What is a good substitute for ancho chili powder? 11 Choice

Ancho Chili Powder is a common spice used in various cuisines, but can’t seem to find it? You might have tried reaching a supermarket, only to discover that they, too, do not carry it.

If you do not have enough time or energy to seek ancho chili powder in shops, use one of these Ancho Chili Powder Substitutes instead.

Getting ancho chilis in a supermarket can be difficult. But not now, because you have great replacements for Ancho chile.

See At A Glance

What is Ancho Chili Powder?

Ancho chili powder is the dried version of the ancho chile, a dried form of poblano pepper. 

Ancho chiles have a sweet, raisiny smell and flavor. They are harvested when they’re ripe—red-colored and sweeter than green ancho chiles.

Like other dried peppers, ancho chile powder is rich in flavor and easily adds a depth of spice to recipes when used in recipes. 

If you’re not sure about adding ancho chili powder to your favorite dishes, start by using it in our Ancho Chili Powder Recipe.

Is Ancho Chili Powder Hot? How Spicy are Ancho Chilies?

The Ancho Chili is a dried version of the Poblano Chile, which is technically a variety of the mild Anaheim chili (a pepper that is a member of the greater Capsicum annuum species).

Ancho chilies are also called Poblano peppers because they originate from the Mexican state of Puebla.

Ancho chilies are used to make chili powders, sauces, and moles. They are also used in the making of ancho chile paste.

How Hot is Ancho Chili Powder?

Anchos are mild to medium in spiciness and contain an average of 1,000 – 2,500 Scoville heat units (SHU). This places them on the milder end of the pepper scale. Jalapeno peppers, for example, contain an average of 2,500 – 10,000 SHU.

What Can I Use Instead of Ancho Chili Powder? (11 Ancho chili powder substitutes)

There are many options to use instead of ancho chili powder, including famous Mulato pepper powder, Pasilla powder, New Mexican chili powder, Guajillo Chile, Chipotle powder, Cayenne, Gochujang, Regular chili pepper, Chile de Arbol, etc.

Substitutes NameAmount
1. Mulato Powder1:1
2. Pasilla Powder1:1
3. New Mexican Chili Powder1/2
4. Guajillo chile 1:1
5. Chipotle Powder1/3
6. Paprika1:1
7. Cayenne PowderPinch
8. Chile de ArbolJust a little
9. Chili Powder1/2
10. Gochugaru1:1
11. Regular Chili Powder1/2

1. MULATO PEPPER POWDER – Similar to Ancho Chile

Mulato Pepper Powder is one of my all-time favorites and first preference while substituting Ancho chili powder for any recipe.

mulato pepper powder is a good substitute for ancho chile.

Mulato is precisely the same as Ancho chile, from flavor to heat, even the color. Although, Mulato has darker and sweeter than Ancho. 

You can use Mulato Pepper powder 1:1 ratio in any recipe calling for Ancho chile.

2. PASILLA PEPPER POWDER Good substitute for Anchovy Chili Powder

Pasilla is the second-best alternative for Ancho chili powder. Pasilla is the same heating scale as ancho chile. 

Most of the time, Pasilla is incorrectly called “poblano” because they seem to be the same size and shape. 

Pasilla is also known as Chile negro or Chilaca chili pepper. It has rice flavor with mild heat good substitute instead of ancho chile.

Pasilla is famous for making sauce and is often served with seafood, mushrooms, fish, meat, and vegetables. Use 1:1 ratio for ancho chili powder recipe.

3. NEW MEXICAN CHILI POWDER -A decent Alternative for Ancho Chili Powder

New Mexican chili powder is another suitable replacement for ancho chile. Although New Mexican chili has a wide range of variations containing heat rate, it is hotter than ancho chile so use half amount recipe required.

New Mexican chili powder is another suitable replacement for ancho chile.

Otherwise, you can add New Mexican chili powder in various dishes like roasted, sauce-like enchiladas, burritos, burgers, french fries, or rice, casseroles, etc.

4. GUAJILLO CHILE POWDER – Same Hot As Ancho Chile Powder

Guajillo Chile is a dried form of mirasol chili with a medium heat range. Guajillo Chili is often called chile guaco, similar to Dried poblano pepper.

GUAJILLO CHILE POWDER is Same Hot As Ancho Chile Powder

After Ancho chile, Guajillo is the second most used chili powder in Mexican Cuisine.

You can add a 1:1 ratio of Guajillo Chile Powder instead of Ancho chile; it is best to make the sauce, marinade, pasta, different salsa, etc.

5. Use CHIPOTLE CHILI POWDER Substitute for Ancho Chili Powder

Do you have Chipotle Chili powder? Great, it will be another excellent alternative for anchovy chili powder. Chipotle powder is mainly from dried Jalapeno and spicy compared to ancho chile powder. 

