Green Chili Substitute: These 12 Peppers Are Good Alternatives for Green Chili

Green chilies are a class of mild to hot peppers that give life to dishes and dips. They contain a compound called capsaicin, which gives the heat but can also have side effects when consumed in excess. This is one of the reasons why people look for a substitute for green chili.

More so, if you get a hang of these peppers and know how to avoid the burning sensations, you will love green chilies.

Whereas, if you’d rather not have a spicy meal, then, you need substitutes that can give you the sweetness of green chilies with less heat.

SEE: Chili Powder Substitutes That Suits Your Needs

What Is Green Chili?

Green chili is a sweet bell pepper that belongs to the species Capsicum annum. This pepper is native to Central America, South America, and Mexico. The smoky flavor of green chilies makes a good contribution to spicy dishes and dips.

Green chilies have a spiciness rating of 500-2,500 units on the Scoville scale. These chili peppers are used in curries, stews, soups, salads, and salsas. You can also have them pickled for salad, pizza, nachos, and for storage too.

In addition, adding green chili to your meals have health benefits. It can help improve digestion, boost body metabolism, aid weight loss, and relieve stress.

Green Chili Substitutes

1. Jalapeno Peppers

jalapeno green chili substitute - cheffist

Jalapeno peppers are one of the common peppers used to substitute green chili. They fall in the range of moderately spicy peppers. To use jalapeno, remove the ribs and seeds.

These peppers make good condiments for marinades, curries, sauces, and dips to give a different flavor from green chilies. A typical jalapeno pepper has the same spice level as green chili; therefore, it is usually first considered.

2. Banana Pepper

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Another green chili substitute for people who want to retain moderate spiciness but add more flavor and sweetness is banana pepper. They are considered low to mild peppers with a rating of 0-500 SHU. Moreover, they are popular and easy to get in local markets and stores.

Banana pepper is good for any dish you would naturally add chili to. If you’re making do with banana peppers because you ran out of green chilies, you may add other hotter peppers or garlic if you want more heat.

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3. Chili Powder

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Chili powder is red. It is a combination of dry chilies, garlic, cumin, and other spices that are ground into a powdery form. This powder has a spiciness rating of 1,000 to 2,500 SHU.

This dry pepper powder is moderately hot with a mild to strongly aromatic, smoky flavor. Moreover, it should be used sparingly to avoid giving your dish more kick of heat than intended. 

It makes a good substitute for the days you run out of fresh chilies or when you just want a feel of dry peppers. So, feel free to buy one or two jars and store them for the rainy day. They have a shelf life of up to two years even after opening the jars.  

½ teaspoon of chili powder = 1 chopped fresh chili. 

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4. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper flakes or powder is another substitute for green chili. It is gotten from the cayenne plant. Cayenne pepper is commonly available in dry forms, but you can also cook with fresh cayenne pepper.

The pepper is way spicier than green chilies, with a spiciness rating of 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. Therefore, you should be careful when adding cayenne pepper to your dishes. Cayenne pepper adds a sweet, spicy, and smoky flavor to your sauces, egg dishes, and stews.

1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder = 1 chopped fresh chili.

5. Smoked Paprika

Sweet paprika has a natural spiciness of 200 to 1,000 SHU. Paprika pepper is not as hot and spicy as green chili. Powdered smoked paprika makes meals spicier than regular paprika. This makes it a good substitute for people who cannot tolerate the spiciness of green chili.

However, with smoked paprika, you can still enjoy the smoky flavor of green chilies with less heat. Smoked paprika is great for preparing meals like jambalaya, ratatouille, smoked deviled eggs, and smoky potatoes. 

6. Habanero Pepper

Green chilies are no match for habanero pepper. So, if you need more spice to your dish and your green chilies don’t suffice or when you run out of chilies, you can replace them with habanero.

Most importantly, you should tread cautiously when you substitute green chili with habanero peppers. Habanero has a rating of 100,000 to 350,000 SHU.

7. Red Chilli

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Red chili is ripened green chili. They are spicier than green chili with a rating of 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. You want to use them with more caution. They make good sauces, stews, and dips like green chilies. Red chili also has the smoky flavor of green chilies.

SEE: Peppercorn vs Pepper

8. Anaheim Pepper

Anaheim pepper is mild but just a little spicier than green chili. This pepper has a spiciness rating of 500 to 5,000 SHU. It makes a perfect substitute when you run out of green chili or it’s unavailable in the stores or markets.

Cooking with anaheim pepper adds an intense sweetness to your meals, alongside the kick of heat. It’s a great pick for people who want to enjoy mild spicy but strongly flavored meals.

9. Poblano Pepper

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If you need a mild and sweet alternative with the smoky flavor of green chilies, you can use poblano pepper. This pepper has a spiciness rating of 1,000 to 2000 SHU on the Scoville scale. The riper it is, the spicier it is.

However, poblano pepper has a waxy texture, so you may need to roast the pepper before you cook with it. Also, you need to dice it in bits otherwise you’d have big pepper chunks in your food.

SEE: Food Storage Mistakes You Should Avoid

10. Green Fresno

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Green Fresno peppers are small, round peppers with a strong resemblance to berries. They have a flavor similar to peppercorns. Green Fresno, if allowed to stay for longer, can turn red like chilies.

This pepper has a spiciness rating of 2,500 to 10,000 SHU, making them spicier than green chilies. Green Fresno pepper gives you a mix of chilies and a smoky flavor in your salsas, casseroles, sauces, dips, stews, and soups.

11. Serrano Pepper

serrano pepper - cheffist

Serrano is very hot. The pepper is exceptionally for people who can withstand intense heat in their sauces, dips, stews, salsas, and soups. Compared to the SHU rating of green chili, serrano pepper has a score of 10,000 to 30,000 SHU, which is about three times hotter than chilies.

You must use this pepper sparingly if you want its sweet, strong flavor but cannot stand the heat. They are good for hot sauce and sprinkles for pizza.

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12. Pasilla Pepper

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Pasilla pepper (or little raisin) has a spiciness rating of 250 to 3,999 SHU. It ranges from mild to hot with a strong dried-fruit flavor.

This pepper is a good alternative for green chili if you want something stronger and less spicy when boiling meat or fish. The intense boost pasilla pepper gives meals is what makes it different from other peppers.

Why Does Green Chili Need Substitutes?

Capsaicin, a compound contained in green chili shows adverse effects when consumed in excess. This compound is also responsible for the burning sensation you feel when you eat green chili.

Some people get a headache after eating too much green chili, while others cannot withstand the heat. These are some of the reasons why you need a green chili substitute stocked up somewhere.

In addition, a substitute will come in very handy when you run out of chili while cooking.

SEE: Best Cooking Tips That Will Make You a Better Cook At Home


How can you store green chili?

Store your green chili in airtight containers. But before you do, remove the seeds, wash, and dry them before you put them into the containers.

Keep the containers from sunlight and refrigerate them when necessary.

Is green chili bad?

If you consume the green chili in the right quantity, it is completely safe for your health.

Is jalapeno pepper hotter than habanero?

No, it is not. Habanero pepper is about a hundred times hotter than a jalapeno pepper. The former has a spiciness rating of up to 350,000 SHU, while the latter has a rating of 3,500 SHU.


Green chili is an old-time kitchen staple that adds taste and spice to dishes. However, while some people love them, some people do not, and for various reasons.

For any of the various reasons why green chili may not be all or the one thing you need at the moment, you can make do with any of the substitutes. Most importantly, before you pick a pepper, consider your preference for spice and that of those who’d be having the meal with you.

Thanks for reading.

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