Poblano Vs Pasilla Pepper: 5 Major Differences

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There are a million different spices with unique tastes and spectacular flavors they add to any dish. This can confuse someone new to cooking or who doesn’t cook often.

Poblano and pasilla peppers are used in sauces, salsas, and multiple recipes worldwide. But what are the key differences between poblano vs pasilla pepper?

One of the most visible differences between both chilies is their size. The pasilla is a thin dried chili, while the poblano is a fresh chili as large as bell pepper.

We will be looking at the differences between these two peppers in today’s article and giving you more insights into them.

Let’s get started!

What Is Poblano Pepper?

The poblano chili pepper originates from Mexico and has a dark green skin that ripens to a rich red or brown hue. They are large and heart-shaped.

Poblano pods can grow up to 4 inches long and are typically harvested when they are green. They have thick skins, making them ideal for stuffing because they hold their shape well in the oven.

What is Pasilla Pepper? 

Pasilla (chile pasilla) or ‘little raisin’ is the dried form of chilaca pepper, a famous Mexican chili pepper. The chilaca pepper also has a fresh form known as pasilla bajio, chile negro, or ‘Mexican negro,’ because of their initial dark green color, which layer becomes dark brown.

Pasilla peppers can grow up to be 8-10 inches long and are commonly used in Mexican cuisine and cooking to make moles, table sauces, and salsas.

Are Pasilla Peppers And Poblano Peppers The Same?

No, pasilla peppers and poblano peppers are not the same. There are often confused as one another, but they have a handful of differences.

Both peppers can be used in different dishes, and thanks to this guide, you now have a brief insight and uses for both pasilla and poblanos so that you can choose the best ingredient for your next Mexican meal.

Poblano Vs Pasilla Pepper: What’s The Difference?

There are several differences between poblano and pasilla; here are the prominent ones:

1. Taste

Poblanos are typically harvested when green and unripe, so they are exceptionally mild with a flavor similar to green bell pepper, only with a bit more punch. They soften when cooked and even become slightly sweet.

On the other hand, pasillas have a somewhat raisin-like note; they have a smokey, fruity, and earthy flavor that is often likened to berries and dried fruits. They have a less sweet taste compared to poblanos.

2. Heat Level

Poblano peppers measure 1,000-2,000 on the Scoville scale, which means they are mild chili peppers. 

Pasilla peppers also range from 1,000 to 2,500 on the Scoville scale, this means they have a slight edge of heat level above poblanos, but overall, they are moderately hot.

3. Appearance

Their appearance is one of the most visible differences between poblano and pasilla. Poblano peppers are heart-shaped and 4 inches long, but pasilla peppers are elongated and can grow up to 8-10 inches long.

Both chilies also have a slight color variation; poblano peppers are typically green when unripe and become dark red or brown when they mature, unlike ripe pasilla peppers with a dark brown color.

4. Usage

Here are some of the most common uses for poblano and pasilla peppers:

Poblano Peppers Uses:

  • Dressing: make a simple buttermilk dressing using roasted chiles spread over tomatoes or crisp lettuce.
  • Guacamole is a classic avocado dip that can be taken up a notch by adding roasted poblanos.
  • Relish: you can make relish to serve with fish or other protein of choice by combining poblano chilies and maize; this is a tried-and-true combination that will blow your mind.
  • Pesto: you can add a Mexican touch to the traditional Italian sauce by combining roasted poblanos with garlic, cilantro, and feta.

Pasilla Peppers Uses: 

  • Sauces, moles, and soups: adding pasilla peppers to any type of sauce or soup adds a unique heat.
  • Chili flakes: the spicy yet fruit flavor of dried pasilla flakes makes them suitable to be used as chili flakes, although they lack the generic spiciness.

5. Availability

Both chilies can be found in the supermarket but mostly as grounded or dried versions. If you need the peppers fresh, it is easier to find fresh poblano, unlike pasilla, which is mostly found in dried form

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