20 Top-Rated Spicy Recipes Featuring Fresh Chile Peppers

Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Steak Stir-Fry)
Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Steak Stir-Fry). Photo: Chef John

Summer's 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 (jalapeño chiles), and fiery-hot peppers (habanero and ghost peppers), for folks who figure dinner's not done until the endorphins kick in.

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Hunan Kung Pao

Hunan Kung Pao
DIZ

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."

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Chile Rellenos

Chile Rellenos
Chile Rellenos | Photo by Allrecipes.

You'll stuff green Anaheim or poblano 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."

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Authentic Enchiladas Verdes

Authentic Enchiladas Verdes
Authentic Enchiladas Verdes | Photo by Allrecipes Magazine.

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!"

04 of 21

Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Steak Stir-Fry)

Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Steak Stir-Fry)
Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Steak Stir-Fry). Chef John

Chef John's steak stir-fry hits on the traditional Peruvian flavor combo of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy (here, it's habanero). "I've never been a big stir-fry guy, but when it comes to lomo saltado, I make an exception," says Chef John. "First of all, it's Peruvian — and I love to eat anything Peruvian. But, it's also a stir-fry that features not only meat and vegetables, but also French fries. Serve with steamed white rice and garnish with cilantro, if so desired."

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Colorado Green Chili

Colorado Green Chili
Photo by Yoly.

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.

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Cochinita Pibil (Mexican Pulled Pork in Annatto Sauce)

a plate of pulled pork topped with red onion slices and green chile slices
Chef Gaby Cervello

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."

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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.

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Hot Pepper Sauce - A Trinidadian Staple

Hot Pepper Sauce - A Trinidadian Staple
Photo by Ronald Baptiste.

Fifteen hot habanero peppers will fire up your taste buds. Enjoy this volcanic sauce over meats, in sandwiches, and stews — anything savory. "Trinidadians LOVE their 'peppa' sauce," says Trini. "And this one is full of flavor and heat! Sooooo easy to make — no cooking, just your blender to create this taste of the islands. Try using different peppers to vary the flavor and heat."

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Chiles en Nogada (Mexican Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce)

Chiles en Nogada (Mexican Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce)
Chiles en Nogada (Mexican Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Walnut Sauce) | Photo by Crema.

Here's a traditional Mexican dish from Puebla, Mexico. "Poblano chiles are stuffed with a flavorful ground pork stuffing, then covered in a creamy walnut sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley" says mega2408. "The long list of ingredients is deceiving — this make ahead dish is quite easy once you have all your ingredients!"

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Black Bean Huevos Rancheros

Black Bean Huevos Rancheros
David and Krista

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."

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Instant Pot® Chicken Posole Verde

In this quick version of posole verde, fresh poblano and jalapeno peppers hit the Instant Pot with tomatillos, chicken, seasonings, hominy, and chicken broth.. Garnish with avocado slices, lime wedges, sliced radishes, and jalapeno slices. "This was really good," says GANDWISH. "I do recommend actually chopping the tomatillos prior to putting them in the blender — it will work better that way! It had great flavor but not too spicy."

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Ghost Pepper Green Sauce

a smooth pale-green sauce in a red ceramic ramekin
bd.weld

"This is my version of the green sauce found in Peruvian restaurants, spiced up even more with fresh ghost peppers," says HOLLY9000. "For a more tame sauce, omit the ghost peppers (and stick to the jalapenos). This is mouth burning, but addictive. It's great on Peruvian chicken, burritos, salads, or as a veggie dip."

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Seared Scallops with Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Seared Scallops with Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Seared Scallops with Jalapeno Vinaigrette | Photo by Kim's Cooking Now.

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."

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Asian Cucumber Salad

Asian Cucumber Salad
Photo by lutzflcat.

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."

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Chef John's Harissa Sauce

Chef John's Harissa Sauce
Photo by Chef John.

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!

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Phaal

Phaal
Photo by John.

"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."

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Bomba Calabrese (Spicy Calabrian Pepper Spread)

Bomba Calabrese (Spicy Calabrian Pepper Spread)
Photo by Chef John.

"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."

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Arizona Hatch Chili

Arizona Hatch Chili
Photo by Yoly.

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!"

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Potato and Pepper Frittata

Potato and Pepper Frittata
blueangel084

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.

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Homemade Sriracha Sauce

Homemade Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
Homemade Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce | Photo by Chef John.

Never be left without your favorite hot sauce again. Sriracha is actually a simple combo of vinegar, red jalapeno and serrano chile peppers, garlic, salt, and a little light brown sugar. Let it ferment briefly before processing it in a blender and reducing the sauce. "Not only is making your own hot sauce (also known as rooster sauce) at home possible, it's really fun and there's hardly any work involved," says Chef John. "Serve it on just about anything."

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More Hot Stuff!

Goan Pork Vindaloo
Goan Pork Vindaloo. Alina

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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