10 Substitutes For Guajillo Chili Powder

I love cooking and finding the best spices and ingredients for my dishes. Guajillo chili powder is one of them. It adds a great flavor and kick to any meal.

I will tell you all about this spice. You'll learn why it's essential for cooking and what you can use instead of it.

A type of red chili pepper from Mexico, the guajillo chili has a fruity and slightly sweet taste with a smoky touch. It has mild to moderate heat. You can find it in many traditional Mexican dishes, especially sauces, and stews.

It is a fine powder made from dried guajillo chilies. It is a versatile spice that you can use in many dishes. It gives your recipes a beautiful red color and a rich flavor. It works well in Mexican and Southwestern cuisine, adding depth and complexity to sauces, salsas, and marinades.

Substitutes For Guajillo Chili Powder

The Importance of Guajillo Chili Powder in Cooking

dried Guajillo chilies
dried Guajillo chilies

You can use Guajillo chili powder to spice up your Mexican dishes and make them more flavorful. This powder comes from dried Guajillo chilies, which have a sweet and smoky taste with mild heat.

It adds authenticity and complexity to your recipes, whether you are making mole, enchiladas, or tamales.

This unique chili powder is not only tasty but also healthy. According to the specialty produce website, vitamins A and C support your immune system and skin health. It also has antioxidants that fight off harmful free radicals in your body.

Another benefit of this chili powder is its bright red color, which makes your dishes look more attractive and tasty. You can create a beautiful contrast with other ingredients and garnishes.

Your guests and family will be impressed by your presentation and enjoy your delicious meals.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Substitute

If you need a replacement, you should look for these qualities:

  • Similar heat level: Guajillo powder is mildly spicy, so you don't want a replacement that is too hot or mild.
  • Fruity and smoky flavor: It has a sweet and smoky taste that adds depth to your dishes.
  • Red color: Guajillo powder gives your food a lovely red hue, so you want a substitute that does the same.
  • Easy to find: You should be able to get the replacement at your local store or online.

Top 10 Substitutes for Guajillo Chili Powder

Here are ten substitutes that meet the criteria listed above.

1. Ancho Chili Powder

If you're looking for a substitute, you might want to try ancho chili powder. It comes from dried poblano peppers and has a similar flavor and heat level.

Ancho chili powder tastes fruity and slightly smoky, so it works well in many dishes.

The only difference is that ancho chili powder is a bit darker than Guajillo chili powder so it may change the color of your food slightly.

So keep that in mind when you use it in your recipes.

2. New Mexico Chili Powder

Dried New Mexico chilies make New Mexico chili powder. These chilies have a moderate heat level and a fruity, earthy taste.

This powder is an excellent substitute due to its similar flavor and heat level. Plus, it has a visually appealing bright red color.

3. Chipotle Chili Powder

Smoked, dried jalapeño peppers make chipotle chili powder.

It has a higher heat than Guajillo chili powder, but its smoky flavor makes it a good substitute.

Adjust the amount used in your recipe to achieve the desired heat level.

4. Paprika

Another replacement to try is paprika. Paprika comes from dried bell peppers and sometimes mild chili peppers.

It is sweet and fruity but not smoky or hot like Guajillo chili powder. Add a little cayenne pepper for more heat.

5. Cayenne Pepper

You can also use cayenne pepper instead. However, it's much hotter, so add less.

Mix it with paprika or smoked paprika for a similar flavor.

6. Aleppo Pepper

A fruity, slightly smoky flavor and moderate heat level make Aleppo pepper a good substitute.

This pepper grows in the Mediterranean region and is less common than other alternatives.

7. Thai Red Curry Paste

Thai red curry paste
Thai red curry paste

Thai red curry paste combines dried red chilies, garlic, and other spices. It tastes different from guajillo chili powder, but you can use it instead if you need to.

It adds a similar heat and color to your dish.

8. Hot Sauce

Hot sauce can also be a replacement. Check the flavor and heat of the sauce. They differ a lot.

9. Smoked paprika

You can get a smoky flavor from smoked paprika, which regular paprika doesn't have. This makes it more similar to guajillo chili powder.

But it's not spicy enough, so you might want to add some cayenne pepper. This way, you can get a better replacement.

10. Serrano Chilies

Serrano chilies
Serrano chilies

Serrano chilies, fresh or dried, can be another substitution option. They are equally spicy and have a fruity, smoky taste.

Chop or grind them finely for your recipe.

Tips for Using Guajillo Chili Powder Substitutes in Recipes

To replace Guajillo powder in your recipes, follow these tips:

  • Use a small amount of the substitute and taste as you go. Different substitutes have different heat levels and flavors.
  • Use less of a hotter substitute, such as cayenne or chipotle powder, to avoid making your dish too spicy.
  • Chop or grind fresh or dried chilies finely before adding them to your dish. This helps spread the heat and flavor evenly.


How to replace Guajillo chili powder?

You can use different spices to get a similar taste and spiciness.

For instance, mix paprika and cayenne pepper or smoked paprika and mild chili powder.

How to make Guajillo chili powder at home?

Grind dried guajillo chilies into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.

How to keep the substitutes fresh?

Keep your chili powder substitutes fresh and potent by storing them in a cool, dry place.

Use airtight containers to keep out moisture and sunlight.

They can last up to two years, but their flavor and potency may fade.


You can use other spices instead of Guajillo chili powder to add flavor and heat to your dishes.

Some of the best substitutes are ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, or a homemade blend of dried chilies.

These alternatives have similar tastes and heat levels.

You can use the same amount or adjust them according to your preference.

This way, you can still enjoy spicy and delicious dishes even when you don't have guajillo powder.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *