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Fresh Chile Peppers

Synonyms:  chili pepper, chile, hot pepper, chilli pepper  

Plural:  chilies, chiles, chillies, or (chile, chili, chilli) peppers





Moderately hot


Very hot

Extremely hot


  Anaheim chile = California green chile = long green pepper = chile verde = (when mature and red) chile colorado = California red chile   Pronunciation:  ANN-uh-hime  Notes:  These large, mild chiles are available in most large supermarkets, and perfect for chiles rellenos.   They have a tough skin which peels off easily if you first char them over a flame, then steam them in a paper bag for several minutes.  Mexican cooks like to dice or purée them, then add them to sauces, soups, and casseroles. They're available year-round, but they're best in the summer.   Substitutes: New Mexico green chile (very close, but hotter) OR poblano chili (This is especially good for stuffing. Poblanos are sweeter and usually a bit hotter than Anaheims, and their skin isn't as tough.) OR Big Jim (hotter) OR canned green chilies (preferably fire-roasted)  

ancho chile  See ancho chile (dried) or poblano pepper (fresh).

banana chile  See banana pepper

banana pepper = banana chile = sweet banana pepper   Notes:  These are easily confused with hotter yellow wax peppers. Sample before using.   Substitutes:   yellow wax (hotter) 

bird cherry pepper  See cherry pepper

bird pepper  1. cayenne pepper 2. Thai chili

California green chile  See Anaheim chile.  

California red chile  See Anaheim chile.

caloro  See guero

caribe  See guero

cayenne pepper = finger chili = ginnie pepper = bird pepper   Equivalents:  One pepper = 1/8 teaspoon ground   Notes:   These are often used in Cajun recipes.  Green cayennes appear in the summer, while hotter red cayennes come out in the fall.  Substitutes:  chile de arbol OR Thai pepper OR habanero OR jalapeno OR serrano OR cascabel OR pequin OR tepin OR Holland OR cherry pepper

cherry pepper = hot cherry pepper = Hungarian cherry pepper = bird cherry pepper = Creole cherry pepper = wiri-wiri    Notes:  Along with pepperoncini, this is a good pickling pepper.  Substitutes: cayenne pepper OR pepperoncini  


chilaca =chile chilaca = pasilla chile pepper   Substitutes:  poblano pepper

chile chilaca  See chilaca

chile colorado  See Anaheim chile.

chile guero  See guero

chile verde  See Anaheim chile. 

Creole cherry pepper  See cherry pepper.

cuaresmeno  Substitutes:  jalapeno pepper (very similar) OR serrano pepper

Dutch chile  See Holland chile.

finger chili  See cayenne pepper


Fresno pepper   Pronunciation:  FREZ-noh  Notes:   These are similar to jalapeno peppers, but with thinner walls.  They're great in salsas.  Green Fresnos are available in the summer. the hotter red ones come out in the fall.  Substitutes:  jalapeno pepper OR Serrano pepper 

ginnie pepper  See cayenne pepper

goldspike  See guero.


guero = chile guero = yellow hot chile = caribe = Sante Fe grande = caloro = goldspike   Substitutes:  Hungarian wax chile peppers OR Fresno pepper OR jalapeno pepper OR serrano pepper

habanero chile   Notes:   These extremely hot chiles have a fruity flavor.  They're best in the summertime.   Substitutes:  Scotch bonnet chiles (very close) OR manzana chile OR fresh cayenne peppers OR jalapenos OR Serrano peppers (use twice as many) 

Holland chile = Dutch chile   Substitutes:  fresh cayenne pepper OR Fresno chile

hontaka pepper  Substitutes:  mirasol chile pepper

hot cherry pepper  See cherry pepper

hot Hungarian wax pepper  See yellow wax pepper.

