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Anaheim Chili Substitutes

Unlike other mouth scorching peppers, the Anaheim chili is fairly mild, and as such, the demand for the New Mexican chili has seen a gradual increase over the last decade. The mild heat it brings to dishes, the large size, and the thick flesh has made it the ideal pepper in many recipes, particularly roasting and stuffing.

Anaheim peppers are fresh, dried, roasted, and canned in grocery stores.

But not everyone can boast of always having Anaheim pepper available at home, which may be catastrophic when making a dish that calls for the mild Anaheim chilies.

Luckily, there are some adequate alternatives you can try out when you don’t have Anaheim chili, and in this article, I will be sharing some of these replacements for the New Mexican chili.

What is Anaheim Chili?

The Anaheim chili doesn’t come from the city of Anaheim as the name suggests; rather, it originated in New Mexico. However, it is called “Anaheim Chili” because it became popular in Anaheim, southern California, in 1894.

The Anaheim chili has an average length of about 6 inches, but some can grow up to 10 inches. It also has a mild heat which measures around 500 – 2,500 on the Scoville scale.

The chilies are usually harvested when they are green and not fully ripe. A much older chili would have a darker reddish color.

Uses of Anaheim Chili in Recipes

The mild heat of Anaheim chili makes it a good salad ingredient; simply put, when eaten raw, it isn’t as hot as other chilies out there. You would also get to see these mild peppers in many stuffing and roasting recipes.

Do you also need a low heat chili for your veggie mix or stew? Anaheim chilies would get the job done effortlessly. I’m trying to point out the versatility of these mild New Mexican peppers, they go well with pretty much anything, and they are popularly used in southwestern US cuisines.

Despite the low heat, they can also flavor various dishes and deliver a soft spicy pepper flavor to whatever it is incorporated into.

Below are some recipes that call for the New Mexico peppers.

Substitutes for Anaheim Chili

If you live in Southern US or Mexico, you may encounter a recipe or two that calls for Anaheim chilies. This wouldn’t be a problem because Anaheim chili is readily available in these regions. But if you don’t have Anaheim chili in your pantry, or maybe you live in an area where you cant easily get these mild chilies, the best option would be to get a substitute for it.

Finding a good replacement for Anaheim chili may be tricky because many of the chilies out there are hotter than it, but you can still get something hot that wouldn’t alter the taste of your dish.

I’ve put together some of the best and most accepted substitutes for Anaheim chili out there, but feel free to experiment with other peppers to get the one that best suits your recipe.

Poblano Peppers

If you want pepper with similar flavor and heat, then fresh poblano pepper would be the best option for you because it has the same mild heat as Anaheim chili, and it is pretty easy to find. Poblano chili has a shape similar to bell pepper, with large cavities and mild heat, and it would be the best alternative for Anaheim chili in any stuffing recipe.

Although poblano pepper has a slightly earthy flavor that isn’t present in the sharp-tasting Anaheim chili, this isn’t significant enough to impact the flavor of your dish. You may not even notice it in some recipes.

When substituting poblano for Anaheim, use the same measurement of poblano wherever the recipe calls for Anaheim chili.

Bell Peppers

Bell pepper

If you want to completely turn off the heat in your recipe, you can replace Anaheim chili with bell pepper. Having 0 units on the Scoville scale, one can say bell pepper is the mildest pepper there is, and as such, it can be eaten raw in salads, or you can add them to whatever you are cooking.

They also have large cavities making them a good stuffing option. Bell pepper comes in different colors like red, yellow, orange, and green.

These colors can add an appealing aesthetic to your dishes. Unlike Anaheim chilies, bell peppers are pretty easy to get as they are available worldwide.

If you want to add more heat to bell peppers, add some chili powder to give it more spiciness. When substituting, use a 1 to 1 ratio wherever you need to use Anaheim chili.

Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers

If you wanted to try something hotter, jalapeno pepper would offer more heat without ruining the flavor of your dish. You can roast or fry them, and you can even have them with lemonade. They are also good for stuffing recipes because of their size.

The jalapeno peppers are widely available in Mexico, and it is commonly used to replace Anaheim chilies in recipes.

If you want a much milder jalapeno pepper, try a mature jalapeno, it has a reddish hue and a much sweeter flavor.

Because it is hotter than Anaheim chili, when substituting, use a much smaller quantity wherever you need to use Anaheim chili.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I use Hungarian peppers in place of Anaheim chili?

Just like Anaheim chilies, Hungarian wax peppers are very versatile, and as such, they make good substitutes for Anaheim chilies in several recipes. But bear in mind that Hungarian peppers are hotter than Anaheim chilies and should be used moderately.

Can I use dried Anaheim chili instead of fresh?

“It’sthe same chili. There is no way it would taste differently”. Most people would think this, but there is always a slight difference between fresh and dried herbs, and dried chilies are usually hotter than fresh.

How much dried Anaheim chili equals fresh?

To get the best measurements, it is advisable to crush the dried chili to form a powder. You can substitute one fresh Anaheim chili for half a teaspoon of the ground counterpart.


Anaheim chili is a mild chili pepper, and because of this low heat, you would often see it incorporated into many recipes. However, you may not always have this new Mexican chili at home, and luckily there are some viable substitutes for Anaheim Chili.