These Mole Chile Rellenos are a combination of special flavors for a unique Mexican recipe! Complex mole sauce is spooned over a crisp cheese chile relleno, inspired by a Mexican restaurant.
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Why You Will Love This Recipe
Even with there being so many Mexican restaurants around where I live, it is not very common to find mole sauce on the menu. It is a huge labor of love and there are SO many different ways to make it.
This recipe is inspired by an amazing dish I had at Agave, a Mexican restaurant in Healdsburg, California in wine country.
I always try to eat unique and different recipes at restaurants, especially when I am traveling.
Their Mole Chile Relleno was described as a stuffed poblano pepper with mole sauce and queso fresco. Something I had not seen before! It was absolutely amazing and something I knew I needed to recreate at home!
These Mole Chile Rellenos are gluten free (as long as the sauce you use is!) and vegetarian. We also have a Chicken Mole Chile Rellenos recipe if you want a version with meat in it!
What is Mole?
Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce. There are MANY different kinds of mole with different flavors including chile peppers, spices, nuts, and other flavors. Very commonly it includes chocolate which is not noticeable but balances out the other flavors.
This recipe can use store bought mole or homemade, whatever you prefer and like.
With there being so many different ways to make mole with different flavor profiles, you might want to try a few to find one you absolutely love! If you do not like the mole you are using, you will not like this recipe. So taste it first with a tortilla chip!
These are the ingredients you need to make these chile rellenos. Full quantities and recipe details can be found in the full recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Poblano Peppers – aim for large, flatter peppers
Mole Sauce – there are many recipes online for homemade versions, or you can use store bought sauce found in the Mexican/Hispanic section of your grocery store.
Monterey Jack Cheese – a great white melty cheese for stuffing. Pepperjack is also great for a little heat.
All Purpose Flour
Cornmeal – my trick for getting an amazing crunchy crust!
Queso Fresco – or cotija cheese, for garnishing
Yellow Onion – optional, but I love adding sauteed onion inside for some texture and veggies!
Vegetable Oil – or canola oil, for frying
Additional toppings as desired such as radishes, fresh cilantro, avocado, lime wedges, sour cream, salsa.
Roast your peppers to blister the skins. This can be done over an open flame on your stove or in your oven on the broil setting. There might be crevices of the pepper which do not blister, which is fine.
Put the blackened peppers in a container or bag to steam, which will make them easier to peel.
When cool enough to handle, rub the skins off the peppers.
Check out our post on How to Roast Peppers if you would like more details!
Sautee your onions until they are somewhat soft but not caramelized.
Cut a slit in the peppers from the top stem area half way down. Remove the seeds as much as you can.
Stuff each pepper with the cheese.
Use toothpicks to secure the pepper back together.
Get your dredging stations ready with the flour, egg, and cornmeal.
Dredge each pepper first in flour, then egg, then cornmeal.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat with oil.
Fry each pepper until golden brown on each side.
When ready to serve, spoon mole sauce over the top with the cheese and any additional toppings as desired.
Do NOT rinse the peppers after roasting! You will wash away so much flavor!
I use the same number of toothpicks in each stuffed chili relleno pepper so everyone knows how many to look for (typically 2 or 3 toothpicks).
A chile relleno is a dish, and a chile poblano is a pepper.
Mole can be made from many different ingredients but overall it is slightly spicy, smoky, and earthy.
Yes, peeling the peppers removes the outer skin which has a firm and crisp texture. Thill will give you a softer pepper.
No, poblanos are very mild, between a bell pepper and jalapeno.
A soggy chile relleno can happen if the oil is not hot enough, causing it to be absorbed in the cooking process. Or after cooking, it was placed where the heat was reabsorbed and softened the crispy coating.
More Mexican Recipes
Mole Chile Rellenos
- 8 large poblano peppers
- 1 medium yellow onion (approximately 8 ounces) optional, if you want sauteed onion inside, see note 2
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese or pepperjack, shredded or sliced into sticks
- 1 cup vegetable oil or canola, for frying, more or less as needed
- 1 ½ cups mole sauce see note 1
- ¼ cup queso fresco or cotija, crumbled
- Wash and dry your peppers. Roast them over an open flame on your stove at medium heat, or on the top shelf in your oven on the broil setting. Turn the as the skin blackens and blisters until all sides and most of the pepper surface is roasted.8 large poblano peppers
- As each pepper is roasted, place in a container or bag, sealed, to steam. This will loosen the pepper skins and make them easier to peel. Let them sit.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil and your sliced onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are softening but not caramelized or browned, approximately 10-15 minutes. When done, set aside.1 medium yellow onion
- When the peppers are cool enough to touch, rub the skins off of the peppers and discard the skins.
- Slice the peppers open starting from the top where the stem ends about halfway down, just deep enough to get into the middle of the pepper. Use your hands and a knife to remove seeds and most of the white ribs (membranes) from the peppers. Do NOT rinse the peppers.
- Stuff each pepper with approximately 1/4 cup of cheese and 2 Tablespoons of onions. Use more or less as needed depending on the size of each pepper. The inner surface should be covered but still easy to close.2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
- Use 2-3 toothpicks per pepper and sew the opening shut on each pepper. (Weave the toothpick through both open edges to secure).
- Heat your large skillet again over medium heat with 1/2 cup oil in it.1 cup vegetable oil
- Set up your dredging station: Use three shallow bowls or pie plates. Fill one with the flour, one with the eggs (use a fork to scramble them up), and one with the cornmeal. Season each with a pinch of salt.1 cup all purpose flour, 2 large eggs, 1 cup cornmeal, salt
- Take each pepper and dredge it, covering completely, in flour, then egg, then cornmeal. Set aside and repeat with all peppers.
- When the oil is hot, add 2-3 peppers and fry until lightly golden brown. Flip and brown the second side, approximately 5 minutes total.
- Remove from the oil and repeat with all peppers.
- To serve, place the peppers on the serving plate(s). Spoon the warm mole sauce over the peppers.1 ½ cups mole sauce
- Add garnishes as desired such as sour cream, guacamole, cheese, lime wedges, radishes, salsa, etc. Serve immediately.¼ cup queso fresco
- Use any homemade or store bought mole that you like.
- I love adding sauteed onions for some texture and additional veggies. This is completely optional and can be skipped altogether.