A delicious New Mexico green chile sauce

Jhett’s New Mexico Green Chile Recipe

As enthusiasts from around the world gather for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, it’s the perfect time to celebrate with a local culinary favorite—the green chile sauce. Renowned for its unique flavor, roasted green chile holds a special place in New Mexican culture and has even spread its influence to places like Denver. Although you can make this recipe with frozen green chile, getting fresh roasted green chile during the chile season is ideal, as you can get exactly what heat level and flavor you are looking for.

Today’s recipe is mostly vegetarian and easy to make entirely plant-based by simply omitting or replacing the chicken bouillon powder. As a testament to green chile’s versatility, feel free to personalize the level of heat and other flavors to your liking.

Understanding Heat in Green Chile

Before we begin crafting our sauce, let’s discuss the spice factor. Green chiles come in a range from mild to extra hot. By blending different heat levels of chile or by adjusting the use of seeds, you can achieve your desired level of spiciness. Remember, seeds maintain their heat even after cooking.

For those handling hotter chiles, protective food preparation gloves are recommended. The capsaicin contained within can cause prolonged discomfort on your skin and can inadvertently spread, especially through frequent face touching. For gloveless preparation, regular handwashing with soap is imperative to avoid the potent sting of capsaicin. While unconventional, using vodka or olive oil could help in the removal process, soap and water remain the simplest and most hygienic solution.

Vegetarian Green Chile Sauce Recipe

With that guidance in hand, let’s get to the heart of our recipe.


  • 1 lb roasted green chile
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium ripe tomato
  • A strip or zest of lemon peel
  • Low sodium soup stock (You can use Knorr brand bouillon for adjustability; both chicken and vegetable flavors are suitable)
  • A small pinch of oregano
  • A tiny touch of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Ground cumin (double the amount of coriander seeds used)
  • A dash of paprika
  • A couple of bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your broiler. This is essential for peeling the tomato later.
  2. While the broiler heats, finely dice your onion.
  3. Place the tomato under the broiler until the skin begins to split, showing hints of brown or blackened spots—about 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, chop the garlic—larger pieces to avoid burning, smaller for a stronger flavor—but watch carefully as it cooks.
  5. In a pan over medium heat with canola oil, season the onions with salt and pepper, cooking until translucent and just golden. Add the garlic and stir regularly to avoid charring.
  6. When the tomato is ready, set it aside to cool.

    Time for Green Chile:

  7. Wearing gloves, remove the stem and peel from the chiles. Slice them open, scrape out the seeds, and chop into small pieces.
  8. Add the prepared chile to the pan with the onion.
  9. Turn your attention back to the peeled tomato. Dice it and add the flesh and any juices to the pan. Slice the remaining core to salvage all tomato pieces, discard only the very center stem, and add everything to your pot.
  10. Let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally. Insert the bay leaves and lemon peel at this stage, allowing the flavors to meld over roughly 20 minutes.
  11. Begin seasoning with cumin, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, and paprika—spices can always be added, but never removed, so season with caution, tasting as you go.
  12. Once satisfied with the seasoning, turn off the heat and let the sauce sit for 10 minutes.
  13. Finally, remove the bay leaves and lemon peel. The flavors should now be perfectly married.

The Final Touch:

When seeking green chile or other related items, consider visiting my family business Farmers Chile Market. And if you have a beloved green chile recipe or adaptation, please share! I’m eager to hear how others enjoy this versatile ingredient.

With your green chile sauce ready, it’s time to savor the rich, complex flavors that New Mexico has to offer, alongside the beauty of the Balloon Fiesta. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out our recipes section for more ideas on how to cook with New Mexico’s favorite food!