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Spicy exchange / 2023

Chilaca Peppers: A Mexican Staple

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What are Chilaca peppers?

Chilaca peppers are mild and curvy peppers that are an essential ingredient in Mexican cuisine. When dried, they are known as the Pasilla or Pasilla Bajio.

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Heat level: mild SHU range: 1,000 - 2,500 Classification: Capsicum annum Flavor: floral, tangy Origin: North America

Basic facts:

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Origin and history

The chilaca pepper originated in Mexico and is an integral part of Mexican cuisine. Chilaca comes from an ancient Aztecan term meaning "old" or "gray hair."

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While they are often dried, you can chop fresh chilaca peppers into salsas and salads. Unfortunately, their thinner skins and narrow shape make them unsuitable for stuffing.

Common culinary uses

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How to dry chilaca peppers and make pasillas

To dry chilaca peppers, start by washing them and removing any stems. Place them in the oven on the lowest heat setting, with the door slightly cracked. It may take up to 12 hours to dry completely, but it's crucial to ensure they are completely dry to prevent molding.

Get the free guide to growing chili peppers

The "green thumb" is a myth — with the right information, anyone can successfully grow peppers. Enjoy this free 34-page guide to help you grow an abundant harvest.

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