About the Ancho Chili

Is it sweet, fruity, smoky, or earthy? Many people think of chilies as having one simple purpose – adding heat. So does it really matter which chili you choose for your dish? The answer is – yes! Chilies are not only valuable for adding heat; they are also great for adding tons of flavor to a dish. Continue to read to learn more about what makes the Ancho Chili a unique chili.

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About the Ancho Chili

About the Ancho Chili

The Ancho chili is both very well known and widely used across the different regions of Mexico. It is only mildly spicy but adds a wealth of ripe fruit flavors and smoky sensations when used. Ancho chilies are wrinkly, but should also appear plump and have a dark red and slightly bendable skin. The Ancho chili is the dried version of the ubiquitous Poblano chili, which is native to the state of Puebla.

The dried Ancho chili is, in other words, a ripe version of the Poblano chili, which are fresh green chilies that are harvested before ripening.

These are the ones used to make a classic chili Relleno. However, when allowing the Poblano chili to ripen, they turn red and develop an additional sweetness, which in turn balances out their heat.

Ancho chilies register between 1,000 and 2,000 Scoville heat units, which means that they are on the milder end of the scale. They are therefore used to add mild heat, as well as sweetness, and smoke to many Mexican dishes. The sweetness of the Ancho chili is reminiscent of a raisin, although less sweet.

Ancho chilies can be used in moles, guisado sauces, and adobos amongst many other dishes. You can use a molcajete to grind the dried ancho chilies into a spice rub to meats and veggies, or for making a delicious enchilada sauce.


  • Flavor: Sweet, fruity, notes of plum
  • Color: Mahogany Red ranging to Black
  • Heat: Mild to Medium