Green chilies are one of the most commonly used spices to give your food an intensely spicy bite that can range from bright, hot, unadulterated heat to smokey, medium-to-hot spice. But apart from the kick of heat, green chilies also offer some incredible health benefits, making them all the more enticing.
This versatile ingredient is popular in Mexican, Indian, and Southwestern cuisine, but can also be added to many other dishes to spice things up in the heat department. However, if you find their flavor too mild or too spicy, you can swap them with any of these substitutes for green chilies to customize the recipe’s heat levels to your liking.
1. Anaheim Pepper
Anaheim pepper, sometimes referred to as California peppers, New Mexico peppers, and Magdalena, is a type of chili pepper that has mild to medium heat. It resembles green chilies in appearance and can be used fresh or canned in a variety of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines, such as salsa, enchiladas, and chili relleno.
Anaheim pepper works wonderfully in a range of cooking applications, including roasting and grilling, and can be used as a stand-in for chilies in soups, stews, sauces, and more. It adds a hint of spiciness and a crisp peppery flavor to the dish. It can also be eaten raw without overpowering your tastebuds, making it a good option for people who are sensitive to heat.
Substitute Anaheim pepper in a 1:1 ratio in any recipe that calls for green chilies.
2. Banana Pepper
Banana pepper is a chili pepper that resembles bananas in appearance. It is bright yellow but may also be orange or red depending on its level of maturity. It has a mild flavor and offers various medicinal properties, including boosting immunity and reducing inflammation.
Although banana pepper is milder and a little sweeter than green chilies, it can be used as its stand-in for green chilies in sandwiches, pizzas, and even salsa. It will pack some heat without being too overpowering and also improve the recipe’s overall appeal. It can also be pickled with garlic and white vinegar and served as a condiment, but it will give your meal a sweet, salty, tangy flavor.
Substitute banana pepper in a 1:1 ratio in virtually any recipe that calls for green chilies.
3. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is a red chili pepper that has a moderate heat level when fresh and becomes concentrated when dried. It is spicier than green chilies, so it won’t just alter the flavor of your dish; it will also make you feel hotter, which can increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories.
Cayenne pepper is an excellent substitute for green chilies. Both fresh and dried varieties give a powerful smokey, spicy kick to dishes like meat, seafood, soups, sauces, and stews. However, keep in mind that it has 8 times the heat of green chilies, so you may want to be careful with how much you add to your dish.
1 chopped fresh green chili = 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper. (Adjust to taste.)
4. Jalapeno Pepper
Jalapenos are medium-sized peppers that are relatively spicier than green chilies. Although some people may find their mild-to-medium heat overwhelming, they can add a tolerable amount of spice to dishes like salads, salsas, curries, and dips. Jalapenos are also readily available in most grocery stores, making them very popular.
Jalapeno peppers can be used as a stand-in for green chili in any recipe that would benefit from an intense kick of spice. But cooking it for a longer time can alter its flavor, so it’s better to add them towards the end of the recipe. Jalapeno peppers contain heat in their seeds, so get more control over how hot the final dish is.
Substitute jalapeno peppers in a 1:1 ratio to replace green chilies.
5. Pasilla Pepper
Pasilla pepper translates to “little raisin,” which is indicative of its wrinkled appearance. These peppers are long, have a dark color, and have a rich, mild to medium-hot taste with a hint of sweetness. A popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine, they can work well in other dishes, too.
Pasilla can be used in place of green chilies because its flavor profile pairs well with other ingredients. You can use it to enhance the flavors of sauces, salsas, and stews, as well as a seasoning or marinade for meat and fish. Keep in mind that dried pasilla pepper is more potent than green chilies, so you might want to monitor the amount used to avoid making the dish overly spicy.
Use pasilla pepper in a 1:1 ratio in any dish that calls for green chilies.
6. Poblano Pepper
Poblano peppers are a mild variety of chili pepper. They are typically picked when dark green and then ripen into dark red, brown, or even black. You can use poblano pepper to take the recipe’s heat levels to new heights or use it to make dishes like stuffed chili peppers; however, make sure its waxy texture does not spoil your dish.
Poblano pepper can be used as a green chili substitute in a range of dishes, including soups, sauces, and enchiladas. These peppers can provide your food with a rich, smokey taste and a boost in spice without making it too hot. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also use dried, smoked peppers to make mole sauce, which is an intense, tantalizing blend of fruits, nuts, peppers, and spices.
Use poblano pepper in a 1:1 substitute. If you’re using its dried form, start with half the amount and adjust to taste.
7. Red Chilies
Red chilies are the ripened form of green chilies and are packed with nutrition, so they make a great substitute for green chilies. They’re typically used fresh but can also be dried, powdered, and roasted to add a spicy taste to dishes.
You can use red chilies as you would use green chilies in sauces, curries, and more. They complement Mexican dishes beautifully but can also be used to add a kick of spice to creamy food items like pasta. However, keep in mind that its bright red color will alter the appearance of your dish. It is also hotter than its unripe counterpart, so you’ll have to watch the amount used to avoid making your dish overly spicy.
Start with half the amount and adjust to taste.