Colorado-style green chile is a hearty slowly simmered chile with fire-roasted tomatoes. Fire-roasted tomatoes give Colorado chile a rich flavor that distinguishes it from other versions.
While there are lots of green chile recipes out there, I stand by this as the perfect recipe! Enjoy it on top of burritos, eggs, and even as a stew. It is so versatile I even dip grilled cheese in it for that extra kick!
Colorado-style green chile is a local favorite. While there are many good recipes, I stand by this as a great recipe. Dare I say the best? Oh, I do!
I have made my famous green chile and taken it to chile cook-offs. Vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores all agree my recipe is a perfect blend of the best flavors!
If this is your first time making green chile, be prepared to fall in love. Our green chile (sometimes called chile verde) is so popular that 505 Southwestern and the Denver Broncos have a partnership to sell green chile at concession stands!
If you are in the mood, go all out and smother your burritos Christmas style, half green, and half red chile.
What is All The Fuss About?
Lately, I have been reading articles about green chile being the local must-try food in Colorado. I have to agree!
Starting in the fall, late August through late September, there are chile stands throughout Denver (possibly the state). It is a pastime to purchase a bundle of New Mexico chiles and watch them being roasted. While at the road stands, we always buy green and red chiles, along with poblano peppers.
Fun fact (ok maybe just fun for me) chiles are grown in Pueblo Colorado. In fact, it is such a big deal there is a Pueblo Green Chile Growers Association! The peppers from Pueblo are smaller and meatier in texture. Pueblo is in the southern part of Colorado, about 2 hours from the New Mexican border.
What is Colorado Style Green Chile?
Most people are familiar with the famous New Mexican Hatch green chile. The recipes are easily found throughout New Mexico and the American southwest. The New Mexican style is heavy on the actual green chilies and not a lot of other ingredients. However, in Colorado, we make a different type of green chile. Ours is stew-like made with fire-roasted tomatoes.
Colorado and New Mexico take their chilies very seriously. There has been a long-standing rivalry about who's chili peppers are better. Our governors even got in on the action and New Mexico placed billboards around Denver promoting their green chiles. Honestly, it's all good fun and rather funny.
What do I Put Green Chile On?
Well, pretty much everything. Too broad? Honestly in my home, we make this green chile recipe in large batches and can it. It is in such demand that we ship it to friends and family throughout the country.
My personal preference is to enjoy it as a main course. Most of my family likes to smother eggs, breakfast burritos, traditional burritos, enchiladas, nachos, and even burgers in it. We also use it as a type of salsa with tortilla chips.
When I say the main course, I mean a stew served with warm tortillas and lime wedges. Because the chili can be spicy, depending on the pepper heat level, I load the bowl up with cheese and sour cream to cool it off. Then I shamelessly, eat it with Frito Scoops. It's not exactly low fat, but it's soooo worth it!
Buying Green Chiles
Most green chiles sold in stores are from the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. New Mexicans are very proud of their green chiles and with good reason. New Mexico chilies are the perfect blend of sweet and spice.
If you are in the Denver metro area, green chiles are roasted on the side of roads in different locations throughout the city. My two favorite places to shop are Lulu's roadside market in Brighton and roasted chile on Sante Fe. Lulu's has a large variety of different types of chiles including Pueblo chiles. If you are looking for additional stands, I recommend this site.
- Canned - This is the most common form of green chiles. Purchase the fire-roasted chiles, the fire roasting makes a big difference.
- Frozen - These can be found in a rectangle package in some grocery stores. In my grocery, they are between the frozen fruit and seafood sections. I know, it does not make sense. But if you can find them it is worth it. These chiles are close to fresh, roasted, peeled, and easy to cook with.
- Fresh - You might be able to find fresh chiles in your store around late September. If you find these, roast them on your grill to blister the skin. Once the skin is blistered, peel it off. Then slice the chile in half and remove the seeds and veins before dicing.
- Road Side Stands - In parts of the southwest in the fall you can find chiles being roasted in roadside stands. These chiles are amazing! If you are able to purchase fresh fire-roasted chiles it is worth the extra work. You will also have to remove the seeds and veins from these chiles.
How to Make Colorado Style Green Chile (Green Chili Recipe)
- See the recipe card for slow cooker (crock pot) instructions
- Recipe card also includes vegan and meat variations.
