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Chiles en Nogada

How to Make Chiles en Nogada

Chiles en Nogada is a classic Mexican dish that holds cultural and historical significance. It consists of poblano chilies stuffed with a savory-sweet mixture, topped with a creamy walnut-based sauce, and garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley. This dish is known for its vibrant colors, which represent the Mexican flag.

Texture-wise, the poblano chilies are roasted, peeled, and then stuffed with a picadillo—a mixture typically made with ground meat (often beef or pork), fruits such as apple and pear, nuts, spices, and sometimes raisins. The combination offers a textural contrast of tender meat, crunchy nuts, and chewy fruits.

The sauce, known as “nogada,” is a creamy concoction made primarily from ground walnuts, milk or cream, queso fresco (a type of white cheese), sugar, and sometimes a hint of sherry or brandy. It provides a rich, creamy texture with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor that complements the spiciness of the chilies and the savory filling.

Chiles en Nogada are traditionally served at room temperature and are considered a celebratory dish in Mexico, especially around Mexican Independence Day in September due to its color scheme, which represents the green, white, and red of the Mexican flag. The pomegranate seeds and parsley on top add a final burst of texture and color to the dish.

This dish is highly regarded in Mexican cuisine for its complexity, the balance of flavors, and its cultural significance, making it a symbol of Mexican culinary heritage.

Key Takeaways

  • Who this dish appeals to: Culinary enthusiasts, those embracing the festive spirit, anyone ready for a flavor journey through Mexico’s cultural richness.
  • Estimated duration: A labor of love that takes approximately 2-3 hours.
  • Nutrition facts: A wholesome dish combining proteins, fruits, and the goodness of walnuts.

About this Recipe

Chiles en Nogada is not just a dish; it’s a work of art. This recipe guides you through the meticulous steps of creating this iconic dish, ensuring a presentation and flavor that captivate both the eyes and the palate.


Chiles Rellenos:

  • 6 large poblano chilies
  • 1 pound ground beef or pork
  • 1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Nogada Sauce:

  • 1 cup walnuts, shelled
  • 1 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt to taste


  • Seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped


Preparing Chiles Rellenos:

  1. Roast and Peel Poblanos:
  • Roast poblano chilies over an open flame or under a broiler until the skin is charred.
  • Place them in a plastic bag for 10 minutes, then peel off the skin, make a slit, and remove seeds.
  1. Prepare Filling:
  • In a pan, heat vegetable oil and sauté onions until translucent.
  • Add garlic and ground meat, cooking until browned.
  • Stir in diced tomatoes, raisins, chopped almonds, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, salt, and pepper.
  • Cook until the mixture is well combined.
  1. Stuff Poblanos:
  • Stuff each poblano chili with the meat mixture and close the slit.

Making Nogada Sauce:

  1. Blend Walnuts:
  • In a blender, combine shelled walnuts, crumbled queso fresco, Mexican crema (or sour cream), milk, ground cinnamon, and salt.
  • Blend until you achieve a smooth, creamy consistency.
  1. Adjust Consistency:
  • If the sauce is too thick, you can adjust the consistency by adding more milk.


  1. Plating Chiles en Nogada:
  • Place the stuffed poblanos on a serving platter.
  • Pour the nogada sauce generously over each chili.
  1. Garnish:
  • Sprinkle pomegranate seeds generously over the nogada sauce.
  • Finish with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley for a burst of color.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve Chiles en Nogada chilled or at room temperature.
  • Pair with white rice or a simple salad for a balanced meal.
  • Enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine or agua fresca.

Storage Options

Chiles en Nogada is best enjoyed fresh, but if you have leftovers, store them in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in the oven to maintain the dish’s integrity.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Ground Meat: Substitute with ground turkey or a meat alternative for a different flavor profile.
  • Queso Fresco: Feta cheese can be used as a substitute.

Alternatives to this Dish

Experiment with vegetarian or vegan options by stuffing poblanos with a mix of sautéed vegetables, grains, and plant-based proteins. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.


Chiles en Nogada is more than a dish; it’s a cultural and culinary journey. With its vibrant colors and harmonious flavors, this festive creation is a testament to the richness of Mexican cuisine. ¡Viva México! ¡Buen provecho!