Canned Green Chilies: an In-Depth Guide

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You’ve seen them in the grocery store. You probably even have a few cans hanging out in your pantry right now. But how much do you really know about canned green chilies? Let’s explore!

Canned green chilies have that specific flavor that cooks can’t get enough of. It imbues the dish with a hot and spicy kick but at the same time slightly crisp and sweet so that it plays on the mouth.

Together with other kinds of chilies (canned and uncanned), these are perhaps one of the most popular ingredients in the U.S. In America alone, at least 120 million people used a can of green chilies. With that said, they will continue to provide a burst of flavors to the dishes that we love.

So how much do you know about canned green chilies?? Not a lot? That might be the case why you’re here. Guess what? Here’s an article that provides a round-up of the essential things for you to know.

What Are Canned Green Chilies?

This might be a “duh” answer but these are green chilies in a can. These are either diced or in one-whole pieces. But canning might be an understatement since green chilies stored in small glass jars still qualify as canned.

Their origin, and other types of canned chili as well, might be traced to 1908. This year saw the introduction of the first canned chili in the market by Willie Gebhardt. You have to thank this guy for that burst of hotness that your sandwich has today.

Types of Green Chilies for Canning

So what chilies do manufacturers use to make canned green chilies? The Anaheim chilies are the most popular for canning. It’s named after the city that it’s native to – Anaheim, New Mexico. These chilies’ hotness is tolerable even for non-chili lovers.

Anaheim chilies are just one variant of green chilies. So what other types of green chilies do manufacturers can? If you ever tasted canned Anaheim chilies that are unusually hot, chances are you might have perceived wrong. Instead of Anaheim chilies, you might have bought canned green peppers made from hatch chilies.

Hatch chilies look somehow similar to Anaheim chilies. The only way to figure the difference is to taste. Always remember that hatch chilies have a stronger punch than Anaheim chilies.

If you used diced green chilies before, it’s possible the raw ingredient that the manufacturer used is Poblano chilies. Poblano chilies look like dark green cashew nuts. Their hotness is 1,000 – 2,500 Scoville units, similar to Anaheim chilies.

You might have used canned green chili made out of Jalapeno chilies for tacos, nachos, salsas, and sauces. Jalapeno burns on the tongue. It’s canned to tone down its hotness a bit. Canned Jalapeno has a smokey and sweet flavor that agrees with a lot of tongues.

Canned green chilies that are sourced from Habanero chilies raise the heat of any dish to extreme levels. Habanero chili is an important component of dishes that test the tongue of the eater such as buffalo chicken wings, burritos, burgers, etc.

Chilaca chilies are rarely canned. It’s because these are better when dried. Dried chilaca chilies have a unique earthy,s smokey, and spicy flavor that’s great for making condiments and stews.

Guide To Canning

Though it alters the hotness of green chilies, canning is advantageous because it destroys microorganisms and autolytic enzymes. That being said, canning will make the green chilies last for days.

You don’t have to buy green chilies-in-a-can from the market all the time. To save money, you may can them yourself all that you need are:

  • A jar or a clean tin can
  • a knife and a chopping board (optional)
  • a pot
  • a stove
  • salt
  • other preservatives (optional)
  • several pieces of green chilies (at least half or more)

1.So how to start? You have to clean the green chilies first. Cleaning will make them sit better inside the can or the jar since it removes impurities.

2.Skip this next step since it’s optional. If you’re not in a hurry, you can opt to slice the green chilies in several pieces to increase serving size. Slicing will also make it easier for the green chilies to absorb salt, which is what you want to happen for preservation.

3.After doing the above instructions, get the pot and fill it with water ( at least filling it up to the middle is enough). Proceed to put the green chilies inside once the pot is filled.

4.At this time, it’s time to let the green chilies experience hotness themselves. Turn the stove on to boil them. Boil the green chilies until the temperature reaches 60 degrees Celsius or 80 degrees Celsius. The idea behind boiling is that it kills microorganisms and enzymes that cause spoilage.

5.Pour the green chilies in the jar or the tin can after boiling. Check if the lid is completely shut then store the jar or tin can in the pantry.

Applications For Green Chilies-In-A-Can

Mexican cuisines will never be complete without canned green chilies. These are core ingredients for the sauces of tacos, burritos, and tortillas. Rellenos, verdes, rajas, chilaquiles, and enchiladas are other dishes that call for canned green chiles.

You’ll also love them in 5 Layer Chicken Enchiladas and Chicken Enchilada Chili.

Green chilies provide a sweet bright flavor to Italian cuisine. That’s why some Italian cooks never want a pantry that doesn’t have a can of green chiles in store. Dishes from Italy that always requires you to use a can are Frigetelli, Maccheroni,

You might also want to explore Filipino food called the Bicol Express. Bicol Express should be hot to be appreciated. That being said, a can of Habanero green chilies wouldn’t have a problem achieving this.

Lastly, you can’t underestimate the power of a can of green chilies for making hot sauces. Use a can to increase the spiciness and hotness of datil sauce, buffalo sauce, tabasco sauce, and sriracha sauce.

How Long Do They Last?

Unopened commercial canned green chilies last for 3 – 5 years. Once you open them, their storage duration is reduced to 6 months or 1 year depending on the conditions. Remember to put the leftovers in a separate container then store them in the fridge.

A homemade can of green chilies lasts for 3 – 4 months. It’s because salt is the only preservative used. With that being said, remember not to can too much. Reheating the green chilies is a good idea to increase shelf life. However, this might alter spiciness and hotness.


Green chilies provide a lot of benefits. They balance your blood sugar level, prevent ulcers, improves your immune system, and endows the body with a lot of iron. That being said, a can of green chilies doesn’t only make a dish delicious but healthy too. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to learn about the particulars of this staple ingredient.