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30 July 2019

Hatch chile peppers are a generic name for New Mexican peppers that are grown and harvested in the Hatch Valley region, New Mexico. Learn more about the Hatch chile pepper from Chili Pepper Madness.

Scoville Heat Units: 1,000 – 8,000 SHU (or hotter)

What are Hatch Chile Peppers?

Hatch chile peppers are actually a generic name for New Mexican peppers that are grown and harvested in the Hatch Valley region, New Mexico.

Located in the heart of the Rio Grande agricultural territory, Hatch, New Mexico, is often referred to as the Chili Capital of the World.

The name “Hatch peppers” often refer to the type of chilies the area has brought to fame, regardless of where they were actually grown, though to be authentically called a Hatch pepper, the pods must be grown in the Hatch region. 

Hatch chilies grown today (in fact all New Mexican peppers) owe their genetic base from cultivars first developed by Fabián Garcia at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, now known as the New Mexico State University, in 1894.

The annual Hatch Chile Festival occurs each Labor Day weekend and draws up to 30,000 people from around the world to the tiny town of less than 2,000 residents.

They are an important part of the culture for anyone who lives in New Mexico.

Legislators passed a law in 2012 that prohibits the sale of chili peppers with the label “New Mexican” unless actually grown in New Mexico, or they must include a disclaimer label of “Not Grown in New Mexico”.

Barker's Hot Chili Peppers From Hatch, NM

History of the Hatch Chile Pepper

New Mexican chili pepper pod types were developed starting in 1894. Fabian Garcia from the New Mexico State University crossed several local pod types with a goal of improving them for the region. He sought larger, smoother peppers that were better for canning.

After several years of crossing and growing, he released a variety called New Mexico No. 9 in 1913. All New Mexican chili peppers owe their genetic base to these peppers. Today, chili pepper studies continue at the Chile Pepper Institute in New Mexico, founded by Paul Bosland in order to study New Mexican peppers and others from around the world.

How Many Types of Hatch Peppers Are There?

There are many varieties of Hatch Peppers. Here is a list of some of the most popular:

How Hot Are Hatch Chile Peppers?

Most Hatch peppers are about a third as hot as a typical jalapeno pepper, or they can be about as hot as your typical jalapeno. Because there are different types of chili peppers that can be categorized as Hatch Chile Peppers, there heat levels can vary from a fairly mild 1,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) to around 8,000 SHU. Learn more about the Scoville Scale Here.

Some Hatch peppers can be even hotter, again depending on the variety. I’ve been told some can be on par with habanero pepper heat.

What Do Hatch Chile Peppers Taste Like?

Hatch peppers are hugely popular in the New Mexican and surrounding region, but they are becoming very popular through the entire U.S. They are quite earthy in flavor, similar to the Anaheim chili pepper. Some say their flavors are said affected positively by the rich regional soil in which they are grown, though others argue that the soil is irrelevant, and that they taste great wherever they are grown.

They can be eaten raw, offering a crisp, spicy flavor and a mild pungency similar to an onion, though they are typically roasted which gives them a smoky, rich, earthier, sometimes buttery flavor.

Hatch green chiles offer a bit more bite, while  aging them to ripened red Hatch chiles mellows them and the heat they deliver from an initial bite to more of a blooming back heat.

What Are Hatch Chiles Used For?

Hatch peppers are used in a wide variety of dishes across the U.S., particularly in New Mexico. They are used to make soups and stews, sauces, chopped and cooked into chilis and other daily dishes. They are also very popular for making stuffed peppers. Roast chile is massively popular. Fresh Hatch peppers are great for many dishes, but the flavors really bloom with roasted Hatch green chiles. Red as well.

How To Cook with Hatch Chile Peppers

Cooking with Hatch peppers is certainly an art form, and one of the most oft asked questions in the New Mexican region is simply, “Red or Green?”, which refers to the color of your preferred sauce.

Locals enjoy cooking and eating their Hatch peppers as either a pureed red chili sauce or a green chili sauce, and I can tell you from personal experience that both versions are extremely flavorful.

Hatch Chile Recipes

Looking for recipes for cooking with Hatch peppers? Here is a list of recipes I have on the site. Contact me with any requests!

