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13 Peppery Guajillo Chili Substitute For Spicy Mexican Food

 Mirasol chilies are another name for Guajillo chilies and are sometimes even be known as their dried variant. The rattling sound from the seeds when shaken is where Guajillo got its name from.

This ingredient isn’t only utilized to provide heat to your foods. Chili paste is the most common product where Guajillo is used. Guajillo chili powder is typically blended with oregano, cumin, chipotles, and coriander.

Guajillo chili is a staple in Mexican dishes. It can, however, be hard to find and buy in many regions. Many people find alternatives to use as substitutes when there is no Guajillo chili available. Listed below are some of the best Guajillo chili substitutes you can easily find in your local grocery stores.

  1. Cascabel Chilies
  2. Puya Chilies
  3. Chipotle Chilies
  4. Mulato Chilies
  5. Ancho Peppers(Poblano)
  6. New Mexico Peppers
  7. Pasilla Peppers

Read on if you are keen to find out how each alternatives work for your recipe and also why guajillo is commonly used in mexican cooking

13 Best Substitute For Guajillo Chili

Guajillo Chili Substitute 

Guajillo is classified under the pepper condiments category. Mirasol chilies that are dried are also called Guajillo peppers and are often used in Mexican cooking.

This pepper has a unique sweet, fruity yet smokey flavor. These peppers also have a subtle hint of berries and tea, and a SHU that can range from light to medium in terms of spiciness.

If you cannot find fresh guajillo chili, you can consider using Guajillo chili powder.

Guajillo chili powder can be used mainly in soups and even salsa. As previously stated, this chili powder can be traditionally seen in Mexican recipes as well as Southwestern cuisines.

Rinse the chili powder with water that is warm before using it in a recipe. Rehydrate the powder by soaking it in a bowl with water and time it for up to 10 minutes.

After that, include the product in your dish. Cooking time should be at least 10 minutes. Then, you could dice or Purée the powder before including it in your food if you would like to use it after rehydration.

Cascabel Chilies

Cascabel Chilies

Cascabel chilies are not similar to Guajillo peppers in appearance. Casabels are known to have a shorter size and a rounder appearance, while their colors give off a deep brownish-red hue. Cascabel is also called “little bell” in Spanish.

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These have a nutty and smokey flavor, with Scoville heat units from 1,000 that can go for an SHU of 3,000. This means the small bell is slightly heated.

Puya Chilies

Puya chilies also exhibit some of Guajillo peppers’ qualities in terms of appearance and flavor profile. As a result, they’re a great Guajillo pepper replacement.

These kinds are smaller in size than Guajillo. However, they are much hotter, which may add more flavor and warmth to the dish.

Guajillo peppers have a smaller size and are hotter than Puya peppers. When tasted, you may get some cherry and even licorice undertones since Puya chilies give off a fruity flavor.

Puya chilies have an SHU or heat intensity of 5,000 that can go up to 8,000.

Chipotle Chilies


Chipotle chilies, also called simply chipotle, are ripe jalapeno chili peppers dried out of the smoke and are commonly used for flavoring. Chipotle chili peppers, like Guajillo peppers, are used mainly in Mexican cuisines.

To make chipotle chilies, you should use the dried and smoked variety. These have a spiciness flavor that ranges from medium to hot with an SHU of 2,500 that can go up to 8,000, while also exhibiting an earthy and smoky flavor.

They can be used as condiments such as flakes and powder, and in a variety of dishes such as soups, stews, and salsas, which use the flavor of chipotle to complete the recipe.

Mulato Chilies

In comparison to Guajillo chili, Mulatos are relatively milder and sweeter, with a hint of fruit and smoke at the side. The Mulato pepper is one of two dried poblano pepper cultivars, which could also be used to supplement Guajillo peppers.

These chilies can also be identified as dried poblanos that have reached full maturity. The texture of one Mulato is visually flat and wrinkled, and the color is brownish-black.

The SHU for Mulato chilies can start from 2,500 and go up to an SHU of 3,000. Mulato chilies are also diverse since they have different forms like whole chili, chili flakes, and even chili powder.

These alternatives are also used in various recipes, including soups and sauces for dishes, and as a side.

Mulatos also have a flavor akin to chocolate or licorice, with cherry and tobacco overtones.

