If you love Mexican food, you’re going to love the Pasilla pepper.
This pepper is perfect for those who love to experiment with traditional Mexican recipes but aren’t interested in adding tons of spice to their dish.
Let’s dive in!
Pasila means little raisin in Spanish. These peppers are believed to have originated from the Puebla region, not far south of Mexico City. Pasila peppers have been traced back 6,500 years in Mexican cuisine, meaning they were likely developed by the Aztecs.
This pepper is very popular in traditional Mexican recipes.
It’s referred to as a little raisin because it’s the dried version of the Chilaca pepper, but bear in mind. It’s not small like the raisins we’re used to eating.
This dried chili pepper is large and long. It can grow up to half a foot or longer! Peppers as long as ten inches have been reported.
The pepper’s heat range is only 500 to 2,500 SHU, so it’s considered mild on the spice spectrum.
It’s a glossy, dark green color, with a long heart-shaped pod at the peak of its ripeness. This shape holds well when cooked, too. As it matures, it dries up and turns dark brown. Unlike many vegetables, this one has not gone bad when it turns brown.
While you can eat it fresh, this pepper is used more commonly in its dried form.
Specifics about the Pasilla Pepper
The flavor profile is complex. The pepper is described as having an earthy flavor as well as smoky. It also has an added sweet taste with traces of berries and cocoa hiding within.
Because they are mild and perfect for munching on the right out of the garden.
They’re also great for kids. The dried form tastes similar to a raisin. Replace your prepackaged boxes of raisins with a bag of yummy fresh, dried peppers.
Cooking with the Pasilla Pepper
The pepper is great for stuffing and roasting as well as making sauces, enchiladas, salsas, rellenos, and chili. It’s also specifically common in mole sauces along with ancho peppers.
Harvesting when the pepper is green for sauces and salsas is recommended.
Pasilla peppers pair well with duck, seafood, mushrooms, garlic, fennel, honey, and oregano.
Roasted Pasilla Peppers with Corn and Cotija
All chili peppers are known to contain capsaicin. Capsaicin is famous for its anti-inflammatory properties. People who suffer from diseases like arthritis, psoriasis, shingles, and diabetic neuropathy may benefit from peppers containing capsaicin.
Capsaicin also promotes a healthy heart. It’s also a metabolism booster, so you can add Pasilla peppers to your weight loss plan.
Pasilla peppers are also rich in vitamins K, A, and C.
Growing at Home
Pasilla pepper plants are not at all cold tolerant and will need to be planted after there is no threat of frost. In warmer climates without frost, these plants will continue to come back each year as perennials.
Seed starting is rewarding to see your pepper plants through every life stage.
Planting Pasilla peppers is not much different than planting other peppers.
Starting your pepper plants indoors for around five weeks before planting outside is ideal. They prefer well-draining soil. Avoid compacted or clay soil, which causes water to sit too long and damage the plant’s roots.
The pepper plant takes about three weeks to germinate and two weeks for the roots to solidify in the soil. At this point, your bush will be about six inches tall and ready to be transferred to a larger container or planted outside.
In 85 days, the pepper plant will turn brown and start to dry out. Catch it before it dries out when it’s green if you’re hoping to make some sauces or salsas.
Where to Buy
You can buy seeds on Amazon to grow Pasilla peppers in your home garden.
You can also purchase Pasilla chiles in their dried form on Amazon
Pasilla peppers are in season all year round and are imported to colder regions from Mexico. You can find them at local grocery stores, Mexican specialty stores, and Farmer’s Markets.
Fresh chiles will be labeled as pasilla bajio, chile negro, or Mexican negro. The dried chile is labeled as pasilla chili.
FAQs about Pasilla Peppers
What is the difference between a Pasilla pepper and a Poblano pepper?
Many people will try to convince you that the Pasilla and the Poblano peppers are the same, but Chilean experts say they’re distinctly different.
Pasilla refers to a dried chilaca pepper. Poblano peppers are named after the plant that grows them.
Poblanos are shorter and wider than pasillas. They resemble bell peppers more closely than pasillas. This means poblanos are better for stuffing.
Pasillas are long, thin peppers.
Their flavors are also quite different. They are both mild heated peppers, but a pasilla’s flavor’s much more complex and is often compared to the taste of a raisin. Poblanos taste more like green bell peppers.
Can you use these peppers to substitute other peppers?
Ancho and mulato chiles are used interchangeably with Pasilla peppers.
Why are they sometimes mislabeled if they look so different from other peppers?
People tend to get poblano and pasilla peppers confused because the peppers are the same color at certain stages of the ripening process.
The big difference is poblanos are harvested when they are still bright green, while most people wait until pasillas are brown to harvest. It’s unlikely you’ll ever see both peppers turn brown together on the vine.
However, some vendors are unaware that when poblanos turn brown, they are actually called anchos. This creates confusion between pasillas and anchos, which can lead to an ancho mistakenly being called a pasilla or vice versa.
Enjoy the Pasilla Pepper Today!
You’re all set to start planning your next fiesta with the pasilla pepper. Make sure to tell your guests all about how pasillas are different from poblanos.
Do you want to learn more about peppers? Check out our Peppers Page for other varieties, tips, and tricks.