CHIPOTLE CHILI POWDER Substitute for Ancho Chili Powder

If you don’t have chipotle in your hand, try using its alternative for Ancho chile. Use 1/3 amount of chipotle powder as a substitute for ancho powder.

Chipotle is smokier than dried poblano so try to use it in marination and sauce for a great result.

6. Add CHILI POWDER Place of Ancho Chili

Chili powder is widely available in every grocery and kitchen. I think it is the easy choice for an anchovy chili powder replacement.

you can add chili powder in place of ancho chili.

Chili powder has an earthy flavor, and heat is more than it, so it substitutes chili pepper with about 1/2 portion of ancho powder.

7. Ancho Chili Powder Substitute PAPRIKA 

Paprika is also easy to find an alternative for Ancho chile. I recommend choosing the mild paprika; it is sweet and similar spicy.

Use 1 teaspoon mild paprika for 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder. Sweet paprika (also known as “paprika”) is less spicy smoked paprika with a burnt flavor.

8. Try REGULAR CHILI POWDER Instead of Dried Ancho Chili Powder

Regular chili powder is spicier than ancho chile, so use 1/2 portion. You can use regular chili powder for any recipe that calls for ancho chili powder.

9. GOCHUGARU – Good Pair For Ancho Chili

Gochugaru is famous chili pepper in Korean cuisine. It is the crucial ingredient and finds all Asian grocery stores. 

GOCHUGARU is a  Good Pair For Ancho Chili

Gochugaru has a vibrant, smoky, spicy, sweet, and deep color.

Gochugaru is, often known as Korean Chili pepper, has a heat score of about 1500 units which is less than Ancho Chile. Although, the heat level is from mildly hot to very hot. Choose the mild one.

You can use Gochugaru in any recipe that calls for ancho chili powder and compensates with a 1:1 ratio. Know more substitutes for Korean red chili paste.

10. CAYENNE POWDER – Excellent Replacement for Anchovy Chili Powder

If you love spicy food, then Cayenne will be best for you. Cayenne is spicier than Ancho. Cayenne has a 25,000–50,000 unit heat score on the Scoville scale (source). 

Cayenne is the crucial ingredient in Tabasco sauce. If you dare to use it for ancho chili, then I suggest a gentle touch is enough.

11. CHILE DE ARBOL POWDER – A Dried Ancho Chili Powder Substitute

The intensity of the Chile de Arbol is comparable to that of cayenne pepper, and it has a mild red bell pepper flavor. 

Widely favored in Southwestern cuisines, this powder can also be added to Mexican recipes, chili, or relish for a unique punch.

Chile de Arbol is also used in various Asian, Thai, Chinese, and Caribbean cuisines. The Scoville Heat Scale ranges from 10,000–23,000 to 30,000–50,000. So use just a little to bring the hot kick in your recipe.

Ancho Chili Powder Uses

An ancho chili is a dried poblano chili. These chilies have a mild to medium-hot flavor and are moderately spicy. 

Ancho chilies offer a rich, almost sweet taste with no after-burn.

You can find this Mexican chili powder in most grocery stores, but if you cannot find it, feel free to substitute the Ancho with New Mexico chili powder (a similar variant) or California chili powder.

Ancho Chili Powder Uses

Use Ancho Chili powder in rubs marinades for soups and stews. It is incredibly excellent with pork, chicken, seafood, beans, and rice.

What is the difference between Ancho and Regular Chili Powder?

The terms Ancho and Regular are used to describe the different types of chili powder readily available in most supermarkets. 

The difference between both spices can be answered with two simple words: flavor and heat.

When people think about chili powder, they usually visualize a blend of ground chilies (birds-eye chili, cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder, and chilis, among others) generally used to add a spicy flavor to different types of foods.

However, there are two main varieties or categories of chili powder commonly available in the market: Ancho chili powder and regular chili powder. 

Although both spices have a similar texture and look, they offer vastly different flavors and levels of heat.

Regular chili powder combines common spices such as cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder (among others), offering a significant amount of spice but not much in terms of flavor. 

When added to recipes, it has almost no flavor; hence, it is mainly used for its color and taste-enhancing properties.

The heat level of a regular chili powder can vary from brand to brand, depending upon the type of chilies used to make it. 

However, most brands use common spices such as cayenne pepper and paprika, considered hot when consumed in their dried form. 

In some cases, this chili powder contains hotter varieties of chili powder, such as Thai Birds Eye chili.

On the other hand, Ancho chili powder is made from dried Poblano peppers. The pepper gets its name from the fact that it is commonly grown in the state of Puebla in Mexico. 

When fresh, it has a mild heat and fruity flavor, strengthening when dried to an almost raisin-like flavor.

Ancho Chili powder is much milder than regular chili powder. Still, it has an intense flavor that enhances the taste of any dish in which it is added.

