Recipe for Chile Rellenos Casserole & Southwest Crema

Chile rellenos in a casserole (30 minutes). Charred poblanos, spiced filling, melted cheese and a drizzle with a kick. Your family will beg for seconds!

In this 30 minutes recipe for chile rellenos casserole, roasted poblanos are stuffed with savory rice & beans. Top with melted cheese and a kicky drizzle.

close-up of Vegetarian Chile Rellenos Casserole in a white baking dish

This recipe for chile rellenos casserole is savory & omnivore-approved

This 30-minute family meal is Mexican chile rellenos in a casserole dish. Chile rellenos are Mexican stuffed poblanos often fried with a tomato sauce. This recipe for chile rellenos casserole skips the meat and frying for a hearty, healthier family dish. Stuffed poblanos that are a little messy (in the best way), slightly spicy and deeeeeeelicious!

Maybe our families have something in common: I am a vegetarian but my husband and daughter are not. As in… hubby has a box subscription of frozen meat.

Mixed-Diet Family Tip: This easy Mexican dish satisfied my carnivore husband without meat. However, it would be simple to brown ground beef or chorizo (for a spicy kick!) in a separate pan. When you spoon the rice mixture into the poblanos, add meat into the poblanos for those family members. If desired, you could even separate the veg from meat by using 2 separate small dishes for broiling the cheese.

How to make this recipe for Chile Rellenos Casserole!

Halved poblanos are roasted in a hot oven until beautifully blistered. In one pan, cook instant rice, beans, hominy/corn, salsa, Southwest spices, green chiles and broth. Arrange the poblanos in a casserole dish and fill with the rice mixture. Top with cheese. Broil. While the cheese is melting, stir some spices and lime juice into sour cream. Drizzle. Devour.


Ingredients for vegetarian chile rellenos recipe on a kitchen table

Pantry staples and easy-to-find Latin flavors make these chile rellenos pop. Heat-and-eat pouches of brown/wild rice are my secret weapon for fast food at home!

Roast Your Poblanos

In your oven, move a rack to be near the top and turn the heat on.

I used to be anxious about cooking with poblanos because I thought they would be too spicy. But, if you scrape out the rib and seeds (and wash your hands after), they’re just delicious without the heat. Roasting brings out their sweetness, too!

Pop the poblanos in a hot oven and let them roast for 10-15 minutes. While they’re roasting, make the filling.

How to make One Pan Meatless Chile Rellenos Filling

hominy corn being added to beans in a white skillet

Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add pinto beans and posole/hominy (canned corn is an easy substitution).

taco seasoning being sprinkled on top of meatless chile rellenos

Add salsa, southwest or taco seasonings, and diced green chiles. This is the time to “level up” or “level down” the spicy heat you want. Love hot? Add more red pepper flakes and green chiles.

salsa being added to vegetarian chile rellenos stuffing

Like every parent on the planet, I’m always trying to use up leftovers. The remains of a salsa jar go in the pan. Then shake in your Southwest seasonings (or dig that half of a taco seasoning packet out of the pantry). More leftovers gone! Bam! You’re welcome!

brown rice mix being added to meatless chile rellenos filling

I squeeze these microwavable pouches of rice with my hands to break up any clumps. Then stir into the mixture. Nope, you don’t need to microwave it first.

Tip: If you have cooked rice leftovers, this would be a delicious way to use them up! Just add 4 cups of cooked rice to the pan instead of these pouches.

broth being added to vegan chile rellenos filling

Pour in vegetable broth. I love using a jar of broth concentrate paste because the flavor is so rich (I even gush about it in this post & video about vegan umami!). Just stir the paste around in warm/hot water.

side view of vegan chile rellenos filling in a white pan

Yum! Let the rice mixture simmer for a few minutes until everything is heated through.

Stuff Those Poblano Peppers!

While the rice mixture is heating, check your poblanos. Are they looking like this? YUM! Those blackened roasty bits are MAGIC. Transfer the poblanos to a casserole dish with the “pockets” facing up. Leave the oven on, you’re gonna need it to melt the cheese!

charred poblano chiles on a baking tray
charred poblano peppers in a casserole dish

Scoop the rice mixture into the poblanos.

roasted poblano pepper being filled with vegetarian chile rellenos stuffing

This is not an “exact fit” situation, like jalapeno poppers or traditional stuffed peppers. This is a delicious casserole jumble. Once the poblanos are filled, spread the rest of the rice mixture over the top.

charred poblano peppers stuffed with vegetarian rice filling

Can I make this chile rellenos recipe vegan?

  • The recipe for chile rellenos cassersole is DELICIOUS as it is. It’s also vegan/dairy free at this point. If this is your jam, then start eating!
  • If you eat cheese, keep reading.
grated pepper jack being sprinkled on top of chile rellenos

You could sprinkle just about ANY cheeses over these peppers and it would be delicious. I used grated pepper jack – for “melt” and kick – and crumbled cotija for salty and creamy. Here in the US, my grocer has a refrigerated section of Latin and Asian foods. Cotija is usually in a round wheel. Queso Fresco is also a great option and is packaged similarly.

  • Cotija – An aged Mexican cheese that is salty and creamy. Perfect on elote (grilled street corn), enchiladas, tostadas and more.
  • Queso Fresco – A fresh cheese similar to feta. It won’t melt but it gets lovely brown spots.

