Chile California Vs Guajillo: Key Differences

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Chile California Vs Guajillo



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California chiles are also known as Anaheim chiles or New Mexico chiles. They can also be referred to as Green Chiles or Chilacas.

On the other hand, the guajillo chile is called the chile guajillo in Mexico, but in the state of Guanajuato, it is called the chile cascabel ancho. It is commonly known as guajillo chile and sometimes the guajillo pepper in the United States. But what is the difference between chile California vs Guajillo chile?

Guajillo chile is hotter than chile California, having a Scoville heat scale of 2500 to 5000 SHU as opposed to chile California’s Scoville heat scale of 500 to 2500 SHU. Chile California is used for preparing salsas and guacamole, while Guajillo chile is used for marinades, pastes, adobos, mole, butter, etc.

Today we’re going to identify these two distinct chiles and bring out their properties, differences, and similarities!

What is California Chile?

California chiles are scorched Anaheim chilies and are nearly related to the New Mexico chili, which is also a dried kind of the raw Anaheim chile.

These chiles are a little mild, measuring around 500 on the Scoville heat scale. California chiles are generally used in mild flavorings or as additions to various kinds of soups or stews.

They create a delightful, mild enchilada sauce, or you can integrate them with different chiles for a further sophisticated sauce.

They are classified as possessing mild to moderate heat. This chili pepper is considerable for Mexican dishes sauces and as an alternative for black pepper for an extra kick.

The California Chile’s major purpose is for storing, even though they are traded commonly as a fresh market, mild chile pepper and in insignificant amounts dried, both in its whole form and ground.

Fresh Anaheim chiles are generally employed in making chili Rellenos.

If you happen to not be a fan of chili with fervor but appreciate more soft chili flavors, then this is the exact chili for you!

Anaheim chiles are an outstanding complement to breakfast burritos, egg dishes, soups, stews, vegetable dishes, and, as I stated earlier, in enchiladas or tamales.

California Chiles goes nicely with mature cheeses, young cheeses, pork, even poultry, corn, tomatoes, eggs, and black beans. These chiles also function nicely in the mix with cumin and coriander.

To highlight even more flavor, dry roast them in a hot frying pan to deliver a modest profundity of smoky flavor. To re-hydrate, soak it in the heated water for around 20 minutes and then dry to remove residue liquid.

Don’t allow them to drain any longer than that; they are prone to become bitter.

Some of the favorite recipes this chile can be used to make are Fiery Chile Pesto and Instant Pot Coconut Fish Curry.

What are Guajillo Chiles?

To start with, one of the most prominent Mexican peppers is the guajillo chili. This type of dried chili is obtained from wilting miraflor chile.

Guajillo chili is honestly used widely in Mexican gastronomy; for instance, it is the major component of numerous varieties of salsas, adobos, and moles.

Guajillo peppers possess an intense red hue and a polished appearance. They generally measure around 1 to 3-5 inches in length.

Contrary to popular belief, the chili guajillo species is primarily put into recipes for its distinct flavor outline rather than its seasoning degree.

Guajillo peppers have a vibrant, barely earthy, and fruity flavor outline. They deliver notes of tomatoes, berries, and green tea that improve every Mexican dish that you put them in.

You can rehydrate them entirely, fry them, or granulate them into a powder. They are moderately mild when pertained to other Mexican chiles.

For this purpose, they are a great companion to tastier variations like chili de árbol.

Chile California Vs Guajillo: Major Differences

In a simple statement, below are the distinctions between Chile California vs Guajillo Chile.

1. Appearance

Guajillo pepper runs from 5 to 8 inches. It possesses a deep, fierce red color. Its form is that of an inverted triangle.

Chile California goes up to 6 inches. It could come in various colors, from bright green and deep green to sharp red when mature. It can be eaten when it is both fresh and dried.

2. Scoville Scale

Guajillo chile is fixed at the central area of the Scoville scale. Its heat ranges from 2500 to 5000 SHU.

On the other hand, California chile is placed at the very bottom of the Scoville scale. It barely surpasses 500 to 2500 SHU.

3. Uses

Guajillo chile is employed in preparing marinades, salsas, pastes, adobos, mole, butter, and spice rubs to flavor meats, fat, and oil with other elements.

The guajillo chili, having an added subtle flavor, is utilized with fish and chicken or put in salsas as a side dish. Guajillo chilies are also utilized in a Salvadoran seasoning combination identified as relajo. It usually can’t be consumed raw.

As for chile California, it has no specific way of being utilized. From salsas and guacamole, it can be sliced and consumed in nachos or on top of particular dishes like Caldo de Pollo.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between California chile powder and regular chile powder?

Chile powder is prepared with pure ground dried chili peppers; it usually doesn’t have additives. On the other hand, California Chile powder is a mix of Anaheim chili peppers and other seasonings, including cumin, peppercorn, oregano, and salt.

Are ancho chiles the same as California chile?

Not really. Both are dried chilies from their initial fresh peppers. The Ancho chile is a dried poblano, and the California chili is a dried Anaheim chile.

What is a suitable substitute for California chile?

Fresh or dried cayenne peppers or serrano chilies will do very well.

What can I replace guajillo with?

Ancho Peppers, Pasilla peppers, Cascabel pepper, Chili pepper, and New Mexico chiles.

What is the difference between an ancho and guajillo chiles?

Guajillo chilies are the dried form of mirasol chile and are the second-most commonly used dried chile in Mexican cuisine after poblanos. Guajillo chilies are used to make salsas, marinades, pastes, and stews.

Ancho Chilies are dried poblanos; they are dark, wrinkly, and shiny.


In essence, you cannot draw out anyone amongst the two chiles and take it “the best.” Both are unique in their way, and I feel that should be that.

I hope this article on California chile vs Guajillo chile helps in your quest for understanding.


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