How many poblano pepper substitutes are there? Do you know the answer? In fact, there are tons of different types of peppers and chilies in the world, with different spiciness and appearances. Some of them can be used interchangeably with each other.
What if you are cooking with a recipe calling for poblano peppers, but your kitchen has run out of them? Calm down! There’re a lot of other peppers that can stand in for the missing poblano! Are you ready to find out? Let’s get started!
But first, you may need to dive into the information on poblano peppers to learn more about them before getting to know their substitutes!
What Exactly Are Poblano Peppers?
Poblano peppers are famous for the mild taste in many kinds of peppers. They originate from Mexico and are used widely in Mexican cuisine. They have a signature dark green color and turn to rich red or brown when they are fully ripe. They are also large and heart-shaped.
Poblano peppers do not have an intense spiciness. According to the Scoville Scale for hotness, they only range from 1,000 to 1,500 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which is very subtle compared to those common chilies. When they turn red, they are a bit spicier.
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Farmers usually harvest poblano peppers when they are still green for most culinary purposes. In cooking, they are commonly dried, peeled, roasted, and added to dishes requiring mild spiciness. When being dried, they are called ancho or chile ancho peppers.
Poblano peppers consist of a firm texture with solid and thick skin, just like bell peppers, that can hold up well in the oven. Therefore, they are often stuffed with a mixture of fillings and baked with medium-high heat. They taste slightly sweet with a peppery, smoky note. (1)
You can see this video to know more:
Being an interesting kind of pepper, poblano peppers have many substitutes that can replace them in certain recipes calling for their subtle spiciness. Keep scrolling down for more!
Top 11 Must-Try Poblano Pepper Substitutes
Here is a brief table for you to compare between the poblano pepper alternatives and get yourself the most suitable one!
|Poblano Pepper Substitute||Ratio||Scoville Heat Units (SHU)|
|Anaheim Peppers||1 tsp of poblano pepper = less Anaheim peppers||500 - 1,000|
|Cubanelle Peppers||1 tsp of poblano pepper = 1 tsp of Cubanelle peppers||100 - 1,000|
|Ancho Chilies||1 tsp of poblano pepper = 1 tsp of ancho chilies 1 tsp of poblano pepper = less ancho chilies||1,000 - 1,500|
|Paprika||1 tsp of poblano pepper = 1 tsp of paprika||250 - 1,000|
|Cayenne Peppers||1 tsp of poblano pepper = 1 tsp of dried/powdered cayenne peppers||30,000 - 50,000|
|New Mexico Chiles||By your preference||800 - 1,400|
|Bell Peppers||1 tsp of poblano pepper = 1 tsp of bell peppers||0 - 100|
|Chili Peppers||1 tsp of poblano pepper = less chili peppers||2,500 - 100,000|
|Guajillo Peppers||1 tsp of poblano pepper = less guajillo peppers||2,500 - 5,000|
|Jalapenos||1 tsp of poblano pepper = less jalapenos By your preference||2,500 - 8,000|
|Padron Peppers||By your preference||500 - 2,500|
|Mulato Peppers||By your preference||2,500 - 3,000|
|Italian Frying Peppers||By your preference||100 - 1,000|
1. Anaheim Peppers
Anaheim peppers are considered one of the best replacements of poblano peppers in most dishes! Their appearance and taste are pretty much the same as poblano. The taste of these peppers are pretty sweet, tangy and smoky to tell.
However, when they are both cooked, the Anaheim peppers seem to be spicier and sweeter than poblano peppers. Therefore, you should consider the amount when using them. In most recipes, you should use fewer Anaheim peppers than the required poblano peppers.
The Anaheim peppers also have thick walls, so they are really suitable for stuffing recipes, just like poblano peppers! You can fill other foods inside them to your likings, then add them to salads, soups, or stews. They will surely build up a great dish!
2. Cubanelle Peppers
Cubanelle peppers can be a wonderful poblano pepper equivalent for those who don’t prefer or can’t get along with spicy foods. They are quite mild with 100 to 1,000 SHU and can join in some subtle dishes. They also taste a bit sweet of honey with a peppery note in low heat.
