Pasilla Vs. Poblano | What’s The Difference?

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If you check out the world of peppers, you will come across many similar-looking types, which may make you think they are the same. But have you ever wondered why such wide varieties mean each pepper may have a special purpose? One such case stands between pasilla and poblano peppers. 

Pasilla Vs. Poblano

Poblano and pasilla are found in sauces, salsas, and multiple other cuisines. They both provide a unique taste to the dishes they are added into.

So, what is the difference between pasilla vs. poblano peppers? Pasilla and poblano peppers have different tastes, heat levels, and appearances. Despite these differences, many people tend to need clarification on the two. 

You will find the answers to all the confusion surrounding these two peppers right here. Let’s find them out and be an expert on them!

Pasilla Pepper Vs. Poblano Pepper | Difference Table

DifferencesPasilla PepperPoblano
Appearance8 to 10 inches long with a dark brown color4-inch long with a dark brown/black color
TasteSmoky and earthyFruity
Heat Level1000 – 2500 SHU1000 – 1500 SHU
Usage for CookingSoups, sauces, moles, and salsasSalads, stuffing, sandwiches, and dressings
Best SubstituteAnchoAnaheim pepper
Shelf LifeLast for up to two years.Last for about 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.

What Is Pasilla Pepper?

Pasilla Pepper

The pasilla pepper is the dried form of chilaca pepper. It is a Mexican pepper whose name means ‘little raisin’. This pepper is also known as chile negro, pasilla bajio, or Mexican negro.  

In their fresh form, these peppers grow to 10 inches and have a narrow shape. When fresh, they start off with a dark green color and end up dark brown or black. 

Pasilla peppers are popularly used in Mexican cuisine and cooking. They are particularly used in sauces like moles, table sauces, and salsas. This pepper is also used in powdered form as a seasoning. 

One important point to remember is that many Mexican peppers are dried for culinary purposes. They subsequently earn an entirely new name because of the change in flavors, characteristics, and uses.

What Is Poblano Pepper?

Poblano Pepper

Poblano peppers are also popular Mexican chili pepper that is dark green in color. They are not just popular in Mexico but also in North America. These peppers are large in size and heart-shaped.

This pepper grows 4 inches long in size and ripens to turn dark red to brown. These peppers’ skin is thick, making them great for stuffing purposes. The heat of these peppers varies, depending on their maturity.

Poblano peppers, in their dried forms, are known as chile ancho or ancho.

Pasilla Pepper Vs. Poblano Pepper | What’s The Difference?

Pasilla Vs. Poblano

By reading the information above, you must have got a fair idea of how the two peppers are different from each other. Let’s now take a deeper look at the exact differences between pasilla peppers and poblano peppers.

1. Appearance

One of the most visible differences between the pasilla and poblano chili pepper is their appearance. While they are both relatively large peppers, they have different shapes and sizes.

The poblano pepper is a short wide pepper that grows around 4 inches long and up to 3 inches wide. Their bulky size resembles a bell pepper, so they can often be used as the main ingredient in a dish.

Pasilla chiles, on the other hand, are long and thin peppers that grow up to 10 inches long in size. Compared to poblano peppers, these peppers are thin. 

In terms of color, poblano peppers are dark green in color. In contrast, pasilla peppers are dried peppers that have a dark brown or black color.

Color is one of the aspects that may confuse people. That’s because both the peppers are dark green in color in their freshest forms, which often leads to chilaca pepper being labeled as pasilla.

However, it is important to know that pasilla peppers are strictly dried chilaca peppers with different tastes and characteristics.

2. Flavor 

One of the major differences between pasilla and poblano peppers lies in their taste. Both peppers are a world apart in their flavor. This is the key factor that helps us understand how different these two peppers are.

The poblano pepper is normally harvested when they are green and unripe. The maturity level affects the spice level of this pepper. Therefore, poblano peppers have a mild spiciness and are mostly eaten either raw or cooked without having to worry about the spice.

In terms of flavor, poblano peppers taste more like green bell peppers than any chili. They have a fruity flavor with some zinginess from the chili. When cooked, their mild sweetness intensifies.

In contrast, pasilla chili has a rich, smoky, and earthy flavor. Its flavor can also be compared to dried fruits and berries, such as raisins. This is the possible reason why their name means “little raisin.”

These dried chilies are less sweet than poblanos.

3. Heat Levels

One of the most important things to consider while cooking with chili peppers is the amount of heat they possess. To measure the heat of chili peppers, we use the Scoville scale.

