Link to Pueblo Magazine Article on Whole Foods Market’s Selling Pueblo Chiles Sparks Debate Between Governors and the Proper Spelling of Chili/Chile/Chiles/Chilies

It’s always been a hot debate, the spelling of chile vs. chili and the plural chiles, chilies, chilies or chili’s. When it comes to Pueblo’s famous roasted vegetable, at Pueblo Independent Magazine we’ve been doing some “interchanging” as quoted by the Westword in their recent story that started a war due to a link from

So admittedly, as editor of Pueblo’s online magazine, I use chile and chiles in articles about Pueblo’s famous Chile/chiles, interchanging, but making sure that chile is spelled without a capital C, despite that spell check always wants to auto correct it to Chile. That’s in part because the official Spanish spelling is chile.

Many events and menus in Pueblo, home of the Pueblo Chile that Whole Foods is now selling at their Rocky Mountain Stores other than New Mexico, use either/or both spellings – chile or chili. The Pueblo Chile Grower’s Association uses “Chile” at their official website but they switch to “chilies” as the plural of “chile.” Here’s an example from their “about” page:

“The Pueblo Chile Growers Association is a group of Farmers here in Pueblo Colorado that grow the authentic Pueblo Chile! The growing conditions in Southeastern Colorado render some of the best chile available. Hot, dry, sunny summer days, combined with our rich soils and pure Colorado water yield some of the hottest and most flavorful chilies.”

Around the world, depending on where you go, it is either “chili pepper,” “chilli pepper,” or “chile pepper.” Either way, the spellings are all recognized in the dictionary.

“Chilli,” the Americanized spelling of that came out of Mexico. In New Mexico, the state that first became famous for their farm grown chiles, the word used is almost always “chile.” Chili however is more commonly used in Europe and is believed to be more common in general usage.

But when it comes to “proper” spelling here in the U.S., die hard pepper lovers think that “chile” is the only proper spelling, and that “chili” refers only to food with meat, beans and chili spices that you eat out of a bowl. Many use “chili” or use both “chili/chile” interchangeably.

The Times’ stylebook, which explains it this way:

– The country in South America is Chile. Lowercase, it is the pepper; plural is chiles.
– Chili: The dish consisting of beef, chiles, etc.
– Of course, this matter is confused by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, a California band that apparently didn’t consult the stylebook before their use of the spelling chili.

Here’s a screen shot of our Pueblo Independent Magazine article on the Facebook page of Governor Polis – and the debate that came from it between him and he New Mexico governor that the Westword and KRDO shared about:

And our original article –
By Jenny Paulson

About Jenny Paulson 185 Articles
Jenny Paulson is the publisher and editor of Pueblo Independent Magazine and can be contacted for more information about Pueblo Magazine, editorial content, marketing, website design and other services.