8 Best Guajillo Chili Powder Substitutes With Images

Guajillo Chili Powder Substitute

Looking for a Guajillo chili powder substitute? Read this post and feel free to choose the Guajillo chiles substitute for your recipe.

Guajillo Chile, also known as chili guaco (Chile Guajillo in Spanish), is a dried form of mirasol chili, a local variety of chili pepper that belongs to Capsicum annuum species. Guajillo is the second-most commonly used dried chili in most Mexican cuisine.

Guajillo peppers with smooth and shiny skin are definitely fresh and have good quality. While the wrinkled ones are mostly likely old stocks and don have the best flavor.

Meanwhile, Guajillo powder is made from Guajillo chile peppers or Guajillo peppers. Note that a teaspoon of Guajillo chile powder is replaceable with one whole Guajillo pepper.

Guajillo powder has a mild heat and has a fruity, sweet, tangy, and smoky flavor profile. Additionally, its taste has notes of tea and berries. 

This ingredient is not added to your dishes to add heat, but rather used at the beginning of the cooking as a base flavor. Guajillo chile powder is often combined with cumin, coriander, oregano, and chipotles to create a versatile chili paste. 

How To Use Guajillo Chile Powder

Guajillo Chile powder is perfect for soup, sauces, chili, or salsa. As mentioned, this Guajillo Chile powder is traditionally used in Southwestern and Mexican cuisines. 

To use the Guajillo chile powder in your recipe, rinse it with warm water and rehydrate by soaking the powder in hot water for at least 10 minutes.

Afterwards, add the product to your recipe. This should be cooked for a minimum of 10 minutes. If you prefer to use it after rehydration, simply puree or dice the powder prior to adding to your menu.

However, if you can’t find Guajillo chile powder in your kitchen while preparing your favorite dishes, you can substitute this condiment with California Chiles, Chipotle Chili Peppers, Mulato  Chilies, Puya Chilies, Dried New Mexico Chiles, Cascabel Chilies, Pasilla Peppers, and Ancho Peppers.

If the above mentioned substitutes are new to you, let us get to know each one of them. Scroll down and continue reading.

Guajillo Chili Powder Substitutes

California Chiles

1. California Chiles

One of the Guajillo chiles substitutes you can consider is the California chiles. Also known as Anaheim chiles, green chiles, chilacas, and New Mexico chiles, these California chiles are mild in taste when used fresh. They are usually added to soups, sauces, stews, and casseroles. 

This substitute for Guajillo will give your menu a mild heat flavor similar to Guajillo peppers, but a little bit hotter compared to a bell pepper.

California chile contains carbohydrates, sugar, and protein. 

The California chile is primarily used for canning, but is also sold as a fresh and dried mild chile pepper (either ground or whole). 

Chipotle Chili Peppers

2. Chipotle Chili Peppers

Chipotle Chili Peppers or chilpotle, are smoked-dried ripe jalapeño chili peppers often used as seasoning. And just like Guajillo peppers, Chipotle chili peppers are mainly used in Mexican and Mexican-inspired recipes. 

This most typical ingredient of Mexican cuisine has the same heat to that of Guajillo pepper, Anaheim peppers, and Tabasco sauce. It also has an earthy and sweet flavor.

Mulato Chilies

3. Mulato  Chilies

One of the two dried varieties of the poblano pepper is the Mulato pepper. And the latter is also one of the Guajillo pepper substitutes you can consider. Mulato chilies are fully matured poblanos that are dried. A single mulato is wrinkled and flat in texture and has brownish-black color. 

It has a taste similar to licorice or chocolate with undertones of tobacco and cherry. 

Mulato chilies are considered as part of “holy trinity” and have been used constantly in Mexican cooking for over a hundred years along with Guajillo chilies, Ancho chiles, and Pasilla chiles.

The Mulato chilies are also the primary ingredients in different sauces, soups, and moles. They are usually added to soups and pureed.

Puya Chilies

4. Puya Chilies

Puya chilies bear a resemblance to Guajillo peppers. Thus, a perfect Guajillo pepper substitute. 

Puya chiles are smaller in size compared to Guajillo peppers, but are way hotter than the latter. Additionally, puya chilies have a fruity flavor. Hence, they are usually used not for its flesh but mainly for its flavor. 

This Guajillo pepper substitute is usually used for various meat dishes like pork and veal, pasta fillings, pizza toppings, and some Asian cuisine. Puya chilies are also commonly used as spice in dishes with high heat levels.

Dried New Mexico Chiles

5. Dried New Mexico Chiles

Dried New Mexico Chiles is among the state vegetables of New Mexico. The green New Mexico chili has a light pungent flavor with a finely spicy, sweet, crisp, and smoky taste like garlic or onion. While the ripened red chilies remain the flavor, but with added earthiness.

New Mexico Dried chiles also bear a resemblance to the California chile, but are more hotter and flavorful than the latter. 

They are basically used in tamales, soups, stews, and for classic red sauces. 

If your recipe calls for Guajillo peppers, you can substitute it with New Mexico chiles. These Mexican chilies may not be as hot as Guajillo, but they have a sweet and earthy flavor like the Guajillo peppers.

Cascabel Chilies

6. Cascabel Chilies

Cascabel Chilies, also known as the rattle chili, is also a good Guajillo pepper substitute because of its sweet and nutty flavor. The name “cascabel” means “little bell” or rattle in Spanish. This little bell is mildly hot, with Scoville heat units ranging from 1,000 to 3,000. 

Basically, cascabels are not that spicy. Its mild heat adds warmth and depth to any recipe. Cascable has a bit of a smoky and nutty flavor. Hence, it is perfect to add a touch of heat to salsas, stews, sauces, and soups. 

Pasilla Peppers  (Pasilla Chile Powder)

7. Pasilla Peppers  (Pasilla Chile Powder)

Pasilla Peppers refer to dried Chilaca peppers. This type of pepper has a dark and wrinkled skin. It is commonly used in sauces and is sold as powdered or whole in the US and Mexico. 

Pasilla peppers have a fruity, smoky, and earthy flavor. Pasilla pepper also has a resemblance to ancho chillies, but are less sweet than the latter. 

Pasilla chile powders are mild chiles with scoville heat units ranging from 250 to 2500. 

Ancho Peppers (Ancho Chile Peppers/Ancho Chile Powder)

8. Ancho Peppers (Ancho Chile Peppers/Ancho Chile Powder)

Last on the list is the Ancho peppers. These peppers are dry poblano peppers.

Ancho pepper is among the common chile peppers that are easy to find. This pepper is one of the Holy Trinity of Mexican chilies, and is considered as a top alternative for Guajillo pepper. Dried ancho peppers have similar earthiness as Guajillo peppers, but way sweeter and meatier that Guajillo peppers.

Ancho pepper also has a sweet and smoky flavor with a note of chocolate and raisins.

However, ancho or dried poblano peppers aren’t as hot as Guajillo. In fact, it only has a total heat of 1,000 to 1,500 Scoville heat units.

Ancho chiles have wrinkled skin and are deep red in color. Dried Ancho chili powder is often used as a spice or for making chili, mole, and enchilada sauce


All the above-mentioned Guajillo pepper substitutes will definitely give the same flavor to your recipe. But if you want to reduce your options, the top three Guajillo pepper substitutes I will recommend are the Ancho peppers, Pasilla peppers, and Cascabel.

Not only do these hot peppers share a similar sweet flavor as Guajillo, but these popular peppers are very common and can be easily found in your local supermarkets.

So that covers everything. Hope this post has helped you one way or another. If you find the information relevant, feel free to share this article. Happy cooking and thank you for reading!

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