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Savory Tweaks: 5 BEST Mulato Chiles Substitutes

Are you looking for an alternative to Mulato Chiles? You’re in luck.

Here, you’ll find five top-notch substitutes to help spice up your recipes without missing a beat.

Discover the unique flavors of the Mulato Chile and why these five substitutes are perfect replacements.

What’s Mulato Chiles?

Mulato chiles are a type of dried chile pepper commonly used in Mexican and Latin American cuisine.

Their mild heat and sweet, earthy flavor make them a great addition to a variety of dishes, including salsas, sauces, soups and stews.

The color of the chiles range from deep brownish-black to nearly black when dry, and they are harvested while green to give them their rich, smoky flavor.

They have a pleasant sweetness that gives the finished dishes an added depth of flavor.

These chiles are similar to Ancho chiles but they have a deeper flavor due to the longer drying time.

Once rehydrated in water, they turn dark reddish-brown in color and measure at 7-8 on the Scoville scale for heat level.

You can find them fresh or dried at many specialty stores or online retailers when in season.

Because these peppers can be hard to come by year-round, we’ve rounded up five of the best substitutes for mulato chiles so your recipes don’t suffer from lack of availability.

How to Cook and Use Mulato Chiles?

Mulato chiles, also known as ancho chiles, are a mild to medium-hot variety of chili pepper.

They are part of the “holy trinity” of Mexican chile peppers that includes ancho, pasilla, and guajillo peppers.

These dark, wrinkled chiles have a sweet and smoky flavor with hints of coffee and chocolate.

They are sold both whole and ground into a powder; however, grinding them fresh is the best way to release their rich flavor and aroma.

Mulato chiles can be used in variety of dishes from authentic Mexican moles to tamales and salsas.

The slightly sweet flavor makes them perfect for adding depth to desserts such as ice creams and flans.

Toasting or roasting fresh mulato peppers brings out the deeper notes in their complex flavor profile.

Soak them first for 25 minutes in warm water or even beer if desired before cooking to give your dishes an extra kick.

5 BEST Mulato Chiles Substitutes to Consider

When deciding what to use as a substitute for Mulato chiles, it’s important to consider the flavor profile and heat level of this pepper.

To succeed in creating a dish that tastes just like the original, you will want a pepper that has both rich smokiness as well as medium-heat.

To help you choose the best replacement for Mulato peppers (which can be hard to find outside of certain regions in Mexico), here are five of the top alternatives to consider:

1 – Ancho Chiles

Ancho chiles, also known as dried poblano peppers, provide a mild to medium-level heat and fruity taste that makes them a great substitute for mulato chiles in many dishes.

Anchos are most commonly cooked whole and then removed after the dish has been cooked, or minced and added directly to the recipe.

They can also be ground into a powder for use in pastes and sauces.

When substituting ancho chiles for mulato, use half as much of the ancho due to their milder flavor profile.

2 – Pasilla Chiles

Pasilla chiles are the dried version of a chilaca pepper and are part of the Mexican “holy trinity” along with ancho and mulato chiles.

Pasilla chiles look similar to ancho peppers, but they have a unique flavor profile.

They tend to be mild to medium in heat, slightly sweet, and have hints of berry and raisin-like flavors.

Pasilla peppers are occasionally referred to as pasilla negro or chile negro, but they are actually much darker than your standard black pepper and closer in color to deep brown.

Like other dried peppers, pasilla chiles can be ground into powder for use in Mexican dishes like mole poblano or tacos al pastor.

3 – Guajillo Chiles

Guajillo chiles are one of the most popular types of Mexican chiles.

They are fairly mild, with a raisiny sweet flavor, and they range from 2-4 on a heat scale of 1-10.

Unlike mulatos, guajillos can be used fresh or dried and will last several months in your pantry.

If you’re looking for a milder version of mulato chile, guajillo is the perfect substitute.

When prepared for cooking, these peppers should be rehydrated and the skin removed before using them in sauces or stews.

4 – New Mexico Chiles

New Mexico chiles are red-colored, long peppers with an earthy, somewhat smoky flavor.

They are thicker and less spicy than jalapeño and can often be found in cans, dried or fresh in the produce section of most supermarkets.

They have a mild heat level that is similar to that of the mulato chile pepper.

These peppers can be used in dishes such as enchiladas and tacos to add a smoky, sweet flavor with just enough heat.

When buying New Mexico chiles, remember to look for ones that are smooth without splits or other signs of damage.

5 – Chipotle Chiles

Chipotle chiles, also known as Morita chiles, are ripened jalapeños that have been smoked to a deep mahogany red hue and infused with an intense smokiness reminiscent of bacon.

Most chipotles are sold in either canned in adobo sauce or dried.

They provide a wonderful smoky flavor that is slightly sweet with a fruity yet earthy undertone.

Chipotles pair well with steak, pork roast, chicken, and fish recipes as well as soups and stews.

When using canned chipotle chiles, be sure to rinse them under cold water before use to remove some of their intense heat.

Be sure to add these chiles sparingly as they can quickly overpower a dish if too much is used.


Mulato chiles are a unique and tasty addition to food from Mexico, Central America, and other Latin American cuisines.

They have a mild flavor with sweet, smoky undertones that are great for salsas, sauces, and soups.

Unfortunately, mulato chiles can be hard to find in some areas.

For those looking for alternatives to this uncommon vegetable, the list above are five of the best substitutes for mulato chiles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Mulato Chiles?

Mulato Chiles are dark brown, wrinkled, and mild-to-medium-hot dried chiles that have a smoky, sweet, and slightly bitter flavor.

They are a common ingredient in Mexican and Latin American cooking.

What are the 5 best substitutes for Mulato Chiles?

The 5 best substitutes for Mulato Chiles are ancho chiles, pasilla chiles, guajillo chiles, chipotle chiles, and cascabel chiles.

5 BEST Mulato Chiles Substitutes to Consider

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes


  • 1 – Ancho Chiles
  • 2 – Pasilla Chiles
  • 3 – Guajillo Chiles
  • 4 – New Mexico Chiles
  • 5 – Chipotle Chiles


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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