Guajillo Chile


Guajillo Chile

The Guajillo chile is one of the most commonly used Mexican dried chiles, and it is now widely available in the United States. It is long and pointy, with a beautiful maroon color. Its skin is quite smooth and shinny on the outside, but it is hard and tougher and less pliable than others, like the Ancho.

It has a pleasant and deep flavor, with mild heat. It tends to be a crowd pleaser.

In the north of Mexico, it is called Rattle chile or Cascabel because it resembles the tail of a rattlesnake and it makes the sound of a rattle as you shake it. But, there is another chile of an entirely different variety that goes by the name Cascabel. It is used in many ways, such as to prepare table sauces, to season stews, moles and soups, to make adobos and rubs too.

Usually, to use the chile, you need to remove the stem, seeds and veins. Toast the chile in a comal or skillet for about 10 to 15 seconds per side, until it turns brownish and opaque.  Just be careful not to burn it or it will taste bitter. Then in most cases, it is either ground or simmered and pureed or mashed along with other ingredients.

  • Would these be a suitable replacement for ancho chile in your chilorio recipe? In terms of flavor and heat?

    • Pati Jinich

      Hi BoomBoom,
      The ancho chile really works best for making chilorios. It has a distinct bittersweet flavor and mild spice that complements that recipe well. And since dried chiles have such different flavors, it can be difficult to substitute them. You can find them in most supermarkets now or online. Here is a link to more information on ancho chiles:

  • Can the cascabel taste good in chicken tamales instead of ancho? I plan to use it in the chicken meat.

    • Pati Jinich

      Hola Rosalidia, Yes! The cascabel would work well in the chicken tamales. Go for it!!

  • Pati, do you still toast the guajillo when it is already dried? If not, how do you usually deal with the dried chile?

    • Pati Jinich

      Hi Molly, Yes! You toast the dried guajillo chile. Just be very careful not to burn because it will taste bitter.

  • Kachine

    Hi Pati, in the event of accidently making a bitter sauce with the chiles. What is the best technique to try to doctor the sauce or at least lessen the bitterness? I almost always do this. Thanks for showing us these great recipes.

    • Pati

      Hi Kachine,
      Try not to burn the chiles when and if you toast them! What you can do is make more sauce without the chiles and mix it with the former batch. But if it turns out too bitter, best bet is to make a new batch…

  • Magdalena

    Hola Pattie.
    What is a good recipe for enchiladas rojas using chilies gaullio?
    Love your show!

  • Rita

    Hi Pati,

    I just watched your show – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and you make what I thought was an Ancho Chile Relish. You said it is a staple that you keep in your icebox every day … in a ball jar! I have looked all over for the recipe – could you help me?

    Many thanks,


  • Franklin

    Which is the least mild chile to use when making menudo Ancho or GUAJILLO or California
    Love your show

    • Pati

      The ones you mention are similar in levels of heat… I’d say California is the least spicy, followed by Guajillo and then Ancho. But Guajillo and Ancho are barely spicy…

  • Franklin

    If I use to much cumin how can I correct the taste. Does cumin taste bitter if I use to much.

  • Veronica Romero

    I am preparing pork tamales, can I use guajillo peppers instead of ancho peppers??