Poblano Vs Pasilla

Poblano Vs Pasilla – What’s The Difference?

Chilies come in an array of flavor profiles that can transform any dish’s taste (and heat level) if you aren’t a chili connoisseur. These innocent-looking peppers come in a variety of flavor profiles that can transform any dish’s taste. What’s the difference between a poblano and a pasilla chili pepper? Both peppers are relatively mild with a similar level of spiciness. The poblano chili is much larger than the bell pepper. Pasilla peppers are small, thin chilies usually sold dried.

People often confuse these two peppers, so many people believe they are interchangeable. However, there are a few key differences between the two chilies, which means they shouldn’t be used interchangeably. With our poblano versus pasilla comparison, we’ll help you decide which is best for you!

Are Poblano And Pasilla The Same?

To begin with, we need to address the confusion surrounding poblano and pasilla chilies. These are two distinct types of chili peppers, but many people confuse them. It is because the poblano chili can sometimes be called a pasilla chili in the United States, Canada, and northern Mexico. This misnaming explains how confusion has arisen! Normally, the dried fruit of the Chilaca pepper plant is called pasilla, a chili pepper in its own right.

The dried poblano pepper is sometimes also referred to as an ancho chili, which is a completely different type of chili. Let’s find out about the key differences between poblano and pasilla chilies now that we know they’re not the same!

What Is Poblano Pepper?

Chili peppers with the poblano name originate in Puebla, a state in central Mexico. Growing up to four inches long, these are one of the largest types of chili peppers. Peppers with thick skin hold their shape well when cooked, making them ideal for stuffing. The skin turns a rich, deep greeny-brown when fully ripe, but they are usually harvested when they are still bright green. When poblanos are harvested while still green, they have a very minimal level of heat, but still have the characteristic hot flavor of chili peppers.

The flavor profile of poblano chili becomes much more complex and developed as it matures on the plant, gaining a rich, deep, smoky flavor. Both North America and Mexico enjoy the flavorful poblano chili pepper, which is often regarded as the best mild pepper available.

Often served with guacamole and refried beans inside a tortilla wrap, these chilies are perfect for roasting and stuffing. In addition to poblano chilies, Capsicum Annum is also the official name of the plant that bears poblano fruit. Poblano peppers are also known as ancho peppers or chiles ancho. Don’t confuse them with pasilla peppers!

What Is Pasilla Pepper?

The dried form of chilaca pepper is known as pasilla or chile pasilla. The name translates as ‘little raisin’, which should tell you a lot about the pepper’s appearance! Passilla peppers are very long, growing up to 10 inches in length. However, they are very thin, so you’d be hard pressed to stuff them! The fresh pasilla chile is also called pasilla bajio, chile negro, or ‘Mexican negro.’ This is because it turns from a dark green to a rich brown color as it ripens.

When you see fresh chilies being labelled as pasilla chili, this is incorrect! This name should only be used for the dried fruit of the chilaca pepper. In Mexican sauces such as moles, table sauces, and salsas, dried pasilla peppers are available whole or ground in chili flakes or powder. Combined with ancho and guajillo peppers, the pasilla chili is considered one of the holy trinity of Mexican chilies.

Poblano Vs Pasilla Comparison

The backgrounds of these two chili peppers have been explained, but let’s find out what makes them unique!


Both poblano and pasilla chili peppers are large peppers, but they have very different shapes and sizes. This pepper resembles a bell pepper in its bulky size and can often be used as the main ingredient of a recipe because of its size. You can stuff poblano peppers, bake them in the oven, or skin them for tortilla wraps. Since pasilla peppers can be up to 10 inches long, they are only used as a flavoring rather than as a primary ingredient.

During certain stages of ripening, these two peppers can appear exactly the same in terms of color: they could be the same size. When unripe, both peppers are bright green, and as they ripen, they slowly change to a dark green. Both peppers will turn dark brown when fully ripe, but you are unlikely to see them at this stage.

A poblano pepper is typically harvested before it is fully ripe and bright green. A pasilla pepper is typically harvested after it has dried out and is dark brown in color.


This is one of those times when we get to explain to you how wonderfully diverse and exciting the world of chili peppers is. Both peppers belong to the same plant family, but they have very different flavors and are used in very different ways. When harvested while green and unripe, the poblano pepper will have a mild spiciness, making it suitable for either raw or cooked consumption. Poblano peppers have a delicious fruity flavor with a bit of punch and zing from the chili, as well as a mild sweetness that intensifies as they cook.

