There is so much more than jalapeños and serranos out there, and while cooking with them is a great introduction to chile peppers, they're just a gateway. It's time to dive deeper. Whether fresh or dry, here are six chiles to try out.
3 Fresh Chile Peppers to Try
Get a Recipe: Burrito Bowl with Roasted Corn and Poblano Peppers
2. Cherry Bells
Bright-red cherry bells look a bit like cherry tomatoes with a thicker green stem. They can range from sweet to hot and are most traditionally pickled, although they also can be used fresh in salads, salsas, and sandwiches.
Get a Recipe: Quick-Pickled Cherry Peppers
Hatch chiles have quite a bit of a following. Named after Hatch, New Mexico, where they were originally grown, they are a Southwestern favorite with a short season from August to October. The green peppers have a mild to medium level of heat and a meaty texture. Try them roasted or sautéed.
Get a Recipe: Hatch Chile Breakfast Casserole
3 Dry Chile Peppers to Try
Here's where things get a little confusing: Ancho chiles are actually just dried poblanos. As poblanos mature, they become dark red-brown, at which point they can be dried and called anchos. If they're smoked and dried, they're then called chipotles. Anchos are the most mild dried chile and have a nice richness to them.
Get a Recipe: How To Make Harissa Paste at Home
Long, skinny guajillo chiles have a sweet, berry-like flavor to them, but have more kick than anchos. Try adding one to soups or stews for mild spice, or use them in a traditional Mexican mole sauce.
Get a Recipe: Enchiladas de Pipián Rojo
They may be the tiniest dried chile of the bunch, but arbols aren't messing around — they're hot! Use them to add searing, slightly acidic heat to salsas and sautés.
Get a Recipe: Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Chipotle and Árbol Chiles
What did we forget? What are some of your favorite chile peppers?