Ancho Chile

The Ancho chile is a stellar ingredient in Mexican cuisine. It is probably the most used dried Chile throughout Mexico and no wonder why: Its flavor is unmatchable.

The Ancho is the Poblano Chile that has been ripened to a deep red and then dried. This concentrates the already exuberant and fruity flavors of the Poblanos.

It is wide, chubby, wrinkled and very pliable, different from other dried chiles. It has a deep reddish brown skin, with a bit of shine, which sort of imitates its flavor as well. Deep and rich, sharp and fruity, it has a hint of bittersweet notes and a resemblance to the flavor of prunes. It is very mild in heat.

Ancho chiles can be easily found in grocery stores throughout the US. They are typically rinsed, seeded and then toasted and/or soaked or simmered in hot water.


36comments inAncho Chile

  1. Ken

    Jul 04

    Funny, I have been using Poblano peppers for years. I think it is my favorite of the sweet peppers. And, I never could figure out why I never saw an Ancho chili… until now. I wasn’t looking in the dried peppers section.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 05

      I’m glad you found the anchos now, Ken!

  2. John McCoy

    Jun 17

    Hola Pati! Some of us have a problem with ancho versus pasilla chiles. In Southern California, actual ancho chiles (dried poblanos) are labeled “ancho/pasilla chiles”. If you want the real pasilla, dried chilacas, I THINK they are called chile negro here. The difference in names has probably led to a lot of confusion about particular recipes.

    Next problem, bulk dried chiles in big bins at the Hispanic grocery stores have probably been sitting there for a long time. I finally realized that those packed in cellophane have a “best by” date, so it’s possible to get them while they are still slightly pliable, leathery, and fragrant, instead of brittle, dry, and nearly odorless. The ones in open bins should be avoided unless they are fresh and fragrant enough that the aroma reaches you from across the produce section.

    There are cooks who warn against any amount of charring when toasting chiles, I suppoed on the theory that any bitterness is a no-no. On the other hand, some want to see that little wisp of smoke. Some have tried to recommend toasting them on a baking sheet in a 350, 400, or 450 oven for various amounts of time, in an attempt to standardize the results.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 18

      Yes, sometimes anchos are labeled as pasillas, but you can tell the difference by the shape of the chile. Here’s some more info: To toast your chiles, I like to use a comal and toast them until they just become fragrant.


    Jun 01

    Hi Paty, what is “Chile’s toreados”. Thanks for your help. I cook a lot of your recipes
    Thanks Paquita K

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 05

      Chiles toreados are serranos or jalapeños that are charred and then marinated in a mix of soy sauce and lime juice, Paquita. You can usually find cans of them in the international food aisle or your market.

  4. Skip

    Sep 16

    Hi Pattie, I just caught the tail end of an episode where you Pickled Ancho Chiles in a Jar , for use on a salad, then kept in the refrigerator. Would you please point me to the correct episode for the recipe?
    Thank you !

  5. Sharon Paul

    Aug 23

    Hola Pati
    I was wondering if it is possible to get Poblano seeds in Canada so that I can grow my own.

    1. Pati

      Aug 24

      I’m not sure…I recommend looking online. Good luck, Sharon!

  6. Phil & Paige

    Aug 25

    We will be going to San Antonio to do some shopping. She is going to try to cook a couple of your recipes! I will make the sweets.. being the dad.. I have to cook something!! We now have a stock of ‘Chile Ancho and Poblanos’ to cook with. We are going to try to cook what you show us. Should start my little girl Paige a way to be resourceful and build her imaginations for cooking. I on the other hand will continue to buy my Elixir for my Belly ~PepcidAC!~ Thanks so much for being on TV to show people what they miss out on!!

  7. Phil & Paige

    Aug 22

    We have watched your Shows and my little one has to try things she has never seen in a menu or into any restaurants here in Austin, Texas. We are both cooks at which we do get compliments from friends that come over to share what we do. Being a single dad I love showing my little girl she can become anything she wants. However, She mostly will be a Chef Cook since the only TV shows she watches constantly instead of cartoons like other kids.. are her love for the Cooking shows.
    She has been in contests with other kids and wanted to show them what a real meal is.. but they (The Staff) at the school looked at her in horror when she said she needed to use ingredients with a Rum and fire. It was not something they expected nor wanted.. So much for that.
    She went on to make it to 3rd place for cooking which made her happy. But now as those things went by she has stuck to the cooking like a fish to water and does not want to get off of her favorite subject.
    When we saw your show close to 2 months ago? She would wait for the show to come on watching with pen and paper to copy down what she needs to make. She is not afraid to say when food doesn’t come out and when the food comes out.. it is with a Smile like a happy cat when it comes out “Perfect”.
    But for some of the reasons.. I am sitting here as she watches like a pet monkey behind me. She directs me as what to say and what questions to ask. We need to know where we can get a hold of the many fruits you show on TV? We go all over this huge city with no luck. And if we do find the fruits.. sadly they are in cans to which she says it ruins the taste of her food. If we travel to Mexico to buy the fruits will we be stopped at the border for trying to bring back the fruit or fined? Neither of which is a very promising thing to be a part of.
    Mainly the food she wants is to say they taste as good as when she sees you cooking them up! You are one of her favorite cooks that has a pleasing variety to life’s blood in cooking.
    Thanks for all the great TV Shows and delightful Recipes we can try. Hope to hear from you soon..
    Fans .. Phil & Paige

    1. Pati

      Aug 25

      Hola Phil & Paige, Thank you so much for your lovely message & for watching my show! Paige, it sounds like you are a wonderful cook, and I hope you keep it up! You are right to seek out the best ingredients. Have you tried your local Mexican or Hispanic markets?

