woman in a black shirt embroidered with bright pink, yellow, and turquoise holding a colorful woven rattan bowl with fresh anaheim peppers.

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Anaheim peppers they are one of my favorite Mexican chili peppers. For those of you who aren’t familiar with their sweet, earthy charm, you’re in luck. Today we will do an in-depth analysis, explaining what they are, what they taste like and how to store them. I’ve also put together a roundup of my favorite Anaheim chili recipes so you can put them to good use!

woman in a black shirt embroidered with bright pink, yellow and turquoise holding a colorful woven rattan bowl with fresh Anaheim peppers. woman in a black shirt embroidered with bright pink, yellow and turquoise holding a colorful woven rattan bowl with fresh Anaheim peppers.

What are Anaheim peppers?

Native to the sunny southwestern state of New Mexico, these beauties made a name for themselves in Anaheim, California. As such, Anaheim chiles are also known as “California chiles” or “New Mexico chiles” depending on where you’re from.

Whatever you call them, these chilies strike the perfect balance between spicy and sweet, making them deliciously versatile. They’re equally delicious in your breakfast scramble or to jazz up your enchiladas.

Anaheim peppers typically grow to about 6 to 10 inches in length, boasting an elegant, elongated shape that tapers to a point at the end. Their large size makes them great candidates for stuffing, which is why I often use them in my chile rellenos.

What do they taste like?

I often get asked, “Are Anaheim peppers hot or sweet?” In my opinion they are certainly not “sweet”. They are perfect for those who like a light kick. They are very flavorful and milder than jalapeños, but have enough heat to add a spicy kick to any dish they touch. If you have little ones in the house (or just don’t like spicy foods), Anaheims have a mild to medium heat. Read more about the Scoville scale in this blog post: An introduction to Mexican chili peppers.

Are they healthy?

First let me say that I am not a nutritionist. If you’re wondering whether Anaheim chilies fit into your diet, especially if you have specific health goals or dietary needs, it’s best to consult a professional to make sure these chilies are right for you. That said, they are a welcome addition to mine of the family dish. Here because:

Despite their slightly spicy reputation, Anaheim peppers are actually fruits. Crazy, right? So if you’re looking for a spicy way to introduce more fruit into your diet, these chili peppers are perfect.

These peppers are rich in vitamins C and A, excellent for the immune system and vision. Furthermore, they are rich in fiber and, like most products, have few calories.

white tea towel with a green image of a standing man and a sign with the writing "red or green" with 3 fresh Anaheim peppers and a bowl of unpeeled roasted Anaheim peppers.white tea towel with a green image of a standing man and a sign with the writing "red or green" with 3 fresh Anaheim peppers and a bowl of unpeeled roasted Anaheim peppers.

Are they easy to grow?

I love growing Anaheim peppers in mine salsa garden!

  • Zones: Anaheim peppers thrive in USDA zones 4-12, making them ideal for a wide range of climates.
  • When are they in season? They thrive in warm climates, and their season typically runs from late summer to early fall. That said, they can be found in grocery stores year-round.
  • When should I plant them? The best time to plant Anaheim peppers is after the last frost, when the soil has warmed. In Colorado, it’s usually in May, after Mother’s Day is my rule.
  • When are they ready for harvest? They are usually ready for harvest about 75-90 days after planting. You’ll know they’re ready when they reach full size and the skin is smooth and firm.
  • Complementary planting: In general, most pepper plants tend to grow well alongside tomatoes, perfect for a small salsa garden! They also go well with aromatic herbs, root vegetables (for example onions and carrots), spinach, legumes and marigolds.
  • Plant maintenance: I like to think of all the plants in my garden as my little amigos. Anaheims need regular check-ins, a little TLC, and the right environment to thrive. Make sure they are planted in well-drained soil and receive plenty of sunlight. Water them enough to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Adding mulch can help retain soil moisture and control weeds. As they grow, you may want to support them with stakes or cages, especially if you are expecting a large harvest.
  • Professional Gardening Tip: Rotate your crops! If you planted tomatoes or potatoes in one place last year, plant your Anaheims there this year. It helps prevent soil-borne diseases and keeps your garden healthy and happy.

How should I store them?

When it comes to storing your bounty, you have many options for storing Anaheim peppers:

  • False ceiling: If you’re a fruit bowl person, these glittery beauties are a perfect addition if you keep them whole. They will last about a week at room temperature, just remember to keep them away from ethylene-producing fruits like apples and bananas.
  • Refrigerator: You can also store whole Anaheims in a loose-fitting plastic bag in the crisper drawer, where they should last about 1-2 weeks. If you sliced, chopped, or roasted them first, place them in an airtight container and consume them within a week.
  • Freezer: I usually prefer to roast them first and then freeze them. Roasted Anaheims can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for a year.
  • Roasting: If you’re wondering How to Roast Anaheim Peppersmy post will walk you through each step.
Hand-painted terracotta dish with roasted and peeled whole Anaheim chili peppers. Hand-painted terracotta dish with roasted and peeled whole Anaheim chili peppers.

What to do with Anaheim chili peppers

Now that you have some in your hands, are you wondering what to do with Anaheim peppers? Here you are some delicious options:

Frequent questions

What are Anaheim peppers best used for?

Anaheim peppers are incredibly versatile and shine in a variety of dishes. Whether you’re looking to add a subtle spice to your dish without overpowering it or you’re looking for a pepper that’s as good served fresh or cooked, they’re a great choice.
I personally think they are ideal for stuffing, thanks to their size and mild heat. Their mild flavor also makes them great for adding a delicate touch to sauces, dips and soups. For more inspiration, head back to the previous section – I have lots of recipe ideas for you!

Can Anaheim peppers be eaten raw? Do they need to be roasted? Is it necessary to peel them?

These slightly spicy peppers are delicious raw, although roasting them brings out more of the sweetness. You don’t need to peel them if you serve them raw, but if you roast them first it’s a good idea to do so.

What is the best substitute for Anaheim peppers?

I think poblano peppers and Hatch chiles are the closest swaps – they both have a similar sweet flavor and are great for stuffing.

Will Anaheim Peppers Turn Red?

They certainly can. When young, Anaheims wear a bright, verdant green coat that deepens as they mature. With time and the right conditions, they can turn a beautiful red or sometimes even a rich, deep burgundy hue, signaling that they have reached their full maturity and sweetness.

What are Anaheim peppers called in Spanish?

The term can vary depending on the region, but I have heard them called “Anaheim chiles”, “chiles verdes”, or “California chiles”. That said, you won’t often find Anaheim peppers in Mexico, but the chilaca chili pepper is an excellent substitute.

How Hot Are Anaheim Peppers? What is the difference between Anaheim peppers and poblanos? How about Anaheim peppers and jalapeños?

When we talk about how hot a particular chili pepper is, the most common measurement tool is called the Scoville scale. The heat is then measured in what are known as Scoville heat units (SHU). The Scoville scale ranges from 0 SHU (e.g. peppers) to over 2 million SHU (e.g. Carolina Reapers).
Anaheim peppers are considered mildly spicy with a range of 500-2500 SHU. For comparison, poblanos range from 1000-1500 SHU and jalapeños range from 2500-8000 SHU.

Insights into the most common Mexican ingredients

So, what will you do with the Anaheim Peppers now that you know the skinny? Let me know in the comments below or tag me on social media so I can cheer you on!

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