Can I Grow Hatch Chile Peppers?

Of course! You can grow the different types of Hatch peppers from seed or purchase seedlings and grow them in your own garden anywhere that chili peppers can be grown. However, as they won’t be growing in Hatch, New Mexico, they can’t actually be called “Hatch Chile Peppers”.

When is Hatch Chile Season?

Hatch chile peppers have a very short cultivation season, as they are larger peppers with very thick walls. They are typically harvested in August and September each year, though the season can be extended a couple weeks on either side, depending on the weather.

This is referred as Hatch chile season.

Where Can I Find Hatch Chile Peppers?

It used to be that you couldn’t get Hatch chile peppers outside of the Hatch, New Mexico region, but they are quickly becoming more and more available at local grocery stores of through online retailers. I have personally ordered roasted Hatch chile peppers online and had them delivered frozen.

They are easily preserved and extremely delicious this way. I enjoy both roasted Hatch chile and fresh chile. 

What Can I Substitute for Hatch Chiles?

If you are unable to obtain Hatch peppers, Anaheim peppers make a good substitute. Cubanelle peppers can work as well.

I’ve used poblano peppers as a substitute and was quite happy. You really want to find a good thicker walled chili pepper to sub in for Hatch chiles, something with a milder level of heat.

Where Can I Buy Hatch Chile Peppers?

Here is a list of recommended resources for where you can purchase flavorful, authentic Hatch chile peppers from New Mexico online, shipped straight to your door.

Where Can You Buy Hatch Chile Peppers? Here are my recommendations.

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. I hope you’ll leave a comment below. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

This post was updated on 7/30/19 with new information and photos. It was originally published on 9/20/13.


  1. Dried peppers get new names, ie a jalapeño l becomes a chipotle. What does a dried hatch pepper become?


    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      The names don’t always change, Rob. Some types of Hatch peppers may, though I’m not aware. Some similar peppers do, like a dried Anaheim pepper is often called a California chili.

  2. THERE IS NO SUCH VARIETY of Hatch Chile. There is Chile grown in Hatch valley, but it is grown up and down the Rio Grande valley. All our hard working farmers deserve support for this wonderful crop, not just those from Hatch. You correctly listed Sandia, Barker, etc. THOSE are the varieties. Hatch is a place, not a Chile.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sylvia, I believe you may have misread the post. You essentially reiterated what is written and expressed in the post. If there is something you feel inaccurate, let me know. I agree, the hard working farmers deserve support for this wonderful crop, and I applaud your passion. Best to you.

  3. Robbin Burton

    Do the seeds die once they’ve been roasted? I didn’t think about saving the seeds until after I roasted them!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Robbin, it is best to grow from fresh seeds. You’ll get the best results that way. Cooked seeds are highly unlikely to germinate.

  4. Hi! I have never had hatch chilies before, but just picked up a bunch of fresh ones at the store to see what the buzz is all about! Trying to figure out though….can you freeze fresh peppers? Or should they always be roasted before freezing? I can’t find anything online explicitly saying so, but a few articles seem to suggest you should only freeze peppers that have been roasted. Any thoughts? Thanks for the informative article!

  5. lori wesolowski

    Hi – just bought a plant full of peppers and harvested them all. Will it produce any more after first harvest? Thx.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Lori, some pepper plants will keep producing for you, sometimes several times through the season. Some people like to harvest pods early to coax the plant into producing more. I hope this helps!

  6. As a Canadian transplanted into Arkansas I needed to know what all the buzz was about this week. Thanks for the informative post!

    I wonder though why New Mexico went ballistic and needed the name change. I mean, who would know (or even care) about France if it weren’t for the fries?

  7. Michael,I grew some Hatch plants from seed six months ago. The leaves look fine, but some of the peppers are becoming necrotic toward the ends. Any ideas ? I water every 2-3 days and fertilize every two weeks. Am I overdoing it ? Thanks, Matt

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Matt, it sounds like blossom end rot, which is usually from the soil starting out wet then going dry, also resulting in a calcium deficiency. Be sure to not overwater your plants, but maintain consistent levels of moisture, and look for a calcium supplement for the soil.

