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.

38 comments on “Guajillo Chile

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  1. I fell in love with Guajillo chilies when I made your Guajillo sauce for meatballs. I substituted bone in chicken for the meatballs. I brown the chicken pieces then take them out. Then I proceed with sautéing the onions and the rest of the recipe. This is so yummy. My final sauce turned out so well but thin. So I added store bought browned roux. I live in South Louisiana where we use the “trinity” seasoning mix and make oil and flour roux’s for thickening our gumbo.

  2. Pati- I really enjoy your shows and learn so much from you! I have a request, would you consider doing a chili tutorial? There are so many types of chilis that are used, some of them dried, many need to be cooked first…I find myself confused as to how to use them and would love your insight.

  3. Hi Pati! Could I use dried guajillos to make a salsa? I ordered guajillos from the grocery store for delivery and got the dried, not fresh, peppers. Any advice on best use?

  4. Thank you for inspiring me to try this new (to me) chile, Pati. I was surprised to find that it’s not a hot chile. Instead, it adds a flavorful boost to the stew In which i used it. I simmered the dried chiles in water till they softened. Then I split them open, removed the seeds, and scraped out the pulp which is what I added to my stew. The color is deep and beautiful, as you have noted. There’s really no other chile quite like it, is there? I added all the water in which I simmered them; I also added half a 7-oz. can of chipotles in adobo sauce. I love making Mexican-inspired stews; you have inspired me to reach out for new ingredients. i love you!

  5. I have been loving the use of Chile’s and using them in different ways for my own recipes using your methods of preparation! I love your food thank you for sharing your culture and knowledge in Mexican cuisine!!! I just got cable and instead of watching series I stream you!

  6. Hola, Pati! We’re so bored with the coronavirus quarantine that we’ve decided to repaint our kitchen. I love the color of guajillo chilis after they are cooked and it would compliment our Mexican tile floor. I think I heard you say one time that you painted your kitchen the color of guajillo – or maybe I dreamed that. So, I’m looking at paint colors, trying to find the perfect shade of guajillo, LOL. Just wanted you to know that you inspire not only my cooking but my decorating, too!

    1. Yay Meg, thanks so much for this sweet message; you have seen my kitchen in the Show right? Inspired by cooked tomato sauce, seriously! Hope you find the right shade of Guajillo for your walls, would love to see a pic once you guys are done!

  7. Dear Pati I was watching your show this morning 02-03-19 on create you made a jar of gujillo sauce you keep in the refrigerator I missed the end could I get the recipe thank you your hungry fan

  8. Your show to day you made a jar of Guajillo sauce that you keep in your refrigerator what is that recipe please your A amazing cook Patty And have a very beautiful personality

  9. Dear Pati, I love your show and I am about to try my first ever Mexican dish. Your “carmalized pasilla brisket”. My problem is trying to find the pasilla chilies. A friend of mine gave me some Chilaca chilies, can I use them instead?

    1. Thank you for tuning in, Marilyn! For the brisket, the Pasilla chiles really do give a distinct flavor. You can find pasilla chiles online, if you can’t find them in a store. Have fun in the kitchen!

  10. Love the show (how can you not). I saved one of your chili recipes that you used a guajillo chili sauce that was so complex with organic unsweetened cacao powder and cinnamon. The recipe was part of an interview you did with a blog in DC. I saved it as a favorite, as it clearly was the best chili recipe I have ever had. now the link is dead and so is my heart, as my attempts to replicate from memory have failed miserably. Please help!

  11. I made your nopalitos with corn, guajillos, etc. The nopalitos are kind of papery (like onion skin). The recipe does not say to rehydrate. Suggestions? Mil gracias!

    1. Hmmm…the quality or age of the nopales could be the problem. Were they fresh and tender? You shouldn’t have to rehydrate them or the guajillos, as they should all rehydrate in the pan with the lime juice and oil as you cook.

    1. 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…

  12. 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,


  13. 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.

    1. 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…

    1. 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: