Substitute For Green Chilies: 4 Simple Alternatives To Use

Green chili is an umbrella term that refers to every chili pepper that has a green color. Almost every type of chili has a green color when they are young and tender, or till they ripen. They can be used raw, roasted, or as green chili powder in cooking.

Usually, green chilies have a mild flavor and less heat than when they become mature and turn red. They taste herbaceous and slightly bitter with a lower level of spiciness than their yellow or red counterparts.

Green chilies are one of the ingredients liberally used in Indian cooking to make the dishes spicy. Similarly, several other Asian and Latin American cuisines also make good use of green chilies.

This article brings home to you the chili peppers that you can use as a substitute for green chilies.

Best Substitute For Green Chilies

While preparing some of the spicy Asian recipes, you might require green chilies. What if you don’t have green chiles at all? Or you aren’t a big fan of unripe chilies. That isn’t a big issue. Simply you can use any red or yellow chili, either fresh or dried, in place of the green chili.  Make sure to choose a substitute that tallys with the spiciness and flavor of the green chili to be substituted.

Here are a few suitable replacements for green chilies according to the level of their spiciness and heat.

Mild Hot Chilies

Most people love to have mild hot chilies. If you are looking for a substitute for green chilis that is less spicy, then go with Poblano or Anaheim pepper.

Still a step above, if you wish to have chili with a noticeable kick but not too much heat then try to use green Pasilla or Fresno chili.

Medium Hot Chilies

Jalapeno is the most commonly used chile that has a medium-hot-to-hot flavor. Green jalapeno chili is milder than the ripe-red or dry variety.

If you want a substitute that is noticeably hotter than Jalapeno, then pick Serrano or Thai chili pepper. These chilies can be overwhelmingly hot for some people.

Always test the hotness of the chile before incorporating them into your dish.

Red chilies

Most of the chilies do turn red when they are ripe or dried. The most popular and easily available red chilies are cayenne chilies, serrano peppers, jalapenos, and bird’s eye chilies to replace green chili.

Thai chili is an overwhelmingly hot chili that you should try only if you want your dish to be very hot and spicy.

Cayenne pepper is a mid-level hot red chili used to flavor dishes. Using it instead of green chili is going to make your dishes moderately hot with notable changes in appearance as well.

Serrano peppers are hotter than jalapenos but they have similar levels of heat as Thai chilies. Serrano pepper is ideal for salsa or pico de gallo due to its rich meat content.

Yellow chilies

Some varieties of chilies turn yellow when fully ripe and the most popular among them are Hungarian wax pepper, Aji charapita, lemon drop pepper, Bolivian rainbow pepper, Aji Amarillo, and prairie fire pepper.

Usually, the yellow chilies are hotter and tangy than green chilies.

Among the yellow chilies, Hungarian wax pepper is a good substitute for green chili and it is similar to a commonly used jalapeno pepper.

Another good substitute option for green chilies is the Bolivian rainbow pepper which matches the flavor profile of the serrano pepper.

Spicy Alternatives

It’s worth trying some spicy pepper blends to replace green chili. This option works best in dishes that have nothing much to do with the texture of green chili peppers. If so, try using chili powder, crushed red pepper, or cayenne pepper powder in place of green chili. Note that all of them have deep red or brown colors.

While using spicy pepper blends instead of green chili, begin by adding just a few dashes of this hot and spicy pepper blend. Midway through the cooking, you may add more of it if required.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use chili powder instead of green chilies?

Original chili powder is pulverized fruit of one or more varieties of chili pepper, sometimes with the addition of other spices such as cumin, oregano, garlic, and paprika. It can also mean red or green chili powders made of a single chile such as Anaheim, Jalapenos, Cayenne, or Cascabel chilies. Half a teaspoon of chili powder made from dried chiles can be used to replace one fresh chili (average 3 inches long).

Can I substitute Rotel for green chilies?

Yes, you can use green chilies as a substitute for Rotel in queso; it works great for those who do not like the taste or texture of tomatoes. Use a mild variety of green chilies like Poblano or Anaheim chilies instead of Rotel.

Are green chiles the same as green peppers?

Green chili is a generic term that includes all types of green chili peppers including common chili peppers like Anaheim, jalapenos, poblanos, cayenne, and others. Technically, there is no difference between green chilies and green chili peppers. Usually, Indian and Thai green chilies refer to mild green chilies that can be used as a vegetable in your dishes.

What are canned green chilies?

In grocery stores, green chilies are available in fresh, pickled, or canned. The chilies in the can may be processed into a whole, diced, or sliced chilies. Most commonly, canned chilies contain low-medium hot chilies such as Anaheim, Pasilla, Poblano, or Jalapeno.

Final Thoughts

When you’re out of green chilies, try these substitutes:

  • Jalapeños for mild heat and fruity notes
  • Serrano Peppers for a sharp, citrusy spice
  • Banana Peppers for sweetness with a slight kick
  • Anaheim Peppers for a smoky spice
  • Poblano Peppers for a deeper, earthy heat
  • Green Bell Peppers for crunch without the heat, perfect for milder dishes.

Each offers a distinct flavor to match various culinary needs.

Continue reading about the best chilies to use in place of Thai chili pepper and what’s a good chile de àrbol substitute in other articles here.