meal you can feel good about.

Bonus points, this recipe can be easily made vegetarian or vegan but subbing out the meat with other veggies.

ZK’s pro Tip

To char and cook your poblano peppers quickly, use the broiler! The broiler will soften the peppers and add that delicious outdoor charred flavor in just a matter of minutes. It’s so easy.

Overhead image of chiles relleno ingredients arranged on a gray table

Ingredients

  • Pantry ingredients: olive oil, kosher salt, pepper
  • Poblano chiles: poblanos are dark green in color with a thin flesh. They are mild but have a very present pepperiness. Find them in the chilled produce area next to other long peppers.
    Ground turkey: opt for a lean ground turkey, something around 93% lean.
  • Onion: I prefer to use white onion, though you can also use yellow onion.
  • Garlic: fresh is best! You’ll need 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic which should be about 2 large cloves.
  • Spices: ground cumin and chili powder are the only spices you’ll need for this recipe. Cumin adds floral earthiness while chili powder adds mild spice and depth of flavor.
  • Jicama: this adds the most delicious crunchy texture to these chiles rellenos! A must in my opinion. Look for it in the produce area. Jicama has a tough brown skin (usually coated in wax) and a crisp pure-white interior.
  • Black beans: canned black beans add creaminess, protein and fiber to the fish.
  • Serrano or jalapeño: for a spicier dish, use serrano. For a more mild dish, use a jalapeño. You can further control the heat by either keeping the ribs and seeds intact (spicier) or removing them (more mild).
  • Lime: a dash of fresh lime juice balances out the flavors and brightens up the savoriness of the dish.
  • Cilantro: fresh cilantro adds a brightness to the filling and pairs nicely with the other flavors. If you don’t like cilantro, you can substitute with parsley.
  • Cashew cream, sour cream or large-curd cottage cheese: I love using cashew cream here—it’s just so unbelievably lucious. However, sour cream or cottage cheese will also work!
  • Cheese: Chihuahua cheese or Monterey Jack cheese are both great options here. Look for Chihuahua cheese in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store, or better yet, your local Mexican market.
Close up image of a stuffed chile relleno on a white plate with a fork scooping up filling

How to Make Baked Chiles Rellenos

This healthier version of chiles rellenos is easy to make, ready in 30 minutes, and it sure to satisfy! Here is how to make them:

  1. Roast the poblanos under the broiler until nicely charred on all sides.
Overhead image of roasted and steamed poblano chiles in a glass bowl
  1. Transfer roasted poblanos to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam.
oberhead image of roasted poblano peppers in a bowl covered with plastic wrap
  1. Cook the turkey, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper until turkey is browned and cooked through.
overhead image of cooked turkey and veggie filling in a gray skillet set on a gray table
  1. Add the jicama, beans and serrano to turkey mixture and briefly cook to warm through.
  1. Remove the turkey mixture from the heat and add the lime juice, cilantro and cashew cream (or sour cream).
creamy turkey and veggie filling in a gray skillet set on a gray table
  1. Peel the poblanos.
overhead image of someone peeling the charred skin from a roasted poblano pepper
  1. Then halve the poblanos lengthwise and remove the seeds.
overhead image of someone removing seeds from a roasted poblano chile
  1. Stuff the poblanos with the turkey mixture. Then top with cheese and broil until cheese is melted and starting to brown.

Expert Tips

  • Cashew cream makes this dish lusciously creamy. But for a more convenient option, you can use sour cream, Mexican crema or cottage cheese.
  • Once you add the jicama to the turkey mixture, cook it just to warm through. You don’t want to cook it so much that you lose the crispness of the jicama.

Recipe Variations

  • Make it vegan or vegetarian. Just swap the ground meat for crumbled tofu or additional hearty veggies liked sweet potato. We also sometimes add rice to the filling too!
  • Sub cashew cream out for sour cream or Mexican crema. This is one our our favorite non-dairy alternatives for sour cream and Mexican crema. It also adds a rich and nutty flavor that’s so decadent. You can also use large-curd cottage cheese.
  • Swap the meat. We are using ground turkey here to lighten the recipe up, but you can also use ground chicken or ground beef, both would be delicious.
Image of stuffed poblano chiles on white place with a platter of chiles in the background and some salsa off to the side

What to Serve with this Baked Chile Rellenos Recipe

We love a fresh veggie side dish to accompany these chiles rellenos and keep all the fresh flavors coming! Here are some of our favorites:

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

These chiles rellnos are great for meal prep and store wonderfully.

