Poblano Pepper Substitutes – 5 Mild Alternatives For You

Who does not love to relish the bold flavors of adorable saucy stuffed poblano peppers with ground beef and rice? All do. Even the roasted poblano tastes amazingly good on its own. This large-sized chile pepper is a crux ingredient in many luscious Mexican dishes.

This article explores the best poblano pepper substitute you can use in a pinch; also a little about its flavor and uses.

Substitutes For Poblano Peppers

What to do if you need a poblano pepper substitute?  What are other peppers that can replace poblano?  These are some questions many ask especially in places where poblano isn’t available.

There are decent alternatives for poblano peppers out there that you can very well integrate into recipes that call for poblano. Let’s now look at some of the best replacement options.

1. Anaheim pepper

There’s a considerably higher level of heat in Anaheim, but still, this is the best poblano pepper substitute to lay your hand on. Most importantly, the thicker outer wall of this pepper is strong and large enough to be fit for stuffing as poblano peppers do.

Either green or dried Anaheim pepper will easily fit into most recipes that call for poblano. Be sure of your recipe before using Anaheim chilies as a substitute because they are both hotter and sweeter than poblano. Preferably, use it in lower quantities than poblano chilies to protect the authentic taste of your recipe.

2. Cubanelle peppers

Cubanelle is a good stuffing chili the size of Anaheim pepper but 10 times milder than poblano. The thinner outer cover of this chili does not give you the ease of stuffing like the Anaheim or poblano. Despite these two drawbacks, it still works as a worthy alternative to poblano for stuffing, chili Rellenos, and soups.

If you aren’t fond of peppery sweetness, sliced and dices Cubanelle chilies won’t fit into most of the regular poblano recipes. Similarly, while using Cubanelle chilies in place of poblano peppers, be ready to compromise with its low level of heat. Any substitutes for Cubanelle pepper such as Anaheim pepper, bell pepper, or banana pepper can also be used.

3. Ancho pepper

Ancho chilies are nothing but dried poblanos. It is out of the question for stuffing, but you can swap out minced or sliced poblano peppers with it.

The smoky taste of ancho chilies differentiates it from poblano. If you love to relish the smoky and earthy flavor of ancho peppers, then it is a superior alternative to poblano chilies for sure.

Use ancho peppers in lower quantities than poblano lest your dishes won’t be overwhelmed by their smoky flavor.

Other spices similar to ancho powder are Guajillo pepper powder, Pasilla powder, and Chipotle powder.

4. Bell pepper

For stuffing, bell pepper is a great replacement for poblano chilies as they are large in size with thick walls. Green bells are less sweet than red and yellow bells, so they are a better option to consider.

Certainly, it isn’t the right choice to use in place poblano in terms of its zero heat. Only the earthy flavor is what they both have in common. If you prefer non-spicy peppers over poblano-type chilies then bell pepper is the right substitute pepper for you.

Peppers such as Cubanelle and Anaheim are excellent replacements for bell peppers and they can also be used in place of poblano.

5. Jalapenos

Can you substitute jalapenos for Poblanos?

Jalapenos peppers are medium-sized chili peppers that are hotter than poblano. You can use it for stuffing or slice them into small pieces to add to your recipes like the poblanos.

Poblanos are 1,000-2,000 Scoville units of heat but Jalapenos range between 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville; this makes them a less likely substitute for each other. However, it’s possible to reduce the heat of jalapenos to some degree by removing their pith and ribs before cooking them.

Jalapenos have a grassy flavor compared to the earthy note of poblano. In a pinch, use jalapenos instead of poblano peppers, preferably in lower quantities. In case you don’t have jalapenos, peppers similar to jalapeno are serrano, Fresno, and Anaheim.

Poblano Peppers


Can I substitute green peppers for poblano peppers?

Green chili is an important star in Indian cooking and it adds so much to a dish both in flavor and pungency. The heat level of green chilies ranges between 25,000 and 100,000 Scoville Units. At their higher ceiling of heat, they can be up to 90 times hotter than the hottest poblano. Heat-wise, they aren’t a good substitute for mild poblanos thus green bell peppers are a superior alternative.

Do poblano peppers taste like jalapeños?

Jalapenos are brighter and grassier than poblano which have an earthy, slightly smoky flavor. Also, Jalapenos are 2 to 8 times hotter than poblanos.

Are poblano and ancho peppers the same?

They are partly the same but differ in taste and use. Ancho or chile ancho is made by drying the mature poblano peppers. Ancho is a dry pepper, and its name is due to its width, as “ancho” in Spanish means “wide.”  Ancho is a broad, flat, dried poblano pepper, often ground into a powder and used to flavor a wide range of Mexican dishes.

Is a poblano pepper a bell pepper?

No. Poblano is a large chile pepper with mild heat (1,000-1,500 SHU). They are typically larger than bell peppers and are skinnier with a pointy tip similar to Anaheim pepper. Both poblanos and bell peppers are commonly used for stuffing and have a mild sweetness when cooked. Poblanos are quite spicy compared to bell peppers which have an average heat of 100 SHU or less.

Are poblano peppers a vegetable?

Poblano peppers belong to the Capsicum annuum species of plants and are a type of chili pepper native to Mexico. The typical dark green color and large size of this pepper are more like nightshade vegetables which include tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes. However, their heat and flavors are similar to peppers in the nightshade family.

The Bottom Line

What can I use instead of poblano pepper? Anaheim chile is my best pick for substituting poblano peppers. Cubanelle chili is another good replacement option for you.  Few others like jalapenos, and bell pepper match poblano in appearance but not in flavor, especially in the heat. Choosing the right alternative to poblano chilies largely depends on your personal taste preferences.