9 Best Anaheim Pepper Substitutes

Anaheim peppers are one of the most popular types of chili peppers. They’re long, thin, and have a mild flavor that makes them perfect for adding to any dish.

What if you have a recipe that calls for Anaheim peppers but you can’t find them in your local grocery store? What should you use in their place?

Don’t worry.

There are plenty of Anaheim pepper substitutes out there that will give you the same great taste without having to go on an epic quest to find them.

Read on to learn about the best Anaheim pepper alternatives that you’ll love using as much as an Anaheim pepper.

What is Anaheim Pepper?

Anaheim peppers are named after the city of Anaheim, California where they were first cultivated.

They’re very popular with people who like to make salsa because of their mild flavor and good size for chopping up.

On the Scoville scale (the measurement unit for pepper’s spiciness), Anaheim peppers rate somewhere between 1,500 and 2,500 Scoville heat units.

That’s a little hotter than a bell pepper but not as hot as your average jalapeno. If you’re looking for a spicy pepper, make sure to try bird’s eye chili or its substitutes.

The interior of an Anaheim chili is bright green and it has thin walls with a lot of seeds. Their exterior color ranges from bright yellow to orange when they’re ripe.

9 Best Anaheim Pepper Substitutes

1. Poblano Peppers

Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers are very similar in size and shape to the Anaheim pepper but they’re much hotter and have a smokier flavor. They have a smooth, rich, sweet flavor that goes well with any dish.

They do range in spiciness depending on how ripe they are so you should taste them before adding them to your recipe to make sure you’re getting the level of heat that you want.

Next time you’re making chili or fajitas, try using Poblano peppers instead of Anaheim chilis to give your dish some extra flavor!

2. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are essentially the same thing as Anaheim peppers only they’re much bigger and milder. 

They have thick flesh that’s somewhere between green and yellow in color. Their skins are grooved so they look like they have ribs running down them, which is what gives them their name.

They are often used in making stuffed peppers because their larger size makes it easier to fill them.

Use them in place of Anaheim chilis if you don’t like the heat but still want an ingredient with a little kick!

3. Jalapeno Pepper

Jalapeno Pepper

Jalapeno peppers are a little spicier than Anaheim peppers and they’re also smaller, which can make it harder to find the right size in the grocery store.

They’re best used when you want a bit of heat but not too much. They have a very similar flavor to Anaheim peppers so I recommend them if you like Anaheim peppers but don’t want to feel the burn.

They also have a very good shelf life so you can still buy them frozen if you need them for something at the last minute!

4. Guajillo Pepper

Guajillo peppers are dark brown in color with thin walls and ribs on their skin. They have a little bit of heat but it’s not as much as a jalapeno pepper.

Their flavor is slightly smoky and sweet like an Anaheim chili and they also offer really good color to any dish you decide to make with them.

They hold their shape quite well so if you need something that can cook forever without losing its shape, guajillo peppers are a really good option.

5. Serrano Pepper

Serrano Pepper Substitutes

Serrano peppers are a type of chili from Mexico, where they’re often used in Mexican cooking.

They have a shorter length and a significantly higher spiciness compared to jalapeños. They are green, yellow, orange, or red in the ripest state.

They have a smokey flavor that’s similar to Anaheim peppers and they also hold up really well when cooking, so if you need something that will still look great after it’s been cooked for a long time then Serranos are perfect.

6. Fresno Pepper

Fresnos are very similar in size and shape to serranos but they’re much spicier. They look pretty similar to both jalapeños and serranos but they’re often more red in color than green or yellow.

They make a really great substitute for Anaheim peppers if you don’t like the heat of jalapenos, which makes them perfect for throwing into some chili or making some salsa.

7. Cubanelle Pepper

Cubanelles are light yellowish-green in color, and they have an almost bell-pepper shape to them.

This can make them a good alternative for Anaheim peppers if you need something with the same flavor but are having trouble finding an Anaheim pepper that is similar in size.

Cubanelles are very mild, so if you’re looking for something more substantial then one of the other peppers in this list might be a good option.

8. Chilaca Pepper

The chilaca pepper is a mildly hot pepper used in Mexican cuisine. The dark green outer skins of dried chiles change to a richer brown-black color.  This variety is closely related to the poblano.

You can substitute a dried chilaca pepper for an Anaheim chili to add some heat if you’re finding that your recipe isn’t spicy enough.

8. Hungarian Wax Pepper

Hungarian wax peppers are another yellowish-green pepper that’s long and slim like a jalapeno pepper but much smaller, which can make them a good substitute for an Anaheim chili if you find the right size.

They have a nice smokiness to their flavor and they’re nowhere near as spicy as serrano or jalapeno peppers.

They’re my favorite substitute if I need something that has a bit of color and flavor to it but doesn’t burn like the others.

TIP: If you don’t like any of these peppers because they are too spicy, try cutting the pepper open and removing the seeds. This will take away most of the heat to make it more manageable.

What does Anaheim Pepper Taste Like?

Anaheim peppers have a flavor that is very similar to poblanos and jalapeno peppers, and they’re also in the same family as bell peppers.

The Anaheim pepper has a slightly sweet taste, with a bit of a mild heat that lingers.

It’s quite similar to a jalapeno but the Anaheim pepper is always going to be a little smaller and it’s going to have an even smoother flavor.

How Hot Are Anaheim Peppers?

Anaheim chili peppers are in the mild to medium range in terms of spiciness. They rank from 500 to 2,500 SHU on the Scoville Scale.

This means that Anaheim peppers are mildly spicy and probably aren’t going to be too hot.

Are Poblano and Anaheim Peppers the Same?

No, poblano peppers and Anaheim peppers are not the same. They’re both chilis but they’re from different families.

Poblano peppers are in the Capsicum Annum family while Anaheim peppers are in the Capsicus Frutescens family.

The only similarity that these two types of chili have is that they’re both fairly mild, but they can be used interchangeably if you just want to add some heat without too much flavor.

Is Anaheim Pepper the Same as Serrano?

No, Anaheim peppers and serranos are not the same. They’re in totally different families. An Anaheim pepper is a Frutcsens while a Serrano is part of the Annuum family.

They have very similar flavor profiles so they can be used interchangeably if you need something with a little bit of heat but don’t want to add the flavor of jalapeno.

Final Words

We hope this blog post has given you some great ideas on what to use in place of your favorite Anaheim pepper.

Have any other Anaheim pepper substitutions that work well for you? Let us know!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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