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Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo

How to Make Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo

Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of poblano peppers stuffed with picadillo—a seasoned mixture of ground meat (typically beef or pork), diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices, and sometimes raisins, almonds, or other ingredients.

Texture-wise, the dish offers a combination of textures. The poblano peppers are roasted or charred to remove their outer skin, then stuffed with the picadillo mixture, providing a tender and flavorful filling. Poblano peppers themselves have a mild heat level and a somewhat soft texture after roasting.

The picadillo filling often contains ingredients that contribute to a varied texture, such as the softness of cooked ground meat, the juiciness of tomatoes, the crunch of almonds, and the chewiness of raisins, creating a satisfying mouthfeel with each bite.

Once the poblano peppers are stuffed, they are typically coated in a light egg batter or dredged in flour and then fried until golden and crispy. This frying process adds an additional layer of texture—a crispy exterior contrasting with the softer filling inside.

Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo are usually served with a sauce, often a tomato-based sauce or a salsa made from roasted tomatoes, onions, and peppers. This sauce complements the dish, adding moisture and additional flavor.

This dish is a well-loved part of Mexican cuisine, appreciated for its combination of flavors and textures. It showcases the versatility of poblano peppers and the richness of the picadillo filling, creating a harmonious blend of savory, sweet, and slightly spicy tastes, along with a mix of textures that makes it a satisfying and comforting meal.

Key Takeaways

  • Who this dish appeals to: Those craving a flavorful and hearty stuffed pepper dish, individuals interested in exploring authentic Mexican flavors.
  • Estimated duration: A delightful cooking experience that takes approximately 1.5-2 hours, including preparation and cooking.
  • Nutrition facts: A balanced dish featuring the goodness of peppers, ground meat, and aromatic spices.

About this Recipe

Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo is a dish that brings together the robust flavors of ground meat, fruits, and spices, all encased in a roasted pepper. This recipe provides a step-by-step guide to crafting this delicious and visually appealing Mexican classic.


For the Picadillo:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup green olives, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Chiles Rellenos:

  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • 1 cup queso fresco or Oaxaca cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


Making Picadillo:

  1. Cook Ground Beef:
  • In a skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until browned.
  • Drain excess fat and set aside.
  1. Saute Aromatics and Fruits:
  • In the same skillet, sauté chopped white onion and minced garlic until softened.
  • Add diced tomatoes, raisins, slivered almonds, and sliced green olives.
  • Stir in ground cumin, ground cinnamon, salt, and black pepper.
  • Add the cooked ground beef back to the skillet and mix well.
  • Allow the picadillo to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the flavors meld.

Preparing Chiles Rellenos:

  1. Roast and Peel Poblano Peppers:
  • Roast poblano peppers over an open flame or broil in the oven until the skin is charred.
  • Place the roasted peppers in a plastic bag for 10 minutes to sweat, then peel off the skin.
  1. Make a Vertical Incision:
  • Make a vertical incision along the side of each poblano pepper, creating a pocket for the filling.
  1. Stuff with Picadillo and Cheese:
  • Fill each poblano pepper with the prepared picadillo and a generous amount of shredded queso fresco or Oaxaca cheese.
  1. Coat Peppers in Batter:
  • Roll each stuffed pepper in flour until coated.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  • Gently fold in the egg yolks.
  1. Fry Stuffed Peppers:
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Dip each flour-coated stuffed pepper into the egg batter, ensuring it is fully covered.
  • Fry until golden brown on all sides. Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Making Tomato Sauce:

  1. Prepare Tomato Sauce:
  • In a separate saucepan, sauté chopped white onion and minced garlic until translucent.
  • Add diced tomatoes, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt, and black pepper.
  • Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serving Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo:

  1. Plate and Sauce:
  • Place the fried stuffed peppers on serving plates.
  • Pour the tomato sauce over the top.
  1. Garnish and Enjoy:
  • Garnish with additional cheese, chopped cilantro, or sliced green onions.
  • Serve hot and enjoy the flavors of Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo!

Serving Suggestions

  • Pair with Mexican rice and refried beans for a complete meal.
  • Top with a dollop of sour cream or Mexican crema for added richness.
  • Serve with a side of guacamole or a fresh avocado salad.

Storage Options

Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo are best enjoyed fresh, but any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to two days. Reheat in the oven to maintain the crispiness of the batter.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Poblano Peppers: Substitute with Anaheim peppers for a milder flavor.
  • Queso Fresco or Oaxaca Cheese: Use shredded Monterey Jack or mild cheddar if the traditional cheeses are not available.

Alternatives to this Dish

Experiment with the picadillo filling by adding diced apples or pears for a touch of sweetness. Additionally, consider using ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version.


Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo showcase the artistry of Mexican cuisine, blending the richness of picadillo and the smoky warmth of poblano peppers. This dish invites you to experience the harmonious combination of flavors and textures that define the heartiness of traditional Mexican stuffed peppers. ¡Buen provecho!