Guajillo Chilies are sometimes known as Mirasol Chilies. Guajillo, the dried variety of the Mirasol chili, means “little gourd” and gets its name from the rattling sound the seeds produce when the dried pods are shaken.
The guajillo pepper, a cornerstone of Mexican cuisine, is rising in culinary appeal around the world. However, they can be difficult to come by in a lot of places, which is why most people usually opt for other good Guajillo Chile substitutes when they can’t find it.
Ancho peppers, Pasilla peppers, Cascabel chilies, Dried New Mexico chilies, Puya chilies, Mulatochilies, Chipotle chili peppers, and California chilies are some of the most common substitutes for Guajillo Chile you can always use.
Let’s quickly look at how these other chilies can be used to replace Guajillo chili in your dishes.
What Are Guajillo Chilies?
Guajillo Chilies, together with Ancho Chiles and Pasilla Negro Chiles, are the three most popular chilies in Mexico and one of the famed “holy trinity” of chilies used in Mexican cuisine.
Guajillo chilies are worth seeking out even if they aren’t a cupboard staple. These leathery, dark reddish-brown chilies are perfect for meals where other flavors aren’t to be overpowered.
This dried pepper has an elongated form that tapers to a point and measures around 1” wide by 4-6” long. Guajillo chilies of the highest quality will have a shiny, smooth skin that is still malleable.
Pliability is a sign of newness. When older Guajillo chilies are bent, they become dusty and crack.
Guajillo chilies resemble Puya chilies, which are more difficult to come by and have a higher heat rating of 5,000 to 8,000 SHU. Puya chilies are utilized by true Mexican cooks who want to add a little more kick to their dishes.
Properties of Guajillo Chilies
1. Flavor Profile
Guajillo peppers have a flavor profile that is deep, somewhat earthy, and fruity. They include undertones of tomatoes, cherries, and green tea, and they improve any Mexican cuisine to which they are added.
They can be rehydrated whole, fried, or ground into fine powdery form to be used for a variety of dishes.
In comparison to other Mexican chiles, they are relatively mild. As a result, they’re a wonderful match for spicy varietals.
2. Spice level
Guajillos are light to intermediate chiles with a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) range of 2500-5000.
They are hotter than a poblano, but not as fiery as a jalapeno.
3. Health Facts
Guajillo peppers are a great source of vitamin C, but they will also have a chemical called capsaicin in them.
Capsaicin is responsible for the heat in some peppers, but it also has anti-inflammatory, metabolism-boosting, and pain-relieving qualities.
Furthermore, guajillo chillies are an excellent source of vitamin A, which in itself is essential for eye health.
Best Guajillo Chile Substitutes
Other peppers having a flavor similar to that of guajillo peppers are difficult to come by.
You can, however, try using some of these peppers to get a comparable flavor and spice to your recipe. Use the one that you believe is the most suitable for your preferences.
1. Mulato chilies
Mulato chilies have a fruity, sweet, and smoky flavor and are not very spicy.
Their heat level ranges from 2,500 to 3,000 SHU, and they come in whole, flakes, and powder form. Mulato chilies are used in sauces, soups, moles, and a variety of other cuisines.
2. Chipotle chili pepper
Smoked and dried jalapeño chilies are used to make Chipotle chili peppers. They’re medium-hot chilies with a 2,500-8,000 SHU heat rating with a smoky, earthy flavor.
3. Dried New Mexico Chilies
New Mexico dried chilies have a beautiful red-brown skin and are 12-17 cm long. They aren’t particularly spicy chilies, with a heat rating of 800-1,400 SHU.
Sweet and earthy with undertones of dried cherry, dried New Mexico chilies have a sweet and earthy flavor. Sauces, stews, soups, salsas, chutneys, dry rubs, and seasonings are all great places to use them.
4. Ancho Peppers
Dry poblano peppers are called anchos. They have a sweet, smoky flavor with overtones of raisins and chocolate that is meatier and sweeter than guajillo peppers.
