Hatch Chiles: Unpredictable, Hard to Find, and Worth the Fuss

August 30, 2015

Every other week we get Down & Dirty with our favorite unique seasonal fruits, vegetables, and more. 

Today: Hatch a plan to get ahold of these chiles.

Hatch Chiles

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Hatch chiles are a foodie dream food: They have a short season (in the late summer to early fall) and a unique flavor profile—and they're hard to get your hands on.

The "hard to get your hands on" piece is due to the fact that Hatch chiles have a limited growing region. Just as Champagne has to be made with grapes grown in the Champagne region of France, Hatch chiles are New Mexico chiles grown in and around….wait for it...the city of Hatch. There isn't a single varietal of green chile peppers named Hatch, but the Hatch Valley has a unique terroir, which in turn creates the unique flavor profile in the chiles grown in the area.

Look for them at your favorite well-stocked grocery store or buy them online. Our friends at Frieda’s recommend choosing firm chiles with no blemishes and storing them in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic. Aim to use or freeze them within five days.

More: Here's a handy chart to help you know how long all of your fresh produce will last.

They are large chiles, and while they can be relatively mild, some can also be quite hot. Unless you’re lucky enough to get them from a store that has labeled them by heat level, get ready to play Hatch Chile Roulette. Adjust your dishes accordingly after you discover whether or not your mouth is on fire.

Some stores that used to carry Hatch chiles are no longer doing so, in the name of their carbon footprint, so if can’t get your hands on Hatch chiles, try substituting Anaheim chiles or poblanos. And, on the flip side, if you can find Hatch chiles, feel free to use them in recipes calling for poblanos or any other green chiles. You find recipes often call for Hatch chiles to be roasted (1, pictured above) as it enhances their flavor; you can blister them directly over a flame on a grill or gas stove or under the broiler in an oven.

Here's how to spice up your life, with a dozen ideas to get you cooking with Hatch chiles from morning 'til night:



Mains and Sides

Tell us: What are your favorite ways to use Hatch chiles?

Photos by Alpha Smoot

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Winifred Ryan
    Winifred Ryan
  • cranberry
  • A Pleasant Little Kitchen
    A Pleasant Little Kitchen
  • Bobbie Wilson
    Bobbie Wilson
  • kumalavula
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


Winifred R. September 6, 2015
I see garlic & lemon already added posole, which is part of why I bought some. Also good homemade green chili (a southwest staple). Yum why face a winter without great food to warm you?
cranberry September 2, 2015
I also freeze the Hatch chiles I get at our local Whole Foods, already grilled. Our favorite is on a burger with cheddar and bacon, sometimes avocado, lots of mayo. A local bakery makes a wonderful brioche hamburger bun that we like to use.
A P. August 31, 2015
I'm so glad to finally see some Hatch love on Food52. I love playing with these chiles every August and then freezing them for the coming year. A few recipes I've developed for Hatch chiles are on my blog, A Pleasant Little Kitchen:
Hatch Green Chile Jam
Hatch Green Chile meatloaf
Beer Braised Pork Shoulder with Hatch Green Chiles
janet August 31, 2015
thanks for those recipes - will definitely have to try the jam!
A P. September 1, 2015
You're welcome Janet! You'll love the jam and find yourself putting it on lots of things-- toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, scrambled eggs. Enjoy!
Bobbie W. August 31, 2015
Stuff them with cooked, crumbled chorizo and sharp cheddar or white sharp cheddar, then wrap in bacon and broil or grill (grilling is the best). So good.
kumalavula August 30, 2015
i always buy three or four tubs of freshly roasted hatch chiles at the local whole foods around this time of year. they started labeling them a couple of years ago according to heat level which is helpful. then i come home and spend at least a couple of hours cleaning each pepper, cutting them up and setting them aside in small portions, individually wrapped in the freezer, for use throughout the winter and spring. before i'm done, i allocate enough to make a huge batch of hatch green chile posole for the fall. it's time consuming but soon worth it when i get to enjoy it in the off season.
garlic&lemon August 30, 2015
Green chile chicken enchiladas! Posole! Calabacitas! (That is cubed summer squash sauteed with chopped onion. When they get soft, add fresh corn cut off the cob and chopped green chile. If you want, you can add chopped cilantro and some shredded mild cheese - but not necessary.)
janet August 30, 2015
i had to order mine online this year - South Carolina is still in the dark about Hatch Chiles!
Smaug August 30, 2015
Hatch Chiles (New Mexicos) and Poblanos are not awfully good substitutes for each other- both are large and thick walled, but the flavors are far apart. Anaheims, Californias, Fresnos (if I recollect) are all close relatives and similar to New Mexicos, which are also available from locations other than Hatch. There is no real substitute for Poblanos, but they are always available, they are a very productive and versatile plant, and will produce all year in mild climates.
Pat A. August 30, 2015
Trust me on this: Dutch Apple Pie with 1/3 cup of finely chopped , roasted medium Hatch chili and a bit of extra cinnamon. I'm one of the lucky ones. I live in Santa Fe and we can get our chiles anywhere.
Lindsay-Jean H. August 30, 2015
Ooh, I'm intrigued!
garlic&lemon August 30, 2015
Pat is absolutely on target! The finely chopped part is essential. Here in Nuevo Mexico, we try to buy bushel bags of Hatch, then roast, peel and freeze in small portions for the whole year. We can buy frozen green chiles all year, but you can only reliably get Hatch at this time of year. Since the harvest is smaller than usual this year, now is the time to jump, jump, jump!
aargersi August 30, 2015
It's Hatch Chili Festival time in Austin. We have them in EVERYTHING! All Hail The Mighty Hatch!! We are having grilled corn, Hatch and tomato salad tonight.
Lindsay-Jean H. August 30, 2015
This was my first time trying them, and I am a big fan, thanks in no small part to your Salsa Asada!