Multiple large sacks of dried Hatch, New Mexico red chile pods hanging up in Albuquerque

The Magic of New Mexico Red Chile Pods

Red chile pods are the fundamental part of the red part of our New Mexico state question, “Red or Green?” Sundried Hatch red chile pods are an amazingly flavorful addition to New Mexico cuisine.

Although many people like to use red chile powder, chile pods are better for a few major reasons.

Benefits of Red Chili Pods vs Powder

First, they are exposed to less air because their surface area is much smaller than millions of granules of powder.

Second, the blending process is much more hands on, resulting in a higher quality dish overall. Blending results in a more even chile sauce through aeration and emulsification. It has less of a propensity to separate than using a chile powder. Although red chile powder is great for adding a kick, it can leave a somewhat sandy residue at the bottom of your dish.

Varieties of New Mexico Chile Pods

The most common red chile pod variety is hot, with Sandia chile taking the crown. If you go into 100 New Mexican restaurants, odds are 70% of them are using a hot Sandia variety. It is the traditional hot in New Mexico for the last two or three generations. Sandia is also the most popular choice for tying ristras, so expect a hot chile if you decide to cook with your ristra!

Some people who like more heat will also get Extra-Hot, which is typically a Barker chile pepper. Barker red chile pods typically have about 25-30% more heat than Sandia pods.

For those who like super spicy chile pods, we also try to carry the XXX-hot Lumbre variety of dried red chile. This chile variety is not as common as hot or extra-hot varieties, so it often sells out quickly. If you see it available at our chile store located at 2010 Eubank Blvd NE, be sure to get it. We also sell plenty of fresh and dried superhot chilies, so pick up some of those if you really like the fire. Just one Carolina Reaper will turn an X-hot sauce into an XXXXX-hot sauce, so be careful with it.

Check out our page about 2024 roasted green chile in Albuquerque! We hope to be your favorite place in Albuquerque this year for both red and green chile, fresh, frozen, and dried!