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What’s The Best Poblano Pepper Substitute? 15 Best Substitutes You Need To Try

Maria Foster
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by Maria Foster

The poblano pepper is a type of chili pepper often used in Mexican cuisine. The pepper is large and mild, with a slightly sweet flavor. They are typically roasted and used in a range of fishes from soups and stews to sauces. 

What's The Best Poblano Pepper Substitute? 15 Best Substitutes You Need To Try

Do you have a recipe that calls for poblano peppers but you don’t have any? Maybe not everyone you are cooking for likes them and you need a substitute?

Or are you curious and want to know more? No matter the reason that brought you here, we have the answers for you! 

Finding a substitute for poblano pepper can be tricky, especially if you have never substituted them before. You head online for some guidance but are met with page after page of confusing and conflicting information.

Frustrated and disappointed, you are left unsure where to turn or who to trust. How will you find a substitute for poblano peppers now? 

Well, you can turn to us! Today we are here with the answers you need. Keep reading to see X of the best substitutes for poblano peppers you can try today.

Now no matter what you have in you can make and enjoy your favorite recipes that call for poblano peppers! 

Poblano Pepper Substitutes: Cooking Ratio & Nutritional Value 

Serving CaloriesFatProteinCarbFiberRatio
1 cup Bell pepper310.3g1g6g3g1:1
1 Anaheim pepper 130.1g0.6g3g1.1g 1:2
1 Hatch chile pepper 250g1g5g1g1:1
1 Cayenne pepper 170.9g0.6g3g1.4g1:2
1 Cubanelle pepper 200g0.5g4g1g1:1 
100g Tabasco pepper120.76g1.29g0.8g0.6g 0.25:1
100g Serrano pepper 320.44g1.74g6.7g3.7g1:3
100g dried De Arbol chile pepper 31817g12g57g27g1:2 
100g Chipotle chile pepper00g0g0g0g1:1
1 Ancho chile pepper321g1.1g7g2.9g1:2 
1 cup Mulato chile pepper 321g1.1g7g2.9g1:2
1 Guajillo chile pepper 190g0.7g7g1.7g0.5:1
1 Pasilla chile pepper 241.1g0.93.6g1.9g1:1
1 cup Jalapeno pepper260.3g0.8g6g2.5g1:1
1 Habanero pepper 180.2g0.8g4g0.7g0.5:1

What Does Poblano Pepper Taste Like?

Poblano peppers are slightly sweet and mild peppers. They have a similar taste to a green bell pepper but with a little kick!

These peppers do mellow when they are cooked, giving them a sweeter taste, which is why many people opt to cook them instead of eating them raw.

When they are ripe, they tend to be red and a little spicier, rather than the unripe green pepper. 

Poblano peppers are usually added to dishes cooked to provide a light spice and sweet flavor. The peppers are usually roasted first and then added to bring a delicious taste to sauces and stews!

They are also served in salads or stir-fries, but traditionally in Mexican sauces. 

Poblano Pepper Nutritional Value 

Poblano peppers are fairly low in calories and are rich in several micronutrients and fiber. We have the nutritional value below based on 1 cup of poblano peppers (150 grams).

This is based on raw poblano peppers to show you what they contain! 

  • Calories – 30 
  • Fat – less than 1 gram
  • Protein – 1 gram 
  • Carbs – 7 grams 
  • Fiber – 2.5 grams 
  • Iron – 3% of the DV
  • Vitamin C – 134% of the DV 
  • Vitamin A – 3% of the DV
  • Potassium – 6% of the DV 
  • Riboflavin – 3% of the DV

As we can see, poblano peppers are high in vitamin C, a macronutrient that works as an antioxidant to help fight underlying damage from free radicals which could cause disease. 

It’s worth noting that dried peppers will have higher amounts of vitamin A and riboflavin compared to fresh peppers. 

