10 Best Poblano Pepper Substitutes

Poblano Peppers

If you are looking for a substitute for poblano peppers, you came to the right place. This pepper is great for most Mexican foods and it gained popularity worldwide.

You can use poblano pepper to add a spicy flavor to your dishes and keep it as your little secret ingredient. However, what to do when you are missing this type of pepper and you want to prepare a recipe that calls for poblano pepper? We got the answers.

Substitutes for Poblano Pepper

Use the following substitutes every time you are missing poblano peppers from your kitchen. In terms of ratio, you can keep a 1:1 ratio unless you find the need to increase it according to your preferences.

1. Anaheim peppers

Anaheim Pepper

The first substitute for poblano peppers can easily be considered to be Anaheim peppers. These peppers look similar to poblano peppers and they can be used in the same way. However, you will notice that they are spicier than poblano ones.

So, if you use Anaheim peppers as seasonings, you want to make sure you use less of it so your food will not turn too spicy.

You can use them for stuffing recipes or chop them and add them to your soups, stews, or salads. Anaheim peppers also come in powder form, so it is perfect for sauces, soups, and other cooked dishes.

2. Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers are as common as poblano ones and they can replace them just as fine as other substitutes. These peppers will not work for stuffing recipes because they are too thin and too long but they will make a delicious powder to season your food.

Cayenne peppers are as spicy as poblano ones and they will taste great in baked dishes and stir-fries. You can use them to season both sauces or salad dressings. Keep a 1:1 ratio when you replace poblano peppers with cayenne peppers to obtain a similar flavor.

3. Red bell peppers

Red Bell Pepper

Red bell peppers are some of the best poblano peppers substitute. They have generous sizes which makes them easy to stuff if needed.

Usually, red bell peppers are sweet and will not bring a spicy taste to your food. However, you can use them still to give an earthly taste to the food. If you don’t like spicy foods, these peppers are a great alternative to spicy poblano peppers.

4. Cubanelle

Cubanelle Pepper

Cubanelle peppers don’t have the spicy taste of poblano ones, so they are the perfect substitute for those who don’t like spicy food. You can use them not just as seasoning powder. But also for your stuffing recipes.

They have a sweet taste that will make you appreciate your dishes a lot more and you can count on them for a faster cooking process. Use these peppers just like you would use poblano but remember that they will not add the same spiciness to your food.

5. Jalapenos


Jalapenos are some of the most popular peppers in Mexican cuisine. They are spicier than poblano peppers but very similar to those as well. If you eliminate the ribs and pith of jalapenos they will not be as hot and they will become a better replacement for poblano peppers.

The best way to use jalapenos is in toppings and sauces such as salsa. They will go great in salads and warm dishes as long as you control the quantity you use. How much of this product you want to use depends entirely on your personal preference.

6. Ancho peppers

Ancho peppers are not as easy to find as other substitutes. But they can definitely make your food taste better if you use them instead of poblano. They are derived from poblano peppers once they are ripe and you dry them.

However, even if there is this connection between Ancho peppers and poblanos, these two seasonings are not the same. Anchos are less spicy and they even have a more pregnant sweet taste than poblanos. Use them in the same ration you use poblanos for all types of dishes, being them cold or cooked.

7. Chili peppers

Red Chili

Chilli peppers are used worldwide in all types of forms from powder to flakes. You can use them instead of poblano peppers in soups, stews, omelets, salads, and even in sauces. Chilli peppers are spicy and even hot.

Thys, make sure you don’t use a lot of them as seasoning. The most common form of chili peppers is in flakes but if you use them in sauces you might prefer them in powder form. These peppers are spicy and have a smoky flavor as well.

8. Paprika

Smoked Paprika

Paprika comes in a hot and sweet version. The hot one is spicier than poblano peppers so use less of this replacement. Paprika, in all its versions, is the most versatile replacement for poblano peppers.

You can use it in everything from sauces to stews and baked dishes. Paprika will enrich the flavor of your salads as well and it will help you give taste to any type of food.

Use it in the same amount you would use poblano peppers. It is very important to taste your food along the cooking process to make sure you don’t over-season it. 

9. New Mexico Chiles

New Mexico Chiles can replace poblano peppers in any recipe. They are just as spicy as the poblano peppers. But can also add a sweet flavor and earthly taste to your final dish.

You can use this alternative for all types of dishes. They will taste great in baked dishes as well as soups and stews. They are great peppers for sauces and stir-fries too.

10. Guajillo peppers

Guajillo pepper

Guajillo peppers are also specific to Mexican cuisine. They have smooth, dark red skin. The flavor of these peppers is rich and spicy. Since they are spicier than poblano peppers, you might have to use fewer Guajillo peppers in your dishes.

These peppers come dried or in a powder and even a paste form. You can use them instead of poblano peppers in dishes like salads, stews, and soups. They will enrich the flavors of your stir-fries and baked dishes as well.


What pepper looks like a poblano?

If you are looking for peppers that look the same as poblanos, you want to look at Anaheim first. These two types of peppers look almost the same.

However, Anaheim peppers tend to have a darker green shade. Jalapenos also look similar to poblano peppers in terms of color but they might be smaller and narrower.

How spicy is a poblano pepper?

Poblano peppers are considered to be spicy in a moderate way with a level of spiciness of 1,000–1,500 on the Scoville scale. This moderate level of spiciness makes them ideal for those who like spicy foods but are not fans of hot dishes.

Is a poblano hotter than a jalapeno?

No, poblano peppers are a lot milder than jalapenos. Jalapenos can reach even 8,000 on the heat scale which makes them some of the hottest peppers in the world. Even if you remove the ribs of the jalapenos, they will still be much spicier than the poblano ones.

The Takeaway

Using poblano peppers might be your favorite ingredient for many recipes but you can still replace it with many other substitutes. Use any of the alternatives above and you will end up with delicious recipes from cold salads to complex baked dishes.

By using a different type of peppers or pepper powder, you might even discover that your recipes will be tasting much better. Be careful if you choose a spicier replacement and taste your food as you are cooking it to make sure you get the flavor you want. 

1 comment
  1. What an informative site. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience about the peppers. I use a variety of sweet and hot peppers and love learning about ones that I am not aware of. One of my favorites plants in my garden is the “peppers”. I haven’t grown the poblanos yet so am looking forward to adding them to my garden.
    Happy gardening and cooking!,
    Donald Tuttle

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