By Carl Hanson

Late summer is the season for fresh chile peppers. In August, you'll find them piled high at local farmers markets. Often the smoky-sweet scent of freshly roasting peppers will lead you right to them at the market! The peppers appear in a ton of shapes, sizes, and colors and a range of flavors and levels of heat.

To celebrate Pepper Palooza, we've picked a peck of our favorite fresh chile pepper recipes, top-rated recipes featuring mild peppers (like Anaheim and ancho chiles), medium-hot peppers (chipotle and jalapeño chiles), and fiery-hot peppers (habanero and ghost peppers, for folks who figure dinner's not done until the endorphins kick in).

1. Hunan Kung Pao

Chicken and shrimp are stir-fried with spicy dried chiles, red and green bell peppers, and Szechwan peppercorns in a flavorful sauce. "This is one of the best restaurant-style Kung Pao's I've ever had," raves DIZ. "It was made even better with fresh peppers from my garden."

Photo by DIZ

2. Chile Rellenos

You'll stuff green Anaheim chile peppers with Cheddar cheese, dip them in a simple batter, and quickly fry them until the cheese is melty and the peppers are crispy. "This is the best relleno batter recipe I've come across," raves SpicyJoe. "I had batter left over and made onion rings. They were great too."

Chile Rellenos | Photo by Allrecipes

3. Authentic Enchiladas Verdes

For this authentic Mexican recipe, you'll make a spicy green sauce with fresh tomatillos and serrano peppers to pour over shredded chicken enchiladas. Top them with crumbled queso fresco, chopped onion, and chopped cilantro. "Loved it," says LABELLE2. "We used all five serrano peppers -- fortunately we can take the heat!"

Authentic Enchiladas Verdes | Photo by Allrecipes

4. Colorado Green Chili

Hatch chiles -- the pride of New Mexican peppers -- make it happen here. "This vegetarian green chili goes great over breakfast burritos, cheeseburgers, fried eggs, or anything," says YOUNGCM2.

Photo by Yoly

5. Cochinita Pibil (Mexican Pulled Pork in Annatto Sauce)

Cochinita Pibil is a Mexican version of pulled pork. Pork shoulder is slowly cooked in a spicy sauce made with annatto paste, vinegar, and citrus juice. For even more intense flavor, and if you have the time, marinate the sauce-covered meat for about 8 hours. "Very delicious," raves KReid. "Easy and versatile. Made leftovers into vegetable Mexican soup."

Photo by Allrecipes

6. Grilled Salmon with Habanero-Lime Butter

Salmon steaks marinate in orange and lime juices with a little tequila and minced habanero peppers. You'll grill the salmon and serve it with a habanero pepper and lime zest butter. "The blend of flavors is difficult to describe but I can say that it was a a mixture of creamy sweet and pleasing spice," says Leo. "The leftover butter mixture can also be spooned over chicken." Mike recommends removing the seeds from the peppers to tame the heat.

Photo by Meredith

7. Spicy Chipotle Turkey Burgers

Ground turkey gets a spicy kick from smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Grill the burgers and top with mozzarella cheese. "Sooo flavorful!" raves soulmait. "I don't usually enjoy turkey burgers, but these were delicious. I used Swiss cheese, and made a chipotle mayo."

8. Chipotle and Adobo Pickled Eggs

Pickle your hard-boiled eggs in this spicy vinegar and chipotle mixture. They're great for snacking or for slicing onto salads. "My family can't get enough of these," says Diane. "I recommend refrigerating them about 5 days for the eggs to really take on the flavors of the brine."

Chipotle and Adobo Pickled Eggs | Photo by LilSnoo

9. Black Bean Huevos Rancheros

A delicious version of the classic Mexican "rancher's eggs," it features layers of black beans with chipotle peppers, plus fresh salsa and shredded Monterey Jack cheese. You'll make a bright, spicy salsa with tomatoes, green onion, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and salt. "Absolutely awesome," raves Caroline. "The chipoltle chiles in the beans added unique flavor. Hands down the best huevos rancheros I've ever had."

10. Seared Scallops with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Seared scallops are served with fresh orange segments and a mild jalapeño vinaigrette you'll make in the blender with fresh jalapeño, rice vinegar, olive oil, and Dijon mustard. This seafood dish is quick and easy but still elegant and absolutely bursting with flavor. "Delicious," says lovestohost. "The vinaigrette was nice and light and allowed the flavor of the sea scallops to shine."

Photo by Kim's Cooking Now

11. Asian Cucumber Salad

Sliced red chile peppers and cucumbers are tossed in a simple rice vinegar, garlic, fresh ginger, and sesame oil dressing. "LOVE THIS," says StefanieG. "Tastes just like the cucumber salad I like from a local sushi restaurant."

Asian Cucumber Salad | Photo by lutzflcat

12. Chef John's Harissa Sauce

This Tunisian hot sauce combines ground spices with fire-roasted red bell peppers, and habanero and Fresno chile peppers. Harissa is a magical ingredient and incredibly versatile; add it to all kinds of savory dishes—it makes everything taste better!

Photo by Chef John

13. Phaal

"This is the world's hottest curry," says Jonathan. "It is atomically spicy! Because it contains the world's hottest chile, the Bhut Jolokia or 'Ghost Chile', which is three times hotter than a habanero. This pan-Asian dish is not for the faint of heart."

Photo by John

14. Bomba Calabrese (Spicy Calabrian Pepper Spread)

"This amazing Calabrian pepper spread is as delicious as it is unknown," says Chef John. "I love it on sliced fresh bread, but you can toss it with pasta, add it to a sandwich, fill an omelet, top a pizza, or serve as salsa with grilled fish, or in deviled eggs."

15. Arizona Hatch Chili

Roasted Hatch green chiles slow-cook with pork roast, onions, tomatoes, and spices in this simple Hatch chili recipe that never fails to please.ChrisJon43 gives it 5 Stars: "I was so excited to find this recipe! I grew up eating this chili and have been making it myself for decades!"

Photo by Yoly

16. Potato and Pepper Frittata

Here's a simple potato frittata with bits of bacon, a combo of hot and sweet chile peppers, and crumbled feta cheese. Great for brunch or a lunch. Serve it hot or warm, topped with sliced cherry tomatoes and a splash of olive oil. "This rustic egg pie was invented for late summer's vegetable bounty," says Chef John.

Photo by blueangel084

17. Chef John's Fried Padrón Peppers

Padrón peppers are small green peppers you'll often find at farmers markets. Fry them until their skins blister, and they develop an intoxicating bitter-sweet, typically not-too-spicy flavor. Serve them with just a sprinkle of large-grained sea salt and a simple garlic mayonnaise. They're also sensational with fried eggs!


Check out the collection of Chile Pepper Recipes, including top-rated recipes for Anaheim, banana, chipotle, habanero, Hatch, jalapeno, serrano peppers, and more.


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