Pasilla vs Poblano: We Found the Best

Well, it’s not a secret that Mexican cuisine has some of the most interesting spices among the world’s gastronomy. But have you ever wondered why dishes like chiles rellenos, enchiladas and Mole sauces have such a unique and delicious flavor? It’s all because of peppers!

In Mexico, the two most popular types of peppers are pasilla and poblano peppers. Although they look similar, these two peppers are different in the way they look, taste and the dishes they’re used in. Let’s explore the differences in more detail.

  • Pasilla peppers, also known as chile negro, are about 4 to 5 inches long and skinny, dark brown, almost black color. They are sweet and mild with a smoky flavor. Pasilla peppers can add a unique flavor to fried and steamed dishes, quesadillas, tacos and salsas.
  • Poblanos, on the other hand, are very similar in shape and size, but they are dark green. Poblanos are very mild and sweet, with notes of earthy, spicy and smoky flavors. They are usually found in chiles rellenos, chilaquiles, sauces and stews.

When using pasilla or poblano peppers, it’s important to be aware of their different levels of heat. Pasillas are usually spicier than poblanos, with a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) range of 1,000 to 2,500. Poblanos are much milder, with a SHU range of 1,000 to 1,500.

If you’re looking for a mild flavor, poblanos are your best bet. But if you’re looking for something with a bit more kick, pasilla peppers are your go-to.

When it comes to preparation, both chilis are easy to use and versatile. They can be added to both cooked and raw dishes, and they can be sauteed, roasted, grilled or dried. It all depends on your preference.

Pasilla Pepper

If you’re looking for a flavor-packed pepper to add depth and complexity to your favorite dishes, look no further than the pasilla pepper. This dark, mild chili pepper has a hint of raisin-like sweetness and a rich smoky flavor that can add an unmistakeable depth to any dish. Plus, with its medium heat level, the pasilla pepper is sure to please any palate. 

Adding pasilla peppers to your cooking repertoire is easy. Whether you’re dicing and sautéing it or finely grinding it into a paste, the flavorful pasilla pepper is sure to become a kitchen staple. Its mild heat level may even inspire daring chefs to leave the jalapenos in the cabinet and reach for the pasilla instead. 

Try adding cooked and pureed pasilla peppers to your favorite stews and sauces. They can easily be used as a substitute for a variety of peppers, including ancho and mulato. Or, you could use the unique flavor of pasilla peppers to step up your taco game. When simmered in oil, the pasilla pepper develops a deep, mildly smoky flavor that you won’t get from chili powder. 

No matter where you live, you’ll find that adding pasilla peppers to your dishes will enhance the flavor and add heat without overwhelming the palate. It’s time to give your cooking a flavor upgrade with the pasilla pepper.

Poblano Pepper

For some, the poblano pepper may be an unfamiliar ingredient. But with its bold yet mild flavor, this pepper is quickly gaining recognition in kitchens across the world.

Like other peppers, the poblano is part of the capsicum family. It’s relatively mild, registering a 2,500 to 3,000 Scoville Heat Unit score (for comparison, jalapeno peppers register at 2,500 to 8,000 SHU). The poblano pepper is dark green in color and measures roughly 4 to 7 inches in length. Regardless of its heat level, it has a unique flavor that makes it a perfect choice for many dishes.

The poblano is a staple in Mexican cuisine, often used to stuff chiles rellenos and to make mole sauce. But this pepper’s versatility doesn’t stop there. Poblanos are delicious when diced and cooked with eggs, added to soups, braised with meat, cooked into a creamy sauce, roasted and served alongside your favorite steak, or sliced into strips for salads.

Poblanos also hold their shape which often makes them a popular choice for grilling. To get the most out of their flavor, give the peppers a light char over a medium-high flame. Then simply dice them, mix with your favorite seasoning, and you’ll enjoy a flavor packed complement to any meal.

The next time you’re in the grocery store or farmers market, take a few minutes to look out for poblano peppers. Their unique flavor is sure to be a welcome addition to your next dish.

Pasilla vs poblano peppers can make all the difference in your recipes. They bring flavor, spice and color to any dish, and they can make all the difference in a meal. So if you’re looking for something to add a bit of flavor and spice to your dishes, reach for pasilla and poblano peppers!

Photo by Anas Alhajj on Unsplash

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