14 Best Substitutes for Ancho Chile Peppers

Best Substitutes For Ancho Chile Peppers
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If you’re looking for the best substitutes for ancho chile peppers, you’ve come to the right place.

Ancho chile peppers are a type of dried chile pepper with a mild, sweet flavor and a bit of smoky heat. 

They are popular in Mexican and Southwestern cooking, but if you can’t find them at your local store, there are some great alternatives.

Our blog post will discuss the best substitutes for ancho chile peppers to help your cooking. Read on!

1. Roasted Red Bell Peppers

Roasted red bell peppers are first on our list of best Substitutes for ancho chile peppers. Not only do they offer a similar smoky flavor, but they’re also a bit milder than the heat of ancho chiles. 

They’re easy to find in most grocery stores and can be used in various recipes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F to make roasted red bell peppers.

Place whole bell peppers on a baking sheet and roast them for 15 minutes, turning them every 5 minutes so they cook evenly. 

Once done, remove them from the oven and place the peppers in a bowl or plastic bag to cool. When cooled, the skin should easily peel away, revealing the roasted flesh inside. 

Roasted red bell peppers can be diced and added to dishes like Mexican enchiladas or Spanish tapas.

They can also be pure ́ ed into sauces, such as romesco sauce, or mixed into salsas. If you’re looking for a milder option than ancho chile peppers, roasted red bell peppers are perfect.

2. Mulato Peppers

Mulato peppers are one of the best substitutes for ancho chile peppers. These mild to medium-heat chiles are known for their rich and smoky flavor, making them ideal for various dishes. 

Mulato peppers are slightly sweeter than ancho chiles and less spicy, so if you’re looking for a milder version of ancho chiles, Mulato peppers may be the perfect substitute.

The chili’s skin is thinner than ancho chiles, so they should be handled carefully when roasting or rehydrating them. 

Mulato peppers have a sweet, smoky flavor and can be used in sauces, salsas, stews, and soups or ground into powder for seasoning.

They can also be used to add heat to dishes without overwhelming the other flavors in the recipe.

3. Serrano Peppers

Serrano peppers are an excellent substitute for ancho chiles, as they offer a similar level of heat and flavor.

They are much thinner than ancho peppers and typically range in color from green to red. 

As a result, they add a milder but still flavorful kick to dishes without overpowering other ingredients.

When substituting serrano peppers for ancho chiles, you may need to adjust the amount you use, as serrano peppers are typically hotter than ancho peppers. Serrano peppers can be used in sauces, salsas, soups, stews, and more.

4. Pequin Chili Pepper

Pequin chili pepper, also known as bird’s eye chili pepper, is an excellent substitute for ancho chile peppers. It is a tiny but incredibly spicy red chili pepper that packs a punch of heat. 

Pequin chilies are commonly used in Mexican and South American cuisine to add flavor and heat to sauces, salsas, soups, stews, and marinades.

These chili peppers have a smoky, slightly sweet taste and a sharp aroma. They are usually sold dried, ground, or whole.

When using pequin chilies as a substitution for ancho chile peppers, use one teaspoon of pequin chili powder for every tablespoon of ancho chili powder.

5. Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is one of the best substitutes for ancho chile peppers, as it is relative to the ancho variety.

Cayenne peppers are more pungent than anchos and have a fiery kick, so they are best used when you need a bit of extra heat. 

However, the flavor profile is similar since they are related, making them a great option.

When substituting cayenne pepper for ancho chiles, use half the amount, as cayenne peppers are much spicier.

They can be used in many dishes, such as soups, sauces, marinades, and even as a topping for pizza or tacos. 

When cooking with cayenne pepper, it’s important to be careful as it can easily become overpowering.

You can also find cayenne pepper in powder form, which makes it easier to add just the right amount of heat to a dish.

6. Jalapenos

Jalapenos are a popular pepper choice for those seeking a milder alternative to ancho chile peppers.

They have a medium heat, with a slightly smoky flavor that adds a nice kick to any dish. 

Like ancho chile peppers, jalapenos are available in fresh and dried forms, making them versatile and easy to work with.

When used in cooking, jalapenos can be diced, sliced, or pureed for added heat and flavor. 

If you’re looking for milder heat, you can use fewer jalapenos or opt for the milder variety known as “mild jalapenos.”

Whether adding heat to your favorite salsa or stuffing them with cream cheese for a delicious appetizer, jalapenos are sure to become one of your go-to chili peppers.

7. Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers are one of the most popular best substitutes for ancho chile peppers.

They have a mild flavor with a smoky undertone and add a nice depth of flavor to any dish. 

They are also a bit sweeter than ancho chiles, making them a good choice for those looking for a more subtle flavor.

Poblano peppers are commonly used in Mexican dishes, such as stuffed peppers and chili Rellenos, roasted and turned into salsas and sauces. You can also use them in soups and stews to add spice and heat. 

To prepare poblano peppers, roast them over an open flame or roast them in the oven. Roasting brings out the pepper’s sweetness and gives it a smoky flavor. 