Ancho chili powder can be used instead of regular chili powder in most recipes with excellent results. 

However, when cooking with Ancho chili powder, one must gradually add the chili powder since its flavor is much stronger than that of regular chili powder.

Ancho chili powder can be found in most supermarkets and ethnic markets under various brand names.

However, it is also easy to make at home by combining several Ancho peppers with common spices such as cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and oregano.

Regular chili powder can be found in most supermarkets, usually with other spices, such as cayenne pepper. 

Ancho chili powder is harder to find outside Mexican markets or spice specialty stores. 

When cooking, it is highly recommended to use regular chili powder unless one wants the specific flavor provided by ancho chili powder.

One Best Ancho Chili Powder Recipe

Mexican cuisine is famous for its tasty, spicy dishes, made using many different types of chili peppers. 

We all know the benefit it brings to our health. But overusing these spices can cause side effects too. 

Spice has an ingredient, i.e., capsaicin, also responsible for causing heartburn or heat illness in some people. So it is better to use spices in moderation.

Though there are many ways to make ancho chili powder, here I am sharing the best method. 

Ancho chilies are milder than other chili peppers, and they have a smoky flavor and a sweet taste.-This powder is perfect for any Mexican dish, especially tacos, enchiladas, tamales, etc. 

By the way, I have some details about some Enchilada sauce substitutes. You can check that too.

Ingredients for Best Ancho Chili Powder Recipe :

  • · 15-20 dried ancho chili peppers (you can choose other types of mild red chilies too)
  • · 5 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • · 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • · 1/4 tsp cloves
  • · 1 black cardamom pod
  • · 1-star anise (optional or alternatives )
  • · 2-3 peppercorns or small pieces of dried peppercorns. You can skip it if you are not a fan of spiciness. I have used Kashmiri green chilies, which are not really spicy.
  • · 1 tsp whole fennel seeds (optional)
  • · Bay leaves-2 nos. (optional)

To make Best Ancho Chili Powder Recipe? Follow these steps:

1. Begin by dry roasting cloves, bay leaves, and peppercorns as they take less time to cook.

2. After a few minutes, add coriander seeds and star anise pieces too. Roast it for one more minute.

3. Now, remove the spices from heat and let them cool down completely. Add all the ingredients together in a spice grinder or blender jar & grind till the fine powder is formed. It can be kept in a glass bottle and used as needed.

Note: You can store this powder for up to six months and refrigerate it. I prefer bay leaves and cloves as they give great flavor, but you can skip them if you don’t enjoy their taste. 

If you want the chili powder to be very spicy, add more green chilies or its substitute.

Here are a few recipes to try:

1. Ancho Chile Sauce

  • · 2 cups dried ancho chilies or the mixture made previously, stemmed and seeded
  • · 1-1/2 cups hot water or chicken broth
  • · 1 large clove garlic
  • · Salt to taste


1. In a blender, purée chilies, water or broth, and garlic until smooth. Season with salt. 

2. Pour chili mixture into a large saucepan and simmer, often stirring for 15 minutes or until chili thickens. 

3. Makes 2 cups of Ancho Chile Sauce.

2. Ancho chicken in adobo sauce

  • · 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
  • · 1-1/2 cups chopped white onions (about 1 large onion alternatives)
  • · 4 cloves garlic, 
  • · Minced 2 teaspoons Ancho chili powder 
  • · 7 to 8 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into pieces 
  • · 4 cups beef broth 
  • · 1 teaspoon salt 
  • · 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs 
  • · 1 tablespoon lime juice or its alternatives

Direction: Makes 6 servings (about 4 cups)

1. Heat the oil in a big, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the onions and garlic are soft, about 6 minutes.

2. Add chili powder to the onion mixture; stir for 1 minute. 

3. Stir in tomatoes, beef broth, and salt. 

4. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, trim the chicken of any excess fat and cut it into 1-inch pieces. 

6. Stir into tomato sauce; simmer uncovered until chicken is tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes. 

7. Add lime juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warm tortillas (optional). 

If you don’t have adobo sauce, here are some options you may use.

Can you substitute cayenne pepper for ancho chili powder?

You can substitute cayenne pepper for ancho chili powder if you want more spicy.

You should only do this in cooked dishes where you’re adding some sort of liquid since cayenne is much more volatile and will give your dish a more intense flavor that might get lost if added at the beginning. 

You can also use a few tablespoons of cayenne pepper in place of the Ancho, though this may be a touch too hot if you’re not used to cooking with it.

Cayenne is hotter than most chili powders, but it’s still milder than even the mildest jalapeno pepper.

I’d recommend trying some recipes that use both Ancho and cayenne. 

In any recipe that calls for chilli powder, you can swap one for the other. Still, it’s more fun to understand how they differ by using them together!

