As the kids have gotten older, I have been trying new recipes to get out of the cooking rut that I’ve been in for years.
Lately, we have enjoyed experimenting with new flavors, but sometimes finding all the ingredients we need can be challenging in our small hometown grocery stores.
I wanted to try this Steak and Potato Mexican Stew that I found online, but I didn’t have the 4 Guajillo peppers that the recipe calls for.
This limitation led me down a rabbit hole of what to look for at the market.
If your recipe calls for one teaspoon of Guajillo chile powder, you can make a substitution for one whole Guajillo pepper. If you want a pepper with the same heat level, try Ancho, Pasilla, Anaheim, New Mexico, Cascabel, or Mulato chile powder. Try Puya, Chipotle, or Chile de Arbol chile powders when you want to spice up your recipe.
They’re moderately hotter than Guajillo, so start with a 1:1 ratio and taste often to see how much heat you want.
Chiles de Arbol are significantly hotter than the Guajillo peppers, so use these with caution. Start with a 4:1 ratio, and remember, a little goes a long way.
As you venture into the wonderful world of chile pepper powders, try a variety of them to find your favorite and blend them for the perfect dish.
Keep reading to learn about different substitutions for Guajillo chile pepper powder and the types of recipes they would be best suited for.
Guajillo Powder Substitutes
1)One Guajillo Chile Pepper
You can use the whole pepper to make a sauce for a chicken breast or a serving of shrimp.
If you only have the powder, you can use another pepper to make the sauce, like an Ancho pepper or a Pasilla pepper, then add the Guajillo powder to increase the sweetness.
Closest In Taste And General Use
The combination of Guajillo, Ancho, and Pasilla Chiles or chile powders is sometimes referred to as the “holy trinity” of Mexican seasoning.
You will often see these three chiles combined with chocolate (yes!), nuts, and other ingredients to create Mole (pronounced mol- lay).
Check out a recipe for Mole, and try it on a savory dish like chicken or a dessert, like fried plantain.
2)Ancho Chile Powder
Ancho Chiles are dried poblano peppers. These relatively easy-to-find peppers are similarly sweet to Guajillo chiles, but they are not as hot.
Due to its sweetness and mild heat, you can use ancho chili powder in a 1:1 ratio with guajillo powder.
However, anytime you use a new ingredient, you should taste it as you go to ensure that you like the flavor.
3)Pasilla Chile Powder
Pasilla Negro Chiles are a long slim almost black pepper. They have an earthy flavor with a hint of sweetness and a rating between 1,000 to 2,000 on the Scoville scale. You can use Pasilla chile powder in a 1:1 ratio with guajillo powder.
Pasillo chile powder is a much darker color than other chile powders due to the deep color of the chiles themselves.
Poultry, Pork, Eggs
When you are seasoning an ingredient with a mild flavor like chicken, pork, or eggs, you can choose chile peppers with more delicate flavors so that they can stand out in the dish.
Guajillo peppers’ fruity taste and mild heat complement rather than compete against the main ingredients in your dish.
If you are looking for a substitute for Guajillo peppers in your area, try looking for Anaheim (California) or New Mexico (Hatch) Chile peppers.
These two peppers are from the same original cultivar but have unique tastes based on where they grow.
4)Anaheim Chile Powder (California pepper)
Anaheim peppers are long green peppers that ripen to a deep red color. They have a slightly fruity taste with only mild heat.
It ranges from 500 to 2,500 Scoville Heat Units depending on where it grows.
This level of heat is only a bit hotter than a bell pepper. If you are looking for Anaheim chile pepper in your local market, you may find them called Chile Pasado.
Due to the mild flavor of these peppers, you can substitute the powder in a 1:1 ratio with Guajillo.
5)New Mexico Chile Powder (Hatch)
New Mexico Chiles, also called Hatch Chiles because they are cultivated in and around Hatch, New Mexico, are prized for their earthy sweetness with a hint of cherry.
Depending on the soil, New Mexico Chile powder may be as mild as 1000 on the Scoville scale or as high as 8,000.
This may be hotter than Guajillo powder, so start using it at a ½ : 1 ratio and taste it frequently as you are cooking.
6)Cascabel Chile Powder
Cascabel peppers are small, round dark red peppers. When they are dried, the seeds inside rattle, giving them their name.
They have a nutty, earthy flavor with smokey undertones. With only a mild rating on the Scoville scale, only 1,500-2,500, Cascabel peppers combine well with other peppers in sauces.
Due to its mild flavor, you can substitute it in a 1:1 ratio for Guajillo powder.
7)Mulato Chile Powder
When a Poblano pepper ripens to a dark brown color and is dried, it is called a Mulato pepper.
These 4” long peppers have a slight sweetness with flavors of licorice, cherry, and chocolate as well as a slight smoky tobacco-like flavor.