If you’re looking for a milder taste, leave the seeds in the pepper when cooking it. However, remove the seeds before cooking if you want a spicier kick.

8. Chipotle Powder

Chipotle powder is a great substitute for ancho chile peppers. It has a smoky, sweet flavor with a mild heat. 

This powder is made from dried, smoked jalapeno peppers, which are ground into a powder.

It adds a depth of flavor to dishes and can replace the smokiness of anchos.

The chipotle powder can be used in sauces, soups, chili, stews, and even as a rub for meats. 

Additionally, it can be added to sauces, such as barbecue sauce, to give them a smoky flavor. Start with a small amount and add more to taste.

The heat of chipotle powder varies depending on the brand, so be sure to taste the dish and adjust accordingly.

9. Guajillo Peppers

Guajillo peppers are mild and fruity, making them an excellent substitute for ancho chile peppers.

These peppers have a deep red color and can range from medium-hot to fairly hot in terms of their spiciness.

Compared to ancho chile peppers, they have a slight sweetness that is similar yet slightly different. 

Guajillo peppers are often used to make chili sauces and moles, adding great flavor and aroma to these dishes.

They can also be dried and ground into powders, which can then be used to add flavor and heat to recipes.

With their unique and delicious flavor, guajillo peppers are a great choice for replacing ancho chile peppers.

10. Paprika

Paprika is an ideal substitute for ancho chile peppers, as it offers a similar smoky, sweet flavor.

Paprika is made from dried bell peppers, ground into a powder, and typically used as a seasoning or garnish for various dishes. 

Paprika can be found in its original red form or smoked, providing a more intense flavor. When substituting paprika for ancho chile peppers, use paprika of ancho chile pepper.

Be sure to adjust the amount of paprika according to your recipe and your personal taste preference.

11. Chili Flakes

Chili flakes, also known as crushed red pepper flakes, are one of the most popular best substitutes for ancho chile peppers.

They provide a mild and sweet flavor that can be used to enhance the flavor of any dish. 

Chili flakes are often used in Mexican dishes such as enchiladas and tacos, but they can also be used in Italian dishes like pizza and pasta.

Chili flakes are usually made from dried red peppers that have been crushed or ground into a fine powder.

You can add chili flakes to your dish at the end of the cooking process to give it a bit of spice without overpowering the other flavors.

12. Dried Anaheim Pepper

Dried Anaheim peppers are one of the best substitutes for ancho chile peppers.

Not only are they easy to find in most grocery stores, but they offer a mild flavor profile that is similar to ancho. 

When dried, Anaheim peppers offer a smoky, sweet, and slightly spicy flavor that will be a great addition to any dish.

To substitute with dried Anaheim pepper, use equal parts of the dried pepper to the amount of ancho chile peppers your recipe calls for.

If you can’t find dried Anaheim peppers, you can always substitute them with fresh Anaheim peppers.

13. Pasilla Pepper

The pasilla pepper, also known as chile negro or chilaca, is a long, thin chili pepper that ranges from mild to moderately spicy. It is about 6-7 inches long and has a deep, dark brownish-black color. 

Pasilla peppers are often used in Mexican dishes and can be dried or fresh in most Latin American markets.

Pasilla peppers are not as spicy as many other chili peppers but still provide a great flavor to various dishes. 

The flavor is smoky and sweet when dried, while fresh pasilla peppers have an earthy and somewhat fruity taste.

The pasilla pepper can replace ancho chile peppers in recipes, especially if you’re looking for a milder spice level.

They can be added to salsa, tacos, enchiladas, soups, and sauces to give them a delicious flavor without too much heat.

To prepare fresh pasilla peppers, you can slice them into thin strips, char them on a grill or roast them in the oven, and then add them to your recipe.

Dried pasilla peppers can be soaked in hot water for 30 minutes before use. You can also grind the dried pasilla peppers into a powder and use it as an ancho chile pepper substitute in sauces and soups.

14. New Mexico Pepper

Lastly, The New Mexico pepper is a mild to medium chili pepper grown in New Mexico. It has a fruity flavor and mild heat, ranging in color from yellow-green to deep red. 

The most common type of New Mexico pepper is the Chimayo or Sandia pepper, which can add flavor and mild heat to dishes.

It is also often used to make chili powders, salsas, and sauces. This pepper is a great substitute for ancho chile peppers, as they have a similar flavor and heat level. 

The New Mexico pepper can also be dried, smoked, or roasted to bring out even more flavor and depth.

Try adding this pepper to your next dish to get that perfect balance of flavor and heat.


Are you looking for the best substitutes for ancho chile peppers? Ancho chile peppers are an essential ingredient in Mexican cuisine and can add a unique flavor to dishes. 

However, it can be difficult to find suitable alternatives if you don’t have ancho chile peppers or can’t find them at your local grocery store.

Fortunately, several ingredients can be used as replacements for ancho chile peppers, and our blog has provided you with the best substitutes for ancho chile peppers. Enjoy!!!

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