Grandma Pino’s Sweet Chile Rellenos from New Mexico

chile rellenos anjie villalobos

These sweet chile rellenos are a loved-for-generations family recipe sent into Familia Kitchen by one of our favorite Mexican food cocineras Anjie Villalobos. “Our Grandma Pino would make these New Mexican-style ground beef and hatch chile rellenos all the time growing up. It was a signature dish in the Pino household. Cousins remember going over to grandma’s house and making them with her.

“Now my mom, Zelma, Grandma Pino’s oldest daughter, continues the tradition and makes them every Thanksgiving. We are thankful we can continue to share this recipe with generations to follow,” says Anjie, who lives in Southern California, near her close family—including her mother, two daughters and three grandchildren—all of whom love her cooking—which spans New Mexican and Mexican traditional dishes.

Anjie’s mom, Zelma, preps the hatch chiles for broiling.
Broil the chiles on both sides. Then let cool.

“Migrating from Spain with Hernán Cortes in the 16th century, much of our family settled in Sante Fe, New Mexico,” Anjie says. ”Later generations spread out through the southwest but always maintained deep ties with Santa Fe. Our family’s passion for cooking was inspired by our grandmother and is rooted in the belief that cooking is an act of love. Many of our favorite family recipes are inspired by our New Mexican roots and the flavors of the southwest.”

“We have yet to find this recipe on any restaurant menu, even in New Mexico. The recipe varies from family member to family member,“ Anjie adds. ”The following is Grandma Ernestina C. de Baca Pino’s version, and in our very biased opinion, it is indeed the best!”

Christina forms each relleno meatball about 2 inches wide (about the size of an egg).
chile rellenos
Lightly flour the relleno meatballs, dip in egg batter…
chile rellenos
… and fry the relleno until golden, in batches.

To try more of Anjie’s southwestern and Mexican family recipes, check out her green chile chicken pozoleavocado and serrano salsa, Mexican frijoles de olla or refried beans, and handmade corn tortillas.

Ready to Make Grandma Pino’s family-famous sweet chile rellenos?

Grandma Pino’s New Mexican Chile Sweet Rellenos

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by Anjie Villalobos


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Chile Mixture
  • 8 8 hatch green chiles (medium and hot)

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 garlic powder

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 black pepper

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 salt

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 oregano

  • Ground Beef Mixture
  • 3 lbs 3 ground beef (15% fat)

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 diced onion

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 garlic powder

  • 2 tsp 2 salt

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 black pepper

  • 1 3/4 tsp 1 3/4 cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 allspice

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 nutmeg

  • 1/8 tsp 1/8 ground cloves

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 minced golden raisins

  • 3/4 cup 3/4 brown sugar

  • Batter and Fry
  • 1 dozen 1 eggs

  • 1 cup 1 flour

  • 1 to 3 cups 1 to 3 vegetable oil (enough to fill your pan 2″)


  • Puncture chiles and place on a sheet pan or cookie sheet.
  • Broil in oven until tops of chiles are blackened. Turn over and blacken other side.
  • After roasting chiles, wrap hot chiles in a wet paper towel.
  • When chiles have cooled down, peel, seed and chop chiles.
  • Mix chiles with garlic powder, black pepper, salt and oregano. Set aside.
  • On medium heat, sauté ground beef and diced onion.
  • Add salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, garlic powder and ground cloves and continue cooking for a few minutes.
  • Add brown sugar, finely chopped golden raisins, and diced chile mixture.
  • Cook until meat is fully browned.
  • Place meat mixture into bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  • The next morning, remove meat mixture from fridge.
  • With mixer, beat 6 egg whites until fluffy, then add yolks and continue beating until fully blended.
  • Form meat mixture into meatballs, each one about 2 inches wide (about the size of an egg).
  • Lightly flour meatballs and place on a sheet pan or plate.
  • Add vegetable oil to fill a large frying pan about 1 inch high and turn burner on medium high.
  • With a slotted spoon, scoop one relleno meatball, dip in egg batter and place in pan’s hot oil—in batches. Fry until lightly golden brown on each side. Depending on size of meatballs, this recipe makes approximately 30 rellenos.
  • Set aside on a paper towel. Serve warm.


  • If you don’t have time to cool the meat mixture overnight, chill in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours.
  • Anjie recommend removing the majority of the seeds when peeling the chiles. Depending on your heat preference, adjust amount of seeds you include.
  • Using a slotted spoon lets some of the egg mixture scurry through. If you don’t have a slotted spoon, a regular spoon will do—but make sure the egg mixture is light around the relleno meatball.
  • Anjie recommend mixing only 6 eggs at a time to allow the batter to be thick enough to coat the rellenos. If you have trouble forming the relleno meat mixture into meatballs, add 2 eggs to the mixture to help bind.
  • Have extra chiles? Save in a freezer bag! You can use them in so many other dishes.
chile rellenos anjie villalobos
Grandma Pino’s famous sweet chile rellenos are prized and passed on to future generations by, from left: her oldest daughter Zelma Pino Berkenkamp, Charlee Villalobos, Christina Lopez, Grace Lopez, Stella Pino-Juarez and Anjie Villalobos.

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Suggestions and questions from our readers

  1. Wow! This recipe looks so delicious. Can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing and I would love to see other likewise recipes from the family.
    I’ll let you know how mine turn out.
    Michele Briseno

    1. Anjie and her mom Zelma are two of our favorite FK cooks. We hope to post more family recipes from them muy pronto.

      Looking forward to your relleno report. Gracias, Michele!

    2. Michelle,

      I hope you have just as much fun making them as we did! I’d love to hear about how they turn out.

  2. I was just having a fond memory of my grandmothers Rellenos. We lived in Albuquerque and she was originally from Southern New Mexico, and our ancestors are mestizos of indigenous people and Conquistadors. I know somebody will see this recipe and say “that’s not a New Mexican chile relleno!” and I’m here to tell them it is! The old school classic version, and they are delicious.

  3. Your recipe sounds so good. I haven’t had a relleno like that in about 25-20 years. My question is. Can pinon be added to this recipe. Would very much appreciate an answer. Have a Happy 2023 New Year

    1. We will ask its submitting homecook Anjie! PS we are thinking she will say yes, as that is a traditional New Mexican ingredient (and one of our favorites). Be right back…

      1. Anjie Villalobos says: “ I’ve never made them with pinons … But why not? I always think of recipes simply as a guideline…. It’s always fun to make it your own! Toasted pinos are always delicious.”