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Looking for an Anaheim Pepper Substitute? See the Top Alternatives!

There will be times you might look for the best anaheim pepper substitute. Don’t worry; they’re easy to replace, and you probably have the alternative sitting in your pantry or fridge. 

Anaheim peppers are used in many recipes. After all, they are among the most popular peppers in the US. What do you do if your recipe calls for them and you’ve already used your stash? 

tabletop with a bunch of green anaheim peppers

How Hot Are Anaheim Peppers?

The spice level of peppers is measured through Scoville heat units (SHU). In this scale, the higher the number, the hotter the pepper. Anaheim peppers sit at 500 to 2,500 Scoville Heat Units. This makes them mildly spicy. To better understand this heat level, it is worth noting that jalapenos are 2,000-8,000. Cayenne peppers are at 30,000-50,000 SHU, and bell peppers are at only 0. 

What Are the Different Varieties of Anaheim Peppers? 

Anaheim peppers come in red and green. The green variety is unripe, but it is the type usually used in cooking. When green, anaheim is also called Magdalena, New Mexico Peppers, or California chili. 

The red variety is a ripe one. When anaheim chile ripens, it loses a bit of sweetness. Yet, you can still use them in cooking. It all boils down to preference. Red anaheim peppers are also known as chili Colorado or California red. 

Nutritional Content of Anaheim Peppers

Anaheim peppers bring heat and color to your dishes. They also make them more nutritious. For starters, they have tons of Vitamin C. 

This medium-sized chili pepper is also a good source of Vitamin A. On top of that, they also have Vitamins B6 and K. 

Like all chili peppers, anaheim has capsaicin. Capsaicin is a phytochemical with analgesic properties.  

The benefits do not stop there. Anaheim peppers also have fiber, potassium, and iron. Moreover, they are low in calories. All these make them an excellent addition to your diet. 

Culinary Uses of Anaheim Peppers 

The moderate heat and subtle sweetness of anaheim peppers make them very versatile. Because of this, there are many things you can do with them in the kitchen.

To make cheesy stuffed peppers, you can fill them with ground meat and cheese. 

They can be made into salsa and dips. Anaheim peppers are great additions to soups, stews, and casseroles.

You can add these peppers to pasta dishes, tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. Likewise, they make good pizza toppings. Adding them to stir-fries and omelets also works. 

Best Substitutes for Anaheim Peppers.

Finding an anaheim pepper substitute is quite easy. There are other kinds of peppers you can use that won’t alter the flavor of your dish significantly. These anaheim pepper alternatives will enable you to cook your recipes without hassle. 

1. Bell Peppers.

If you don’t have a high tolerance for heat, bell peppers are the best substitute for anaheim peppers you can use. They are excellent stuffing pepper because they have large cavities. This means they can hold more filling. 

Substituting bell peppers for anaheim peppers also makes sense when feeding children. This is because they usually don’t like spicy food. Lastly, bell peppers are accessible, so you won’t have trouble finding them. You might already have some on your fridge. 

2. Poblano Peppers.

A poblano pepper also makes a great anaheim chile substitute. They are at 1,000-2,000 SHU, so they don’t stray away from anaheim peppers’ heat. This makes them a great swap, as you will still have the same kick in your recipes.

Like bell peppers, poblano peppers also have large cavities. This makes them a good stuffed chili alternative. 

3. Jalapeno Pepper. 

You can also opt for a jalapeno pepper as a substitute for anaheim peppers. This is especially true if you want to bring the heat up a bit on your dish.

As mentioned, jalapeno peppers are at 2,000-8,000 SHU, so they can work in most recipes that call for anaheim. They are also easy to find, as they are available even in your local grocery store. 

4. Hungarian Wax Peppers.

Hungarian wax peppers hail from Hungary. They pack a lot of heat, rated at 5,000-15,000 on the Scoville scale. Indeed, they can replace anaheim chiles in a recipe if you want an extremely hot dish.

Plus, they are known for a tangy aftertaste, meaning a Hungarian wax pepper can alter your dish a bit.  

5. Chilaca Pepper.

Need something with the same heat? Chilaca pepper is a great anaheim pepper substitute if this is the case.

They are at 1,000-2,500 SHU, so there will be no significant change in your recipe. This makes them perfect for any recipe that calls for anaheim chili peppers.

6. Fresno Pepper.

Yet another excellent anaheim pepper substitute is Fresno pepper. Sitting at 2,500-10,000 on the Scoville Heat Scale, these peppers are hotter than anaheim.

These are perfect if you want a significant change in the heat level of your dish. If you don’t have high heat tolerance, skip this substitute.

7. Guajillo Peppers.

Guajillo peppers are hotter than Anaheim peppers. But they are suitable substitutes if you want a change in flavor. This is because Guajillo peppers are dried, which gives them a unique taste. This is something different from the flavor profile of anaheim.

Regarding the spice level, Guajillos sit at 2,500-5,000 SHU. They’re just slightly hotter than anaheim, so they make great substitutes. 

8. Shishito Peppers.

Shishito peppers are one of the mildest peppers around, with only 50-200 SHU. They are a suitable anaheim pepper substitute for those who want the tiniest bit of heat. Their skin is thick so that they can withstand grilling.

They can be used for a stuffed anaheim pepper recipe, too. But, their small size means that they cannot have as much filling as an anaheim pepper. 

9. Cubanelle Pepper.

You can also use cubanelle peppers to replace anaheim peppers in dishes. At just 500-1,000 SHU, they barely pack some heat. That said, if you want more heat, you can use more cubanelle. Better yet, you can opt for other substitutes on this list.

On the upside, its mild heat makes it ideal for people with low heat tolerance. Plus, its flavor won’t affect your final dish.

10. Serrano Peppers.

Serrano peppers are also great anaheim pepper substitutes. They can be stuffed, but beware that a serrano pepper is hotter than an anaheim pepper.

They are at 10,000-25,000 on the Scoville scale. Eating them stuffed will give you a different experience. You can still use them in small amounts for soups, stews, and casseroles.  

What Is Another Name For Anaheim Pepper?

Anaheim peppers are also called New Mexico peppers. They also go by California chile, California peppers, and Magdalena. 

How Do You Store Anaheim Pepper Properly? 

Keeping anaheim peppers in the fridge maintains their freshness for a week. You can also store them pickled. This way, they’ll last for 2 months. Freezing anaheim peppers keep them good for 6 months. 

What Are The Side Effects Of Eating Too Much Anaheim Pepper? 

Eating too much pepper of any kind can lead to a temporary burning sensation in the mouth, and you may also feel stomach pain.


Finding an anaheim chile substitute is easier than you think. There is a wide array of other peppers available for use. You’re free to choose the best option according to your heat preference.

Choose bell pepper if you don’t like a hot dish at all. On the other hand, go for serrano peppers if you like intense heat. Finally, if you want something close to anaheim, go for poblano peppers. They are almost the same in heat level and versatile, too. That said, you can use it to substitute anaheim peppers in any recipe. 

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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