Substitutes for Green Chili Peppers

Updated April 17, 2017

Green chilli peppers bring a hint of sweet, smoky heat to many savoury recipes. But what happens when the supermarket is out of that fresh chilli pepper you need? Or, what if that chilli pepper brings a bit too much heat to that evening's dish on the dinner table? There are several substitutions you can use when a recipe calls for green chilli peppers depending on how they will be used in the recipe.

Anaheim Chili Peppers

Anaheim chilli peppers are green in colour when not fully ripened and are also known as the California green chilli. Anaheims are available year-round, but are said to be the best quality in the summer. This chilli is often used for chilli rellenos and is a common addition to salsas. Adequate substitutions for this chilli include: poblano chillies and canned green chillies.

Jalapeño Peppers

Jalapeño peppers are spicy green peppers that vary from medium to hot in terms of the heat factor. They are smooth and dark green in colour. When smoked, they are called chipotles. These peppers add a little bite to chilli and make an excellent spicy topping for a variety of foods. To get the same heat level as a jalapeño, use half the amount of serrano chillies, based on the amount of jalapeños called for in the recipe.

Thai Chilies

Thai chillies can be red or green. These thin-skinned chillies are found in a wide variety of Asian dishes. The dried version of this chilli is often called the bird chilli, because of the dried chilie's resemblance to a bird's beak. Adequate substitutions include serrano chillies or cayenne peppers, fresh or dried.

Poblano Peppers

This is a mild, large pepper with a thick, green skin. Best when harvested in the summer, the poblano can be dried to a reddish-brown version called the ancho chilli. If you use poblanos together with mild peppers, such as bell peppers, the combined flavours add a complex richness to dishes. Good substitutes include canned, green chillies or Anaheim chillies.

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About the Author

Christine Margiotta began writing in 2003. Her work has been featured on various websites. In 2004 her journalism won a New York State Associated Press Award and an Award of Excellence from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association. Margiotta received a Master of Arts in journalism from Syracuse University.