With 1,000-2,000 SHU, ancho peppers are a mild pepper. Stews, soups, sauces, moles, marinades, and meat rubs all benefit from their inclusion.
5. Cascabel Chilies
Cascabel chilies differ from guajillo chillies in appearance. They have a dark brown-red color and are shorter and rounder.
They feature a nutty and smokey flavor as well as a heat rating of 1,500-2,500 SHU. Sauces, stews, soups, and salsas can all benefit from the addition of these peppers.
6. Puya Chilies
Puya peppers are smaller and more sour than guajillo peppers. They have a subtle fruity flavor with licorice and cherry undertones, with a heat intensity of 5,000-8,000 SHU.
7. Pasilla peppers
Pasilla negro chiles have a slightly sweet flavor with hints of cocoa and berry. They are long, thin, and have wrinkled, very dark skin. Guajillo peppers have a similar flavor to them.
The heat intensity of Pasilla peppers ranges from 1,000 to 2,500 Scoville units. They’re also fantastic in a variety of sauces, stews, moles, soups, and other foods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Guajillo chile the same as Ancho Chile?
Ancho chiles can be substituted for guajillo chili peppers in any recipe, though the flavors will differ. Guajillos are a tad fruitier with hints of green tea, whereas anchos have a deeper, earthier flavor.
What flavor is Guajillo?
The dried version of the mirasol pepper is the guajillo pepper. It has a rich fruity and smokey flavor, smooth leathery skin, and medium spiciness, with Scoville Heat Units ranging from 2,500 to 5,000, making it spicier than a poblano but milder than a jalapeño
Is ground guajillo chili the same thing as ground chili?
Dried chiles can be ground up to make fresh chile powder or rehydrated and used in the same way as fresh chiles. Because it cannot be rehydrated, Guajillo Chile Powder is less versatile.
Are guajillo chilies hotter than Ancho?
They have a similar sweetness and earthiness, but less overall heat (1,000 to 1,500 Scoville heat units vs. 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville heat units for the guajillo).
Are Guajillo Chilies good for you?
Guajillo chilies have a moderate heat level and hence contain less capsaicin than their hotter cousins.
Capsaicin is an anti-inflammatory compound that may help people with inflammatory conditions such arthritis, psoriasis, shingles, and diabetic neuropathy.
Is there another name for guajillo chiles?
Guajillo chiles are also referred to as chile guaco or chile guajillo in Spanish.
Should you remove the seeds of guajillo chili?
For two reasons, you should remove the seeds and the majority of the membranes from your guajillos (and other large dried chiles).
They’re harsh to begin with, and they lend undesirable texture to sauces and other dishes. Second, they’re usually the pepper’s spiciest component (by far).
However, because they’re still edible, you can leave the seeds and membranes in if you’re wanting to add extra spice to a recipe and aren’t planning to puree the peppers. However, make sure the stems are removed.
How do you store Guajillo Chilies?
Keep in a cool, dark closet in a sealed jar or a zippered bag.
What to look for when buying Guajillo Chili?
Look for guajillo peppers that are still whole, flexible, and shiny while buying. They should also be a rich red color.
Avoid ones that are cracked or brittle, as this can signal a loss of flavor. Insect damage can also be caused by packaging with a lot of grit and openings in the chilies.
Guajillo pepper has a distinct flavor that is difficult to replicate. Even though Cascabel chilies are fruitier, they share a similar flavor and fire. Puya chiles are spicier and have a sharper, but similar, flavor to guajillo peppers.
To achieve a smokey and earthy flavor comparable to that of guajillo peppers, blend pasilla negro and cascabel chiles.
To produce a sweet, smoky, and nutty flavor with notes of raisins and chocolate, blend ancho and cascabel chiles. This combination has a flavor that is similar to that of guajillo peppers.