Chile California VS Guajillo Pepper: Spicy Pepper Showdown

These famous chilies pack subtle differences which we’ll find out with the Chile California vs Guajillo comparison. Both these chilis are fairly popular and find use in a wide variety of recipes. Their versatility is a big factor in the popularity of these chilis. They look incredibly alike, which is why a visual comparison isn’t that fruitful.

However, they differ in several aspects, including their heat, which is a key consideration for any chili pepper. Guajillo peppers land somewhere between 2500 to 5000 SHU on the Scoville Scale. Chile California is milder and packs a heat of 500 to 2500 SHU.

It’s worth noting that both chilis go by a few different names. Chile California is also known as Anaheim Chili or New Mexico Chili. Guajillo Chile is also known as Guajillo peppers or chile cascabel ancho. 

Differences Between Chile California And Guajillo Pepper

While they are both famous, Chile California and Guajillo pepper are very different items. Their key differences are in heat and appearance, though some flavor differences are applicable too.

Guajillo pepper is about 5-8 inches long and possesses a deep and fiery red color. California chili has a bright red color when mature, though you can also get and use it in green and dark green colors. When dried, the bright red of the California chili turns deeper, which makes it look quite like the Guajillo pepper.

Another key difference is their heat. Guajillo peppers are hotter and score 2500 to 5000 SHU on the Scoville scale. California chili is milder and hits 500 to 2500 SHU.

What is California Chile?

Chile California VS Guajillo Pepper

California Chile comes from Anaheim chili. Or rather, California Chile is the scorched and dried type of Anaheim chilis. In that sense, they are closely related to New Mexico chili, which is also a dried form of Anaheim chili peppers. 

These chilis are on the milder side of things, usually ranging from 500 to 2500 SHU. They will add some heat to the food, but it won’t be unbearable. In some cases, it might barely be noticeable! They can work wonders for mild flavoring and also help add color to a recipe. 

If you’d prefer some food which has that delicious chili flavor and heat but won’t feel too hot and spicy, this might be worth a shot. While these chilis don’t often pack a punch for heat, they can have a remarkably sharp and acidic flavor. 

In some cases, you might use the California chile as an alternative to black pepper. It’s a basic substitution, since black pepper is way more complex, but it often works as intended.

A conventional Chile California reaches up to six inches in length. Anaheim pepper is good with several colors on the spectrum ranging from green to a brilliant red, and the same could apply to Chile California as well. However, in most cases, it is the red, dried chili peppers that get called by the name of California Chile. It’s mostly a distinction without a difference, but it works well.

Similarly, New Mexico peppers can work the same as anaheim peppers. Although it is generally seen that chili grown in New Mexico tends to be hotter and sharper.

What are Guajillo Chiles?

Guajillo Chiles

Guajillo chiles are well-known and happen to be a famous part of Mexican cuisine. They form one part of the three commonly used peppers in Mexican cuisine. The other peppers on this trio include pasilla peppers and ancho peppers.

Their deep red color makes guajillo chiles recognizable and also helps to add color to recipes. Goes without saying, the peppers are delicious and add a wonderful flavor and heat to the food. No wonder they’re so popular with Mexican cuisine and several recipes!

Conventionally, Guajillo peppers rank somewhere between 2500 to 5000 SHU on the Scoville scale. This puts them in the mild to medium-hot range. Heat packed in these peppers is more than the California chiles, but it’s not extremely high. In some recipes, you might not even notice a difference.

Guajillo’s job in a recipe is rarely about adding heat. In most cases, it is the unique flavor profile of the chile that is desirable. These chilies usually measure up to 6 inches in length and have a wonderful fruity and smoky taste, with hints of spicy and sweet notes.

This is a versatile chili that finds use in several recipes. It also helps the flavor profile of a food.

FAQs And More To Know About Chile California And Guajillo Pepper

Can You Substitute California Chile For Guajillo?

California Chile is a half-decent substitute for guajillo peppers. It can work in a pinch, but it shouldn’t be your first choice. California chile offers a noticeably lower heat for the food, and also misses the deep and remarkable flavors usually seen in Guajillo chile. 

How Spicy Is Chile California?

Chile California is a mild chili. This means that though it offers some spice and heat, it isn’t overwhelming or difficult to handle. Chile California scores between 500 to 2500 SHU on the Scoville Scale. 

This makes it fairly mild and in some cases it might feel somewhat akin to black pepper. Although I should point out that this comparison with black pepper is somewhat archaic and is best utilized as a basic reference. Heat from black pepper isn’t measured in SHU, since its heat comes from piperine. The Scoville Scale (SHU) is used to measure the pungency of capsaicin, which is the chemical compound powering heat in chili peppers.

Does Walmart Sell Chile Guajillo?

Walmart has a huge inventory, so it’s no surprise that they also sell the rather popular and famous Chile Guajillo. You can get them from most Walmart stores, or if you prefer to shop online, you can find several Guajillo chile offerings like this one on the Walmart online store.

How Spicy Is Chile Guajillo?

Chile Guajillo is considered mild to medium-hot and it scores 2500 to 5000 SHU. Apart from their notable heat, Guajillo Peppers have a rather unique flavor, which helps these chilis be the star of several recipes.

Are Guajillo Peppers Good For You?

Though they aren’t exactly a health food, guajillo peppers do offer some nutritional value. These peppers are a good source of Vitamins A and C, while also offering some amounts of Vitamin B. There’s a good amount of dietary fiber as well, along with minor amounts of iron and magnesium.

The Bottom Line

Though they may sometimes look similar, Chile California vs Guajillo pepper comparison is rather straightforward. Guajillo chile is relatively hotter and has a unique flavor that helps it elevate the flavor of several recipes. Chile California is on the milder side of things and though it offers good color and heat, it can’t really beat the unique taste of guajillo chile.

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