Hatch chile season is one of the most magical seasons of all. Here is everything you ever wanted to know about the most celebrated green chile.
The little green chile that could comes from New Mexico and is the backbone of so many wonderful New Mexican and Southwestern dishes. Hatch season starts at the end of summer and goes into the beginning of fall and if you’ve ever visited the Southwest, you’ve definitely seen the well deserved love for Hatch green chile.
It’s a strangely famous pepper considering how small the growing season and region is. They’re actually just like the grapes of the Champagne region in France – if the grapes aren’t grown in Champagne, what you make from them isn’t really champagne, it’s just sparkling wine. Similarly, you can grow Hatch chiles elsewhere but if they’re not grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico, they’re not real Hatch chiles and they won’t taste quite the same.
What is a Hatch chile?
Hatch chiles are a green chile pepper grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. They’re sweet, smoky, long green peppers that taste amazing fresh and even more delicious when roasted. Hatch chiles come in both red and green. The red Hatch chiles are chiles that have been left to ripen longer than the younger green chiles. They come in mild, medium, spicy, and x-hot varieties.
Where is Hatch chile from?
Hatch chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. If it isn’t grown in Hatch, it isn’t a Hatch chile. There are actually several varieties of green chiles grown in Hatch: Big Jim, Sandia, Barker Extra Hot, and more!
Why is Hatch chile special?
The limited season of Hatch chiles plus their incredible flavor has turned the humble Hatch into one of the most hyped peppers in the world. The thing is, they live up to the hype! There’s just something about Hatch chiles. They’re magic – once you taste one, especially if you have a chance to taste one in New Mexico, you’ll know what the fuss is about.
What does a green chile taste like?
They’re earthy, crisp, spicy, and have a bit of onion when eaten raw. When they’re roasted, they’re smoky, rich, and slightly buttery. Green chiles tend to be spicy and smoky and the red ones are more mature and earthy. They have the ideal balance between heat and sweet. When they’re roasted they’re smoky, delicious heaven.
Are Hatch chiles spicy?
Hatch chiles come in mild, medium, hot, and xtra hot. They go from milder than a jalapeño to pretty darn spicy. There’s a Hatch chile out there for everyone, from people who don’t like spice to crazy spice heads.
Are there red Hatch chiles?
Yes, there are! Most of the time, people refer to them as Hatch green chiles, but they come in red as well. Usually they’re harvested green but sometimes you’ll see red ones at the store as well. Red hatch chiles are chiles are harvested later than green chiles and tend to be more mature with a very minutely sweet profile with more earthiness.
When is Hatch chile season?
Hatch chile season is pretty short and you’ll see lots of grocery stores saying, “Hatch season is here, it’s now or next year!” Typically they harvest in August and September. When Hatch chile season comes around, it’s time to celebrate! All the grocery stores get their roasters out and roast chiles out front and the smell of roasted chiles is incredibly enticing.
Where to buy Hatch chile
They sell and ship fresh chiles online! There are also whole dried hatch chiles, jarred, or canned that are available at most grocery stores or online. They even have canned Hatch chiles at Trader Joe’s. Sometimes they even sell them fresh for a really short window at Whole Foods or other speciality food stores. If you’re lucky enough to live in Southern California, Colorado, or Texas, you’ll probably easily find them in your local grocery store. In New Mexico, they’re pretty much everywhere. You can also get Hatch chile powder in both red and green.
How to roast Hatch chile
Roasting hatch chiles really brings out their smoky flavors. It also has the bonus of making the skins easy to remove. To roast, be sure to wash and throughly dry your chiles. From there you can roast your chiles in the oven, on the grill, on the stove, or in an air fryer. You want them to char and blister, but not burn and completely blacken because that makes the skins difficult to remove. Go for a 60-70% char.
How to roast green chile in the oven
Heat the oven broil. Lightly coat the chiles with a neutral oil and place the chiles in an oven safe dish. Place the dish as close as you can to the broil element at the top of the stove. Roast the peppers for 5-8 minutes, keeping an eye on the chiles. Flip the peppers as they start to blister and then continue to roast for another 5 minutes or so. As soon as the peppers are evenly roasted and the skin starts to blister and pull away from the flesh, take them out of the oven.
How to roast green chile on the grill
Heat the grill until very hot. Place the chiles directly on the grill above the heat source, using long handled tongs to flip and turn the chiles over direct heat until evenly blistered and slightly blackened.
