Chubby’s Green Chili (Copycat)

Copycat Chubby's Green Chili

Chubby’s Green Chili is my copycat version of the top secret recipe from the Original Chubby’s on 38th Street in Denver. For decades Chubby’s has been a Denver institution … and they smother everything with this hot, flavorful green chili sauce.

Every year I get numerous requests for the recipe for the original Chubby’s green chili (on 38th Street). The problem is that it’s a top secret family recipe and they don’t give it out to anyone. I’ve run across others’ attempts to create a copycat of Chubby’s … and they weren’t even close. So … a couple weeks ago, I bought a quart of original Chubby’s green chili and got with Chef Phil Feder to take a shot at duplicating it. This first shot was very good, but missing some of the unique Chubby’s character. So I’ve made several more batches, experimenting and tweaking as I go – and throughout the process I have my quart of original Chubby’s next to me to compare mine with theirs – again and again and again. Every time I end up very full with my mouth burning. Duh!

So where does it stand now? Obviously, good enough to publish. I’d say the flavor is 90-95% there, but I’m still struggling a bit on texture and appearance. Original Chubby’s green chili has a very, very smooth texture and very little pork. I’ve been pureeing the hell out of my ingredients, but mine is still significantly lumpier. Now, many of us like lumpy … but it’s still not an exact copy. I’m also putting probably double the meat in. That’s my bias – I think green chili should have a noticeable amount of pork!

This is still a work in progress – I do aim to reach over 95% on both taste and texture. How about giving me feedback? How am I doing? Suggestions?

Chubby's Green Chili (Copycat)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
My own copycat version of the Original Chubby's green chili - a very hot, flavorful green chili sauce they use to smother just about everything.
Recipe type: Green Chili
Serves: 4 quarts
  • 1 lb diced pork (1/4 to ½" dice, pork loin or shoulder)
  • 1 tbsp + ½ cup lard
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (chopped to almost mush in food processor)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1½ tbsp ground dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp dried sage
  • 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cans chicken broth
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1½ cups green chiles (mild, hot, or a combination - see notes)
  • 1½ cups canned jalapenos (12 oz jar or can, not pickled)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp chicken bouillon
  1. Puree the can of diced tomatoes, the green chiles, and the jalapenos (either together or separately, doesn't matter) in a food processor or blender and set aside. You may need to add liquid.
  2. In a large pot, brown the pork in 1 tbsp lard.
  3. Add the onions and cook another 3-4 minutes until onions are soft.
  4. Add the pressed garlic and spices and cook another minute.
  5. Add the pureed tomatoes, green chiles, and jalapenos, 1 can of chicken broth, and 1 cup of water. Cook over low heat (or in a crock pot on low) for an hour, then stir in 6 oz tomato paste.
  6. While the chili continues to simmer, in a medium saucepan, make the roux: melt ½ cup lard over medium low heat. Dump in the flour and 2 tbsp chicken bouillon and stir to blend. Keep stirring as it thickens and keep adding small amounts of the remaining 2 cans chicken broth and water. You should end up with a roux about the consistency of thick pancake batter.
  7. Stir the roux into the green chili, blending well. Simmer another 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Serve over burritos, fries, eggs, nachos, whatever.
  9. You can also leave it in the crock pot on low for several hours. This works well on a buffet where guests can ladle it onto plates or bowls themselves.
You can use mild, medium, or hot green chiles (or a combination) and then adjust to desired heat with more jalapenos.

Now how do you use it? At Chubby’s, they smother eggs, Mexican hamburger, beef burritos, and lots more with it. They use it mainly as a sauce. Now that I’m making my own Chubby’s green chili, I’m also using it to replicate their other dishes.

38 comments to Chubby’s Green Chili (Copycat)

  • Robert

    Ya know, a lot of the original Saguache county “natives” used corn starch, not flour. Maybe that’s the texture you’re looking for… Then it is gluten free too.

  • Amanda

    I have been looking for this for years so THANK YOU for posting! Have you found a similar cheese to the cheese they use? It has a cheddar taste but melts creamy and smooth, like American or Velveeta, not stringy like your typical cheddar. Any ideas what kind they use?

    • Anita

      Uh-oh. Gotta go buy more Chubby’s food to focus on the cheese & see if I can figure it out.

    • Nicole Monaco

      I made this and it’s very close to the Chubby’s chile but I didn’t like the taste of the flour. I think I will try with Masa next time to see if it tastes closer to the original.

  • Jo Garone

    Will definitely be trying this. Can’t find hot green chili down here in Texas. Used to eat at Chubby’s when I lived in the Denver area. Do you have a copy cat recipe for the Santiagos green chili?

    • Anita

      I haven’t tried to create a copycat of Santiago’s – partly because you can buy it in Safeway. I assume it’s not in Safeways in Texas, but you might ask a Safeway manager to order it. I’ve talked to Santiago’s chile supplier, and they use about half green chiles and half jalapenos. But … that would depend on whether it’s Santiago’s mild or hot. Hot would mean more jalapenos.

  • Robin

    Made a version of this today and Wow! This is so good. When I read the recipe I thought this is crazy! Lard? I used less pork and way less jalapeños to cut down on the heat, I’m entering this in my Chile club’s cook-off. But the creamy mouth feel and orange color really remind me of Chubby’s. Thanks Anita!
    Robin – Last Friday Green Chile Club

  • brit

    There’s no chunks of tomatoe in chubbys chilli.