Compared to a dried pasilla chili, which is smoky, fruity, and earthy, pasillas are often compared to dried fruits and berries, including raisins. There is less sweetness in these dried chilies than in poblanos, although they are fruitier in flavor.

The flavor of pasilla chilies is often compared to that of ancho chilies, which is the dried form of poblanos! However, even when both of these chilies are dried, the poblano still has a sweeter taste. Pasilla chilies are more earthy and intense than poblano or ancho chilies.

Heat Levels

Let’s get to the question most people ask when discussing chili peppers: what is the heat level? You should not overlook the important flavors that can come from adding chilies to your food, even if you agree that heat and spiciness are very important. Choosing the right chili pepper can make a huge difference in the flavor of your dish because there are so many different types of pepper. What is the difference between poblano peppers and pasilla peppers in terms of heat?

Scoville scales are used to measure the heat of chili peppers. On the Scoville scale, a mild chili such as the jalapeno scores around 5,000 points. Most people can deal with this level of heat without any problems. On the Scoville scale, the terrifyingly-named Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chili has a whopping 1.2 million points – you wouldn’t even consider handling it without gloves!

In what way do our two chili peppers fit into this scale? In terms of Scoville scale scores, poblanos score anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000, meaning they are mild enough to just give a slight tingle or zinginess without causing any burning. As poblano chilies ripen, they become hotter, so they may become spicier if left on the plant longer.

On the Scoville scale, pasilla peppers measure about 1,000 to 2,500, which is still very mild and they are more prized for their earthy, fruity flavor than their heat. Furthermore, pasilla peppers are dried, either whole or as flakes or powder, which means their heat and flavor are concentrated. You shouldn’t exceed the amount recommended in your recipe if you’re using dried pasilla peppers. The dried peppers are not hot enough to cause a burning sensation.

Dish Pairings

How poblano and pasilla chili peppers are used is another way they differ. As a zingy alternative to bell peppers in salads or as crudites, poblano peppers are exclusively consumed fresh. They are one of the most common chilis used for stuffing, but they really come into their own when they are roasted. Roasting brings out the sweetness and delicate heat of these mild peppers. Rice, tomatoes, and chorizo are stuffed inside poblano peppers, and the whole dish is baked until the pepper is soft.

Roasted poblano pepper flesh can be blended into a delicious salad dressing, or added to guacamole, pesto, or relish. As well as refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, and cilantro, it is a popular filling for tortilla wraps. The pasilla pepper is used in a very different way from the poblano pepper. They are used in dried form, either whole or crushed into flakes or powder form.

When combined with tomatoes and paprika, they complement sauces, soups, casseroles, and stews perfectly. In addition to their fruity flavor, pasilla peppers are also good for those who do not like the hot spice of chili dishes. They can be used in place of chili powder or flakes to add a fruity flavor to a dish without adding too much heat.

Which Pepper Is Better?

There is no clear winner between poblano and pasilla chili peppers, as they both have their own unique uses, so what type you choose will depend greatly on the recipe you are making. As for heat and spiciness, poblanos and pasillas are similar, but the dried pasilla pepper may also add some fruitiness to your dish. This delicious, large chili pepper adds both juice and texture to your dish, so choose poblano if your recipe calls for whole fresh chilies.

Whether you make tortilla wraps or stuffed peppers, the poblano is the ultimate chili pepper for stuffing or eating whole. When dried chili is listed as one of the seasonings in a recipe, use pasilla chili peppers to add flavor and spice, without the juiciness that fresh chili provides. Passilla has the advantage that it is not too spicy, so you can add a bit more to your dish without making it so hot you can’t eat it!

Can You Substitute Pasilla For Poblano?

It is possible to substitute pasilla for poblano, but not vice versa, since one is a dried chili, while the other is fresh. Poblano is often used as a main ingredient, while pasilla is used to flavor dishes. There are a few great alternatives to fresh poblano peppers if you’re looking for a great alternative.

Mulato chilis, for instance, are darker in color, sweeter in flavor, and softer in texture. Other alternatives include Ancho Ranchero, Anaheim, and Corno di Toro Giallo. The best substitute for dried pasilla is ancho. Ancho is poblano pepper in its dried form and has a similar flavor profile to dried pasilla. Pasilla and ancho are both mild dried chili peppers that provide chili flavor without being too hot or spicy.

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