Substitute For Green Chilies That Your Recipes Will Love

Substitute For Green Chilies

Green chilies liven up and spice meals like no other. The green chili peppers are available in plenty of shapes, sizes, and can vary in hotness. They’re used in several cuisines, but special mention goes to Indian, Thai, and Mexican foods for their excellent use of green chilies. So, if you’re preparing a dish and need a substitute for green chilies, what would you use?

These hot and spicy peppers usually have a smokey, medium-hot taste. Commonly known as hatch green chilies, they have a Scoville score of 2,000 to 5,000 SHU. The substitutes we choose can be more authentic in the way they replace green chilies in recipes.

Let’s take a look at our options!

Top Green Chili Substitutes You’ll Want To Try

1. Banana Peppers

These mild, medium-hot peppers bring a touch of sweetness with the chili. Being mild, they go up to 500 SHU but a few can also be at zero. Heat often depends on the maturity of the pepper. Before they ripen, banana peppers are green and look somewhat like green chilies. 

Once ripe, the outer skin turns to yellow, orange, or red. They have a crunchy texture that matches most peppers, and a taste to be suitable replacements for green chilies.

2. Poblano Pepper

These green peppers are popular in Mexico. They look like green chilies, which helps with the color and texture of the dish, but Poblano Peppers take an entirely different shape. Their heat is generally between 1000 to 2000 SHU, which is still on the milder side of things, though hotter than banana peppers. 

Poblano Peppers have more of a smokey flavor, which gets highlighted once they’re roasted. They’re delicious and add a nice flavor to the food.

3. Thai Chili Peppers

Thai Chili Peppers are practically twins to the usual green chili. These are what you’ll pick if you want a very hot and spicy dish. In a similar vein, avoid these if you don’t want the dish to get very chili and spicy.

On the Scoville scale, Thai Chili Peppers can measure anywhere between 100,000 to 350,000 SHU. Think Poblano Peppers are hot? Look at how hot and spicy Thai Chili Peppers go!

These peppers are smaller and hotter than conventional green chilies. The replacement works great if you’re willing to put up with these changes.

4. Red Pepper Flakes

Red Pepper Flakes are a mix of several chilies. These can include bell peppers, anaheim peppers, and more. Since the flakes are made from ripe and dried chilies, they take on a red tone, thus becoming the common condiment called red pepper flakes.

The heat here can vary depending on the various peppers used, but it is usually well-balanced and adds a nice touch. 

If you want something to simply replace the heat from green chilies, these will do fine. They’re especially great for soups and salsas where they enhance the color while also providing heat. A teaspoon of red pepper flakes provides about the same heat as two green chilies.

5. Serrano

These hot chilies are available in several colors, though green is the most common one. In this color, they look quite similar to conventional green chilies. Their hotness range is 5000 to 15000 SHU. While this is hotter than many other options, it’s useful for many recipes and doesn’t get that overly hot feel.

Serrano goes best with guacamole, but will work as well as a replacement to conventional green chilies.

6. Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers are flavorful, nice, and not nearly as hot as green chilies and substitutes listed here. If you enjoy the texture, but would rather not deal with the spice and heat, bell peppers make a great choice. 

Green, yellow, and red bell peppers are most common. They’re often used to add bulk to a dish, rather than being a flavoring agent, which green chilies are.

When using these as a replacement for green chilies, remember that they won’t add any heat to the meal. While this may be desirable, it can also make the food appear bland. One way to get around this problem is to add a bit of black pepper for seasoning. That will prevent the food from tasting bland, while steering clear of getting overly spicy and hot.

7. Anaheim Peppers

These hot, green, medium-sized peppers provide an excellent replacement for green chili peppers. The heat from anaheim peppers is on the milder side of things, scoring around 500 to 2500 SHU on the Scoville scale. 

Anaheim peppers are good for flavoring and bringing out the taste of various dishes. They’ll add some heat too, without getting overpowering. Plus, they won’t have a big effect on the color and texture of the dish.

8. Red Chilies

Green chilies are unripe. If we let them ripen on the plant, they turn red and are called red chilies. Along with the change in color, the ripened chili also gets hotter and spicier. They can also play a part in the overall color and texture of a recipe. 

You can use the red chilies fresh, though they are generally available in a dried and powdered form. They have a heat index of 30,000 to 50,000 SHU, which makes them very hot and spicy. When using the powdered form, the quantity and spiciness can increase quickly, so be careful about how much you add.

It’s worth noting that red chilies as a term is something of a misnomer. So, rather than going by the color, read the ingredients carefully. For example, the Carolina Reaper at 2.2 million SHU and ghost pepper at 1.58 million SHU are both red chilies. 

9. Jalapenos

These famous peppers will replace green chilies in a pinch. Used in several recipes and dishes, Jalapenos are green, tolerably spicy, and flavorful. The SHU score for these peppers is usually between 2,500 and 8,000.

Use them freely in salsas, dips, and any other recipes. Overall, jalapenos are very similar to green chilies and make for an excellent substitute.

10. Cayenne Pepper

Red hot and willing to go the extra mile, Cayenne Peppers are quite a choice for adding heat to your food. Commercially available cayenne pepper is usually sold after drying, though you can also use it fresh. 

These peppers will add a tinge of red color and a whole lot of heat to your food. Cayenne Peppers are 30,000 to 50,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, so they can quickly make things get spicy. 

It’s also available as a dried and ground option. In this case, remember that the powder has more heat than a full pepper. About ⅛ of a tablespoon of this powder would be enough to equal a conventional green chili.

Are Green Chiles Hot?

Green chilies are usually rated ‘moderately hot’ and can go from 2,000 to 5,000 SHU. Keep in mind, these ratings are for hatch green chilies. The green chili family has expanded in some ways with public perception and marketing. The larger family also includes jalapenos, anaheim pepper, and more. If it’s green, spicy, and hot, there’s a good chance someone’s calling it a green chili!

However, what stays consistent across these versions is the heat. Green chilies are hot. As we know, hatch green chilies lean towards the milder side, while jalapenos are hot. Thai green chilies can get super hot and hit the ceiling at 350,000 SHU!

Picking The Right Substitute For Green Chilies

When going for a substitute for green chilies, the usual considerations are towards the heat, spiciness, and to a lesser extent, the texture of the dish. The chilies also help make the food more flavorful and bring out the taste from other ingredients. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of options available for replacement. When picking a replacement, you can also consider how hot you want the chilies to be. We’ve included the Scoville score of each alternative to make that choice easier for you!

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