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Spice it Up: 5 BEST Substitutes for Pasilla Peppers

Have you ever tasted pasilla pepper? Maybe you’ve heard of it or even seen one in the grocery store but haven’t known quite how to cook or use it.

Fortunately, pasilla peppers are incredibly versatile and easy to work with when preparing meals for your family and friends.

They can be used in dishes ranging from salsas and chilis to burritos and enchiladas.

If you don’t have access to fresh pasilla peppers, there are also several tried-and-true substitutes at your disposal.

Read on to learn more about the delicious possibilities of using pasilla peppers, as well as discover five alternatives in case they’re unavailable.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pasilla Peppers in Recipes

If you’re looking to replace pasilla peppers in your recipe, you’ve come to the right place.

Pasilla peppers are known for their smoky, slightly sweet flavor and mild heat level, but they can be hard to find or unavailable in some areas.

Fortunately, there are several good substitutes that will give you similar results in any dish.

Here are five of the best alternatives.

1 – Ancho Pepper

ancho pepper

The unassuming Ancho Pepper is a surprisingly complex and versatile ingredient popular in Mexican cuisine.

Its deep red hue gives its dried form an exotic look which can be ground into powder to create a delightful flavor combination of smoky, sweet, and mildly spicy.

The texture is soft and slightly chewy, with a heft that holds together after cooking much better than most pepper varieties.

To best infuse the flavor into dishes, it is highly recommended to rehydrate the Ancho Pepper in hot water for around 30 minutes before adding it to any dish or pureeing it up as part of a sauce or salsa.

It can even be used as an alternative to Pasilla peppers thanks to its mild smokiness and similar dark, raisin-like flavor notes – a great way to enjoy creativity in the kitchen.

2 – Guajillo Pepper

guajillo pepper

The Guajillo pepper adds a unique and flavorful kick to dishes.

This long, thin, and deep red pepper originates in Mexico and is an important component of Mexican cuisine.

It has a spicy, fruity flavor with chocolaty and smoky undertones, as well as a hint of berries and pears- giving it a texture that’s not too overpowering but still pleasantly spicy.

When preparing the guajillo pepper for cooking, you should remove its stem, seeds, and veins.

Also, if you want less heat from your dish, opt for the milder version by removing the ribs from the inside of the pepper.

Due to it having a similar heat level to pasilla peppers, you can substitute guajillo peppers in many recipes calling for pasilla peppers.

Guajillo peppers also taste incredibly slow cooked with stewed meats or added to salsas and marinades to bring together all the other components of a dish.

3 – Chipotle Pepper

chipotle pepper

Chipotle pepper is a beloved ingredient with a smoky and spicy taste that adds heat to any dish.

The pepper is actually a dried, smoked red jalapeno, which contributes to its deep flavor.

Its texture is slightly chewy, making it the perfect addition to sauces, rubs, and salsas.

To add chipotle flavor to your dish without the use of whole peppers, look for canned chipotles in adobo sauce, which can provide the required smoky quality in a fraction of the time.

It can be used as an interesting substitute for pasilla peppers; just adjust the amount you use depending on how spicy you want your final dish to be.

With its unique flavor profile and versatile uses, chipotle pepper is sure to add something special to all your culinary endeavors.

4 – Pimento Pepper

pimento pepper

Pimento peppers, known by many as ‘cherry peppers,’ are plump and sweet, with a mild to slightly spicy flavor.

They look similar to red bell peppers but a bit smaller.

When kept raw, they have a crisp texture and crunch in the bite, the heat of pimentos depending on how fresh it is.

For maximum heat and spice, try roasting or grilling over medium or high heat.

Peppers should be charred until black before deseeding and removing stems for finely chopped spice for inclusion in salads, salsas, and sandwiches.

Pimentos are often used as a substitute for Pasilla peppers, as it has a similarly mild yet slightly spicy taste that holds their own against other bold flavors found in Mexican cooking.

5 – New Mexico Chile Pepper

new mexico chile pepper

The New Mexico Chile Pepper is an invaluable ingredient in any kitchen.

It has a rich history, originating in the area around Santa Fe and Southern Colorado in the early 19th century.

They provide a mild heat, making them an approachable choice for novice spice aficionados.

As they age in their skins, their substantial flesh makes them ideal for sauces, dry rubs, and slow cooking.

This magical pepper can even be substituted in recipes that call for Pasilla chilies to create a dish with a distinctive New Mexico flavor.

To prepare New Mexico chilis, they should be deseeded, split open, and grilled or roasted over medium-high heat until softened.

The charred peppers are then ready to enjoy as is or after being pureed as part of a vibrant sauce.

substitutes for pasilla peppers

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pasilla Peppers in Recipes

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Ancho Pepper
  • Guajillo Pepper
  • Chipotle Pepper
  • Pimento Pepper
  • New Mexico Chile Pepper


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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