What Is A Good Poblano Pepper Substitute? | The Ultimate Guide

img of The Best Poblano Pepper Substitute

When preparing stuffed peppers, poblano pepper is a fantastic choice.  

This dark green, mild heat chili has a garden-fresh earthy taste and slightly waxy texture that complements stuffing mixes from meat-based to vegetarian and vegan diets.

In Mexican cuisine, it is the base for chili rellenos and is commonly roasted, stuffed, fried, and added to salsa.  

We understand that poblano may be your favorite pepper to stuff.

So, what is a good poblano substitute if your local grocery store or farmers market is sold out?  

Keep reading to discover tasty alternatives, how to roast and clean peppers, and flavorful recipes to consider for each of our recommended options.

What Is A Good Poblano Pepper Substitute

Poblano pepper ranges between 500 – 2500 Scoville scale heat units (SHU) and is approximately 4 inches (10 cm) long. The flesh is relatively thick, offering a pleasant “meaty” texture. 

It is the ideal pepper for palates that enjoy the heat without burning their tastebuds.  

Certainly, an alternative may offer a different heat, flavor, and texture. But each brings a unique and new taste sensation. 

Anaheim Peppers

  • Scoville Heat Units: 500 – 2500
  • Length: 6 – 10 inches (15 – 25cm)

The basic variety of Anaheim peppers is leafy green with a smokey, sweet, and tangy flavor. 

It has a crisp and refreshing texture with slightly less flesh density. However, the heat is identical.  

This pepper is slimmer than poblano, accommodating less stuffing mix. We recommend you stuff a few more to bulk up your meal. That said, Anaheim is the closest and best poblano pepper alternative.

Banana Peppers

  • Scoville Heat Units: 100 – 500
  • Length: 2 – 3 inches (5 – 8 cm)

Banana peppers range from pale green to yellow with a curved shape. These similar characteristics of a banana influenced its name. 

It is sweet with a pleasant crunchy texture. As with Anaheim pepper, it is slimmer than poblano, so stuff a few more to ensure you have enough for your meal.

Due to the low heat, consider banana peppers for those that do not like chili.

Pro Tip: 

Banana peppers are ideal for pickling. Also, slice it fresh to use as a soup garnish, in salads, or on sandwiches.  

Bell Peppers

  • Scoville Heat Units: 0 – 100
  • Length: 4 – 5 inches (10 – 13 cm)

Your local grocery store or farmers market is sure to have bell peppers. These peppers come in lush green, bright yellow, and vibrant red with thick and tender flesh.  

The familiar green variety has a slightly bitter and grassy flavor aligning well with poblano. When left to ripen, it turns yellow before turning red in its most mature state. All three varieties have basically zero heat.  

The red has a sweet flavor, and the yellow bounces between bitter and sweet. The tender texture remains consistent. As does the heat.

Bell peppers are similar in size and slightly wider than poblano-making them ideal for stuffing. Also, the zero heat brings an opportunity to spice up your filling.

Out of the three, we suggest you opt for green bell pepper. The flavor is closest to poblano, and you can add chili spice to the filling.  

Cubanelle Pepper

  • Scoville Scale Units: 100 – 1000
  • Length: 5 – 7 inches (12 – 18 cm)

Cubanelle peppers come in a yellowish-pale green or red when fully ripened. When it is green, it has a peppery flavor with mellow-honey notes alongside a satisfying snap and tender texture.

The flesh is slightly thinner than poblano or bell peppers and is more similar to the Anaheim pepper. As with bell peppers, it is generous in size and perfect for stuffing.  

Besides the size, it offers more heat than bell peppers aligning more with poblano.

We suggest you use the same amount of cubanelle peppers in your recipe as a poblano pepper substitute.

Jalapeno Peppers

  • Scoville Scale Units: 2500 – 8000
  • Length: 3 – 4 inches (7 – 10 cm)

If there is one go-to, high-demand pepper, it must be jalapeno. It is dark green with a mildly smokey and earthy flavor. The heat is slightly higher than poblano, offering a sharp yet mild bite.

Jalapeno has a fresh and crispy texture, and its flesh thickness is similar to Anaheim pepper. Furthermore, the size matches the number of peppers required in your recipe. 

Of all our poblano pepper alternatives, jalapeno is the best if you like a touch of extra heat.

Pro Tip:

Jalapenos pickle well and make an excellent garnish when finely sliced

Interesting Facts

How To Roast and Peel Pablano Peppers

The general rule of thumb is peppers with thin skin do not need to be roasted and peeled before cooking. 

That said, peppers with thicker skin ensure an enhanced flavor experience when roasted and peeled.  

Regardless of the “thin skin rule,” we recommend you roast peppers anyway. This method refines the flavor of your meal.    

The best way to roast pepper is directly on your gas stove top on an open flame. Of course, this method can get messy, but it is fun at the same time. 

Here are the roasting steps for ultimate flavor results:

  • Wash and dry your peppers thoroughly
  • Keep the peppers whole with the stems intact
  • Put your gas plate on a medium to low heat
  • Place the peppers directly onto the flame area, balancing them on the grid
  • Do not leave the peppers unattended
  • Allow one side to blacken (or char) evenly
  • Using steel tongs with a protective handle, turn the chilis over and over again until the entire pepper is charred
  • Remove from the heat and place on a board 

Now, let’s peel the peppers:

  • Place the charred peppers in a zip lock bag and seal to sweat
  • Once the peppers are cool to the touch, remove them from the bag and back onto the board
  • Using a sharp knife, scrape as much of the charred skin off as possible

And just like that, you have roasted peppers packed with flavor.  

Flavorful Recipes – Let’s get stuffing!

Chili Rellenos – Vegetarian

Probably the most renowned Mexican favorite using poblano peppers. This traditional dish is made with roasted poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, dipped in a fluffy egg mixture, and roasted until golden brown. Sound delicious?  Try the recipe.

Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

This recipe makes an excellent appetizer. We love the feta cheese. Indeed, a delicious and creamy finishing touch.  Check out the recipe.

Stuffed Banana Peppers – Meat-based

If you love Italian cuisine, this recipe is the one for you. Of course, you can expect Italian sausage and parmesan cheese.  Give it a try next time you have the family over for dinner.

Shrimp Scampi and Rice Stuffed Roast GreenBell Peppers – Gluten Free

A quick and delicious seafood appetizer or light meal. It hits the seafood spot just right.  Try it out!

Turkey Stuffed Cubanelle Peppers

Why not try this delicious recipe with your Thanks Giving leftovers? We suggest you follow the recipe and add the cooked leftovers at the end. Even better, you could give it a test run. It may be a great meal to consider for Thanks Giving if you want to try something new and unique.  

Jalapeno Peppers with Cheddar Cheese – Vegetarian or Pork

This recipe steps out of the box and brings an exciting twist to jalapeno poppers. There is bacon in the recipe. However, if you want a vegetarian option, leave it out or add a vegetarian smokey substitute you enjoy.  Try something new!


Final Roasted Pepper Thoughts

Our flavorful recipes are sure to entice your family and guests. We bet you are curious about the results.

Even so, you can make your favorite filling and try our poblano pepper alternatives as the base. Each brings a tasty and satisfying meal to your dinner table.

Certainly, a good poblano pepper substitute will vary from palate to palate. Which one was your favorite?

We would love to hear from you.  Get in touch!

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