Why pay high grocery store prices for small cans of green chile when you can easily roast them yourself in just minutes?! Roasting green chile is a Southwestern tradition, and come fall, nearly every market or roadside vegetable stand in the region has a gas-powered chile roaster preparing this delicious pepper treat by the bushel!

Selection of chiles

Many varieties of green chile can be roasted as preparation for great recipes.

Photo Credit: Jodi Torpey

Chiles on the grill

It takes only 5 minutes per side over high heat to roast chiles.

Photo Credit: Jodi Torpey

Roasted Chiles

Remove chiles when they’re evenly blackened to make peeling easy.

Photo Credit: Jodi Torpey

Peel and seed chiles

Use a sharp knife to remove the stem, slit the chile from top to tip, then remove the seeds and veins.

Photo Credit: Jodi Torpey

Package chiles

Place chiles in airtight containers and freeze or use within several days. Roasted chiles are perfect for a variety of recipes, or just pop a few slices into a warm flour tortilla for a yummy quick burrito.

Photo Credit: Jodi Torpey

Green chiles need to be roasted so the thin skin can be removed before using them in recipes. But even if roasting weren’t required, the aroma alone is worth the effort! And for those who shy away from green chiles’ spicy kick, you’ll be happy to know the cooking process mellows the peppers a bit, too.

You can roast just about any long, green chile, but the longer ones (like ‘Newmex Big Jim’, ‘Anaheim’ and ‘Sandia’, which are 4-6 inches long) make for easier peeling than smaller varieties.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Any amount of long, green chile (You can also roast poblano chiles and jalapeños.)
  • Outside/inside grill or broiler oven
  • Cookie sheet(s)
  • Metal tongs
  • Thin plastic or rubber gloves
  • Heavy plastic bag or large bowl
  • Knife
  • Freezer bags or airtight containers

Roasting Instructions

Rinse chiles and let dry. Preheat grill or the broiler unit of your oven. Place the chiles directly on the grill (or on a cookie sheet for under the broiler). Roast chiles using high heat, turning frequently to evenly blister the skin until it’s black on all sides (about 5 minutes each side). Using tongs, remove chiles from the grill or broiler.

Place the chiles in a thick plastic bag or a bowl covered with a damp cloth to help loosen the skin, then let the peppers sit until they’re cool enough to handle (about 15-20 minutes).

Don thin plastic or rubber gloves to protect your hands from the chile juice, which is potent and can cause discomfort. Especially avoid touching your eyes or face with your hands until you remove the gloves . Take a chile from the bag or bowl, cut off the stem end and slit lengthwise from top to tip. Flatten the pepper and use the side of your knife blade to scrape out the seeds and veins. Peel the skins off the chile, leaving the juicy flesh behind. Repeat this process until all the chiles are seeded and peeled.

Let cool, then package the chiles in airtight containers (or bags) for the refrigerator or freezer.

Roasted green chiles are an important ingredient in Mexican dishes and are great additions to soups and stews for a trademark Southwestern flavor. Try this easy salsa recipe for a flavorful kick:

Easy Chunky Salsa

(Serve with chips as a snack or appetizer, use as a condiment, or try it on top of scrambled eggs.)

Ingredients

  • 4 small tomatoes, seeded and roughly diced
  • ½ cup (or more) roasted green chile peppers, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to combine flavors, then serve!

So whether your chile peppers come from your garden, the local farmers’ market or grocery store, fire up the grill and get ready to kick up the flavor!