15 Substitutes For Poblano Pepper

  1. Bell Pepper 
  2. Anaheim Pepper 
  3. Hatch Chile Pepper
  4. Cayenne Pepper
  5. Cubanelle Pepper
  6. Tabasco Pepper
  7. Serrano Pepper
  8. De Arbol Chile Pepper 
  9. Chipotle Pepper
  10. Ancho Chile Pepper
  11. Mulato Chile Pepper 
  12. Guajillo Chile Pepper 
  13. Pasilla Chile Pepper
  14. Jalapeno Pepper 
  15. Habenero Pepper 

Bell Pepper

First, we have the delicious bell pepper! Bell peppers have a similar taste profile to poblano peppers and are often used in the same way as poblano peppers. 

Bell peppers aren’t as spicy as poblano peppers and no matter what color you use, they won’t get spicier or milder. They do get sweeter though, with green peppers being the most bitter and red and yellow the sweetest. 

Swap one poblano pepper for one bell pepper. 

Anaheim Pepper

Anaheim peppers are a fantastic substitute as they have a similar taste profile and a slightly sweet flavor. They cook the same as poblano peppers too and will add some sweetness to your dish! 

To use Anaheim peppers use two peppers for every one poblano pepper you are replacing. And you don’t need to worry about the recipe you are following, anaheim peppers can be sauteed, grilled, or roasted!

They are the perfect addition to any sauces, stews, and salsas, plus they can be stuffed and baked! 

Hatch Chile Pepper

Hatch Chile peppers are another good alternative! It is the generic name for New Mexican peppers and is a good substitute for poblano peppers thanks to their similar taste profile. 

Both peppers are mild with a slightly sweet flavor. However, there is a difference. Hatch chilies are slightly spicier than poblanos! You can expect a little kick when you use hatch chiles in your dishes. 

Hatch chiles tend to be more easily available than poblanos too, so you can be sure to grab them if you can’t find poblanos in your grocery store. When adding hatch chile peppers, add one for every poblano the recipe calls for. 

If you want to add extra spice to the dish, add an extra pepper or two! If you are using fresh peppers, we recommend roasting them on an open flame.

Do so until the flesh is blackened, as it allows you to remove the skin easily. 

For canned peppers, you don’t need to roast them. Instead, you can drain and rinse the peppers before you add them to the dish. 

Cayenne Pepper

Another good option is cayenne pepper, which is readily available in most stores!

Cayenne peppers have a versatile flavor profile, with some sweetness, fruitiness, and earthiness. They have a Scoville rating of 30,000 to 50,000 too. 

When substituting with cayenne pepper, use one pepper for every two poblano peppers as cayenne is spicier.

To add more spice to your dish, add more cayenne pepper. We recommend starting with small amounts, tasting as you add them in. 

If you can’t find fresh cayenne pepper, you can always use dried or ground cayenne pepper. 

Cubanelle Peppers

Cubanelle peppers have a similar taste profile as poblano peppers and are quite mild. With a Scoville rating of 500 to 1,000 you don’t need to worry about these being too spicy!

You can use one cubanelle pepper for every poblano pepper you need. 

They work best roasted and used on top of nachos and tacos, or you can add them sliced to your guacamole or salsa. 

Tabasco Pepper

Tabasco pepper is a wonderful substitution that provides more heat than poblano pepper. Tabasco peppers pack a punch, with a hefty Scoville rating of 30,000 to 50,000 units, making it ten times hotter than a jalapeno! 

Even though it has a lot of spice, these peppers feature a complex flavor profile. You can find notes of tobacco, cherry, and chocolate in Tabasco pepper!

When substituting with Tabasco peppers, you want less than half as many peppers to get the same heat as a poblano. Aim for a quarter and adjust if needed. 

Be sure to remove the ribs and seeds from the pepper before cooking too, as this will reduce the heat. Of course, if you want to add spice to your dish then leave some of the seeds in.

You can also pair the peppers with some yogurt or sour cream to cool them down too. 

Tabasco peppers work well in marinades, soups, stews, and sauces. You can reduce the heat by roasting the peppers before adding them to your dishes too. 

