This Chile Relleno Soup takes the ingredients and flavors of traditional chile relleno and converts it into a fantastic rich, thick and cheesy soup. Added chicken turns it into a complete meal that is totally irresistible!
Easy Chile Relleno Soup
Chile Relleno, which is basically a large chile pepper stuffed with cheese, coated in a light batter, and deep fried, is one of the best known and loved Mexican foods around. It’s not difficult to make, but can be a little time-consuming and messy. While you can’t beat its traditional form, I sure do love to play with the flavors.
With perfectly charred poblano peppers, lots of cheese, mild spice, and chicken, this soup is a hearty, complete meal. Poblano peppers are roasted to give off a slightly smoky flavor to the soup, then diced so you receive that flavor in every bite. To finish, the bowls of soup are placed under the broiler for an extra golden, gooey, cheesy topping. We can’t get enough of this in my house!
Many of the classic chile relleno ingredients are used to make this soup, along with the addition of chicken and chicken broth.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Poblano peppers – You may find these labeled as Pasilla peppers, depending on where you live.
- Onion & Garlic – Wonderful aromatics that add flavor to the soup.
- Butter and Olive oil – Both are used to sauté the vegetables.
- Chicken broth – Low-sodium chicken broth is best to control the overall saltiness of the soup.
- Seasonings – Cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Cream cheese – Adds a luxurious creamy component to the soup with a slight tangy flavor to balance the heat.
- Shredded cheese – A combination of cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese are used in this soup. Shred the cheese yourself if at all possible, as pre-shredded cheese won’t melt as well or have as much flavor.
- Chicken breast – Skinless chicken breast should be cooked and cubed or shredded.
- Cilantro – Added as a garnish at the end.
How to Roast Poblano Peppers
Making this chile relleno soup consists of just a few steps, the first being to roast the peppers. This really elevates the overall flavor of the soup, so we encourage you not to skip it.
- Prepare the poblano peppers. Clean and dry the peppers, then roast them under the broiler or on the open flame of a gas burner until all sides are charred and blistered. Transfer to a plastic bag and seal to trap in the heat. After they’ve cooled, rub off as much skin as possible. Then cut the stem, slice in half, and discard the seeds. Chop into small pieces and use as directed. (Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details.)
Tips & Variations
Here are a few things to consider when making this soup:
- Can I use any other type of peppers? We really prefer poblano peppers for this soup, but if desired, you could use jalapeno peppers instead. The seeds carry most of the heat, so if you don’t want the soup spicy, be sure to remove them.
- Make it vegetarian. If you want vegetarian chile relleno soup, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth, omit the cooked chicken, and stir in some black beans and corn to keep it as a hearty, filling meal.
- Careful not to burn the cheese. Melting the cheese under the broiler adds a nice touch, but watch it carefully to avoid burning.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- How to store leftovers. Leftover chile relleno soup should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will keep up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing this soup, as the cheese tends to separate and become grainy upon thawing.
- How to reheat leftovers. Reheat leftovers on the stovetop, taking care to not bring them to a boil. Boiling the soup can cause it to separate so you want to bring it to, at most, a low simmer.
More Soup Recipes:
Chile Relleno Soup
- 5 poblano peppers (also labeled Pasilla peppers, depending on location)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion , diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast
- 8 ounces cream cheese , softened and cut into very small cubes
- 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese , divided
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- fresh chopped cilantro , for garnish
- Clean and dry the poblano peppers, then roast them until the skin has blackened/charred and blistered. (You can do this by either placing the peppers on a foil-lined cookie sheet a few inches under the broiler set to high, flipping once. Or setting them over an open flame on a gas burner, turning on all sides. It will take about 10 minutes.)
- Transfer peppers to a plastic bag and seal to trap in the steam. Let cool, then rub off as much of the skin as possible either with your fingers or a pairing knife. Cut off the stem, then slice in half to remove and discard the seeds. Very finely chop up the peppers and set aside (or transfer to a food processor and give them a few quick pulses.)
- In a medium pot, warm the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onion and saute, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Stir in the chopped poblanos.
- Pour in the chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a very gentle simmer.
- Stir in the cooked, chopped chicken.
- Add in the cream cheese and 2 cups of the cheddar cheese; whisk until melted and smooth.
- Divide into 6 bowls and sprinkle each with the remaining 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and the pepper jack cheese. Set under the broiler until melted and golden (watch it carefully so it doesn't burn.)
- Garnish with just a bit of fresh chopped cilantro and enjoy!