Hungarian cherry pepper  See cherry pepper

Hungarian wax pepper  See yellow wax pepper


jalapeno pepper  Shopping hints:    These popular chiles have a good amount of heat and rich flavor.  Green jalapenos are best in the late summer, while red jalapenos appear in the fall.  Canned jalapenos aren't as fiery as fresh.  Substitutes:  cuaresmeno (very similar) OR Fresno chile OR guero chile OR malagueta (hotter) OR serrano pepper OR yellow wax chile pepper OR fresh cayenne pepper  

long green pepper  See Anaheim chile

malagueta pepper  Substitutes:  jalapeno (not as hot) OR tabasco sauce


manzana chile   Notes:  This habanero relative is often used in salsas.  It has black seeds.  Substitutes:  habanero pepper OR Scotch bonnet chile

mirasol pepper   Notes:   Mirasol peppers have a distinctive fruity flavor.  Substitutes:  hontaka chili OR serrano pepper  

New Mexico green chile = New Mexico chile = New Mexico red chile (when mature)  Notes:   These large chiles are similar in size to Anaheims, but they're hotter.  New Mexico green chiles peak in the late summer, while the hotter New Mexico red chiles appear in the fall. Substitutes:  Anaheim chile (milder) OR a combination of Anaheim chiles and jalapenos.

pasilla chile pepper  See chilaca or ancho chile or poblano pepper.

piquant pepper = sport pepper  Substitutes:  poblano peppers


poblano pepper (fresh) = (incorrectly) ancho chile = (incorrectly) pasilla pepper   Pronunciation:   puh-BLAH-noh  Notes:  These mild, heart-shaped peppers are large and have very thick walls, which make them great for stuffing.  They're best in the summer.  Substitutes:   Anaheim (Like poblanos, these are great for stuffing.  Since they have a tougher skin, you may want to char, steam, and peel them first.) OR bell pepper (for stuffing, milder) OR canned chile peppers (preferably fire-roasted) OR Serrano pepper (hotter)   

prik chi fa  See Thai chile

rocotillo  Substitutes:  another small, mild pepper


rocoto chile   Notes:   These hot chiles look like tiny bell peppers and have black seeds.  They have an interesting fruity flavor.  Substitutes:   manzana chile (very similar) OR habanero (similar heat)

Sante Fe grande  See guero


Scotch bonnet chile  Notes:  This chile is almost indistinguishable from the habanero, except that it's a bit smaller.  It's popular in the Caribbean.  Substitutes:  habañero chile OR Serrano chilies (use twice as many) OR jalapeno peppers (use twice as many)


Serrano pepper   Pronunciation:   seh-RAH-noh  Notes:  These have thin walls, so they don't need to be charred, steamed, and peeled before using.  Substitutes:  jalapeno (not as hot) OR Fresno chile (not as hot) or guero chile (not as hot)  

shishito chile  Notes:  This Japanese chile is very sweet and mild.  It's about two inches long.

sport pepper  See piquant pepper.

sweet banana pepper  See banana pepper.

Thai bird chile  See Thai chile


Thai chile = bird pepper = Thai bird chile = prik chi fa = Thai jalapeno   Substitutes: chile de Arbol OR fresh cayenne pepper OR jalapeno peppers (not as hot) OR Serrano peppers (not as hot)  

Thai jalapeno See Thai chile.

Turkish pepper  Substitutes:  Anaheim pepper

xcatic chile  Substitutes: yellow wax pepper OR guero pepper

yellow hot chile  See guero

yellow wax pepper = Hungarian wax pepper = hot Hungarian wax pepper   Notes:   These are easily confused with milder banana peppers. Sample before using.   Substitutes:  banana pepper (milder) OR guero  



Dried Chile Peppers



Moderately hot


Very hot

Extremely hot


ají panca chile = aji panca chile  Notes:  This reddish-brown chile is fruity and mild.  
ancho chile pepper = (incorrectly) pasilla chile   Pronunciation:  AHN-choh   Notes:  These are dried poblano peppers, and very commonly used in Mexican cuisine.  They're brownish-black and wrinkled.   Substitutes:   mulato (darker with earthier, more pungent flavor) OR pasilla chile  OR California chile OR dried New Mexico chile peppers

arbol chile  See chile de arbol.

bola chile  See cascabel pepper.