- Stove Top
Dice onion and jalapeno. Mince garlic. Measure green chiles (dice if needed)
Heat olive oil in the bottom of the large pot, and over medium heat saute the onions for 2 - 3 minutes. Add jalapeno and garlic, and saute for two more minutes. Add green chile, and spices (cumin, salt, and Mexican oregano), and saute for an additional two minutes. Add broth and fire-roasted tomatoes, stir well and bring to a boil.
Melt the butter in a small saute pan, once melted add in the flour, and whisk in flour until smooth (this is the roux). Allow the flour to bubble and cook for two minutes or until golden brown. Add roux to green chile and stir to fully incorporate into chile.
Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 2 -3 hours stirring as needed to avoid burning.
If serving as a stew, garnish as desired. For other uses, generously ladle it over your dish.
Additions and Substitutions
I wrote this as a vegetarian recipe. However, it can easily be made vegan, gluten-free, or with pork. All are popular variations.
- Vegan - To make vegan green chile cook the onions in olive oil or vegan butter. Also, use vegan butter when toasting the flour (roux).
- Gluten-Free - If you omit the flour the chile will not be as thick. It will still taste great. Another option is to mix 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water. Once mixed and smooth, add to the green chile at the very end of the simmering time.
- Pork - Use 3 - 4 pounds of pork shoulder. Roast in the oven at 350f for 3 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the pork to cool, then remove all the fat and shred into the chile.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are hatch chiles?
Hatch chiles are grown in New Mexico. Hatch is the largest supplier of chiles and is often the first (and usually only) name that comes to mind with green chiles. However, green chiles can be found growing in Colorado as well. Colorado grows pueblo chiles, which tend to be "meatier" than hatch chiles.
What is the difference between red and green chile?
Red and green chiles are from the same plant. The difference is green chiles are picked early and red chiles are left to ripen on the vine. Red chiles are also often hung on large strands to dry out.
Are chiles spicy?
In the spectrum of chiles, the green ones are milder. With that said, what is considered spicy really depends on the person. If you like the flavor, but want to tone down the spice, first look for chiles labeled mild. Then, if you are cooking fresh chiles, remove the seeds and the veins. This is where most of the heat comes from.
Is it chili or chile?
The two are often confused. I have even confused them within this blog. However, the two are very different. Here is the best way to keep them straight.
- Chile with an "e" at the end is the most common spelling used in Hispanic countries. The spelling with an "e" in the united states refers to the pepper. This pepper is the main ingredient and seasoning in green chile. The plural is "chile" or "chiles."
- Chilli with an "i" refers to the beef stew. That stew is not made with chile peppers. Instead is seasoned with a variety of seasonings.
Read This Before Working With Fresh Chiles
When working with fresh, including fire-roasted, chiles the oil can stay on your hands for several hours. As a precaution, I recommend removing your contacts and, if at all possible, wearing gloves. Once the oil gets on your hands, it isn't easy to get off.
Try one of my other recipes
Did you try this recipe? If so, please leave a rating and comment.
You can also post pictures of how it turned out on my Instagram and Facebook pages.
Colorado Style Green Chile Recipe
- Large pot or crock-pot
- Small saute pan
- Medium saute pan if following crockpot instructions
- Knife and cutting board
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup green chile diced
- 2 - 14.5 oz canned fire-roasted tomatoes
- 3 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, or pork)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 3 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 - 2 pinch sugar (optional)
Garnish Suggestions (Optional)
- roma tomatoes, diced
- sliced avocado
- grated cheese
- sour cream
- flour tortillas
- Frito Scoops (best thing ever)
Stove Top Instructions
- Prep: Dice onion and jalapeno. Mince garlic. Measure green chiles (dice if needed)
- Make: Heat olive oil in the bottom of the pot or pan, saute the onions for 2 - 3 minutes. Add jalapeno and garlic, saute for two more minutes. Add green chile, and spices (cumin, salt, and Mexican oregano), saute for an additional two minutes. Add broth and fire-roasted tomatoes, stir well, and bring to a boil.1 medium white onion, diced, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 jalapeno, diced, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1 cup green chile diced, 2 - 14.5 oz canned fire-roasted tomatoes, 3 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, or pork), 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 2 teaspoons salt
- Roux: Melt the butter in a small saute pan, once melted add in the flour, and whisk in flour until smooth (this is the roux). Allow the flour to bubble and cook for two minutes or until golden brown. Add roux to green chile and stir to fully incorporate into chile.3 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter), 3 tablespoons flour
- Simmer: Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 2 -3 hours stirring as needed to avoid burning.