  8. Mr Mnuel Hernandez

    Dec 17

    Love your originality of all your receipts. It is what I been looking for years in your style.

    1. Pati

      Dec 17


  9. Laura Peña

    May 12

    Hola Paty
    Me gusta mucho su programa. En uno de sus programas dio la receta para hacer una conserva de chile ancho, se me pasaron los ingredientes, podria darme los ingredientes.

  10. dewi

    May 05

    i want to try this recipe…but i have difficulty to find the mexican spicy…i am from indonesia…..n nice to meet y all

  11. Dan Geocaris

    Apr 20

    Hola Pati
    I just watched your episode that featured the Chipotle Honey Ribs. I was intrigued by the Ancho Salsa that you made and kept in the refrigerator. I tried to find it in the recipe from the episode but couldn’t find it. Any way you can post the ingredients?

  12. Audre Becker

    Feb 19

    Just enjoy your show and recipes so much. You are the best Mexican Food Chef on TV. – Just tried chicken Milinese WOW with squash and your mashed potatos – fantastic. Thank you so much.

    1. Pati

      Feb 19

      Thank you, Audre!! Happy to hear you tried the chicken milanesa.

  13. Erma Monhollon

    Jan 30

    Thanks for the receipe, that is the one.!!!

  14. Erma Monhollon

    Jan 26

    Hi Pati,
    I lost some of the information for the chili u had on PBS today, u had used bacon, cloriso(sausage) and not sure what else. I would love to have this receipe> Thanks Erma It was Jan 26, 2013

    1. Pati

      Jan 29

      Hola Erma, I believe you are looking for the Cowboy Charro Beans? Here’s the recipe:

  15. Corrine

    Jan 21

    May I please get the ‘soaking liquid’ recipe? While watching your show, the signal blanked in & out, so I didn’t get the information!

    Thank you,

    1. Pati

      Jan 23

      Hi Corrine, I’m unsure which dish you are specifically referring to, however ‘soaking liquid’ in my recipes refers to the liquid (usually water) the dried chiles (or sometimes beans) were steeped in. You’ll want to reserve that liquid and add it later when the recipe calls for it. I hope this helps!! Please let me know which recipe you want to try, and I can help you further! 🙂

  16. Betty Fraser

    Jan 19

    Dear Pati,
    I made the mexican rice casserole dish yesterday and what a terrific side dish it is! Served it with red snapper veracruz and it was a perfect coupling. Also a great dish for the vegetarian dinner guest. Thanks so much. Love your cooking show Pati. Betty

    1. Pati

      Jan 24

      Betty, Thank you so much for letting me know how the casserole turned out!!

  17. Ray Dail

    Jan 14

    Hi Pati, I just discovered you website and am looking forward to your TV Shows. I have visisted Mexico many times and love Mexican food and cooking. I have been cooking for a lot of years and everything I find Mexican is very complicated. I love what I am seeing on your shows and am looking forward to trying some of your recipes. One Happy Gringo!!

    1. Pati

      Jan 14

      Hola Happy Gringo!!! So happy you are enjoying my site and shows: that’s what I aim for…

  18. Ann Hester

    Jul 28

    I just watched your show this morning (July 30th on WVPT) where you made empanadas and Mexican casserole with chili reijos, rice, cheese, cream, etc. My children are vegetarains and it looked like a wonderful dish to fix for them, but couldn’t find the recipe on site. Please help me with this recipe, They come for dinner about every 6 weeks. Thanks!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 01

      Hola Ann, Here is a link to all of the recipes from that episode I hope you and your children enjoy!

  19. Janice Zunino

    Jul 23

    Just saw your show with the pork and tamales and baked banannas
    Enjoyed it and love getting the receipes on the computer.
    Glad to read about you. Wish I could get the receipe for old fashioned home made tortillas. My mother-in-law made them fresh
    everyday they replaced bread in that family.

  20. John Zuniga

    Jul 16

    Please sign me and my family up for any email updates. We’re not on Facebook or any of the other social networking sites out there now days…So how do I get a message to Pati? It’s simply to share with her how fond we are of her and her tv program and the fact that she shares her recipes freely on this site.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jul 21

      Hola John, Thank you for reaching out to me. My email address can be found on my website under contact. I absolutely adore hearing from reader or viewer friends! It is one of the best parts of my day to hear from people who are enjoying the show and website. Please continue to post and share any exciting stories.

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