Poblano vs Pasilla: What’s the Difference? – Explained

by ubaid
Poblano vs Pasilla: What's the Difference

Are you confused about the difference between poblano vs pasilla peppers? Look no further! We break down the key differences between these two delicious chili varieties.

Welcome to our culinary journey where we explore the subtle yet significant differences between the poblano and pasilla peppers. If you’ve ever been confused about which pepper to use in your recipe, you’re not alone! Both these peppers look quite similar and share some common characteristics, making it challenging to tell them apart.

In this article, we’ll help you understand the difference between poblano and pasilla peppers and guide you through their culinary uses and how to prepare and cook with them.

Poblano vs Pasilla: What’s the Difference?

Poblano vs Pasilla: What's the Difference

What are poblano peppers?

Poblano peppers are a type of chili pepper that originated in Mexico. They are named after the city of Puebla, where they are commonly used in traditional cuisine. Poblanos are medium-sized peppers, usually measuring about 4 to 5 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. They have a dark green color and a tapered shape, ending in a blunt tip.

The flavor of poblano peppers is mild to medium, with a slightly sweet and earthy taste. They are often described as having a complex flavor profile, with hints of herbs and spices. Poblanos are not very spicy, rating about 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) on the Scoville scale. This makes them a popular pepper for those who enjoy a little heat without overwhelming spiciness.

In addition to their flavor, poblanos are also known for their versatility in the kitchen. They can be used in both fresh and dried forms and are often roasted or charred to bring out their flavor. Poblano peppers are commonly used in Mexican cuisine, especially in dishes such as chiles rellenos, where they are stuffed with cheese or meat and then fried or baked. They can also be used in soups, stews, sauces, and as a topping for tacos or nachos.

What are pasilla peppers?

Pasilla peppers are another type of chili pepper popular in Mexican cuisine. They are longer and narrower than poblano peppers, and typically have a dark green to brownish-black color when mature. Pasilla peppers are often used in dried form as well, in which case they are called chile negro.

The flavor profile of pasilla peppers can be described as earthy, with notes of dried fruit, raisins, and chocolate. They have a medium heat level, ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 on the Scoville scale.

In Mexican cuisine, pasilla peppers are commonly used in sauces and stews, particularly in dishes from the regions of Oaxaca and Puebla. They can also be stuffed, fried, or roasted.

How do pasilla peppers compare to ancho peppers?

Pasilla peppers are often confused with ancho peppers, which are also dried poblano peppers. While they are similar in shape and size, there are some key differences. Ancho peppers are generally sweeter and milder than pasilla peppers, with a Scoville rating of 1,000 to 1,500. They are also a darker reddish-brown color when dried, while pasilla peppers are usually darker and have a blackish hue.

Heat Level Comparison

When it comes to heat, poblano and pasilla peppers are quite different. Poblano peppers typically have a mild to medium heat level, measuring between 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville units. On the other hand, pasilla peppers can be much spicier, ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 Scoville units.

It’s important to note that the heat level of peppers can vary depending on factors such as ripeness, growing conditions, and preparation methods. Some poblano peppers may be spicier than others, while some pasilla peppers may be milder.

If you’re unsure about the heat level of a pepper, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and start with a small amount. You can always add more if you prefer a spicier dish!

Culinary uses of poblano peppers

Poblano peppers are a staple in Mexican cuisine, particularly in the regions of Puebla and Oaxaca. Their mild heat and unique flavor make them versatile in a variety of dishes. Here are some popular culinary uses for poblano peppers:

  • Chiles Rellenos: One of the most well-known Mexican dishes, Chiles Rellenos involves stuffing roasted poblano peppers with cheese, meat, or beans, dipping them in egg batter, and frying them until crispy.
  • Enchiladas: Poblano peppers can be used as a filling in enchiladas, either on their own or mixed with other ingredients like chicken or black beans.
  • Rajas con Crema: This classic Mexican dish features roasted poblano peppers cooked with cream, onions, and cheese. It’s typically served as a side dish or used as a topping for tacos or tamales.
  • Salsa Verde: Poblano peppers are often used in salsa verde, a tangy green sauce that’s a staple in Mexican cuisine. The mild heat of poblano peppers allows the other flavors of the salsa to shine through.
  • Mexican Rice: Poblano peppers can add a subtle heat and smoky flavor to Mexican rice dishes.

These are just a few examples of the many ways you can use poblano peppers in your cooking. Experiment with different recipes and dishes to discover your own favorite ways to use this versatile pepper.

Culinary uses of pasilla peppers

Pasilla peppers are a versatile ingredient in Mexican cuisine, adding a rich, smoky flavor to dishes. Here are some popular culinary uses of pasilla peppers:

  • Chiles rellenos: Pasilla peppers are often used for this classic dish, which involves stuffing the pepper with a cheese or meat filling and then frying it.
  • Mole: Pasilla peppers are a key ingredient in mole sauces, which are used to flavor a variety of dishes, including chicken, pork, and rice.
  • Salsa: Pasilla peppers are used in many salsa recipes to add depth and complexity to the flavor.
  • Tamales: Pasilla peppers can be added to tamale dough or used as a filling to give the tamales a smoky, spicy flavor.
  • Stews and soups: Pasilla peppers are often used in stews and soups, adding flavor and depth to the broth.