- Serve: If serving as a stew, garnish as desired.
Crock Pot Instructions
- Prep: Dice onion and jalapeno. Mince garlic. Measure green chiles (dice if needed)1 medium white onion, diced, 1 jalapeno, diced, 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Make: Heat olive oil in a saute pan and saute the onions for 2 - 3 minutes. Add jalapeno and garlic, saute for two more minutes. Add green chile, and spices, saute for an additional two minutes.1 medium white onion, diced, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 jalapeno, diced, 2 garlic cloves, minced, 1 cup green chile diced, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- Crock-Pot: Turn crockpot on low for 4 hours cooking time or high for 2 hours cooking time. Pour broth and fire-roasted tomatoes into the crockpot. Add the sauteed onions, jalapeno, garlic, green chile, and spices to the crockpot.3 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, or pork), 2 - 14.5 oz canned fire-roasted tomatoes
- Roux: Melt the butter in a small saute pan, once melted add in the flour, and whisk in flour until smooth (this is the roux). Allow the flour to bubble and cook for two minutes or until golden brown. Add roux to green chile in the crockpot and stir to fully incorporate into chile.3 tablespoons butter (or vegan butter), 3 tablespoons flour
- Serve: If serving as a stew, garnish as desired.
- I like my green chile on the spicier side. To ensure your chile comes out to meet your taste, I recommend:
- Omitting the jalapeno and adding it in as desired.
- Begin with ½ cup of green chile and adding in increments until you find the desired amount of heat.
- I recommend simmering for the best flavor, however, it is not critical.
- The chile might taste a little bitter from the tomatoes, add one or two small pinches of sugar to offset the bitterness.
- If the chile is thicker than you prefer, add ¼ cup of water or broth until you achieve the desired thickness.
- To add pork to this recipe, you will need to use 3 - 4 pounds of pork shoulder. Roast in the oven at 350 for 3 hours. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the pork to cool, then remove all the fat and shred into the green chile.
This recipe is very good! We loved it. We did add the pound of pork shoulder and slow cooked everything. Delish! This is a keeper we're going to be making many times in the future!
Thank you so much, Mitch! I am so happy you liked it and will keep making it. It is my family's time favorite (and mine) recipe.
There is no Mexican oregano available where I am located. What spice would your substitute? Regular oregano? Marjoram? Other?
Hi Chris, in that case, I would omit the Mexican oregano. I have done that in the past and been happy with the sauce.
Hi, normal oregano is fine. They're all very similar!
Colorado and New Mexico have been battling over who holds the title for Worlds Best Green Chile.
I always thought Hatch, New Mexico was the Chile Capital of the world. Up to now I was using the, "Bueno Flame Roasted" (plain green and white plastic tub container net weight 13 oz.) Hatch, New Mexico Green Chile.
Then one day I spotted this green chile product, "Bueno Autumn Roast." (black, red and orange 13 oz. container, with fiery flames and long green chiles on the front. Net weight 13 oz. also produced by Hatch Valle, New Mexico.) in the freezer section at our local Walmart. Several passes later I decided to try it and God be Truth, I cannot put it down or stop buying it. I've already forgotten about that other "Flame Roasted" guy.
Both are produced by Hatch Valley, New Mexico but this one is just bursting with all kinds of flavor: it's as if it's already seasoned and prepared as if one already cooked it themselves at home.
I don't know how Colorado can ever top this one. Have you ever even tried it Colorado?
Hands down! It's world class all by itself. Can't wait to try your Christmas recipe using the Hatch Autumn Roast frozen chopped Green Chile brand. Hope to keep you posted.
Thanks for the article and new recipe. Pretty basic recipe so should do well.
Hi Beckie, Colorado and New Mexico have been batteling it out forever:) We both love our green chile! I have tried the Bueno brand. In fact, I use their red chile paste to make the red chile sauce. I find it at King Spooers next to the fruits, which I will never understand. I always want to include Bueno in my red chile article. I think it makes a thicker chile than the dried pods or the ground pepper. However, I am not sure if it is easily found outside of Colrado. If you know, kindly let me know. I would love to include that in my article.