I’m a food nerd… Check out this article from Bon App explaining all about Mexican cheeses.

a casserole dish with vegetarian chile rellenos going in the oven

Pop that beautiful casserole dish in the oven, also on the upper rack. Turn the oven to broil. It will only take a few minutes for the cheese to start to melt. Keep an eye on it, and remove when you’re hangry or the cheese has melted!

How to make Southwest Crema

While the cheese is melting, let a kiddo help you make the drizzle. The amount of spicy heat you add is ENTIRELY up to your family’s palates. We kinda like a kick around here.

ingredients for Southwest Crema

You can “wing it” with this sauce if you’re not into exact measurements. Sour cream, squeeze half of a lime in, and add Southwest/Taco blend seasonings and a generous pinch of sea salt. Pour in a splash of water to thin the sauce, and stir well with a fork.

I made this stuffed poblanos casserole dish twice for my family without the drizzle. The second time, my husband said, “Y’know, it would be awesome with a spicy sauce or topping.” YES! I had already photographed the chile rellenos recipe, but knew he was so right. So, I made it again… with Jeremy’s drizzle. I photographed it again… because I love my friends, and knew you’d love the drizzle too!

Southwest Crema being mixed with spices
Vegetarian Chile Rellenos in a white casserole dish

Chile rellenos (stuffed poblanos) with melty, browned cheese on top. Yeahhhhhhh!

Southwest Crema being drizzled on top of meatless chile rellenos casserole

Drizzle drizzle!

close-up of chile rellenos casserole with Southwest Crema
two hands holding a white casserole dish with meatless chile rellenos

Hungry for more meatless meals?

I hope your family loves this recipe for chile rellenos casserole as much as mine does. Let me know in the comments below what you think! You can also use the share buttons to pin it to Pinterest.

Variations on this recipe for Chile Rellenos Casserole

  • Got die-hard carnivores coming for dinner? Fill the meatless chiles first while you fry some minced meat in a pan. Now, mix leftover filling with the fried meat and fill the remaining chiles with it.
  • To make this chile rellenos recipe vegan, sprinkle some vegan parmesan on top and serve with a cashew sour cream drizzle.
  • If you’re not huge on rice, you could use quinoa. Or make a low-carb version using cauliflower rice instead of brown rice.

Recipe Card

close-up of Vegetarian Chile Rellenos Casserole in a white baking dish

Chile Rellenos Casserole & Southwest Crema

  • Author: Katie Allen
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Roasted poblanos are stuffed with a rice & bean filling, topped with melted cheese and a drizzle with a kick. You’ll beg for seconds!

The instructions may seem long, but the process is simple: 

  • Halved poblanos roast in the oven.
  • While they’re roasting, heat all filling ingredients in one pan.
  • Transfer poblanos to a casserole dish. Spoon filling mixture into the poblanos.
  • Top with cheese. Return to the oven.
  • While cheese melts, stir crema drizzle



Stuffed Poblanos

  • 4 poblano peppers, halved & deseeded
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can hominy/posole (or canned corn), drained
  • 2 brown and wild rice microwavable pouches
  • 1 tsp mild Hatch green chiles, diced & drained
  • 1/2 cup tomato salsa
  • 2 tsp southwest blend or taco seasoning (cumin, adobo, garlic, smoked paprika, red chili flakes)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese or queso fresco
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • Optional: sliced green onions for garnish

Southwest Sauce Drizzle

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tsp southwest or taco seasoning (cumin, adobo, garlic, smoked paprika, red chili flakes)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp water


Roast Poblano

  1. Move oven rack to be one notch below the top. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Halve poblanos and scrape out seeds and ribs.
  3. Place poblanos on baking sheet (no oil). Roast for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally.


Make Filling While Poblanos Roast

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add pinto beans, hominy or corn, salsa, Southwest seasonings, diced green chile and salt/pepper to taste. Adjust spice level to taste.
  3. Squeeze rice pouches to break up clumps. Add rice to the pan.
  4. Pour in vegetable broth.
  5. Increase heat to medium-high, and heat through. 



  1. Remove poblanos from the oven. Leave the heat on. 
  2. Transfer poblanos to a casserole dish, “pocket” side up.
  3. Scoop the rice mixture into the poblanos. Spread any remaining mixture across the top.
  4. Spread shredded cheese and crumbled cotija on top.
  5. Transfer the casserole dish to the oven, also on the upper rack.
  6. Turn the oven to broil. It will only take a few minutes for the cheese to start to melt. 


Make Southwest Crema While Cheese Melts

  1. In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, lime juice, Southwest seasonings and water. Adjust spice level to taste.
  2. Remove dish from the oven. Drizzle crema on top using a spoon.


  • Gluten-Free: This recipe is gluten-free.
  • Vegan: Omit cheese topping or substitute vegan cheese. Substitute non-dairy plain yogurt or vegan sour cream for crema.
  • Vegetarian: This recipe is vegetarian.
  • Leftovers: Transfer leftovers to a food storage container and refrigerate. Best eaten within 3 days.
  • Ingredient Tip: If you have cooked rice leftover from another dish, use in place of the ready-to-eat rice pouches. Substitute any type of canned beans you have. Substitute any type of cheese you have.
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Calories: 563
  • Sugar: 6.9g
  • Sodium: 2146g
  • Fat: 21.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 70g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 21.1g
  • Cholesterol: 50mg

Keywords: stuffed poblanos, vegetarian chile rellenos, vegetarian stuffed poblanos