When using pasilla peppers, it’s important to remove the seeds and stems before cooking with them. You can do this by cutting off the stem and then slicing the pepper lengthwise to remove the seeds. Pasilla peppers can be roasted, grilled, or used fresh, depending on the recipe.

How to Cook with Poblano Vs Cook With Pasilla Peppers

poblano vs pasilla peppers

How to prepare and cook with poblano peppers

Poblano peppers are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some tips on how to prepare and cook with them:


Roasting is a great way to bring out the flavor of poblano peppers. To roast, place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil them for about 5 minutes until they start to blister and char. Then, turn the peppers over and broil for another 5 minutes until the other side is charred as well. Once they’re done, let them cool for a few minutes before peeling off the skin and removing the seeds.


Poblano peppers make great vessels for stuffing. Cut off the tops and remove the seeds, then stuff with your favorite filling like cheese, meat, or vegetables. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the peppers are tender and the filling is hot.


Sautéing poblano peppers is quick and easy. Simply slice them into strips or bite-sized pieces and sauté in a pan with some oil over medium-high heat until they’re tender and slightly browned. Add them to tacos, fajitas, or omelettes for a delicious and flavorful addition.


Poblano peppers can be blended into sauces, soups, and dips for added flavor and depth. Remove the stems and seeds, then blend the peppers with other ingredients like garlic, onion, and tomato until smooth.

With these tips, you can easily incorporate poblano peppers into your favorite recipes and discover new ways to enjoy this delicious ingredient.

How to Prepare and Cook with Pasilla Peppers

Pasilla peppers are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to marinades and sauces. Here are some tips and instructions on how to prepare and cook with pasilla peppers:


To prepare pasilla peppers for cooking, first, remove the stem and seeds from the pepper. Depending on the recipe, you may want to keep the skin intact, or you may remove it by charring the pepper over an open flame or roasting it in the oven until the skin blisters and turns black. Once the skin is blackened, place the pepper in a sealed plastic bag for 10-15 minutes to steam. This will make it easier to remove the skins. Rinse the pepper under cold running water to remove any remaining charred skin and pat it dry with a paper towel.

Cooking Methods

Pasilla peppers can be cooked using a variety of methods:

  • Braising: Pasilla peppers can be braised with meat or vegetables for a flavorful stew. Simply chop the peppers into small pieces and add them to the pot with other ingredients.
  • Frying: Pasilla peppers can be stuffed, coated in batter, and fried until golden brown for a crispy appetizer or snack.
  • Roasting: Roasting pasilla peppers in the oven or on the grill can bring out their sweet, smoky flavor. Roasted pasilla peppers can be used in salsas, sauces, and other dishes.

Culinary Uses

Pasilla peppers are a staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine and can be used in a variety of dishes, including:

  • Mole: Pasilla peppers are one of the key ingredients in mole, a rich, complex sauce that can be used for braising meat, as a dip for tortilla chips, or for topping enchiladas or tacos.
  • Chilis: Dried pasilla peppers can be used to make a flavorful chili paste that can be used to season meat, poultry, or seafood.
  • Salsas: Fresh or roasted pasilla peppers can be used to make salsas for dipping chips or topping tacos or grilled meats.

Experiment with different cooking methods and recipes to discover your favorite way to prepare and cook with pasilla peppers!

Check out more:

>> Brown vs White Rice: Which is the Healthier Choice?

>> Sugar Cone vs Waffle Cone: What’s the Difference?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about poblano and pasilla peppers that you might have:

How do you store poblano and pasilla peppers?

Both types of peppers can be stored in the fridge for up to one week. To keep them fresh for longer, you can freeze them by chopping them up and placing them in an airtight bag or container.

How do you distinguish poblano and pasilla peppers from other peppers?

Poblano peppers are usually larger and darker than other peppers, with a slightly curved shape and a shiny, smooth skin. Pasilla peppers are longer and skinnier than poblano peppers, with a dark, wrinkled skin and a slightly sweet, smoky flavor.

Are poblano and pasilla peppers spicy?

Poblano peppers are generally considered to be mild, with a heat level of around 1,000 to 2,000 Scoville units. Pasilla peppers are also mild, with a heat level of around 1,000 to 2,500 Scoville units.

Can you substitute poblano and pasilla peppers for each other in recipes?

Yes, you can substitute poblano and pasilla peppers for each other in recipes, as they have similar flavors and heat levels. However, keep in mind that pasilla peppers are slightly sweeter and smokier than poblano peppers, so your dish may have a slightly different taste if you use them instead.

What dishes are poblano and pasilla peppers commonly used in?

Poblano peppers are often used in Mexican cuisine, such as in chiles rellenos, soups, and stews. They can also be roasted and used in salads or as a topping for tacos and tostadas. Pasilla peppers are commonly used in mole sauces, as well as in soups, stews, and marinades.

How do you prepare poblano and pasilla peppers for cooking?

To prepare poblano peppers, you can either roast them under the broiler or on the stovetop until the skin is charred, then remove the skin and seeds. To prepare pasilla peppers, you can toast them in a dry skillet or on the stovetop until they are fragrant, then remove the stem and seeds.

You may also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More