  8. Gary Hilton

    Here in Kansas City area, you can find canned Hatch green chilis that are chopped. Walmart….
    Price Chopper sometimes has roasted Hatch Chilis…if you call the local store manager, maybe they will order some…if enough people call, they will figure out they will corner the market.

  9. I found some Hatch peppers at my local Kroger and made a Hatch Green Chili. The fam loved it so much I ordered a 5 pound box from a grower in NM for $35. I now have a freezer full of Hatch chiles that will (hopefully) last the rest of the year!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Don, it is possible, though unlikely. You’ll get the best germination from fresh seeds.

  10. Delia & Tony

    5 stars
    Greetings Folks,
    Delia and Tony here I Delia am a native to Arizona Tony is from Texaz and we love chilies from Hatch NM. We make the six hour trip every Hiloday weekend. We usually pick up the hot hot roasted chili plus a bag of jalapenos and some chili powders from the Festival. This year unfortunately it was canceled 50 year tradition. So we drove in to town this year and picked up 4 bushels, family and friend request this year since most do not want to venture out due to covid. Many many thanks for keeping the tradition. Count on us yearly. I make our yearly tradition on the Holidays red chili smoked brisket tamsles. Be safe all and thank you for sharing.
    Delia and Tony

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks for commenting, Delia and Tony! I’m envious!

  11. Rose Thompson

    I am born and raised Albuquerque (north of Hatch) I am curious to your views on “Junie” flavor and how hot would you rate it? Would you say is it hotter than, 1) Big Jim or 2) Sandia (I consider those medium heat) ?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Rose, I haven’t personally tried these, though I really want to. I know they are supposed to rank at up to 10K SHU, which would be hotter than most Hatch chiles. I hope to try them myself soon!

  12. We just moved to Texas last year and have noticed all the hatch chili’s in grocery stores here. Is there a way to figure out which are the mildest ones? We can’t eat the really spicy ones but would love to make some homemade chili rellenos. Thanks!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Nicki, the peppers should be labeled according to heat level. Check out the different types of Hatch chiles on the post to get their Scoville ratings. Ask your grocer or source for mild.

  13. Just picked up 25lbs medium and 25lbs hot hatch chili’s 1 week apart. Medium batch was handed out to neighbors with no complaints. Hot batch is TOO HOT for me and the Mrs. How do I tone it down? Mix 25lbs more of medium??? I need help.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Bob, the best way is to dilute the batches, as you mentioned, though you can try adding other ingredients, such as tomatoes, etc. Or use a dairy, which will combat the heat.

  14. If you can’t find Hatch chiles, substitute Anaheims for mild chiles. Substitute Serrano Peppers for extra hot Hatch chiles. I find the flavors to be similar. Add Serranos to Anaheims to adjust the heat level as desired. I’ve made mild green chile chicken enchiladas, then put a bowl of extra hot on the table for the real chile heads!

  15. My mom and I would like to try some hatch green chile to use in our soups or stews, so it’s great to know I can easily find hatch chile peppers through online retailers or even local grocery stores. We’re having a family gathering at the end of the month, and I would nice if we can get our hands on some hatch chile to serve on that day. I’ll try to look for online retailers of the chili pepper in the city so the delivery would be quick and easy. Thanks for this!

  16. Denise Whitver

    I believe Pueble Colorado chilis are much better tasting chili, was in new Mexico a couple years ago and never found a good a good bowl of green chili or red chili. Do not let mylar name fool you because I grew up eating the best green chili and red chili right here in Colorado.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Denise. Pueblo peppers are outstanding for sure! I’m sure some people from New Mexico might have a few words with you on this comment! Haha!

  17. Christina

    I enjoy your site and often check it first for all things chili. An interesting paragraph to the hatch chili story here, might include the difference in flavors between cultivars (e.g. Sandia, Big Jim, Lumbre etc.). If it’s just a difference in scoville units that would be good to know to. If I had taken chilis more seriously when I lived in Santa Fe I would already know! Thanks so much for holding space for us chili lovers out here!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Christina! Perhaps some updates are in order! So many great flavors with the many different types.

