Pasilla Vs Guajillo (Key Differences)

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Difference between Pasilla and Guajillo



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Pasilla is often used as a guajillo substitute not just because of its spiciness, the flavors are also better suited. The guajillo pepper is a Mexican cuisine staple that is gaining popularity worldwide. It is used in recipes that require hot, sweet, and smoky peppers and is also used in chilies used in mole sauces.

But how is pasilla different from guajillo? The primary difference between pasilla vs guajillo is their appearance, taste, and uses. Pasilla is mostly used in sauces, while guajillo is used in Mexican cuisines, such as salsa and tamales.

Pasilla peppers are most times known as Chile negro. They have a comparable heat to ancho peppers, but they can also reach the level of guajillo peppers at about 1000 to 2500 SHU. Although you can use pasilla in place of guajillo, it is sweet with hints of berry and cocoa in its taste.

What Is Pasilla?

The pasilla Chile can be said to be the dried form of chilaca chili pepper. It is long and narrow. It is mild and hot with rich flavors. It can measure up to 9 inches when fresh, but when dried, it is around 7-8 inches.

It was dark brown when it was fully mature, but it appears dark green when still in its growing stage. If not observed properly, it can be mistaken for poblano, a different wider variety of pepper. Poblano is also known as an ancho in its dry form.

What Is Guajillo?

Guajillo chili or Chile is the dried form of mirasol chili. It is the second most commonly used pepper after the anchors in Mexican cuisines. Zacatecas, in Mexico, is one of the states mainly known for the production of guajillos. These peppers are classified based on their size and heat factors.

The two varieties are guajillo puja, and the other is just a longer version of guajillo. The guajillo pujas are smaller and hotter, while the other has a pronounced and richer flavor and is also less spicy.

Pasilla Vs Guajillo: Their Differences

What Is Pasilla Used For?

You can use pasilla in sauces. They are often combined with fruits and served with seafood, lamb, mushrooms, garlic, fennel, honey, and oregano. You can use them in whole or powdered forms.

What Is Guajillo Used For?

These chilies have many applications, and you can also use them in many Mexican cuisines, including salsas and tamales.

The fruits are seeded and then soaked before you puree them or mash into a paste and cooked with several other ingredients to produce a delicious and flavorful sauce.

Guajillo chilies can also be used in marinades, salsas, butters and pastes. Since the guajillo chilis have a delicate flavor, you can use them in fish and chickens.

Are Pasilla And Poblanos The Same?

In countries like the US, pasilla and poblano are considered the same thing, but pasilla refers to dried chilaca pepper in other places. Poblano peppers are often dried to increase their shelf life, and in dried form, poblano is known as ancho peppers.

What Peppers Are Similar To Poblanos?

Poblano peppers are peppers that originate from Puebla in Mexico. These peppers are one of the popular peppers grown there. Although these peppers are abundant in Mexico, they may be scarce in other countries.

If your country is amongst the countries that find it hard to get poblano peppers, you can try other good substitutes. They are:

1. Jalapeno Peppers

This is another popular pepper, especially in Mexico. They are similar in taste and also texture to the poblano peppers, although they are hotter. The looks of this pepper might be deceiving because they don’t look very similar to poblano peppers.

Before substituting it for poblano, remove the ribs and seeds to reduce the heat of this pepper. You can use them in salsa, rice, and even stuffed meat.

2. Bell Peppers

Bell pepper is another great substitute for poblanos. They also look very similar to poblano pepper, but they also lack some flavors that poblano peppers possess. They are quite similar in taste except that they are milder than poblano.

The only disadvantage bell peppers have is that they lack that spice that you can find in poblano peppers, so it’s advised that crushed chili pepper be added to your dish.

3. Cayenne Peppers

Cayenne pepper is another great substitute, but they won’t work well in stuffed recipes because they are too thin, but the flavors they add to recipes are quite close to the flavors poblanos possess.

These peppers are mostly found in their dried form or powder that can be added as seasoning to recipes.

4. Guajillo Peppers

These peppers are very similar to jalapenos in term of the amount of heat it gives off. They are popular in Mexican salsas and sauces, and they can be found in their dried form or pastes, making them very suitable for making sauces.

5. Ancho Chili Peppers

Ancho peppers are the same as poblano peppers, but the only difference is in dried form. They are harder to come across than jalapenos, but it’s worth the search since it is the closest match to poblanos.

Other poblano pepper substitutes include serrano peppers, habanero peppers, green chili, and cubanelle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Guajillo Instead Of Pasilla?

Yes, guajillo chili is the best substitute you can use instead of pasilla. You can find guajillo in specialty shops and supermarkets.

In terms of the amount of heat it gives off, the pasilla pepper is relatively close to the guajillo with a SHU of 1000- 2500 SHU to 1000- 1500 SHU.

Both taste good, but guajillo has a fruity feel, while pasilla tastes more like raisins and cocoas.

What Is The Difference Between Ancho And Guajillo Chilis?

Ancho peppers have an earthier and darker flavor, while guajillo is usually fruity. They both work very well when you use them together. The best way to tell the difference between the two peppers is that ancho pepper has a reddish tinge while pasilla is either brown or black.


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