The Little Guide to Mexican Chillies

The Little Guide to Mexican Chillies


Mexican cuisine is full of amazing flavours and colours. There are a lot of Mexican ingredients that make it full of flavour, but here at Mextrade, we all agree that Mexican chillies are the stars of Mexican cuisine, from the humble fresh jalapeño to the fiery dried chiltepin, they all add a special touch to our dishes.

Every Mexican has its favourite Mexican chilli, for example, I love Morita and Oscar, our tortilla-making hero, likes Arbol chillies. They have a different level of spiciness and depending on that, they are used for specific dishes, for instance, to make our amazing pozole recipe, we used guajillo, which is a long ruby red chilli that is not very spicy, it is used, mainly to give flavour and colour to food, then to make our creamy chipotle enchiladas, we used chipotle in adobo, which is medium/ high spicy, very smoke and perfect to add a touch of spiciness to your food.

In this Mexican chilli guide, we want to tell you about the chillies we sell in Mextrade, you will find tips on how to cook with them and links to our recipes where we used Mexican chillies.

Guajillo Chilli

The most famous dried chilli in Mexico, in our opinion, is used in a lot of recipes, mild flavour, ruby red colour makes it look very beautiful. A guajillo is called mirasol when it is fresh. Its subtle flavour is perfect for stews, broths and sauces. Perfect for Red Chilaquiles, Chicken Pozole or a delicious Chile Colorado.


Ancho Chilli

The hero of all Mexican chillies. In its fresh version is called Poblano and it is dark green, but an ancho chilli is dark brown, the aroma of an ancho chilli is very special, deep, earthy and delicious. Sometimes can be spicy, but most of the time is mild. Perfect for a Mole, barbacoa and adobos.

Arbol Chilli

The spicy little long red fella is the one to choose if you want to add a bit of a kick to your food. The name of this chilli doesn’t change when it is fresh. Their heat index is between 15,000 - 30,000 Scoville units, so sometimes is spicy and other is very spicy. Here in Mextrade, we have beautiful Arbol chillies that we bring from Mexico. These chillies go very well if you want your Chilaquiles a bit spicy or to add spiciness to moles or just to make a fresh Arbol chilli salsa to have with tacos.

Pasilla Chilli

The posh of Mexican chillies. This is one of the chillies that not a lot of people know about it and therefore it is not very common to see it in dishes, but the luxurious long, mysterious dark pasilla can take your dish to another level of deliciousness. It is very mild and it makes a red brick colour sauce, very elegant and delicious. Good for moles, chilaquiles or stews.


Cascabel is a beautiful round chilli that got its name because its seeds are loosened and they rattle, so therefore in English is known as a rattle chilli. In Mexico, it is also called chile bola when fresh, because it is round like a ball.

It is a mild chilli, medium heat, its index is between 1,500–2,500 Scoville units. A wonderful companion for Moles, stews, pozole.


These beautiful peppers are relatives of the ancho peppers, but mulatos are dried from fully mature poblanos, whereas ancho peppers are from poblanos that are harvested early and dried.

The mulato is a flat and wrinkled chilli and it has brownish-black colour. The average length and width of the mulato is 10 cm and 5 cm, respectively.

The mulato has a wonderful taste, between chocolate and undertones of cherry and tobacco. Its heat rating is 2,500 to 3,000 on the Scoville scale.

Chipotle and Jalapeños

Chipotle is another favourite dried chilli to cook with. It is often found in different forms, such as chipotles en adobo or spicy salsas.

Chipotle chillies come from fresh jalapeños. This chilli pepper is probably the most eaten chilli in Mexico. It is mostly eaten fresh but also in different forms such as pickled, dried and smoked. Jalapeño varieties differ in size and heat.

Both versions are great companions of Mexican dishes, fresh jalapeños are a great addition to ceviches, fresh spicy salsas or just raw as a quick condiment to any dish. Chipotles are great for making spicy salsas or enchiladas.


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