Ancho peppers(Poblano)


Poblano peppers that have been dried are identified as anchos. This kind of chili is also known to be widely accessible chili peppers.

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This pepper is regarded as a superior alternative to Guajillo chilies and is called to be included in the Mexican chilies’ Holy Trinity. These have more meat and are sweeter than Guajillo, with prominent tastes of raisins and a hint of chocolate.

On the other hand, ancho peppers are not as spicy as Guajillo. Ancho peppers have a relatively low spiciness with only a level ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 SHU.

The skin of ancho chilies is wrinkled, and the hue is intense red. These are also known as dried chili powder that are commonly used for sauces such as chilies and enchilada.

New Mexico Peppers

These chilies have a size of about 12 and can go up to 17 centimeters. Their peels also exhibit a rich brownish-red color. These chilies are not hot since their SHU only ranges from 800 to 1,400 units.

The flavor of these chilies exhibits an earthy but sweet taste, and has a subtle hint of dried cherries and traces of acidity. Dishes that may benefit from these chilies include soups, stews, salsas, and sauces at the side of the main meal.

Pasilla Peppers


Chilaca peppers are also called Pasilla peppers. These chilies have a visually long and thin appearance, as well as a wrinkled skin with a subtle hint of a sweet flavor of berries and cocoa.

The skin of this pepper is black and wrinkled. It is often put in sauces and can be found in powdered packaging or a whole form in the United States and Mexico. They have a flavor that is comparable to Guajillo peppers.

Pasilla peppers have a fruity, yet earthy and smoky flavors to it. Pasilla peppers are similar to Ancho peppers in appearance, but they are considerably less sweet.

Pasilla chili powders have a mild heat level that ranges in spiciness from 250 and can go up to 2500 Scoville heat units. They’re also exceptional with soups and stews.

California Chiles

California chilies are also considered to be a good substitute for Guajillo peppers. These chilies are also called Anaheim peppers that have been dried after ripening.

Common names for these kinds of chilies include Anaheim chilies, and even green chilies. You can also cook soups and sauces with them.

They’re mild chilies with an SHU level ranging from 500 to 2,500. These California chilies also exhibit a moderately sweet, crisp flavor with a hint of acidity.

Chili Pepper


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Since Chili Pepper is accessible in many parts of the world, you can easily find this ingredient in your local grocery stores. Chili Peppers also have the same level of SHU as Guajillo peppers.

However, you must take note that the chili peppers you will buy have a rich and vibrant color in them. Their stems should also exhibit a hard yet fresh texture, and there shouldn’t be any disturbance or cracks near the stem’s end.

Chile De Arbol

When grounded, Chile De Arbol can be utilized as chili powder as well. They often come in bunches and appear to have a rich and vibrant appearance despite their small size. Their SHU also ranges from 15,000 up to 65,000. Hence, it can add significantly more heat to your recipes.

You may use only ¼ of Chile De Arbol with 1 teaspoon of Guajillo if you are starting to experiment with this ingredient.



This Korean ingredient is commonly used for making kimchi. Having an appearance of chili flakes, Gochugaru is small yet has a rich and deep red within its sun-dried texture. Its flavors exhibit a range of spicy and sweet, yet also smoky aroma.

With the same SHU level as Jalapeno, Gochugaru registers 5,000 on the SHU scale that can go up to 8,000 units.

Gochugaru can also be used as a seasoning and can be substituted at a ratio of 1:1 with Guajillo pepper. However, if you want your food to be less spicy, you may use a ratio of ½:1.

Sweet and Hot Paprika Mix

There is a variety of red peppers that are utilized to create the paprika condiment, which exhibits a pepper-like aroma despite its sweet flavor. Hence, they can either be sweet or hot, depending on the pepper used for paprika.

If you want a sweeter and spicier, yet smoky taste in your recipes, mixing hot paprika and sweet paprika is the key. They can even be used for sauces and dips. A 1:1 ratio is also used to substitute these paprikas for Guajillo Pepper

Cayenne Pepper


When ground, Cayenne pepper, as a dried variant, can be used to make recipes sweeter and hotter in flavor. They also have a similar heat level to Guajillo peppers.

To achieve the desired flavor, you may use a ratio of 1:1 when using ground cayenne in place of Guajillo. You may also use these on sauces and salsas.