The poblano scores 1,000 to 2,000 on the Scoville scale, considered a very mild chili. This means they are mild enough to give a slight tingle or zinginess without causing any burning sensation.

But remember that poblano chilies get hotter as they ripen. So, they may turn a bit spicier if not harvested at the time. 

On the other hand, pasilla peppers are slightly hotter, measuring 1,000 to 2,500 on the Scoville scale. This heat level is still considered to be mild, but these peppers are prized more for their earthy, fruity flavor than their heat and spice levels.

Moreover, it should be noted that pasilla peppers are sold dried, either whole or as flakes or powder. This means the heat and flavor of pasilla peppers are much more concentrated than poblano peppers.

4. Uses 

With all the above-mentioned information, you must begin to consider which pepper can be used in what ways. So, let’s check out the best uses of both peppers.

With their thick skin, mild heat, and beautiful dark green color, Poblano peppers are ideal for stuffing and baking in the oven. They can be used fresh, canned, or frozen. Furthermore, they can also be added to salads, guacamole, relish, sauces like pesto, cocktails, and skinned over as a topping for pizza. 

Fresh poblano peppers will last for about 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Pasilla peppers, on the other hand, are found in dried form as a whole or crushed into flakes or in powder form. Therefore, they are only used as a flavoring agent.

The rich smoky, and earthy flavors make pasilla peppers a great ingredient in soups, sauces, stews, and casseroles. You can also find them grounded as a filling for tacos or enchiladas. This pepper is great for those who enjoy chilies’ flavor minus the heat. 

Pasilla chilies will typically last for up to two years if stored properly.

Pasilla Pepper Vs. Poblano Pepper | Which One Is Healthier?

Pasilla and Poblano are both great peppers to add to your diet. But between pasilla and poblano peppers, the latter wins on the nutrition scale.

Poblano and pasilla peppers both show health-promoting properties. They contain high amounts of antioxidants, dietary fiber, capsaicin, minerals, and vitamins contents.

However, pasilla peppers win over poblano peppers as they are a better source of vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, and C, folate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. In contrast, poblano is a better source of vitamins B1, B5, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, and selenium.

Pasilla Pepper Vs. Poblano Pepper | Which One Is Tastier?

Stuck between which pepper tastes better, pasilla or poblano? The short answer to your query is that they are both great in taste, and which is tastier depends on what the recipe calls for. 

Poblanos are mild and sweet peppers that can be used in many recipes. On the other hand, pasilla peppers have a smoky and complex taste that adds depth to the dish. 

However, you should not substitute these peppers for each other as they have unique tastes that pair well with different recipes.

Top Recipes To Make With Poblano Pepper

1. Southwest Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Southwest Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers make for a great vegetable used for stuffing. So, make the best use of this pepper by trying out the Southwest stuffed poblano peppers. 

This recipe uses poblano pepper as the base and uses a filling of seasoned black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, green chiles, ground beef, and a good helping of shredded cheese.

You can top these peppers with some sour cream, freshly chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. Check out the recipe for Southwest stuffed poblano peppers here.

2. Farmers Market Enchiladas

Farmers Market Enchiladas

If you are looking for a quick meal using poblano peppers, check out this vegetarian enchilada recipe that makes the best use of garden veggies. 

This recipe features a mix of veggies with poblano peppers roasted in an oven and stuffed between tortillas. The tortillas are topped with enchilada sauce and baked in the oven. 

Check out the recipe for farmers’ market enchiladas here.

3. Zucchini Pico de Gallo Salsa

Zucchini Pico de Gallo Salsa

Looking for a way to amp up your regular pico de Gallo salsa? Try making this incredibly easy and flavorful recipe using poblano peppers. 

Toss in all your favorite veggies with poblano peppers for a zesty spice. Check out the zucchini pico de gallo salsa recipe here.

4. Chicken Chiles Rellenos Casserole

Chicken Chiles Rellenos Casserole

Casseroles are the most comforting meal to indulge in. Take a delicious turn on your regular casserole by adding poblano peppers for a punch of Mexican flavors. 

Check out the chicken chiles Rellenos casserole recipe here.

5. Roasted Vegetable and Chevre Quiche

Roasted Vegetable and Chevre Quiche

Quiche is a great way to enjoy different ingredients altogether. The roasted vegetable and chevre quiche feature poblano peppers with chopped eggplant, tomatoes, and fresh goat cheese. 

Save this recipe to make a delicious side for your guest’s next time.

Top Recipes To Make With Pasilla Pepper

1. Pasilla Sauce

Make the best use of pasilla peppers by making a pasilla sauce for enchiladas. This sauce has a deep, rich smoky flavor that can also be used as a dipping sauce for chicken, steak, or fish. 