    • Anita

      Well, I’m not done experimenting. You’re right that there’s no chunks of tomato – that’s why I blended the tomato in the blender. The orange color can be from tomatoes, tomato paste, and/or chile powder, or a combination. I’ll see about taking it to another level shortly.

  • Nicole

    This came out really great. My texture and appearance is almost spot on, the taste is a little off though. We were thinking the flour made the taste a bit off – not sure what else to do in terms of thickening otherwise though. Maybe some cornstarch?

    • Anita

      Yeah, I know it’s a bit off. I’ll have to launch another set of testing & tweaking. I did try corn masa (corn flour) side by side with the flour and the taste was definitely better with the flour. But corn starch is pretty different. I’d say it’s worth trying. If you do try it, let me know. I’ve gotten some feedback that the tomatoes are off base.

    • Mary

      Maybe try using Xantham Gum as a thickener?

  • I am going to try this recipe. I’ve never had Chubby’s green chile sauce, but, based on what I’ve seen of the color, you can’t be off base with the tomatoes. Living in Minnesota, after spending most of my life in Denver, if I wanted green chile, I had to learn to make it! Thankfully, I have a friend here, who is a chef who once lived in Colorado. He shared a recipe with me, and I have based mine, on his directions. After seeing this, I want to make a batch, leaning more toward tomatoes. I’m thinking a 50/50 ratio of tomatoes and green chiles (with a healthy dose of jalapeno!) just might be the trick!

  • Jenny from the block

    Do I blend the all the chili in the blender?

    • Anita

      In that first step, you do put all the chiles, along with the diced tomatoes, in the food processor or blender and puree it. There’s no need to blend the final green chili before serving. Chubby’s is not very lumpy – more like a thick sauce.

  • Janet

    Any replacement for the lard?

  • Tara mack

    Tara mack, jfyi. Not nack. Where are the red flakes in your recipe? I eat chubbys once a week. That is the Secret! The red flakes. If that is found, then mystery solved!

    • Anita

      Good point. When I was experimenting with creating this I was pureeing tomatoes thinking it would get the desired effect. I clearly need to add some red pepper flakes. I’m about due to create and tweak the next batch, so I will focus on that. Thanks for the input.

  • Sara

    Is there anything you would recommend as a substitution for lard? I know, that’s where all the flavor is at…just looking for alternate fats 🙂

    • Anita

      This recipe and other chili recipes are very forgiving. You can substitute margarine or butter. I wouldn’t use oil. The recipe for Sam’s #3 green chili uses margarine – and a lot of it. Best of luck with this.

  • Brad

    I made this today… it turned out good except heat level. I ended up adding a few habanerios to spice things up. I also used bacon grease as the roux base and that added another subtle flavor in the end. Zipped most everything except meat in the vitamix and it was very creamy texture!

  • Peter Jensen

    You can also buy green chili powder from the chili guys in denver co no need for jalapenos hot or mild I buy hot and ratchet it up tell desired heat is achieved very good at resolving into sause. Peter by

  • dan mckelvey

    Thank you Anita…Really fun to follow and learn…

  • Jishua

    What told to add 1 1/2 cups of green chilies, what kind of green chilies?

  • Gino Bambino

    The secret ingredient you’re missing is hot taco sauce…I use del taco hot taco sauce…instead of diced tomatoes

  • ShawnT

    I like my green chili chunkier than Chubby’s. So, I coat pork tenderloin chunks with cornstarch, and do a quick fry in my electric pressure cooker, before adding all the other ingredients. The residual cornstarch in the pot is usually just enough to help thicken the chili, and gives it a silky texture. In addition to plenty of green chiles, a couple of jalapenos, and some red pepper flake, I add one habanero pepper to take the heat to the next level.

  • rusty schakelford

    By far the best one ive found. Thank you for this

  • Marika

    What are th ounce measurements in the 3 cans of chicken broth? Usually we buy in bulk so we will need to cut our serving size to scale.

  • Pat Taylor

    Have you tried using corn starch instead of flour?

    • Anita

      I have tried it with corn starch – using flour was clearly much closer to Chubby’s than corn starch, particularly in texture and appearance, but also a bit in flavor

  • Paula

    Great! Try El Burrito green chili in Ft Collins. I have been trying to duplicate this for YEARS.

    • Anita

      Next time I’m in Ft. Collins I’ll pick some up. I tried their burritos years ago – really good!

      • Sunny Cerna

        They deep fry the chicharrones they put a little flour then deep fry them. The left over oil they drain but the secret is all they particles at the bottom thats where you get the flaver. Put pork in it fry it and then take it out Then cut bell peppers and onions and your sessionings and fry it with left over oil from the bottom of the pot and then add tomatoes fry it all together real good then add you chilli keep frying. Then add water and your fryer pork let it boil for awhile then add flour. My uncle went to school with someone in the family and they are friends so he saw how they made it one day when he was visiting and he cooked it at home wow it was spot on. So thats how I know how to make it. When it comes to the sessionings you have to much its only 6 ingredients in it.

  • Carol M.

    You are correct, it needs the flour to make it closer to Chubby’s, It’s a more gravy like consistency, and it also needs the lard to get the right taste (you cannot substitute with butter or margarine), so if you are looking for healthy this isn’t it. It also seems like they might use cayenne pepper to spice it up a little. Thanks for posting this, I am definitely going to try it.

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