My All-Time Favorite Ancho Chili Powder Replacements

  • · Mulato
  • · Pasilla Pepper
  • · Paprika
  • · Gochugaru
  • · Regular Chili pepper
  • · Cayenne
  • · Chile De Arbol

Can you substitute ancho chile for chili powder?

Yes, you can substitute ancho chile powder for chili powder; however, it will have a slightly different flavor.

The chilli powder in your recipe is most likely just ground chilli or cayenne pepper. This would be a pure spice mixture, whereas ancho chile powder is made from the dried pods of the poblano pepper and has a relatively mild flavor. 

Using ancho chili powder as a substitute for chili powder will provide your recipe with a deeper smokiness.

If you need to substitute for chili powder, try using ancho chile powder at about 1/2 the amount called for in your recipe. 

Add this to any spice mixture that calls for chili powder;. However, I would recommend trying it first with something simple like chili con carne. 

If your recipe calls for something more complex, I would recommend you make it yourself with this substitution in mind.

If you do substitute ancho chile powder for chili powder, taste the dish when it has about 20 minutes left to determine if you need to add more chile or not. 

If possible, let your dish sit for about 15 minutes before eating it so the flavors can settle in.

Wrap Up On Substitutes for Ancho Chili Powder

I Guess my Ancho chile alternatives list will help you find a perfect substitute. You may find them in supermarkets or online stores.

All are easy-to-find options. However, the spiciness may vary depending on the cultivars so take care of that. 

Always start with a little bit of any pepper, then add gradually according to taste.-This way, you are never wrong with those ancho chili powder substitutes.

FAQs Related To Anchovy Chili Substitutes

Q1. What is the closest thing to ancho chili powder??

The closest thing to ancho chili powder is regular chili powder, Mulato, and Passila pepper. 

Ancho chiles are dried poblanos, so their flavor will be similar to a milder version of chili powder.

Anchos have a deep, fruity flavor that’s not hot at all. If you want the taste without any heat, just remove the seeds and ribs before cooking with them.

Q2. Which is hotter, cayenne or Ancho?

Cayenne pepper is hotter than ancho pepper. 
Ancho peppers are dried poblano peppers that are milder in flavour than other chilli peppers.

Cayenne peppers are dried and ground, making them more pungent than red bell peppers. Cayenne peppers are used in varying degrees of hot to make Cajun food, chili powder, and many other dishes.

The Scoville scale is utilized to determine the heat level of peppers. Cayenne pepper has a 25,000–50,000 unit heat level, whereas Ancho has below 1000.

Q3. Which is hotter, Ancho or Jalapeno?

Ancho peppers are the mildest of all the chili peppers. They have a sweet, fruity flavor with a slightly smoky taste. 

Jalapeno peppers are the most popular chili pepper in the United States. They are medium-hot with a bright, green flavor. 

Poblanos are mild chili pepper with a slightly sweet flavor. They are sometimes known as pasillas or chiles negro, simply another word for poblano.

So the question is which one is hotter, Acho or Jalapeno. Yes, it is JalapenoJalapeno hotter than Ancho. The heat score is 2,500–10,000 units, whereas Ancho is below 1000.

Q4. Can I substitute chipotle chili powder for ancho chili powder?

Many recipes call for Ancho chili powder, yet I cannot find it in my local grocery stores. So I substitute Chipotle Chili Powder for Ancho Chile.

Ancho chili powder is made from ground dried ancho chili peppers. It has a milder flavor than chipotle chili powder, so it is often used as a substitute. 

It has a slightly sweet and raisin-like taste with a subtle smokiness, whereas chipotle chili powder is smokey and earthier.

Most grocery stores can purchase Ancho chili powder, especially in the ethnic foods section. It is usually labeled as chili powder and is often sold in the same section as chili spices. 

If you don’t have ancho chili powder on hand, chipotle chili powder can be an alternate.

Q5. 1 dried ancho chile equals how much powder?

1 dried ancho chile equals 1-1/2 teaspoons of powder.

Q6. How much ancho chili powder equals one pepper?

One pepper is equivalent to 1-3 teaspoons of ancho chili powder.

Q7. Ancho Chili Powder Substitute Australia

The ancho chili pepper is a dried poblano chili pepper that is dark brownish-red in color. It has a gentle, sweet flavor and a slightly smoky taste. 

The ancho chili powder is made from grinding the ancho chili pepper. It is a popular ingredient in Mexican cuisine.
In Australia, there are a few substitutes for ancho chili powder. 

One of these substitutes is pasilla chili powder. Pasilla chili powder is made from grinding the pasilla chili pepper. This pepper has a chocolate-like flavor and a slightly smoky taste. 
Another substitute for ancho chili powder is guajillo chili powder. 

Guajillo chili powder is made from grinding the guajillo chili pepper. This pepper has a slightly acidic, sweet flavor.

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