Serrano Pepper

Serrano pepper is a fantastic substitute for poblano pepper thanks to its similar taste profile.

Serrano peppers are hotter than poblanos, with a far higher Scoville rating, making them a fantastic choice if you want to add some extra heat to your dishes! 

Serrano peppers work well in dishes that call for pureed, diced, or roasted peppers. You will want to use one serrano pepper for every three poblano peppers in your recipe. 

To make the dish milder, remove the seeds and veins from your serrano peppers before using them. 

De Arbol Chile Pepper

Next, we have the de Arbol Chile pepper! With a Scoville rating of 15,000 to 30,000 it is a lot hotter than the poblano pepper, but don’t let that put you off.

It will add plenty of flavor to your dishes and is perfect for adding extra spice if you like things spicy. 

When adding de Arbol chile peppers, use 1⁄2 teaspoon of ground pepper for every tablespoon of Poblano pepper. If you are working with fresh, you want one pepper for every two poblanos the recipe calls for. 

Chipotle Chile Pepper

Chipotle chile peppers have a smoky flavor that works well with Mexican dishes. It also has a similar Scoville rating to Poblano peppers, making it a wonderful choice for anyone that wants to add some heat to their food! 

Use the same amount of chipotle pepper as poblano when substituting them for a fantastic taste you are sure to love. You can purchase chipotle peppers dried, fresh, or canned, or you can find chipotle chile powder too.

Ancho Chile Pepper

Ancho chile peppers are dried chile peppers commonly used in Southwestern and Mexican dishes. The pepper has a mild and earthy flavor with hints of chocolate!

It is mild too, with a rating of 1,000 to 1,500 units on the Scoville scale, making it a great alternative for poblano peppers. 

While there is a little difference in heat, you can still use them by substituting one ancho chile pepper for every two poblano peppers. If you want to add more heat to your dish, add more ancho chile pepper. 

Anchos can be used whole or ground into a chile powder. They can also be rehydrated and used in sauces or stuffed and baked. They are versatile peppers and a good one to have in your kitchen! 

Mulato Chile Pepper

Mulato chile peppers are dried poblano peppers with a rating of 500 to 2,000 on the Scoville scale. They will provide your dish with a nice kick of spice without overpowering it.

What you get from a mulato chile pepper is a deep and smoky flavor that works perfectly with stews and meats. 

It can also be used with salsas and sauces to add some extra flavor. We recommend adding one mulato pepper for every two poblano peppers you need to add to your dish. 

These peppers are often sold dried, so be sure to rehydrate them before you begin cooking! Add your peppers to hot water leaving them to soak for 30 minutes.

This softens the pepper and makes them far easier to use too. 

You will also want to remove the veins and seeds from the pepper before use. This helps to reduce the heat level, preventing the dish from becoming too spicy.

Make sure to chop the pepper into small pieces so the flavors from the dish can be absorbed. 

Guajillo Chile Pepper

If you want a pepper with some more heat, try a guajillo chile pepper! They are twice as hot as poblanos, with a Scoville rating of 2,500 to 5,000.

They are a little sweeter and fruitier than poblanos too, making them the perfect addition to dishes where you want to balance the heat with some sweetness. 

Add half the quantity of peppers needed when using guajillo peppers. You will usually find them sold dried, so be sure to rehydrate them before cooking.

Soak your peppers in boiling water for 20 minutes. Once softened, remove them from water and follow your recipe as normal. 

Pasilla Chile Pepper

Pasilla chile peppers are milder and sweeter than poblano peppers making them a great choice. They can be used the same way as poblano peppers, making them a versatile ingredient to have in your kitchen. 

You will want to substitute one pasilla pepper for every one poblano in your dish. To add more spice, increase the number of peppers, or add some crushed red pepper flakes

Pasilla chile peppers are best used when they are roasted first. Roast them over an open flame until the skin blackens. You can then remove the pepper from its heat, allowing it to cool. Once cooled, remove the skin and seeds. 

The peeled and seeded pepper can be chopped and added to your dish like poblano peppers. 