Cubanelle peppers may not suit well with stuffing recipes like Anaheim since their skin is not as thick and strong as those peppers to stand still in the oven. They also don’t fit with recipes calling for sliced or diced peppers.
You can always use the 1:1 ratio to replace poblano peppers with Cubanelle peppers in certain recipes. The mild flavor of them will be pleasant to you, even if you cannot consume spicy dishes!
3. Ancho Chilies
Ancho peppers are also poblano peppers but in dried form. Although they’re made of the same chilies, the dried ones taste a bit smokier, sweeter, and earthier than the fresh poblano. They are also less spicy than the fresh ones.
Therefore, if ancho peppers are added to your dish, they will add more depth and flavors. They can always be used as a poblano replacement in recipes calling for diced poblano peppers. You can use them with 1:1 ratio or in smaller amounts, based on your reference.
These peppers are considered the closest one to poblanos, though their flavors are slightly different. But don’t worry, they are a worth-trying alternative for any cold or cooked dish that needs poblano peppers!
Paprika is basically a spice in powder form made of dried and ground red peppers. It has an eye-catching crimson-orange color. Paprika taste can range from mild to hot, based mostly on the ground peppers it is made, which vary from region to region.
Paprika produces a sweet aftertaste for your meal. It can be easily applied to many dishes, from salads to sauces to baked recipes. Because it is in powder form, paprika may be the most versatile stand-in for poblano in most recipes.
For the ratio, just use it as the same amount with poblano peppers that you would put into a dish. Regularly taste your dish while it is cooked so that you can adjust the spice to suit your taste.
Want to make paprika at home? Here’s how from scratch!
5. Cayenne Peppers
Cayenne peppers may be the most common peppers in the world! You can find them everywhere, and they’re so easy to purchase at any local market or store. They have long and thin shapes with bright red color, so they’re not suitable for stuffing dishes.
Fresh cayenne peppers are famous for their hotness with 30,000 – 50,000 SHUs, so they’re usually used in dried or powdered form as a poblano pepper equivalent to reducing the spiciness they bring to the dish. These peppers will bring a robust fiery effect to your tongue!
The best recipes that cayenne peppers can get along well are stir-fried, baked, sauces, and salad dressing recipes. Use the same amount of dried or powdered cayenne peppers in your dish to replace the called-for poblano peppers in the recipe.
6. New Mexico Chiles
New Mexico chiles are as spicy as poblanos with almost similar heat units from 800 to 1,400. They also consist of sweetness, grassiness, and earthiness that can bring a more flavorful taste to your dish than poblanos.
New Mexico chiles can be a great stand-in for poblanos in most recipes, especially soups, stews, baked and toasted ones. You can use them to make red sauces or can be added directly to your dish as a spice.
These chiles from New Mexico will not disappoint you at all! As a poblano pepper replacement, you can add them as much as you like, based on your own preference. Try them now, and you’ll be surprised by what they can make!
7. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are sweet and mild. They taste almost nothing at all, with only 0 to 100 SHUs. Their appearance is quite similar to that of poblano peppers with thick walls. But they vary in size, so you may consider buying medium- to large-sized ones for stuffing recipes.
Both red and green bell peppers can be great stand-ins for poblano peppers for the mild taste, especially when you’re not into spicy foods. Green peppers taste a bit grassier. Bell peppers are also a great source of protein, fiber, vitamin B6, K1, C, E, A, potassium, etc. (2)
To solve the problem, you can add some chili powder to your dish to get a little of the spiciness for the dish. It will not change the texture or taste of your soups and stews, so don’t worry! Then, you can use bell peppers instead of poblanos for the dish, 1 to 1.
This is a delectable stuffing recipe using bell peppers as the main ingredient!
8. Chili Peppers
Chili peppers are much like cayenne chilies with popularity around the world. They look pretty like cayenne ones and also add a robust taste to the dish. They contain a lot of different varieties from various regions.
Since the spiciness of chili peppers is high, you should use them considerably in a dish so that the hotness doesn’t overpower your meal! As a poblano replacement, you should also reduce the number of chili peppers you put into the dish while cooking.