  18. I want to come out to NM and pick up a crate or more, roasted on site, mildly hot!
    What would be the earliest you think I can do that? Needs to be before school starts in mid August.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Bob, Hatch peppers are typically harvested in August and September, so I would start asking around in July. Good luck!

  19. Just bought them at Costco in Northern Illinois…they are out there!!!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Very nice! I lived in the Chicago area a long time and was able to find them packaged around the area during the season.

  20. Wow! Thanks for your very informative article on Hatch Chile. Since we also participate in Hatch Chile season, my family asked me to find a supplier as early as now for the best peppers for the said event. My mom loves to cook recipes with chiles in it, which is why I’ll find one. It’s good to know that Fresh Hatch peppers are great for many dishes, but the flavors really come out with roasted Hatch green chiles.

  21. Can’t find them in Fl in late Nov. (Out of season and can’t find canned either), what other pepper can I use in my pork cubed chili?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Al. There are a few good substitutes, but I would look for Anaheim peppers. Maybe toss in a jalapeno for some heat.

  22. Fred DAVID "Rusty" Finley

    I’m a Chile aficionado presently living in Denver, CO, but I grew up in Albuquerque, NM . . . I put up on the average of up to 16 bushels of roasted green Chile every season = some Sandia, Big Jim, Espanola, Dynamite, Gordito, Mira Sol, Pueblo, etc. = even some Barker (never heard of Parker– you may have made a typo) . . . Some are Hatch varieties because they came from the Hatch Valley, and Some are not, but they’re all good. I dry my own Espanola to make my own Red Chile Pequin which surpasses any Crushed Red that may be available . . . As far as Pure Red Ground Chile, the only one to buy is from Chimayo, NM.

    And I know the Scoville Scale very well = I grew up sucking Habaneros, and I’ve tried Scorpions and Reapers.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Welcome, Rusty! I appreciate your stopping by. You are a true chilehead!

  23. Thomas Hunter

    I was born in Hatch,NM

    We got 7 bags of green and one large bag of red this year.

    When making green chili sauce use some chicken bullion. Makes a great flavor combo. Also we usually add some habanero powder in our sauces to heat it up a bit.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great tips, Thomas. Jealous! I wish I had access to Hatch peppers like you do.

  24. Stephen Langer

    I want to make a “Texas Red” chili from dried red hatch peppers. Which variety should I get for one that is very flavorful and moderately hot but not too hot?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hey, Stephen. I would get some different types if they are available so you can have a variety. Definitely get Big Jim peppers, as they are large and will provide a lot of substance. I’m not sure of your heat level preference, but Sandia peppers are about as hot as jalapenos, so you could incorporate as few or as many of those as you’d like. If you’re looking for very hot, I would just add in some non-Hatch peppers, like a habanero, to bring it up to the heat level you prefer. Let me know how it turns out for you. Super curious!!

      1. Stephen Langer

        Thanks for the reply, Michael. After reading about the numerous varieties of Hatch peppers and checking buying locations online, I find heat levels of pods but no indication of what specific variety they are. Maybe it’s not that important. The NM Connection offers three heat levels of whatever Hatch variety this is. I’ll probably go for one of medium and one hot and play with a balance of these. I will give them a call and find out.
        I don’t want to add other hotter pepper types (definitely not habaneros). Not crazy about their flavor. Planning to made a simple full bodied “Texas Red” chili for a cook-off this winter. No beans or tomatoes, using cubed meat. I’m in the PNW and currently have 7 NuMex Big Jim plants producing peppers now but will order some dried ones for a reliable supply when I need them.

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Sounds like a great plan! Good luck, and let me know how it turns out for you. Enjoy.

  25. You can buy them fresh at the end of August at Giant Eagle & Market District stores in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, and Indianapolis. Enjoy!

  26. One of my faves. Legendary and singular flavor. I buy a giant box or three, roasted right in front of me, whenever they are in season.

    You strip out your other NM strains (big jim and barkers etc) and the hatch can be formidable. I’ve made sauce too spicy to eat before. I’ve purchased and prepared Hatch that was on par with Habanero heat. This is not uncommon in the desert SW.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Brent. I appreciate the info!

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