How many calories are in a chile relleno plate?

A chile relleno plate is a popular Mexican dish that typically consists of one or more battered and fried chile relleno peppers served with rice, beans, and other sides. The chile relleno pepper is stuffed with cheese, meat, or other fillings before being dipped in an egg batter and fried. Determining the calories in a chile relleno plate depends on the specific ingredients and portion sizes of each component.

Calories in a Chile Relleno Pepper

The main calorie contributor on a chile relleno plate is often the chile relleno pepper itself. An average-sized relleno pepper that is battered and fried contains about 200-300 calories. However, this can vary depending on factors like:

  • Size of the pepper – Larger peppers will have more calories than smaller ones
  • Filling – Cheese or meat fillings can add 50-100 calories vs. a veggie filling
  • Batter – A thick batter adds more calories than a lighter one
  • Cooking method – Deep frying adds more calories than oven baking

In general, a 6-8 inch long mild Anaheim pepper with a cheese filling that is battered and fried will contain around 250-300 calories per pepper.

Calories in Rice and Beans

A chile relleno plate will typically be served with Spanish rice and refried beans as side dishes. The calories in these sides can vary based on serving size and preparation method, but on average:

  • A 1/2 cup serving of refried beans = 120-150 calories
  • A 1/2 cup serving of Spanish rice = 100-120 calories

So in a typical chile relleno plate with 1/2 cup each of rice and beans, the two sides would add about 230-270 calories total to the meal.

Calories in Tortillas and Other Sides

Some chile relleno plates also include sides like warm corn or flour tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, and sliced tomatoes. The calories for standard serving sizes of these additional sides are:

  • 1 corn tortilla (6 inch) = 60 calories
  • 1 flour tortilla (6 inch) = 80-100 calories
  • 1/4 cup guacamole = 90 calories
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo = 20 calories
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce = 10 calories
  • 1/2 cup sliced tomatoes = 25 calories

So depending on the specific side dishes included, they would add about 100-300 additional calories to the chile relleno plate.

Total Calories in a Chile Relleno Plate

Putting it all together, a typical full chile relleno plate containing:

  • 1 chile relleno pepper (8 inches long with cheese filling) = 250-300 calories
  • 1/2 cup Spanish rice = 100-120 calories
  • 1/2 cup refried beans = 120-150 calories
  • 2 flour tortillas = 160-200 calories
  • 1/4 cup guacamole = 90 calories
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo = 20 calories

Would contain about 740-880 total calories for the full plate.

However, this can vary widely depending on the specific ingredients, serving sizes, preparation methods, and quantity of relleno peppers. Some tips to reduce calories would be:

  • Choose smaller relleno peppers around 6 inches long
  • Opt for veggies fillings instead of cheese or meat
  • Go light on the batter when frying
  • Bake instead of frying if possible
  • Stick to 1/2 cup servings of rice and beans
  • Use corn tortillas instead of higher-calorie flour
  • Limit high-calorie additions like guacamole

With some modifications, it’s possible to make a chile relleno plate with around 500-600 calories. But in general, a full plate with all the classic fixings will contain 700-900 total calories.

Nutritional Breakdown of a Chile Relleno Plate

In addition to calories, here is a breakdown of the main nutrients typically found in a chile relleno plate:

Nutrient Amount
Protein 25-35g
Carbohydrates 80-100g
Fat 20-40g
Fiber 10-15g
Saturated Fat 10-20g
Sodium 1000-2000mg

As you can see, chile relleno plates are high in carbohydrates and fat, which contribute to their high calorie counts. They also contain sizable amounts of protein. The combination of rice, beans, tortillas, and cheese provide a good amount of fiber. However, these plates are often high in saturated fat and sodium, so they should be eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Calorie and Nutrition Totals for Different Styles of Chile Relleno Plates

Chile relleno plates can vary dramatically based on how they are prepared and served. Here is a comparison of estimated calorie and nutrition totals for different common styles of chile relleno plates at Mexican restaurants:

Traditional Chile Relleno Plate

  • 2 fried cheese-stuffed relleno peppers with egg batter
  • 1/2 cup Spanish rice
  • 1/2 cup refried beans
  • 3 small flour tortillas
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese

Calories: Around 1,000 calories

Nutrition: High in fat and sodium. Also provides carbohydrates, protein and fiber.

California-Style Chile Relleno Plate

  • 2 oven-baked cheese and veggie-stuffed relleno peppers
  • Brown rice
  • Black beans
  • Sliced avocado
  • Salsa fresca

Calories: Around 700 calories

Nutrition: Lower in fat, higher in veggies and fiber compared to traditional plate.

Nuevo Leon-Style Chile Relleno Plate

  • 3 petite battered and fried relleno peppers with picadillo stuffing
  • Charro beans
  • Potatoes with chorizo
  • Flour tortillas
  • Guacamole

Calories: Around 1,200 calories

Nutrition: Highest in calories and fat. Also has high sodium.

Oaxacan-Style Chile Relleno Plate

  • 1 extra-large fried relleno with mole sauce
  • Arroz rojo
  • Black beans
  • Plantains

Calories: Around 800 calories

Nutrition: Lower in fat but higher in carbs. Mole sauce adds richness.

Ways to Modify Chile Relleno Plate to Reduce Calories

If you want to enjoy chile relleno plates while limiting calorie intake, here are some tips:

  • Switch from flour to corn tortillas to save about 50 calories per tortilla
  • Skip cheese-stuffed rellenos and choose veggie fillings to save 60-80 calories per pepper
  • Order a lettuce wrap instead of tortillas
  • Choose baked or grilled peppers instead of fried
  • Ask for brown rice instead of higher-calorie Spanish rice
  • Limit high-calorie additions like guacamole, sour cream, etc.
  • Request smaller 4-6 inch peppers instead of extra-large
  • Avoid combo plates with multiple rellenos, sides, toppings
  • Share a plate as an appetizer instead of as a main course

With some simple modifications and portion control, it’s possible to enjoy chile relleno plates while keeping calories in check.


In summary, a full chile relleno plate containing one or more fried relleno peppers, rice, beans, tortillas, guacamole, and other sides typically ranges from 700-1,000 calories or more. Exact counts vary based on portion sizes and specific ingredients. Chile relleno plates also provide protein, carbs, fiber, and fat – including high amounts of saturated fat and sodium. With some modifications like choosing lighter preparation methods and watch portion sizes, you can reduce the calorie count of chile relleno plates. But overall these tasty Mexican plates should be enjoyed in moderation as part of an overall balanced diet.

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