This recipe adds a blended pasilla chilies paste to vegetable sauce stirred with spices and seasonings to make pasilla sauce. Check out the recipe for pasilla sauce here.

2. Pork Tenderloin with Pasilla Mole Sauce

Try out this pork tenderloin with pasilla mole sauce recipe to make a rich and flavorful meal. This dish features seasoned pork tenderloin served with pasilla mole sauce.

3. Garlic and Pasilla Chili Soup

Why stick to only sauces when you can use pasilla chili in soup? This soup uses garlic, onion, tomato, and pasilla chilies. Check out the recipe here to delight your family.

4. Mexican Pork And Chile Stew

Mexican Pork And Chile Stew

Pasilla chile is a great ingredient to add to stews as it brings a depth of flavor. This Mexican pork and chile stew make the most of its flavors paired with guajillo peppers, spices, pork shoulder, and more.

Pasilla Pepper Vs. Poblano Pepper | Which One Is More Versatile?

Pasilla and poblano peppers are delicious and versatile ingredients that can add a lot of flavors to your dishes. Pasilla chilies have a more complex flavor as compared to poblano peppers. 

Therefore, choosing between these two peppers comes down to the recipe and personal preference. So, experiment and see which one you prefer!

Can We Substitute Pasilla Pepper For Poblano Pepper?

Food substitutes are often considered in case of shortage or absence of a particular ingredient. Most of all, in the case of peppers, people always feel that any other peppers can be exchanged easily.

However, this should not be done as ever pepper has its unique taste and most important heat level. These two factors can make or break your dish.

Similarly, pasilla and poblano peppers offer different taste profiles. Therefore, you can’t substitute pasilla pepper for poblano or vice versa.

One of the major differences between pasilla pepper vs. Poblano pepper is their taste and usage. While the poblano pepper offers a fruity flavor, similar to bell peppers, the pasilla has a smoky and earthy flavor.

So, your dish may not call for using a smoky, earthy, and sweet flavor of pasilla pepper in a dish that needs the zesty feel that a poblano can offer.

If you are looking for a substitute for poblano pepper, anaheim pepper is the closest pepper that offers a similar heat level and taste. 

Pasilla Pepper Vs. Poblano Pepper | Which One Is Better?

Deciding the best between the two peppers is tricky as both have a unique taste of their own. That also makes their use quite different. Moreover, both peppers have different spices and heat levels.

So, to use these peppers, I suggest you use pasilla peppers if your recipe calls for some heat and especially a smoky flavor. If your dish calls for the zestiness of peppers with mild heat, then poblano peppers are what you need.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are poblano peppers?

Poblano peppers are Mexican peppers that have a mild heat and spice level. They have a sweet bell pepper-like flavor and the zestiness of chile.

What are pasilla peppers?

The pasilla chile is a hot pepper that has a smoky, earthy flavor. It can be used in a variety of dishes. It is perfect for adding heat and depth to sauces, enchiladas, chili, and more.

Are poblano and pasilla peppers the same?

Poblano and pasilla peppers are not the same. They have different tastes, spice levels, and heat.

Are pasilla peppers healthy?

Pasilla peppers are a rich source of vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, C, folate, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.

How to use pasilla peppers?

Pasilla peppers come dried whole or crushed into flakes forms or in powder form. Therefore, they are only used as a flavoring agent. They can be added to soups, sauces, stews, and casseroles.

Is a pasilla pepper hot?

Pasilla is a mildly hot pepper.

What pepper is similar to pasilla?

Ancho chiles or Mulato are great substitutes for pasilla peppers.

What can we substitute for poblano peppers?

Anaheim pepper is the closest pepper that offers a similar heat level and taste.

Do pasilla peppers have another name?

Pasilla is also known as pasilla bajio, or as the chile negro or Mexican negro.

What is hotter poblano or pasilla?

Pasilla pepper is hotter than poblano pepper.

Can you eat a poblano pepper raw?

Poblano peppers can be enjoyed raw in salsas and other dips and added to chilis, taco meat, or sauces.

How to store Poblano Pepper?

Fresh Poblanos keep well for about a week in a paper bag in the refrigerator.


Many things distinguish pasilla pepper from poblano. That includes their appearance, heat level, usage, and substitutes. Keep all these differences in mind while cooking to have the right flavors in your dish.

If you enjoyed reading the information above or have a related query, feel free to ask me in the comments below. For more such interesting information, check out our website.

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