How to roast green chile on the stove
Place the Hatch chiles in a cast iron pan and heat over high heat, flipping the peppers occasionally to expose all sides to the heat. When the skin blisters evenly and starts to pull away from the flesh, take the chiles out of the pan. Alternatively, you can roast them directly on the element of your gas stove using long handled tongs to flip and turn until evenly charred.
How to roast Hatch chiles in an air fryer
Lightly coat the chiles with a neutral oil and place them in the air fryer basket. Air fry at 450°F flipping once, for 13-15 minutes, or until evenly charred and lightly blackened.
How to peel Hatch chiles
Once your chiles blister, remove them from the heat and place them in a bowl to cool. Cover the bowl with a plate so the skins gently steam as they’re cooling down.
When the Hatch chiles are cool to the touch, put on a pair of disposable food safe gloves and gently pinch the skin and slide off. The skin should easily slide right off the entire chile. Discard the skin and if desired, trim off the tops and de-seed the chiles.
How to freeze green chile
After you roast your Hatch chiles, you can freeze them whole. You can either freeze them peeled or unpeeled. To freeze: place the Hatch chiles in a single layer in a freezer bag. Squeeze out all of the air and seal the bag. If you freeze with the skins on, they easily peel off after defrosting. You can keep the frozen chiles in the freezer for up to a year. Defrost in the fridge overnight as needed.
What if I can’t find Hatch chile?
If you can’t find fresh Hatch chiles you can always use any other green chile. Hatch chiles have a subtly sweet spicy crisp smoky taste that you will be missing but you can substitue Hatch chiles with Anaheim peppers. You can also use canned/jarred Hatch chiles.
How do you eat Green chile?
You can enjoy Hatch chiles raw or once they’re roasted you can use them in stews, chile relleno, enchiladas, salsas, sauces, dips, on tacos, as pizza toppings, on burgers, with eggs, or with noodles. They’re incredibly versatile and add smoke, flavor, and spice.
Can you eat Hatch chile raw?
You can but most people love roasting them to really enhance the smoky unique flavor of Hatch. There aren’t a lot of recipes out there featuring raw Hatch chiles. Because Hatch season is so short, roasting them is a great way to preserve the chiles so you can enjoy them year round.
Can you eat the skins of Hatch chile?
The skin is completely edible but it is on the thicker side so it’s usually peeled off. After roasting and cooling, the skins slide off easily with a gentle tug.
Green chile recipes
- Slow Cooked Hatch Chile Verde Stew – A warm and comforting hearty stew full of roasted Hatch chiles, tomatillos, chunks of tender pork, and onions and cilantro to brighten. Seriously so good with tortillas, stuffed in a burrito or enchiladas, or even on its own.
- Oven Baked Hot Hatch and Honey Chicken – This is a little riff on hot chicken, but New Mexico/Southwest style with hot Hatch chiles (get the “hot” variety). There’s a little bit of heat, a little bit of sweet, and a whole lot of deliciousness. Serve it up with some avocado for some extra over the top goodness.
- Easy 4 Ingredient Hatch Chile Salsa Verde – Chips and salsa here you come! You haven’t lived unless you’ve had Hatch chile salsa. It’s smoky, buttery, and so so delicious. This is a super versatile salsa – eat it with chips or use it as a topping for any sort of roasted or grilled meats.
- Green Chile Cheeseburger Fried Rice – Cheeseburger fried rice is one of the best things in the world, and green chile cheeseburgers are the best cheeseburgers, so: maybe the best fried rice in the world?
- Creamy Green Chile Mac and Cheese – Green chiles and cheese just go together like, well, mac and cheese. Smoky roasted Hatch chiles and creamy, dreamy stovetop mac are a match made in heaven.
- Double Green Chile Cheeseburger – You haven’t lived until you’ve had a green chile cheeseburger! They’re beloved in the Southwest and there’s even a green chile cheeseburger trail through New Mexico that’s sanctioned by the New Mexico tourism board.
- Green chile wontons – Green chile wontons are a thing in New Mexico, there are green chile wonton at all the Chinese food places. You can make them 2 ways: in wonton soup or deep fried with CHEESE. They’re addictive and so good.
- 1 lb fresh green chile preferably Hatch
- neutral oil as needed
To freeze: place the Hatch chiles in a single layer in a freezer bag. Squeeze out all of the air and seal the bag. If you freeze with the skins on, they easily peel off after defrosting. You can keep the frozen chiles in the freezer for up to a year. Defrost in the fridge overnight as needed.
How to roast green chile
Amount Per Serving (4 oz)
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 0.01g0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.