🎉 Hey, you have free shipping in the USA!

What Are Pasilla Peppers

Slofoodgroup Team June 29, 2023

Pasilla peppers are a popular dried chile pepper that are used to flavor a wide variety of dishes and even considered to be a member of “The Holy Trinity of Chile Peppers”. They are particularly popular in Mexican cuisine, with frequent appearances in braises and sauces like moles, rubs for meat dishes, and a long list of soups and stews. 

What Does Chile Pasilla Taste Like?

Pasilla peppers are notably sweet with a mild level of heat. The sweetness is reminiscent to dried fruits like prunes or raisins. Many people experience an earthiness akin to cacao and tobacco and even complimentary floral and smokey notes. Pasillas are known for their ability to add that deep, complex flavor associated with chiles, without overwhelming the senses with too much heat.

Are chile poblano and chile pasilla the same?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding poblanos and pasillas but, although they belong to the same family of chile peppers, they are not the same ingredient. Pasillas are actually the dried version of a chilaca chile peppers, whereas a poblano is a different chile pepper entirely (it’s dried version is an ancho chile pepper). That said, because of the similarities between chilacas and poblanos and that of their dried counterparts, they are quite often mislabled. In their fresh form, they are both quite sleek-looking, with a glossy, deep green appearance and smooth curves. Pablanos are the larger of the two and are typically more rotund, wheras chilacas are more slender in appearance and slightly darker in color.

When it comes to flavor, pasilla and ancho chiles, as well as their fresh versions, chilaca and pablanos are all pretty mild compared to many chiles and fall in the same range on the scoville scale. Pasillas are often only a slight bit spicier than anchos and have somewhat floral notes. Anchos, on the other hand are smokey and slightly sweet, with  have hints of chocolate.

Are pasilla chilies hot?

Of course, all peppers have variable heat levels, even within the same varieties, because they are subject to varying climatic conditions, soil types, and other growth conditions. That said, pasillas tend to be pretty mild, falling in the range of 500-2500 on the Scoville Scale. That’s about 4 to 9 times more mild than a jalapeño. 

What is another name for pasilla chiles?

Pasilla peppers have various names, and they only become pasillas once a fresh pepper has been dried—not just any pepper, though, the chilaca pepper. Chilaca peppers are also known by their botanical name, Capsicum annum, though several other pepper varieties also fall within this classification. Once dried, they are marketed as pasillas, chile negros, pasilla bajio, and/or Mexican negro.

When it comes to adding the mesmerizing pasilla flavor to dishes, chile powder is a simple way to do so and has the added benefits of convenience and maintaining a smooth consistency. You can find ground pasilla chiles along side our chipotle chile powder and habañero chile powder in our online spice shop.

Related articles