I made this chili as the recipe called for and it was fantastic. I gave some to a co-workers and they loved it as well. I am adding this to my go-to list.
Sherry, thank you so much for your comment! I am so happy you and your co-worker loved it. Thank you for spreading the word of my green chile.
Do you have a caning recipe for this? I love these peppers!
Hi Mindy, Green chiles are the best!
I have canned this for years and shipped it all over the place. When I can, I use the canning button on my Instapot for 20 minutes. Water bath canning will not get hot enough to safely can green chile. Note of caution, I am not an expert on canning. Because of this I always recommend checking the safety guidelines and recommendations before canning anything.
Ruth, thanks for the helpful hint about the Instant Pot. We're newbies to InstantPot but will try this! My Mom used to can when I was growing up so I know how, but I wasn't aware of this feature with IP. Thanks again!
Hi Mitch, my first instapot was actually a pressure cooker. About a year later, they took off and were sold as instapots. Always ensure the instapot you are using can reach an internal pressure of 15 psi.
Hi! Do you think sautéing the peppers (mine aren’t roasted) would work in this chili? Thank you!
Hi Diana, I am not sure. Are you using fresh green chiles? If so you can oven-roast them. Here is an article on how to do it: https://www.growforagecookferment.com/oven-roast-hatch-chile-peppers/#:~:text=Roast%20the%20Green%20Chile%20Peppers,are%20charred%20brown%20all%20over.
If you are using canned or frozen chiles, I recommend using them as they were purchased. They are oven roasted.
With fresh chiles and tomatoes in abundance, I roasted up some of each and made this recipe yesterday. It turned out really great - thanks for publishing the recipe!
You are so welcome! I am so happy you liked it and thank you for letting me know. It made my day!
It was awesome. Thanks Jimmy.
Thank you so much Jimmy. I am glad you liked it.
I stumbled onto your blog looking for a vegetarian green chile recipe (I don't eat pork), and I am so thankful I found you. I moved to Colorado in 2016 from California. California Mexican food is very different than Colorado Mexican food, so I was instantly turned off by everything being drowned in green chile here. Also, it's hard to find vegetarian green chile in most restaurants here in CO. Well, I have to admit I have finally been converted. I had the most delicious crispy chile relleno smothered in vegetarian green chile in a family-owned restaurant in downtown Denver a few months ago. So now I am on a mission to make it myself. Can I use this recipe to smother other foods like enchiladas or burritos or is meant to be eaten from a bowl with toppings? The restaurants version also seemed a little more brown so I will take your advice and cut back slightly on the tomatoes. Anyway, thank you for any information you can share with me and your great recipes!
Welcome to Colorado and our beloved green chile! I am so thankful you found me.
Yes, you can use this recipe to smother enchiladas, burritos, etc. In my house, we smother everything in this chile recipe, even grilled cheese sandwiches. When the kids want it thicker, I just make a larger batch of roux (equal parts flour + water). The recipe calls for two tablespoons, but you can make it three or four tablespoons. As long as it is equal parts flour and water, combined before adding to the chile you are good. I recommend increasing the flour + water combination in small amounts until you reach your desired thickness. Also, do not directly add flour to the recipe, it will form clumps that are next to impossible to get out.
You are right about Colorado Mexican food is very different than California. My theory is that the styles in Colorado and New Mexico were heavily influenced by the Pueblo Indians and their love of chiles. While NM lay claims to all things green chile, historically they have also been grown in Colorado. If you are up for a small road trip, in the fall drive out to Lulu's roadside farm in Brighton. They carry a large variety of green chiles including the pueblo variety from Colorado.
I am not sure why the restaurant versions are brown, except for maybe the meat? I must say that as a vegetarian, brown and greyish foods do not look to appealing to me... Also, where did you find good green chile downtown? Was it at Sams or D'Corazons? I am always down for trying a new Mexican restaurant.
So sorry it took me this long to get back to you. And the restaurant is D'Courazon! How did you know? I have been back twice already and it's delicious every time. I will definitely be heading to Lulu's based on your recommendation. I haven't tried your recipe yet. It's been too hot. Looking forward to the cooler weather so I can make this.
