Ancho chiles are dried, smoked, and ground poblano peppers. The ancho pepper is one of the most popular varieties of dried peppers used in Mexican cuisine because it has a deep flavor that is often described as earthy or smoky with hints of raisins and chocolate.
I personally love them because they have that little bit of zest that doesn’t take over your meal too much. Still, you can run out of them, especially when you’re living in the north or when they’re not in season. This is why most of us are looking for a substitute for ancho chiles.
Today I’ll share with you my favorite substitutes for dried ancho chiles, how each compliments your meal, what these peppers are, and so on. Ready? I bet you are!
15 Worthy Alternatives For Ancho Chile Peppers
Here is a list of my favorite substitutes for ancho chiles:
1. New Mexico chiles
New Mexico chiles are a type of dried, smoked, and ground chili pepper. I have found that dry New Mexico chiles are one of the best substitutes for dried ancho chiles because they have a similar flavor profile to the Ancho chile, just a bit spicier.
If you’re interested in making delicious New Mexico red chile sauce, then check out the video below.
2. Anaheim chili pepper
The Anaheim chili pepper is a mild chili pepper often used as a substitute for ancho chiles in Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.
They are about the same size as an ancho chile, but they have thinner skin than an ancho chile, which means that they are easier to peel. Also, Anaheim chili peppers are similar to poblano peppers in color and flavor.
3. Pasilla chile
Pasilla chiles are a type of dried chile pepper that is often used as a substitute for ancho peppers. They are dark brown in color and have a smoky flavor.
Pasilla chiles are often used in Mexican dishes like mole, enchiladas, and tamales. They can also be used to make sauces for beef or chicken dishes.
4. Guajillo chile
While Ancho chiles are one of the best Guajillo chiles substitutes, the same applies vice versa. So, another great substitute for Ancho chiles full of capsaicin is Guajillo chiles. They are typically dark red in color and have a mild flavor.
Guajillo chiles can be substituted for ancho chiles in many recipes, but they do not have the same flavor profile as ancho chiles. They are more common in grocery stores, milder than ancho chiles, and have a sweeter flavor.
5. Poblano peppers
Poblano chiles have a similar flavor to ancho chiles and can be used in the same way.
A fresh Poblano pepper is a mild chili pepper that is often used in Mexican cuisine. It has a slightly sweet flavor and is usually roasted or fried before being eaten.
In the video below you’ll find a simple and fun technique of roasting and peeling Poblano peppers. I bet it will come in handy!
6. Mulato pepper
Mulato peppers are dark brown in color and have a smoky flavor with undertones of mild heat and earthy flavor.
Mulato pepper powder, as well as the pepper itself, is often used in Mexican cuisine, especially in dishes like mole poblano, enchiladas, and tamales. They can also be used to make sauces for meats or vegetables.
7. Chili powder
Chili powder is a spice made from ground chili peppers. It is often used as a substitute for ancho chiles because it has similar flavor and heat levels.
In fact, one can use ancho chili peppers as a chili powder substitute as well. This makes it a great option as they are so similar. They are common in the supermarket, and they come in powder form.
8. Chili flakes
Chili flakes are another great substitute for ancho chiles because they have similar flavors. Also, they are easier to find than ancho chiles.
Chili is a type of pepper, specifically spicy pepper. They are usually dried and ground into powder or flakes. The heat in chili powder can be adjusted by adding more or less of the flakes. Chili flakes are also a great substitute for sweet chili sauce.
If you’re looking for a simple homemade chili flakes recipe, then the video below is for you.
9. Chipotle peppers
Chipotle peppers, when ground, make chipotle powder. This powder is made from ground and dried Chipotle chiles and has a smoky flavor.
The flavor of chipotle powder is smoky and slightly sweet with a little bit of heat. It is used to add a smoky flavor to soups, sauces, beans, stews, and more.
10. Paprika powder
Another substitute for ancho chiles is made from red pepper and is common in Mexican recipes. Paprika powder is made from dried and ground sweet bell peppers, and it is used to add flavor to food. It is not as spicy but provides a similar flavor and color. Check also these smoked paprika substitutes.
11. Guajillo peppers
Guajillo peppers are a type of chili pepper similar to ancho chiles, but they have a slightly different flavor. Guajillo peppers can be substituted for ancho chiles when cooking and in marinades. If you prefer Guajillo peppers, then you’ll fall in love with this Guajillo sauce recipe on the video below!
12. Serrano peppers
Serrano peppers are one of the best substitutes for ancho chiles because they have a similar heat level and flavor. They also have a slightly sweet, fruity taste that is different from the ancho chiles’ earthy flavor. They can be used in any dish that calls for an ancho chile.
13. Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is not just for spicy dishes. Cayenne peppers are good substitutes for ancho chiles because they are both mild to medium in spiciness and have a fruity flavor. Cayenne peppers can be used for a variety of dishes, like fish tacos, vegetarian chili, or egg rolls.
14. Jalapeño peppers
The Jalapeño pepper is one of the most commonly used chiles in Mexican cooking and can be found all over the world.
Jalapeño peppers are often used as substitutes for ancho chiles because they are both mild and have similar flavors.
NOTE: They are usually quite mild, but some varieties can be quite hot.
15. Mole sauce
Mole sauce is a spicy, rich, and dark Mexican sauce made with several ingredients such as chili peppers, tomatillos, cocoa powder, garlic cloves, and more. Mole sauce is a suitable substitute for ancho chiles as it is usually milder in flavor and can be used in a variety of recipes.
Found The Best Dried Ancho Chiles Substitute?
Dried ancho chiles are a popular ingredient in Mexican dishes but they can be hard to find depending on where you live.
When it comes to the best substitute for dried ancho chiles, my personal favorite is dried New Mexico chiles. They have a similar flavor profile to the ancho chile but with a little more heat.
So, what is your favorite substitute for dried ancho chiles?