Chiles en Nogada (Picadillo-Stuffed Chiles in Walnut Sauce)

Chiles en nogada is a traditional and iconic Mexican dish featuring roasted poblano chiles stuffed with picadillo and topped with a velvety walnut sauce.

Chiles en Nogada
Photo: Julia Estrada
Active Time:
1 hr 20 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 20 mins

Chiles en nogada is a celebratory dish most closely associated with Independencia, or Mexican Independence Day. Celebrated every September 16, it commemorates the end of Spain's rule over Mexico. There are a few different stories about how this dish came to be, most believing it was dreamt up by nuns who then presented it to military officials visiting Puebla, Mexico, not long after the country's break from Spain. Wherever its exact origins lie, there's no doubt that the colorful presentation—a white sauce, green chiles and red pomegranate arils—intentionally symbolizes the Mexican flag. The dish also makes splendid use of Puebla's abundant autumn harvest, including, of course, its namesake chile pepper: the poblano.

Because of its significance and seasonal ingredients, chiles en nogada rarely appears outside of the weeks immediately leading up to Independencia, when families come together to make the dish, and restaurants—especially in southern Mexican states—briefly feature it on their menus, before it vanishes until the following year.

The combination of the picadillo's sweet, salty and warming flavors with the mildly spicy poblano pepper and the nutty, velvety sauce creates an interesting and harmonious mix of textures and flavors that make this dish worth every minute it takes to prepare.


  • 1 ½ cups walnuts

  • 1 ½ cups whole milk, plus more as needed

  • ¼ cup raisins

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 medium carrot, diced

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • ¼ teaspoon salt plus a pinch, divided

  • teaspoon ground pepper plus a pinch, divided

  • 1 pound 80% lean ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons diced dried pineapple

  • 1 small Bartlett pear or Golden Delicious apple, diced

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons cider vinegar, divided

  • ½ cup Manzanilla olives, roughly chopped

  • ¼ cup pine nuts or slivered almonds

  • 6 medium poblano peppers (about 5 ounces each)

  • cup cream cheese

  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar

  • ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • ½ cup pomegranate arils (seeds)


  1. Combine walnuts and milk in a medium bowl. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it shimmers. Add onion, garlic, carrot, tomato paste, pumpkin pie spice, chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring often, until the onion is just softened, about 6 minutes.

  3. Increase heat to medium-high and add ground beef. Cook, using a wooden spatula to break up the ground beef, until browned, about 6 minutes.

  4. Drain the raisins. Reduce heat to low and add the drained raisins, pineapple, pear (or apple) and 1 teaspoon vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in olives and pine nuts (or almonds). Remove from heat; cover to keep warm and set aside.

  5. Position rack in upper third of oven. Preheat broiler for 5 minutes. Line a baking sheet with foil.

  6. Place poblanos on the prepared baking sheet. Roast on the top rack, turning the poblanos often, until just softened and charred, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Let the poblanos steam for 5 minutes.

  7. Gently scrape away the charred skins with a small serrated knife. (Discard the skins.) Make a slit in each poblano, making sure to keep the pepper and stem intact. Use a small spoon to gently remove and discard seeds and membranes.

  8. Fill each pepper with a heaping 1/2 cup filling. Place the peppers on a plate, cover to keep warm and set aside.

  9. Transfer the walnuts and milk to a blender. Add cream cheese, brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon vinegar and pinch each of salt and pepper; process until smooth, about 2 minutes. If needed, add 2 to 3 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to loosen the sauce (it should be thick, but pourable).

  10. Serve the poblanos with the sauce. Sprinkle with parsley and pomegranate arils. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

621 Calories
48g Fat
31g Carbs
22g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size 1 stuffed pepper
Calories 621
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 19g
Added Sugars 1g 2%
Protein 22g 44%
Total Fat 48g 62%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 73mg 24%
Vitamin A 2601IU 52%
Vitamin C 65mg 72%
Folate 64mcg 16%
Sodium 577mg 25%
Calcium 157mg 12%
Iron 4mg 22%
Vitamin B12 2mcg 83%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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