Mexican Chilli Peppers – The Gran Luchito Guide



Today Gran Luchito looks at the world of Mexican chilli peppers and explores the various types used there.

Mexican chilli peppers are a huge part of the culture in Mexico, used throughout the whole country in a mind-boggling array of ways. We explore the dried chillies most commonly found in this wonderful country. Before you read on, how many can you ID from the mix below?

 Guajillo Chilli

– One of the most popular Mexican chillies
– Gives a mild heat with a smoky berry flavour.
– Part of the ‘holy trinity’ of chillies used to make mole.
– 2,500 – 5,000 Scoville heat units (mild/medium)
– Used in: Soups; moles; stews; meat rubs.

Ancho Chilli

– Dried form of the poblano chilli.
– Part of the ‘holy trinity’ of chillies used to make mole.
– 1,000 – 2,000 Scoville units.
– Used in: Enchiladas; tortilla soup; carne de puerco en chile negro (grilled pork in ancho & tomatillo sauce).

Piquin Chilli

– A tiny chilli known by many other names such as tepín, chiltepín, chilito, Chiapas.
– Retains its name when dried (most commonly used in this form).
– 100,000 – 140,000 Scoville units (very hot).
– Used in: Pozole (Mexican soup/stew); sprinkled on fresh fruit.

Cascabel Chilli

– Also known as the rattle chilli due to the loose seeds inside.
– Retains both its name as well as its shape regardless of being fresh or dried (more commonly dried).
– Grown in Coahuila, Durango, Guerrero and Jalisco.
– Used in: salsas; stews; soups.

Pasilla Chilli

(Not to be confused with the Pasilla Oaxaca, as used in the Gran Luchito range!)

– The dried form of the chilaca chilli, its name means ‘little raisin’.
– Imparts a rich flavour to food.
– Part of the ‘holy trinity’ of chillies used to make mole.
– 250 – 4,000 Scoville units (mild/medium)
– Used in:  Sauces; combined with fruit to serve with duck, seafood, lamb and many other ingredients.

* Gran Luchito uses a rare smoked variety of this chilli called the Pasilla Oaxaca *

Habanero Chilli

– One of the hottest Mexican chilli peppers, but its heat dissipates quickly.
– Very fruity flavour.
– Range of colours including red, orange, white and brown when fresh.
– 200,000 – 300,000 Scoville units (very hot)
– Used in: Used in many hot sauces.

Mulato Chilli

– Closely related to the ancho chilli.
– Retains its name when dried.
– Rich flavour with hints of chocolate.
– 2,500 – 3,000 Scoville units (mild/medium).
– Used in: Mole and other sauces; stews.

Chipotle (Morita) Chilli

– The dried and smoked form of the jalapeno.
– Varieties include the morita (a very spicy variety from the northern Chihuahua region) and the meco (a milder variety from central & south Mexico).
– Favoured for its earthy and slightly smoky flavour.
– 3,000 – 10,000 Scoville units (medium) depending on variety.
– Used in: meat marinades; salsas; slow cooked dishes (stews).

De Arbol Chilli

– Retain same name and colour when dried (often used to decorate wreaths for bright red colour).
– Originate from Oaxaca and Jalisco.
– Sometimes called pico de pajaro (bird’s beak) or cola de rata (rat’s tail).
– Sharp distinctive flavour.
– 15,000-30,000 Scoville units (hot)
– Used in: Fried whole with black beans; powdered; dried; salsas.


So there you have it. No more excuses. There’s a lot more to dried Mexican chilli peppers than the generic chilli flakes or powder you often see in jars. Why not get hold of a few different types and start experimenting.


Calling all Mexican lovers!

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