California chile  Notes:  These are dried Anaheim chiles, very mild.  Substitutes:  dried New Mexico chile peppers (a bit hotter)

cascabel pepper = rattle chile = bola chile = chile bola  Notes:   These are nicknamed rattle chiles because the seeds rattle when you shake them.  They're a rich brown color and moderately hot.   Substitutes:   guajillo OR pequin (much hotter) OR tepin (much hotter) OR cayenne (hotter)

cayenne pepper = Ginnie pepper  Notes:  These are very hot, bright red chiles.  Recipes that call for cayenne pepper may be referring to a ground powder that goes by the same name, or to the fresh version of the pepper. Substitutes:   chile de Arbol OR guajillo

 chile bola  See cascabel pepper.


chile de arbol = arbol chile = red chile   Pronunciation:  ARE-bowl  Notes:  Unlike many chiles, these remain bright red even after drying.  They're fairly hot.  Don't confuse the dried version with the fresh, which goes by the same name.  Substitutes:  cayenne pepper OR pequin chiles

chile negro  See pasilla chile.

chiles de ristra  See New Mexico red chile.

chile seco  See chipotle pepper

chiltecpin  See tepin

chiltepin  See tepin.  

chiltpin  See tepin.  


chipotle pepper (chile) = smoked jalapeno pepper = chile seco   Pronunciation:  chuh-POT-lay Notes:  These lend a wonderful smoky flavor to sauces.  They're usually canned in adobo sauce, but you can also buy the dried peppers in cellophane bags.  Substitutes:  (for chipotles in adobo sauce) 1 tablespoon catsup + 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke + 1 jalapeno pepper OR morita (smaller) OR mora OR ancho (larger and milder)

Ginnie pepper  See cayenne pepper.


guajillo chile   Pronunciation:  gwah-HEE-yoh  Notes:  These moderately hot chiles are smooth, shiny, and reddish-brown.  They have a tough skin, so they need to be soaked longer than other chiles.   Substitutes:  cascabels (rounder and shorter) OR New Mexico chiles OR California chiles (milder)

habanero (habañero) chile (or pepper)   Pronunciation: hah-bah-NYAIR-oh    Notes:  Don't confuse dried habaneros with the fresh version, which goes by the same name.  These extremely hot chiles are wrinkled and orange.  Substitutes:   chile de Arbol

Japanese dried chile

mirasol chile (dried)  Substitutes:  chile de Arbol

mora chile  Notes:  This is a smoked and dried red jalapeno pepper.  Substitutes:   chipotle chile OR morita chile (smaller)


morita pepper  Notes:  Like the larger mora chile, this is a smoked and dried red jalapeno.  Substitutes:   chipotle (larger) OR mora chile (larger)

mulato chile = mulatto chile  Pronunciation:   moo-LAH-toe  Notes:  This very popular chile looks like the ancho, but it's darker and sweeter.  It's fairly mild and has an earthy flavor.  Substitutes:   ancho chile (sweeter)

New Mexico red chile = New Mexican chile = chiles de ristra   Notes:  These chiles have an earthy flavor and resemble the California chile, only they're hotter and more flavorful.   Substitutes:  California chile OR ancho chile

pasilla chile = chile negro = pasilla negro   Pronunciation:   puh-SEE-yuh  Notes:  This is the dried version of the chilaca chile.  It's long, black, and wrinkled, and a standard ingredient in mole sauces.  Ancho chiles are sometimes mislabeled as pasillas.   Substitutes:  ancho chile (sweeter) OR mulato chile (stronger, earthier flavor)

pequin pepper = piquin pepper  Pronunciation:  pay-KEEN  Notes:  These small red peppers are fairly hot.   Substitutes: chile de Arbol OR tepin OR cayenne OR cascabel

piri piri pepper  Substitutes:  malagueta peppers

piquin pepper  See pequin pepper.


puya chile = pulla chile   Pronunciation:  POO-yuh Notes:  This is similar to the guajillo chile, only smaller and more potent.  It has a fruity flavor.

rattle chile  See cascabel pepper.

red chile    See chile de arbol.

smoked jalapeno peppers   See cayenne pepper.


tepin (tepín) = chiltpin (chiltpín) = chiltepin (chiltepín) = chiltecpin (chiltecpín)  Notes:  These look a bit like large dried cranberries.  They're also sold fresh. Substitutes:  pequin OR cascabel OR cayenne


General Notes:

And now for the good stuff:

click the pequin peppers below: