Chile Guajillo are a Mexican chile with a fruity flavor profile and dark ruby red color. They are one of the most popular dried chiles in Mexican cuisine. Learn more about their spice level, how to cook with them, and 13 delicious recipes to make the most of their delicious flavor.
If you have yet to embrace cooking with dried chiles, guajillo peppers are a great place to start. They are mild, easy to handle, and meld beautifully with so many dishes.
For me, guajillos have always been a base chile, adding a solid foundation to everything from salsas to stews (see the 13 recipes below). They have well-rounded flavor that when used in conjunction with other chile peppers create complex Mexican dishes with a unique flavor profile.
Keep reading to find out why you need to add this delectable chile to your grocery list STAT!
What Are Chile Guajillo?
These beautiful, long dried chiles are essential to Mexican cuisine and are used to make everything from mole to soups. When they are fresh they are called Mirasol chiles. Guajillos are easy to cook with because they are thin-skinned meaning they rehydrated quickly or can even be eaten without rehydration.
They are grown in Northern Mexico in the state of Zacatecas but are loved throughout the country.
Is Chile Guajillo Very Hot?
No, guajillo chiles have a mild heat. They are at about 5,000-8,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. They are slightly spicier than ancho chiles which come in around 1,000-1,500 SHU. By comparison a dried Chile de Árbol has about 15,000-30,000 SHU making it much, much spicier.
Where To Buy Them and Substitutions
Chile guajillo are pretty easy to find. Most well-stocked grocery stores sell them either in the aisle with the other Latin foods or sometimes in the produce section. The best place to buy them is in a Latin market where the turnover is high, as they will be fresher.
If you can’t find them a good substitute would be the New Mexico chile or Pasilla chile (which are dried poblano chiles).
How To Cook With Them
Most recipes require you to soak the chiles in hot water to rehydrate them or to toast them first, then soak. Follow these simple steps:
- Rinse the dried chiles to remove any dust or debris.
- Tear off the stem (or cut off with a knife).
- Shake out any seeds.
- Place chiles on a hot comal or dry frying pan and let cook until the color has darkened and they become fragrant. Turn frequently so they don’t burn. If they get too dark they will take on an acrid taste, so watch closely.
- Bring a small pan of water to a boil. Add the toasted chiles and remove from heat. Let soak 15-30 minutes or until they are soft and pliable.
- Now they are ready to use in your recipe!
13 Chile Guajillo Recipes
1. Pozole Rojo
Guajillo chilies make this classic Mexican soup well-rounded and full of flavor. If you can’t find them a good choice for a substitute would be New Mexico chiles.
Guajillos are medium heat peppers which give this chorizo recipe a nice gentle chile flavor.
A simple recipe to use on everything from enchiladas to tamales made with roasted red peppers and guajillo chiles. You can adjust the heat levels and add more spice by roasting a jalapeño or serrano chile along with the red peppers.
The thin, leathery skin of the guajillos makes them perfect for frying to a crisp and tossing with pasta—no need to rehydrate first.
Crispy tacos are the perfect way to devour this guajillo salsa flavored with orange, garlic, and sherry vinegar. Any leftover salsa will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.
Bookmark this one to make with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Use chile cascabel (they are dried chiles that look like little bells) if you can’t find guajillos.
Did you know a lot of the heat of chiles is in the veins? Remove the veins and seeds in the guajillos if you want a milder sauce for these super delicious empanadas.
The ingredients list for these incredible sandwiches is long but that shouldn’t stop you from making them. You can swap store-bought carnitas and beans to make it easier.
Like the best cheese sticks you’ve ever had. Swap ancho peppers if you want them to be milder.
Did you know that not all mirasol chiles become guajillos? Some varieties become Chile Puya which also work great in this super delicious salsa.
A few pantry staples like eggs, black beans, and roasted red peppers make a truly phenomenal breakfast—don’t forget the guajillo sauce!
Lamb and chile guajillo are a match made in heaven. Serve with arugula or cilantro-lime slaw on top.
13. Tacos Al Pastor
Guajillo chiles are essential to the marinade of these classic taco truck beauties.
Top 5 Most Popular Chile Recipes:
- Pork Tamales with Mole Coloradito
- Authentic Chile Relleno
- Instant Pot Pork Chili Verde with Cheese
- Apple Jalapeño Jelly
- What To Do With Ghost Peppers
Which Recipe Looks Good To You?
Whatever it is, let me know when you make it by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!