Mulato chile powder has a mild heat of 2,500-3,000 on the Scoville scale, making it an ideal chile to add just a hint of heat to a dessert or Mole. Use this chile powder at a 1:1 ratio for Guajillo powder.
In fact, try Mulato chile powder in this Strawberry ice cream recipe for a refreshing yet interesting dessert.
8)Puya Chile Powder
The Puya (sometimes called pulla) pepper is very similar to the Guajillo pepper in appearance and in flavor.
It has a strong fruitiness and a bit more heat, comparable to a jalapeno. Due to the stronger heat, the Puya chile does well in heavier stews and with red meats.
Try it in Menudo rojo. Used in smaller amounts, it is good with seafood and pork. In a soup or stew, use this chile powder in a 1:1 ratio with Guajillo, but expect a bigger kick from the pepper’s heat.
When you use is as a rub on seafood, go for a ½ :1 ratio, so you don’t overwhelm the fish.
9)Chipotle Chile Powder
One of the most familiar peppers is the jalapeno. Chipotle peppers are jalapenos that have ripened on the vine and then slowly been smoked and dried.
They have an earthy, smoky flavor and range from 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale.
This useful ground pepper can be used in almost any recipe. In Mexican Chicken Stew, use it in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for Guajillo pepper powder.
If you are using it in a dry rub or a salsa and are concerned about the heat, start with a ½:1 ration with guajillo and taste it until you find the level of heat you like.
10)Chile De Arbol Powder
You may have seen these small bright red chiles in dried bunches. If you want to add a chile with definite heat, this one will do it for you. These chiles range from 15,000 to 65,000 Scoville heat units.
They are significantly hotter than all the other peppers on this list. Therefore, you should use it sparingly in your recipes.
Start with a ¼:1 teaspoon ratio of Chile de Arbol to Guajillo and taste frequently to ensure that you don’t over-spice it.
Here is a surprise for your substitution list. Gochugaru is Korean red chili pepper commonly used in making kimchi. These small, vibrant red chilis are sun-dried then ground into powder or flakes.
They are about as hot as a jalapeno, around 5,000-8,000 Scoville heat units. Gochugaru contains spicy, sweet, and smoky flavors.
If you like your seasoning on the spicy side, use this powder at a 1:1 ratio. If you want the flavor without the heat, use a ½:1 ratio.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Guajillo Chile Pepper?
Dried Mirasol chile peppers are called Guajillo chile peppers. Guajillo peppers are ground into powder or soaked and blended into sauces.
The Guajillo chile has a unique flavor that combines sweetness and fruitiness with an undertone of pine and smoke.
This pepper has mild to moderate heat with a rating of 2,500 – 5,000 on the Scoville Scale. For reference, bell pepper is 0 on the Scoville scale.
How Many Calories are in Chile Powder?
As a seasoning, one teaspoon of chile powder, regardless of the variety, has about 10 calories.
Once you’ve added the chile powder to your dish, you are not likely to consume a whole teaspoon full, so the caloric total is very small maybe 1-2 calories if you have added a lot of seasoning.
What is the Nutritional Value of Guajillo Chile Powder?
By the time you dry, roast, and grind chiles down into powder, you aren’t eating much of the original vegetable in a recipe.
One teaspoon of chile powder is equal to one whole dried chile for flavor, and you aren’t eating a whole teaspoon in each serving of your dish.
You can still reap the benefits of the nutrients found in chiles, however.
Guajillo chiles are very high in vitam A. One whole chile offers 190% of the DV of this essential vitamin.
A whole chile also has 8% of the fiber and 6% of the iron that you need. Guajillo chiles also have a small amount of potassium.
You can get these nutritional benefits with very few calories or fats through the use of chile powder, making this a great way to add flavor to your cooking without increasing your sodium or fat intake.
What Does Guajillo Chile Powder Go In?
Guajillo chile powder is often combined with ancho chile powder and pasilla chile powder.
It is a traditional spice in sauces for enchiladas, tamales, tacos, and soups and stews.
Why Do All These Peppers Have Two Names?
In Mexican cuisine, peppers have one name in their fresh state and a different name when smoked and dried.
For example, jalapenos are fresh green peppers blended into salsas and sometimes filled with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon, and grilled.
Dried, smokes jalapenos are called chipotle peppers. They are used in salsas, sauces, and ground into powder. The different names help to identify which version of the pepper to use in the recipe.
As you explore the world of chile peppers and powdered chile peppers, take some time to try a variety of different ones to see what you like the best.
You can find many substitutions for Guajillo chile powder ranging from the remarkably similar, like Ancho or Pasilla, to the spicy Chile de Arbol or the Korean Gochugaru.
Enjoy the flexibility of having many different peppers in your spice cabinet and kick up the heat with new flavors.
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