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How to Cook With Guajillo Chiles: 3 Ways to Prepare Guajillo Chiles

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Nov 8, 2020 • 1 min read

Guajillo chiles are large, thin chiles have bright red skin, a mild kick with some natural sweetness, and an earthy flavor that goes well in pastes and rubs.



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What Is a Guajillo Chile?

Guajillo chiles are the dried form of the mirasol chile. They are one of the most popular dried chiles in Mexican cuisine. Along with ancho chiles and chiles de árbol, they form the “holy trinity” of chiles. They have reddish-brown skin and are about four to six inches long and are narrower than anchos.

What Do Guajillo Chiles Taste Like?

Guajillo chiles have a sweet, fruity, tangy, smoky flavor profile with notes of berries and tea. They have a mild heat, registering 2,500 to 5,000 on the Scoville scale. (Compared to the jalapeño which is 2,500–8,000 SHU, or a poblano, which is 1,000–1,500 SHU.)

How to Use Guajillo Chiles

Guajillos lend their sweet heat to all kinds of Mexican food and beyond.

  • In salsa: Try them in guajillo chile salsa spooned over tacos, tamales, enchiladas, or tortilla chips.
  • In mole: Mix guajillos with other chiles for complex mole sauces and adobos (marinades).
  • In marinade: Gabriela Cámara’s Adobo Rojo de Chiles sauce, which incorporates guajillos alongside other dried chiles including cascabel, ancho, pasilla, and chile de árbol, can be used as a marinade for tacos al pastor or spread on one half of a whole snapper for her famous Pescado a la Talla.
  • In harissa: Guajillo peppers are also a common ingredient in the North African pepper paste, harissa.
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3 Ways to Prepare Guajillo Chiles

There are a few ways to prepare guajillo chiles in Mexican cooking.

  1. Rehydrate: Like most dried chiles, guajillo recipes often call for rehydrating the chiles in hot water, then removing the seeds and stems before pureeing into a flavorful sauce or marinade. You can also drop a dried guajillo chile straight into a brine or soup
  2. Toast: Many recipes will also call for toasting the chiles before rehydrating to bring out the flavor.
  3. Grind: You can grind dried guajillo chiles into guajillo chile powder.

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