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The 5 BEST Substitutes for Pasilla Peppers

Have you ever stopped to consider the subtle nuances between pepper varieties?

For those looking for a delicious, smoky, deep flavor, Pasilla Peppers can add unique character to any dish.

Courses from appetizers to desserts can be made exponentially better with the addition of these incredible peppers.

Cooking and using them is simple–just make sure to remove their seeds before adding them to your favorite recipes or dishes.

Struggling to find Pasilla Peppers at your local grocery store? Not to worry; with just a few quick substitutions, you can experience that same wonderful flavor in any recipe.

Try one of these five substitutes as an easy solution: Acho, Gujaillo, Mulato, Chipotle, or Habanero peppers, and achieve an amazing result.

What’s Pasilla Pepper?

Pasilla Pepper is a type of chili pepper often used in Mexican cuisine.

It has dark brown, almost black skin with thin flesh that imparts a deep yet surprisingly mild heat in comparison to its variations.

The flavor of the Pasilla Pepper has subtle notes of chocolate and cocoa, with an earthy spiciness that makes for an enjoyable addition to any dish.

It’s ideal for adding a touch of heat to slow-cooked dishes like enchiladas and stews, as well as marinades or salsas when diced finely.

For something bold, it can be roasted and added whole or chopped up – either way, resulting in delicious complexity of flavor.

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Pasilla Peppers

If you’re looking for an ingredient to give your recipes that rich, smoky flavor and a mild to medium heat level, then Pasilla peppers are the go-to choice.

Unfortunately, they can be hard to find in some areas of the world.

But don’t worry.

Here is a list of 5 great substitutes that will help you achieve the same great flavor.

1 – Ancho Peppers

Ancho peppers are a type of dried chili pepper that has a unique flavor, unlike any other pepper.

Ancho peppers have a mild-medium heat level and a smoky, sweet, and slightly fruity taste.

They are wrinkled and red and typically measure 4 inches wide by 3 inches long, with a broad and flattened appearance.

These special ancho peppers can be used to add flavor to almost any savory dish – perfect for making sauces or stuffing them with cheese and veggies.

Alternatively, they can be used as an alternative if you don’t have Pasilla peppers on hand – just double the amount you need, and you’ll still get the same result.

2 – Guajillo Peppers

Guajillo Peppers are one of the most popular types of dried chili peppers in Mexican cuisine.

The pepper, which is native to central and northern Mexico, has a distinctive dark red color that makes it a magnificent addition to any dish.

When cooked, Guajillo Peppers have an earthy flavor and relatively mild heat with a hint of smokiness.

It has a tough texture that, when boiled or softened in water, creates delicious sauces for enchiladas and adobo recipes.

For those looking to substitute Pasilla Peppers but don’t have them on hand, Guajillo is an ideal option – in fact, the two peppers share similar characteristics in terms of taste and color.

Consequently, they have become a staple ingredient in traditional Mexican dishes.

3 – Mulato Peppers

The Mulato Pepper is an ingredient used in Mexican cuisine for centuries.

It has flavors similar to but slightly smokier than Ancho chiles which can bring a unique twist to any dish.

Its complex flavor pairs especially well with the combination of pork, chicken, or traditional rice-based dishes like paella.

In terms of texture, it’s relatively mild—not spongy and fleshy like Pasilla chiles, yet still noticeably thicker than other types of peppers.

If you’re looking to substitute Pasilla Peppers but don’t have them available, you may want to reach for Mulato, which will add a unique depth and smoky flavor to your recipe without overpowering the more subtle flavors.

4 – Chipotle Peppers

Spice up your meals with the wonderfully versatile chipotle pepper.

These tasty chilis bring a smoky flavor to any dish, and although they have some heat, it’s moderate enough for most palates.

Rich and earthy, chipotles are prepared by slowly smoking and drying jalapenos until they are blackened and shriveled.

The heat of a chipotle can vary depending on the ripeness of the pepper, so spice-sensitive diners should taste test before adding too much to the plate.

Chipotles make an excellent substitute for pasilla peppers in Mexican dishes like enchiladas or chiles rellenos.

You can use them fresh or canned in adobo sauce, which is a great way to add depth to sauces without too much-added heat.

5 – Habanero Peppers

Habanero peppers are among the most sought-after chili peppers in the culinary world.

Their distinct flavor and intense heat make them popular for use in spicy dishes as global as salsa from Mexico and jerk chicken from Jamaica.

Habaneros have a thick outer skin, juicy flesh, and flavorful seeds that make them a delightfully crunchy addition to any meal.

When cooked, they become sweeter but maintain their spiciness due to the high concentration of pungent compounds known as capsaicinoids.

When substituting habaneros for pasilla peppers, remember that habaneros are significantly spicier; use only one-quarter of a habanero if you want an equivalent level of spice with more smokiness.


In conclusion, there are many types of peppers that can be used as a substitute for Pasilla peppers.

Some of the most popular substitutes include Ancho peppers, Guajillo peppers, Mulato peppers, Chipotle peppers, and Habanero peppers.

All of these peppers have their own unique flavor that can add a delicious twist to any dish.

So, the next time you find yourself without Pasilla Peppers, be sure to try one of these delicious alternatives.

With a little bit of experimentation, you’ll discover which pepper is best for your dish.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Pasilla Peppers

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Pasilla Peppers
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Ancho Peppers
  • Guajillo Peppers
  • Mulato Peppers
  • Chipotle Peppers
  • Habanero Peppers


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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