Guatemalan Pan con Chile Relleno

Rudy Giron: Guatemalan gastronomy &emdash; Pan con Chile Relleno

Guatemalan chiles rellenos used to be stuffed chillis, normally guaque chilli, bell pepers, jalapeño, depends mostly on what is on season and how spicy you want your chiles rellenos. The stuff in Guatemalan chiles rellenos is a mixture of minced meat, carrots, green beans and other spices; all of that covered in an egg batter, and fried.

The picture above was inspired by this comment by loyal reader Claudia:

…I know that before anything you have to smoke your chiles, you roast them over flame slowly and then peel the skin off. My grandma lived in zone 10 and we would go to church on Sundays for Mass and after mass was the best part— we’d get chiles rellenos and buy franceses (like a loaf of french bread but sectioned so it can be easily broken off) and have that for breakfast. My mom makes them very very randomly. It’s a lot of prep when you have to make everything from scratch. One more thing — our chiles rellenos, are different from the Mexican chiles rellenos because the way they are made in Guatemala they don’t come with any sauce on top of them, just parsley sometimes for decoration and flavor. That’s the beauty of chiles rellenos, you can have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner…

Here is the Guatemalan Chile Rellenos recipe shared by another loyal reader Juan Velásquez.


10 Pasilla chiles
1 lb of ground pork
1/3 lb carrots*
1/3 lb green beans*
1/3 lb potatoes*
Note that the ratio of veggies to pork is 1 to 1
1 small white/yellow onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 springs of thyme
1 bay leaf
Capers (as much/little as you like)
2 table spoons of whte vinager
salt and pepper


1) Cut carrots, potatoes, green beans in very small pieces
2) Finely chop onion and garlic
3) Brown ground pork
4) Add chopped onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes
5) Add cappers, thyme, vinager, bay leaf, salt and pepper
6) Cover and cook at medium/low heat until veggies are tender
7) Put aisde (uncoverd) and let cool down


1) Roast chiles on stovetop
2) Peel skin off and seed them
3) Make a small incision
4) let them cool down
5) stuff chiles (you may need a couple of toothpicks to prevent the stuffing to come out)

Egg Batter

Beat the egg whites in a bowl until nearly frothy, then add the yolks and a bit of all purpose floour and a few drops of water. Beat the ingredients together.

Preheat oil, sumerge chiles in egg batter and fry until golden brown. Transfer the chiles to a paper towel to capture the excess oil.


© 2013, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • NYChapin

    Yummy !

    Here in the US, often I am asked to describe Guatemalan cuisine. I tell them that compare to Mexican, ours is “simple” and delicious. The chile relleno a perfect example of that.
    My aunt was famous for her chille rellenos. She practically put 4 kids through private school selling them to stores in our barrio. Occasionally I would help my cousins snap the end of the ejotes prior to cooking them. We sat in a circle and chatted the afternoon away. The crunchy sounds of the young ejotes mixing with the laughter and ocurrencias de patojos.

    • Thanks so much NYChapin for this heart-warming anecdote. I really enjoy reading it. You guys add so much value to ADP by sharing your own personal experience.

  • Luis

    Chiles Rellenos, my wife’s favorite food when we visit Guatemala. One of her aunts is always waiting for her with home made chiles rellenos. I usually forgo to eat them not because I don’t like them but because I love to see how my wife enjoys this guatemalan delicatessen.

    • That’s very kind of you Luis. Thanks for sharing this personal story. As I said earlier, you guys add so much by sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  • Begonia

    What? Guatemalan food “simple”? Mexican chile rellenos are “simpler” in the sense that the filling is just cheese, while Guatemalan food is stuffed with a ton of different vegetables and ingredients that take hours to prepare and chop!

    I think authentic Mexican food that you would buy in Mexico resembles Guatemalan food more than the fare that is available at Mexican restaurants in the US.

    One distinction I would make is that Guatemalan food relies more on vegetables–and some chiles–to enhance flavor or provide contrasting textures, whereas Mexican food more on chiles–and some vegetables–to enhance flavor. American food relies more on sauces (think ketchup, bbq sauce) and spices to enhance flavor.

    For example, Guatemalans like to pile vegetables like cabbage or avocado or green beans on top of their meat. Mexicans do that, too, but they love adding jalapeños or chile, and aren’t as fond of subtler flavors. Americans like to serve their meat with sauces and serve vegetables or a salad separately, to the side.

    • That’s a great comparison Begonia… awesome feedback really. I believe you just gave me the idea for a future post. Thanks!

    • NYChapin

      Thanks Begonia, I understand your point. I guess I use “simple” thinking more about the presentation. I agree with you, I don’t like my meats drown in sauce, but I do have to say that the Mexican “chile en nogada” is amazing !
      But we can’t say anything against the diversity and complexity of Mexican sauces, from Oaxaca all the way to NYC. I was married to a chilanga for a few years and worked as waiter in a Mexican restaurant here in NYC. The chef was from Izucar Matamoros, he was just out of this world !

      • Begonia

        Hey, I got nothing against *authentic* Mexican cooking. I would just say that Guatemalans tend to prefer more subtle flavors, where Mexicans go for stronger flavors and fiery, chile-based sauces. Guatemalan cooking uses chiles too, but most of the Guatemalans I know shy away from hot spicy food (except my husband–he likes to sweat!)

        And I have come to this conclusion after 10 years of trying to figure out what my husband likes to eat. I like to prepare a lot of different kinds of food, but over time I have learned to prepare it all in a more Guatemalan style. For example, I can make Indian food, but not when it’s “muy condimentado”–too many spices conflicting with each other. He prefers food that prepared simply but then seasoned with limes, mint, cilantro, and fresh crunchy vegetable flavors, over food that is seasoned with sauces.

        I don’t mind doing this because it means we usually end up eating more uncooked vegetables and lean meats! Guatemalan cooking is pretty healthy, compared to American cooking.

    • CINDY S


  • Erick!

    Chiles rellenos con pan is simply God-sent. I could eat that everyday, 3 times a day. And then have another one as dessert.

    • Easy on the chiles rellenos Erick, you might get high levels of cholesterol if you have them as dessert as well. 😉

  • Adilene

    The first time trying these was with my Guatemalan fiance and I loved them. Me, being Mexican, found these different to ours but great. We never used sauces on our chiles, but they were just filled with cheese. Now when we make chiles here, we make both at the same time. I would describe Guatemalan cooking with tons of flavor and Mexican food with great flavors, but spicier. Both types of food have become a part of our household and some fusions have even came out of this.