Guajillo chili is a culinary staple in Mexican food dishes and has also become popular throughout the world. This is because of its fruity flavor, moderate spiciness, and versatile uses. In terms of Scoville Heat Units, guajillo chili is comparable with jalapenos. So, can you use jalapeno as a guajillo chili substitute?
Or what are the best alternatives for guajillo chili and where to use them in recipes? Well, substituting guajillo pepper in savory recipes isn’t challenging because there are several options available instead of guajillo.
Here is a well-researched list of guajillo pepper replacements that will make your simple flavor-lacking dishes more flavorful and appealing. We’ll also discuss some guajillo chili powder substitutions for specific food dishes. So, let’s reveal all of them one by one.
Guajillo Chili Substitute
Guajillo chiles are mainly produced in Mexico and are popularly used in marinades, savory side dishes, salsas, pastes, and purees. These peppers lend a slight sweetish, fruity, and balanced spicy flavor to the dishes without overpowering the recipe.
Guajillo puya and regular guajillo chiles are two most common varieties. Both are quite different from each other in terms of size, flavor, and spiciness. Puya chiles are smaller and hotter while guajillo chiles are somewhat larger and less spicy with a more pronounced flavor.
So, if you are getting bored with a usual diet routine and want to try something continental or flavorful, you may need guajillo chili as a recipe essential. But the unavailability of these chiles wouldn’t make you stop trying such recipes.
Go for the closest and best guajillo pepper substitutes in order to get a similar flavor profile. Ancho, poblano, Mulato, puya, cascabel, Anaheim, and jalapeno can replace guajillo in your beloved recipes.
1. Ancho Peppers
Ancho pepper is another star ingredient of Mexican cuisines and therefore a good guajillo alternative too. Guajillo and ancho peppers have the same level of sweet, earthy, and smoky undernotes that’re enough to make a usual recipe umami.
Moreover, ancho peppers are readily available in the grocery aisles and superstores. You will find them a step down to the guajillo at Scoville Heat Scale. Therefore, ancho peppers are lower in overall heat and spiciness.
Make them spicier by adding one or two cayenne or red chiles. This way, you’ll get an excellent candidate ready to substitute your beloved guajillo chiles.
2. Chipotle Chili
The chipotle pepper is a dry and smoky version of jalapeno pepper. It lies a step above the guajillo chili on the Scoville Heat Scale. Chipotle chiles are star ingredients of Mexican foods and other Mexican-inspired food items.
The sweet, smoky, and noticeable hot flavor notes are properties of the chipotle chiles. Chipotle peppers go well in sauces, dips, stews, and various other savory condiments.
Mulato pepper closely resembles guajillo in having a similar heat level. It’s a dried, mature, and darker variety of poblano chiles that gives a sharp fiery kick to recipes.
The sweet, fruity, chocolaty, and smoky flavor of poblano doesn’t overpower the dish, yet deliciously complement it. So, spice up your condiments, side dishes, and sauces using Mulato pepper instead of guajillo chili. Moreover, you can also use Mulato pepper as a habanero pepper substitute.
4. Cascabel Chiles
Have you ever experienced cascabel chiles before? If yes, you may have an idea why we mention this substitute here. Its unique earthy, fruity, and nutty flavor complements very well with savory sauces, soups, and dips in place of guajillo.
Cascabel chili is a substitution for those who are looking for something different and special but also closer to guajillo.
5. Anaheim Pepper
The next versatile, flavorful, and most deserving substitute for guajillo pepper is Anaheim pepper. Its milder sweet flavor with a slight punch of fruity notes pairs great in salsas, soups, and savory condiments.
If you are craving the same spiciness as guajillo, try the New Mexico variety of Anaheim pepper in place of guajillo.
Jalapenos are ideal peppers in terms of heat, flavor, and culinary uses. Although they are hotter and spicier than guajillo but are comparable and suitable.
You can use both the red and green jalapeno versions in sauces, dips, stews, and savory condiments to compete with guajillo.
Some Mild Substitute for Guajillo Chili
The above-listed alternatives are closer to guajillo chili and pair well in all savory recipes, which are calling for guajillo. Some of them resemble guajillo in having a similar flavor and some are similar in terms of heat.
However, if you are looking for a replacement that is milder in heat yet flavorful like guajillo, this section is for you. You can use Pasilla, poblano or dried new Mexican chile as mild guajillo substitutions.
1. Pasilla Pepper
Pasilla pepper is a dried version of chilaca pepper and have a distinct level in Mexican cuisines and casseroles. It is more popular in moles, salsas, dips, and table sauces than other savory dishes.
Pasilla is lower in heat and spiciness so you can make it your next milder guajillo alternative. It is also available in different heat levels. Hence, go for that Pasilla version that you want in your iconic savory recipes in terms of heat.
2. Dried New Mexican Chile
The sweet and earthy notes of dried new Mexican chiles replace guajillo pepper in seasonings, condiments, and stews. It is not as spicy as guajillo but a milder one with a somewhat similar taste sensation.
3. Poblano Chiles
The fresh and green version of ancho pepper is poblano and hence a great substitution for guajillo. If you run short of guajillo peppers, poblano chiles maybe your next flavorful candidate instead.
This is because poblano chiles are all time available in Mexico and other regions of the world. The worth noting point is that these chiles are milder and more on the sweet side rather than spicy.
So, put your hand on poblano if its mild spiciness doesn’t pose a taste issue for you. By the way, the option of making these peppers hotter and spicier is always on hand.
In conclusion, you can use spicy as well as milder substitutes instead of guajillo peppers according to your taste preferences. They all are great in their own way and make your ordinary recipes special and luscious. So, try any one of them to find out which works great for you.