  • For the fridge: Place in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
  • Keep longer in the freezer: Store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months. They will still reheat beautifully.
  • To reheat: Bake in a 300ºF oven for 10 to 15 minutes until warmed through or microwave for a couple of minutes until hot. If baking from frozen, you may need another 10 minutes of bake time until they are fully warmed through.
  • Transform your leftovers into tacos! Another fun idea we love to do with our leftovers are making tacos with the filling. Scoop the filling out of the peppers and cut the poblanos into 1-inch pieces. Saute in a skillet until warmed through then place into a street taco corn or flour tortillas. Top with shredded cheese, salsa verde and cashew cream (or sour cream or Greek yogurt).
image of stuffed poblano peppers on white plates set on a gray background with salsa in a bowl off to the side

Pro Tips

  • Cashew cream makes this dish lusciously creamy. But for a more convenient option, you can use sour cream, Mexican crema or cottage cheese.
  • Once you add the jicama to the turkey mixture, cook it just to warm through. You don’t want to cook it so much that you lose the crispness of the jicama.
  • All broilers are different. Some are hotter than others, open flame will likely cook/brown/char faster than electric, etc. So use the timings in this recipe as a guide and always keep an eye on the peppers as they broil.

FAQs

What is the difference between a chile relleno and a chile poblano?

The key difference here is Chile Relleno refers to a dish while chile poblano refers to the actual type of pepper. Poblanos, which are mild and dark green in color, are used to make chile rellenos.

How to roast poblano peppers in the oven fast?

If your oven has a broiler, I recommend using that instead of heating your oven up. The open flame will do a quick and effective job of charring the chile. Set the chiles on a baking sheet, or right on the oven rack, set about 6 inches from the heating element. Turning occasionally, the charring should take 8–10 minutes.

How to roast chile poblano in oven?

Heat your oven to 450ºF with the rack set in the upper-middle position. Roast the peppers, turning occasionally, until charred all over. This will take about 20 minutes.

What kind of peppers are chile rellenos made of?

Poblano peppers.

Is chile relleno healthy?

Traditional chile relleno recipes call for battering and frying the stuffed peppers. So, in general, no chiles rellenos are not healthy. But luckily. this baked version is healthy!

Baked Chile Rellenos (30 Minutes)

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Yield 4 stuffed poblanos
Category Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Author Lauren Grant

Description

A lighter and healthier version of a Mexican classic. Baked instead of fried, these rellenos are filled with a creamy turkey and veggie filling and finished with a melted cheesy top. Plus they’re prepared in about 30 minutes. 

Ingredients

  • 4 poblano chiles
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup diced jicama
  • ½ cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon seeded and minced serrano or jalapeño
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup cashew cream, sour cream, Mexican crema or large-curd cottage cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Chihuahua cheese or Monterey Jack cheese

Instructions

  • Heat broiler to high with rack set 6 inches from element.
  • Roast poblanos until charred on all sides, about 8 minutes, rotating every few minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam 10 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add turkey, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Cook until turkey is browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Add jicama, black beans, and serrano and cook another 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in lime juice, cilantro, and ½ cup cashew cream.
  • Peel skin from chiles and cut a slit, lengthwise, down one side of each chile and remove seeds.
  • Heat broiler to high, with rack set 6 inches from element.
  • Stuff chiles with turkey mixture, top with cheese and broil until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown, 1–2 minutes.
  • Serve chiles rellenos with additional cashew cream and salsa verde.

Notes

Cashew cream makes this dish lusciously creamy. But for a more convenient option, you can use sour cream, Mexican crema or cottage cheese.
Once you add the jicama to the turkey mixture, cook it just to warm through. You don’t want to cook it so much that you lose the crispness of the jicama.
All broilers are different. Some are hotter than others, open flame will likely cook/brown/char faster than electric, etc. So use the timings in this recipe as a guide and always keep an eye on the peppers as they broil.

Nutrition

Serving: 1chiles rellenoCalories: 500kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 48gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 167mgSodium: 390mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
Overhead image of stuffed poblano peppers set on three white plates with salsa verde off to the side

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This post was originally posted on January 26, 2017.

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. Can totally understand that feeling of being lost especially at the beginning of the year. Guess we just hang in there and things start to fall back in place. I absolutely love to eat stuffed deep fried poblanos! So I am feeling excited about this healthier version. The filling sounds delicious and your pics are drool-worthy!

    1. Thanks Jenny! Sometimes you just need the deep fried version, but this way we can enjoy the flavors more often! 🙂

  2. This cashew cream is a whole new concept to me, but MAN does it look like a great one. These look so good and packed with flavor… definitely need to give them a shot!

    1. Thanks Karly! It was for me too, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make the effort to whip it up, but it really takes no effort at all. So glad I tried it, it’s wonderful is so many different recipes!

  3. 5 stars
    What an awesome recipe! I am trying really hard to eat better this year and the ground turkey and peppers is a perfect dinner for me. Thank you!!!

  4. 5 stars
    We made these last night and… oh my god they were absolutely delicious. Seriously. So. Good. Will be one of our go-to recipes from now on!