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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Pasilla Peppers

Ever been in the middle of cooking and realized you’re out of pasilla peppers?

No sweat! It happens to the best of us.

Pasilla peppers are a staple in tons of recipes, offering that unique kick that brings dishes to life.

Lucky for you, we’ve got the inside scoop on the 5 BEST substitutes to keep your cooking on track.

These alternatives are not only easy to find but might just become your new favorites.

Keep reading to discover how to save your dish and possibly enhance it with a twist you hadn’t considered.

Time to dive into the savory world of pasilla pepper substitutes!

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.

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Pasilla Peppers

Looking for substitutes for pasilla peppers? Explore the top five alternatives that can replicate the mild heat and earthy flavor of pasilla peppers in your dishes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


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


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Pasilla Peppers
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