Chili peppers are often used to enhance the taste of omelets, salads, sauces, soups, and stews. They can come in many forms, from fresh ones to powder to flakes. So, try to choose the best suitable form of them to match the texture of your dish.
9. Guajillo Peppers
Guajillo peppers are used widely in Mexican cuisine. They have a silky skin, crimson color with a smoky, sweet, juicy, tangy and spicy taste with a tea and berry note. They are spicier than poblanos with 2,500 – 5,000 SHUs; thereby adding a more robust taste to your dish.
Guajillo peppers can appear in dried, powdered, or paste form. As stated, you should reduce the amount of Guajillo peppers in your dish when you are using them as a substitute for poblanos, in any form.
Guajillo peppers are best used in dishes like soups, stews, salads, salsa, baked, stir-fried ones. They can help boost your dish’s flavor a lot, so try some if you don’t know what to replace poblanos!
Jalapenos are a popular Mexican pepper and are used worldwide in many cuisines. They are somehow spicier, earthier and gassier than poblanos, but they have the same undertones as the poblano peppers. They are also brighter and a bit sweeter than poblanos.
Jalapenos look most like chili pepper, which is long and thin in shape. However, they can also be used in stuffing recipes, just like poblano peppers. They also do a great job in salad dressings, toppings or standard salsas.
With 2,500 – 8,000 Scoville heat units, jalapenos are definitely spicier poblano peppers, so you may want to use less of them in a recipe to have the best taste that is reminiscent of poblano peppers in a meal, or you can adjust by your reference.
Making pickled jalapenos rings is a smart way to store your jalapenos for a long time! You can see this video to know more:
11. Padron Peppers
Padron peppers also have a mild spiciness compared to poblanos. Actually, they have a lot of varieties with different shapes and flavors, but 90% of them will be subtle in taste, while the remaining 10% can shock you with robust spiciness!
They are not popular as the stand-in for poblano peppers, but they can actually be used interchangeably in most recipes. Padron peppers are quite small with a note of grassy, nutty, peppery.
Use this alternative based on your taste. Padron peppers can work well in traditional Spanish dishes, sandwiches, and pizzas. Sometimes, they can also be stuffed with cheeses and many other fillings, just like poblanos!
12. Mulato Peppers
Besides ancho peppers, mulato peppers are the second varieties of dried poblano peppers. Unlike anchos with deep red shade before being dried, mulatos ripen to a dark brown color, then dried and ground into powder. They are also slightly different in taste.
The flavor of mulato peppers reminds of licorice or chocolate with cherry and tobacco notes. Compared to poblano peppers, they are a little bit spicier and consist of a more distinctive taste that can add more flavors to your dish. Their size and shape are quite similar.
Mulatos have been applied to many popular dishes of Mexican cuisine for years. They are most used in mole sauces. As a poblano pepper alternative, you can add mulatos to your likings until your dish reaches the right taste.
13. Italian Frying Peppers
Save the best for last! Italian frying peppers are also a great equivalent of poblano peppers, although they contain thin walls that are not suitable for stuffing recipes. Instead, they are most suitable for the roasting method with the mild, sweet and slightly piquant taste.
Italian frying peppers appear in finger-sized shape. They are initially green and can turn red after ripening. They maintain the sweetness in this whole color-changing process. They are so popular in Italian cuisine that they can join any Italian dish with diverse ingredients.
For the use as a poblano pepper substitute, Italian frying peppers can be added by your own preference. Try to taste the dish regularly while cooking to easily adjust the flavor. You may be surprised by what these chilies can perform!
Having learned about poblano pepper replacements, do you have any more questions? You may probably find the answers to some of the most often asked questions in this section.
I Have Done My Job. Now It’s Your Turn To Deal With It!
When using poblano pepper replacements, you should follow the correct ratio to avoid an off-putting food flavor, or if you believe in your reference, just add them until you feel pleasant. But try to test your food many times to make sure you haven’t overdone it!
The above poblano pepper substitutes are easy to obtain on the market or even in your pantry! I hope it’s useful to you, and I’d love to hear more about your experiences with this spice or any of its equivalents in the comments section below!
- En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Poblano – Wikipedia.
- Healthline. 2021. Bell Peppers 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.