Jalapeno Pepper

Jalapeno peppers are another good option and a popular substitution for poblano peppers. They have a similar taste profile, but will also add a little spice to your dishes.

Japanese will add some spice, but not too much that it overpowers the dish and leaves you gasping for water. 

Use one jalapeno pepper for each poblano pepper, leaving the seeds in if you want to add more spice. If you want the dish to be milder, remove the seeds before you add the peppers to your dish.

Jalapeno peppers work well in salads, chili, stews, soups, and even as pizza toppings! 

Habanero Pepper

Finally, we have habanero peppers. Habanero peppers are some of the hottest chili peppers in the world, sitting in the 100,000 to 350,000 rating on the Scoville chart!

They are 50 times hotter than a jalapeno and 10 times hotter than a cayenne! 

How does that compare to our poblano? Well, they have a rating of 1,000 to 1,500 units! That is quite a big difference between the two, but you can still substitute them if you wish! 

Habaneros have a citrusy and fruity taste that will add some sweetness to your dishes as a poblano does. But they do come with a lot of heat that some people find overpowering! 

Add half a habanero for every one pepper and be mindful that you will need to adjust the other ingredients in your recipe to compensate for the extra heat. 

Now that we have seen fifteen fantastic substitutions, let’s check out some of the most popular recipes that use poblano peppers to provide you with some cooking inspiration! 

Rajas Con Crema

Rajas con crema is the perfect Mexican dish! It is filled with simple ingredients that combine to make a tasty dish packed full of flavor.

The poblano peppers provide a mild heat that is complemented beautifully by the cheese and cream. 

It’s a speedy recipe, taking just 25 minutes to cook, but will impress your guests all the same! You can adjust the spice levels to suit and swap the cream for a vegan option if you prefer. 

Quick And Easy Nachos

We love any recipe with quick in the title, so we had to mention these nachos! You can have a tasty side of nachos, or make them big enough for everyone to share in just fifteen minutes, what more could you want?

The poblano peppers work well adding some spice, but sweetness to the dish, working beautifully with the crunch of the tortillas and the spice in the jalapenos! 

Roasted Poblano Tacos

These tacos have the perfect mixture of smoky and fresh flavors, they are a real crowd-pleaser!

Make sure to roast the poblano peppers until they are slightly charred and blackened to create a deep flavor that is slightly smoky.

You can then stuff them into your taco shells with the rest of the ingredients for a delicious taste! We love how easy they are to make too, they are sure to become a regular occurrence in your home! 

Roasted Poblano Quesadillas

That’s right, we have another roasted poblano recipe for you! These quesadillas are packed full of flavors from the roasted poblanos, complemented perfectly by the cheese!

Add some sour cream and cilantro once the tortillas are crispy and the cheese is melted and you are onto a winner. 

These are the perfect lunch, dinner, or snack, and take no time at all! To speed the process up, you can roast your poblanos ahead of time and simply warm them through when you want to enjoy a quesadilla!

Pico De Gallo

If you are looking for a way to use your fresh poblano peppers, you can’t go wrong with pico de gallo! The versatile dish can be used as a topping, dip, or condiment for most dishes.

The freshness of the tomatoes and red onions works perfectly with poblano peppers. 

And it’s a super easy recipe to follow too! All you need to do is chop your ingredients and mix them together. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.

Grab some tortilla chips or pour it over your favorite meal for a refreshing, yet spicy addition to your meal.

Final Thoughts 

And there you have it, 15 substitutions for poblano peppers! Whether you want a substitute, to add spice to your dish, or a milder alternative, you are sure to find what you were looking for today. 

Don’t forget to use some of the recipes we have suggested to create delicious meals using your poblano peppers!

About Maria Foster
Maria Foster
Maria Foster is a mother of 3 and she and her husband of 23 years share their home with 2 faithful dogs. Besides being CEO of the household and active in her community, Maria is the lead contributor to Food Champs and loves to try new food ideas and kitchen accessories to make easier and more delicious meals.
Maria Foster
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