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Dried Chile Peppers



Moderately hot


Very hot

Extremely hot


dried chiles = dried chilies = dried peppers


ají panca chile = aji panca chile  Notes:  This reddish-brown chile is fruity and mild.  
ancho chile pepper = (incorrectly) pasilla chile   Pronunciation:  AHN-choh   Notes:  These are dried poblano peppers, and very commonly used in Mexican cuisine.  They're brownish-black and wrinkled.   Substitutes:   mulato (darker with earthier, more pungent flavor) OR pasilla chile  OR California chile OR dried New Mexico chile peppers

arbol chile  See chile de arbol.

bola chile  See cascabel pepper.

California chile  Notes:  These are dried Anaheim chiles, very mild.  Substitutes:  dried New Mexico chile peppers (a bit hotter)

cascabel pepper = rattle chile = bola chile = chile bola   These are nicknamed rattle chiles because the seeds rattle when you shake them.  They're a rich brown color and moderately hot.   Substitutes:   guajillo chile OR pequin pepper (much hotter) OR tepin pepper (much hotter) OR cayenne pepper (hotter)  

Catarina chile = Catarina pepper   Notes:   This Mexican chile is used to make tamales, marinades, stews and soups. 

cayenne pepper = Ginnie pepper  Notes:  These are very hot, bright red chiles.  Recipes that call for cayenne pepper may be referring to a ground powder that goes by the same name, or to the fresh version of the pepper. Substitutes:   chile de Arbol OR guajillo


Chilhuacle negro chile  Notes:   This excellent Mexican chile is loaded with flavor but hard to find.  It's used to make mole negro and bean dishes.


Chilcostle chile  This Mexican chile is used in soups, stews, tamales, and mole sauces.

chile bola  See cascabel pepper.


chile de arbol = arbol chile = red chile   Pronunciation:  ARE-bowl  Notes:  Unlike many chiles, these remain bright red even after drying.  They're fairly hot.  Don't confuse the dried version with the fresh, which goes by the same name.  Substitutes:  cayenne pepper OR pequin chiles

chile negro  See pasilla chile.

chiles de ristra  See New Mexico red chile.

chile seco  See chipotle pepper

chiltecpin  See tepin

chiltepin  See tepin.  

chiltpin  See tepin.  


chipotle pepper (chile) = smoked jalapeno pepper = chile seco   Pronunciation:  chuh-POT-lay Notes:  These lend a wonderful smoky flavor to sauces.  They're usually canned in adobo sauce, but you can also buy the dried peppers in cellophane bags.  Substitutes:  (for chipotles in adobo sauce) 1 tablespoon catsup + 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke + 1 jalapeno pepper OR morita (smaller) OR mora OR ancho (larger and milder)

Costeņo Amarillo chile  This Mexican chile is used to make soups, stews, and mole sauces.



Ginnie pepper  See cayenne pepper.


guajillo chile   Pronunciation:  gwah-HEE-yoh  Notes:  These moderately hot chiles are smooth, shiny, and reddish-brown.  They have a tough skin, so they need to be soaked longer than other chiles.   Substitutes:  cascabels (rounder and shorter) OR New Mexico chiles OR California chiles (milder)

habanero (habañero) chile (or pepper)   Pronunciation: hah-bah-NYAIR-oh    Notes:  Don't confuse dried habaneros with the fresh version, which goes by the same name.  These extremely hot chiles are wrinkled and orange.  Substitutes:   chile de Arbol

Japanese dried chile

mirasol chile (dried)  Substitutes:  chile de Arbol

mora chile  Notes:  This is a smoked and dried red jalapeno pepper.  Substitutes:   chipotle chile OR morita chile (smaller)


morita pepper  Notes:  Like the larger mora chile, this is a smoked and dried red jalapeno.  Substitutes:   chipotle (larger) OR mora chile (larger)

mulato chile = mulatto chile  Pronunciation:   moo-LAH-toe  Notes:  This very popular chile looks like the ancho, but it's darker and sweeter.  It's fairly mild and has an earthy flavor.  Substitutes:   ancho chile (sweeter)

New Mexico red chile = New Mexican chile = chiles de ristra   Notes:  These chiles have an earthy flavor and resemble the California chile, only they're hotter and more flavorful.   Substitutes:  California chile OR ancho chile

Onza roja chile  This is used in sauces and soups.

pasilla chile = chile negro = pasilla negro   Pronunciation:   puh-SEE-yuh  Notes:  This is the dried version of the chilaca chile.  It's long, black, and wrinkled, and a standard ingredient in mole sauces.  Ancho chiles are sometimes mislabeled as pasillas.   Substitutes:  ancho chile (sweeter) OR mulato chile (stronger, earthier flavor)

pequin pepper = piquin pepper  Pronunciation:  pay-KEEN  Notes:  These small red peppers are fairly hot.   Substitutes: chile de Arbol OR tepin OR cayenne OR cascabel

piri piri pepper  Substitutes:  malagueta peppers

piquin pepper  See pequin pepper.


puya chile = pulla chile   Pronunciation:  POO-yuh Notes:  This is similar to the guajillo chile, only smaller and more potent.  It has a fruity flavor that's good in salsas and stews.

rattle chile  See cascabel pepper.

red chile    See chile de arbol.

smoked jalapeno peppers   See cayenne pepper.


tepin (tepín) = chiltpin (chiltpín) = chiltepin (chiltepín) = chiltecpin (chiltecpín)  Notes:  These look a bit like large dried cranberries.  They're also sold fresh. Substitutes:  pequin OR cascabel OR cayenne


General Notes:


For more information, see the Chile Heat Scale and the Wegman's Food Market's page on Fresh Chile Peppers.  

Copyright © 1996-2005  Lori Alden