Hatch chiles are New Mexico’s gift to the world. Here is everything you need to know about what makes these chile peppers so special plus our favorite recipes!
If you ask a New Mexican which green chiles are the best in the world they would answer, without hesitation, the Hatch green chile. In fact, Hatch, New Mexico is known as the “chile capital of the world“.
They are meaty, with a grassy, herbal flavor. Some are really spicy but most varieties have enough heat to make it pleasurable without assaulting your tastebuds. Roasted Hatch chiles take on an almost buttery flavor with sweet heat.
It’s not just the taste but the aroma of them roasting is world famous. In fact, New Mexico may become the first state to have a state aroma: “green chiles roasting in the fall”.
Their popularity stretches way beyond New Mexico however. We love Hatch chile peppers and want you to love them too (if you don’t already)! Let’s take a closer look at these famous chiles and some of our favorite Hatch chile recipes.
What Is A Hatch Chile?
Hatch chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley region of New Mexico. They cannot come from California or Texas, but must be grown in Hatch Valley, along the fertile Rio Grande, to be called Hatch chiles.
They come in several varieties, some hotter than others. You can buy them as red or green chiles, which are the same chile just at different states of ripeness. They start out as green and then become red as they ripen.
The most popular varieties include, Numex Big Jim, which has been deemed the largest green chile by the Guiness Book of World Records because it can grown up to 10 inches long. You may also find the Sandia variety which is a bit smaller and has, what I would consider, medium heat.
Hatch chiles look similar to Anaheim chiles, but they are not the same. Nor are they poblano peppers.
Are Hatch Chiles Hotter Than Jalapeños?
Depending on the variety, Hatch chiles can really range in heat. Hot Hatch chiles can hit about 8,000 SHU or Scoville Heat Units. Which is about the same as a spicy jalapeño. The milder varieties have a spice level of about 2,500 SHU, which is similar to a spicy Anaheim pepper.
So how do you know if the ones you’re getting are spicy? The boxes or containers they are sold in should be labeled with their spice level. If you are unsure, just ask.
What About Nutrition? Are Hatch Chiles Good For You?
Yes! Just like all other chiles, New Mexico’s Hatch chile is keto, low carb, high in vitamin C, and low in calories. According to Harvard Health, people who eat spicy chiles, like Hatch chiles, four times a week are one third less likely to die of heart disease.
Where Can I Find Them?
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Hatch, New Mexico at the end of August or beginning of September, you can catch the Hatch Chile Festival where you will find abundant sources of chiles.
Even if you are not in New Mexico, many local grocery stores all over the US sell fresh Hatch chiles in the late summer and early fall. There are also many companies like the Hatch Chile Store who ship fresh chiles as well as frozen, canned, and products made from the chiles like sauces and salsas.
Our Favorite Hatch Chile Recipes
1. Roasted Green Hatch Chile Salsa
This simple, healthy Roasted Green Hatch Chile Salsa is the perfect thing to make when Hatch chile season rolls around. It’s tangy and tart without being too spicy—although you could definitely up the spice level if you want. It makes an incredible sauce for anything that needs a touch of Hatch green chile goodness!
2. Hatch Chiles Rellenos from Favorite Family Recipes
Hatch chiles are perfect for stuffing because they are so long with thick meaty flesh that doesn’t easily tear. Fill with cheese, dip in batter, and fry for the most incredible meal ever! Serve with warm salsa ranchera, rice, and beans.
3. Grilled Chicken Chilaquiles Verdes
Freshly-fried tortilla chips tossed in bold Hatch Chile salsa and topped with grilled chicken, avocado, sour cream, and queso fresco or feta cheese. I would eat this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, yes please.
4. Slow Cooker Hatch Chile Verde from FoodieCrush
Pieces of pork slowly simmered in Hatch green chile sauce until it is fall apart tender and infused with tangy, spicy chile flavor. Serve in warm flour tortillas or in a rice bowl with Cilantro-Lime Rice.
5. Hatch Green Chile Enchiladas from Mexican Please
Spicy Hatch green chile sauce also makes unbelievable enchiladas. These are stuffed with chicken but you could do cheese or ground beef picadillo would also be good.
6. Hatch Green Chile Cheeseburger from Kendall Kreations
If you order a burger in New Mexico, it most likely will come with roasted chiles and cheese, they’re kinda famous for it. This is a great recipe for making these drool-worthy burgers at home. It’s fat, juicy, and piled high with green chiles. In the summer we like to throw these on the grill along with some corn.
7. Green Chile Ham and Egg Cups from A Girl Defloured
Veggies, eggs, and green chiles make an excellent breakfast option. These Green Chile Ham & Egg Cups are the perfect grab-and-go, low carb breakfast recipe that the whole family will love.
8. Hatch Chile Hummus from What Jew Wanna Eat
An excellent appetizer or snack that’s nice to have on hand for a dip or spread. This recipe takes traditional hummus and adds some zing with spicy chiles. I can see this also being excellent on a roasted sweet potato or in a rice bowl with Calabacitas.
9. Hatch Chile Huevos Rancheros
The tangy zip of Hatch chiles take these huevos rancheros to the next level. This is what happens when you combine a freshly-fried tostada with runny eggs and spicy Hatch Chile salsa. Perfect breakfast or brunch for the weekend.
More Recipe Collections To Browse
- Two Easy Mexican Side Dishes
- 25 Mexican Appetizers
- 12 Jicama Recipes To Get Our Crunch On
- 18 Healthy Ground Turkey Recipes (from our sister site, Kate’s Best Recipes)
- 17 Canned Chipotle Pepper Recipes
- 21 Of The Best Spring Recipes (again, from Kate’s Best Recipes)
- 30 Mexican Dessert Recipes
Now You Understand The Obsession, Right?
I hope you can get your hands on some Hatch green chiles soon and try a few of these recipes. I want to know which one is jumping out at you. Snap a pic of your dish me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below! Also, sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
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