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All About Common Dried Chiles

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2010

We gathered seven common dried chiles. Here are our notes on their appearance, flavor, and heat.

Just as dried fruit has a more concentrated taste than its fresh counterpart, chiles gain a more intense character when dried. Because they’re allowed to ripen on the plant, many often taste sweeter dried than fresh. For dried chiles with the best flavor, buy ones that are pliable and smell slightly fruity.

Ancho (dried poblano)

Appearance: Wrinkly; dark red Flavor: Rich, with raisiny sweetness Heat (on a scale of 1 to 4): 1 Substitutions: Pasilla, mulato

Mulato (dried smoked poblano)

Appearance: Wrinkly; deep brown Flavor: Very smoky, with hints of licorice and dried cherry Heat (on a scale of 1 to 4): 1 Substitutions: Ancho

Chipotle (dried smoked jalapeno)

Appearance: Wrinkly; brownish red Flavor: Smoky, chocolaty, with tobacco-like sweetness Heat (on a scale of 1 to 4): 2 Substitutions: None

Cascabel

Appearance: Small, round; reddish brown Flavor: Nutty, woodsy Heat (on a scale of 1 to 4): 2 Substitutions: New Mexico

New Mexico

Appearance: Smooth; brick red Flavor: Slightly acidic, earthy Heat (on a scale of 1 to 4): 2 Substitutions: Cascabel

Arbol

Appearance: Smooth; bright red Flavor: Bright, with smoky undertones Heat (on a scale of 1 to 4): 3 Substitutions: Pequin

Pequin

Appearance: Small, round; deep red

Flavor: Brighty, citrusy

Heat (on a scale of 1 to 4): 3

Substitutions: Arbol