I am a natiave, Denver local, and green chile lover:)
I love Lulu's for their wide selection alone. You can also find some of the green chile varieties also roasted, peeled, and diced in the refrigerated section. Another option is King Soopers. In the frozen section by the fruits, you can usually find green chiles. Over the years I found it was much easier to buy a bag of 505 roasted, peasted, and diced green chiles at King. It's about $5 and saves a lot of prep work.
I tried this with roasted green chilis and fire roasted tomatoes OMG don't look back it is wonderful and will making it on the Comp train around Colorado Thank you
I love it! Thank you, your comments made my day!
Lemme just start off by saying that CO green chile is probably one of the most underrated regional foods in America. Like it's served nowhere except CO. And I'm glad there's no people from NM on this thread. They never can seem to respect Colorado green chile. My thought is; New Mexico green chile and Colorado green chile are two very different foods altogether. NM is more a sauce, CO is more a stew. It's like comparing NM red chile with Texas-style chili con carne; two completely different things. Yet they can't let us have our staple. SMH.
Anyway, thank you so much for this recipe. I've been dying to make some myself.
Hi Keenan, you are 100% right! There is such a huge difference between the two versions. I am a Colorado all the way kind of girl:). In fact, besides drenching food in it, I also eat it as a stew. Let me know if you have any questions and I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
This recipe is so clutch - I grew up in Denver but live in New York and cannot find green chile to save my life. I can't wait to make this.
Thank you so much! Classic Colorado green chile is getting harder and harder find in Denver. Love that you are old school. Let me know how it turns out.
Hi Ruth, I just used your recipe to make this famous Colorado dish. It came out really well. I'm lucky to have neighbors that love food as well, they gave us a bag of Roasted Colorado Green Chiles. I live in the Springs, though I'm not from here. My first experience with this type of green chile chili was for breakfast , it was poured on a cheese omelette. I fell in love with it!!! Now I can make my own at home. Thank you for the recipe.
Hello Jodel, I can't even begin to tell you how you just made my day! I am newer to blogging and I am always afraid someone would not like my recipe or I did not write the instructions well. That you like it made my day!
This is authentic, almost old-school, Colorado green chile. I tend to see less of it in Colorado but is the only kind of green chile I will eat. You are lucky in the springs, you might be able to find Pueblo Green Chiles. They are grown just outside of Pueblo and are a little meatier than their Hatch counterparts.
We do put it on just about everything in Colorado. LOL. I saw a meme on Facebook the other day using Forrest Gump and Bubba with shrimp, but with Colorado and green chile in it's place. Sums us up Colorado green chile:)
I grew up in Pueblo, CO, but moved away over 30 years ago. I enjoyed green Chile much of my time there, but could never find a recipe to make it. I'm curious about yours, although the appearance of yours (pic in column) is quite different from what I remember. Many restaurants served it in Pueblo, and it had a green/light brown appearance. Might there be a variance in the tomato/Chile balance? I would love to make it, but I long to capture the taste from years past.
I'd welcome any thoughts or advice!
Hi Steve, that is a really good question. Like you, I grew up in Colorado (I am still here) and the green chile I ate as a child always had tomato.
The recipe I use originally came from the Rocky Mountain News back in the 70’s/80’s. My mom would make it and I loved it as a child. Many years ago I lost the clipping and recreate it the way I remember it. One district thing I remember from that recipe was explaining how in Colorado we use tomatoes vs. New Mexico.
I agree that my green chile does look different from other posts. I think that is two parts; I use more tomato and the pictured chile is vegetarian. Without the meats and it’s oil it does look different.
You could always reduce the amount of tomatoes. Start by making the chile without and adding in until you achieve the flavor/color you are looking for.
Here are two examples with tomatoes that use meat. It does add a sheen. Is this what you remember?
Let me know how I can help. I am all about Colorado style green chile. Seriously, I can it year around for my family. That how much we eat.
This green chile recipe was delicious! I wish I made a bigger batch for some leftovers. I also made your green chile cornbread and it was a huge hit!
I love the sound of this chile but I doubt I can find the green chile that you talk about here (UK). Would this recipe work with jalapenos in their place or would that change the flavour too much? I
Hi, that would change the flavor too much. Do you have poblano peppers? They would taste great.