Pasilla chili peppers have one big drawback, which is that they are not easy to find in brick and mortar retailers outside of Mexico. You will need their fruity and woodsy flavors if you want to make classic dishes like Oaxacan mole. If you need some right away and don’t have time to wait for an online order to arrive, try one of the pasilla powder substitutes below.
Your best bet: Ancho powder
The ancho chili peppers used to make ancho powder are the same as poblano chilies, just dried. Like other Mexican chilies, the dried pepper has a different name from the fresh one. In comparison to pasilla chilies, ancho peppers offer the incredible benefit of being widely available on both sides of the border.
At the same time, anchos have a lot in common with pasilla chilies such as the fact that neither of these peppers is exceptionally hot. That said, the
Ancho powder is the pepper component in most chili powder seasonings — it is responsible for chili powder’s deep red color. You can make it yourself by grinding the peppers in a spice grinder. Remember to deseed them first if you attempt this.
A decent second choice: Guajillo p
The guajillo chili continues the Mexican trend of dried peppers with different names from their fresh counterparts. It is a dehydrated mirasol pepper. Like the pasilla, the guajillo provides a mild heat — these peppers typically get no hotter than 5,000 Scoville Heat Units. They have a fruity flavor similar to that of the pasilla pepper. Their appearance is also very much like the pasilla pepper’s — they both offer a deep red color.
Traditionally, whole guajillo chilies are rehydrated before being made into a paste that is added to dishes but guajillo powder is widely available. You can make your guajillo powder yourself if you cannot find it on store shelves. Guajillos are among the mainstays of Mexican cuisine, and you may see them featured in such dishes as enchiladas and salsas.
In a pinch: Mulato chili powder
The flavor profile includes smoky notes along with fruity ones as well as hints of chocolate. Mulato powder is not very common in US grocery stores, but you should be able to find whole dried
Chipotle powder is made from dried and smoked jalapeños. Jalapeño peppers are mild chilies but can be quite a bit hotter than pasillas. Even so,