8 Perfect Anaheim Pepper Substitutes (Plus a Non-Spicy Option)

If you’re following a recipe that requires Anaheim peppers and you don’t have any in your kitchen, there are numerous other veggies that work just as well, including:

  • Serrano peppers
  • Poblano peppers
  • Jalapeño peppers
  • Hungarian wax peppers
  • Chilaca peppers
  • Fresno peppers
  • Cubanelle peppers
  • Shishito peppers
  • Bell peppers (non-spicy option)

Anaheim peppers

What Are Anaheim Peppers?

Anaheim peppers are versatile peppers that are green in color and can be chopped up and put into salads or stuffed to make stuffed peppers. They have a mild heat, at no more than 2,500 Scoville heat units (SHUs), and a light fruity sweetness that makes them popular, especially for people who want a little spiciness added to certain dishes without those dishes being too hot. They are roughly five inches in length with a curvy shape, and they originated in Mexico.

Some grocery stores may call Anaheim peppers by other names, such as New Mexico peppers, chile seco del norte (dried form), Magdalena, California chili and, once they turn red, California red chilies or chili Colorado. If you can handle the spiciness of a jalapeño pepper, you can handle an Anaheim pepper. Their peppery, slightly sweet taste makes them a favorite for many people.

Suitable Substitutes for Anaheim Peppers

If you’re looking for good Anaheim pepper alternatives, try one of the following peppers:

1. Serrano Peppers

Serrano peppers look a lot like jalapeño peppers yet are much hotter and spicier, with a flavor that is more smoky than anything else. These peppers are great when they’re roasted, and if you’re looking for the perfect peppers to put in your homemade salsa, these are the ones to use. In more ways than one, serrano peppers are the perfect replacement for Anaheim peppers in most recipes.

Poblano peppers to be used as Anaheim pepper substitutes
Poblano peppers

2. Poblano Peppers

Poblano peppers are slightly spicy, which makes them a very good substitute for the Anaheim pepper. When you look at a poblano pepper, you’ll notice it is darker in color and a little larger than an Anaheim pepper, but keep in mind that they turn either brown or dark red as they ripen. You can also dry, roast, or fry these peppers.

3. Jalapeño Peppers

Because jalapeño peppers can be found everywhere and have a taste and texture that is similar to Anaheim peppers, they make the perfect replacement regardless of how you’re going to cook them.

4. Hungarian Wax Peppers

If you want a little extra spiciness in your dish but a flavor and texture that is similar to Anaheim peppers, Hungarian wax peppers are what you need. These peppers are roughly 20 times hotter than Anaheim peppers, so they are not for people who dislike spiciness in their dishes. Nevertheless, you can use them for any recipes in which you normally use Anaheim peppers if you like spicy food.

5. Chilaca Peppers

Many people have never heard of a chilaca pepper, but this pepper is very similar to Anaheim peppers in both taste and texture. Just like the Anaheim pepper, these peppers have a taste that is earthy, rich, and sweet, and it has a spiciness of 1,000 SHUs. Anaheim peppers offer anywhere from 500 SHUs to 2,500 SHUs, making these two peppers similar in many ways. You can roast, bake, or grill chilaca peppers.

Fresno peppers to be used as Anaheim pepper substitutes
Fresno peppers

6. Fresno Peppers

Fresno peppers look and taste almost exactly like jalapeño peppers and can therefore be used in place of Anaheim peppers. These peppers are sweet and fruity, but you should know that they can be a lot hotter and spicier than Anaheim peppers. They are not for people who can’t handle extra-spicy peppers, but if the extra kick is what you’re looking for, these peppers are perfect.

7. Cubanelle Peppers

If you prefer a little bit of kick but not a ton of spiciness, Cubanelle peppers might be for you. They look similar to thinner bell peppers and have a slightly sweet taste, and compared to other peppers, they are a tad mild. Nevertheless, these are versatile peppers that you can stuff or fry, and they come out delicious every time. Cubanelle peppers can easily be a replacement for Anaheim peppers.

8. Shishito Peppers

These peppers look a little like okra and are long and dark green in color. They are less spicy than Anaheim peppers, and they originated in East Asia. Because of the taste and texture, shishito peppers are an excellent replacement for Anaheim peppers. They are great when grilled or fried and extremely delicious when stuffed.

Non-Spicy Option: Bell Peppers

Bell peppers to be used as Anaheim pepper substitutes

If you need a replacement for Anaheim peppers because you don’t like your foods spicy, bell peppers are your best bet. They rank at the bottom of the Scoville scale with zero SHUs, which means you’ll get that classic pepper taste without any of the heat.

Anaheim peppers can be difficult to find depending on where you live, but there are lots of substitutes you can use if you know what they are. When finding replacements, study the taste and texture of the peppers to make sure they match those of Anaheim peppers.