How to Cook a Pasilla Chili

Pasilla chili in Oaxaca market, Mexico

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Pasilla chili peppers are moderate to hot chili peppers with a rich, smoky flavor. As the pepper matures, it turns red and the flavor becomes sweeter. Pasilla peppers are roasted, then added to a variety of dishes such as tamales, stews and soups. The peppers are often stuffed with meat or cheese or incorporated into sauces. Although pasilla peppers measure only 5 to 7 inches in length, the peppers are nutritional powerhouses, providing fiber, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, riboflavin, thiamine and niacin. The peppers are naturally low in calories and free of cholesterol and saturated fat.


Roast a pasilla pepper over the burner if you have a gas stove. First, poke the peppers with a fork, then hold the pepper about 4 inches above the flame. Cook the pepper, turning it steadily, until both sides are blackened.

Alternatively, roast pasilla peppers on a stovetop chili grill, which is suitable for either a gas or electric stovetop. Pierce the peppers with a fork or the tip of a knife. Place the grill on a burner, then place the chilies on the grill. Roast the peppers, turning them occasionally with tongs, until both sides are evenly charred.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit if you want to roast the peppers in the oven. Spread the peppers on a baking sheet, then bake them until the skin blisters -- about 4 to 5 minutes. Watch the peppers closely to prevent burning.

Place the peppers in a plastic bag and let them sweat in the bag for 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, let the peppers sweat by covering them with a towel. Peel the peppers by pulling off the skin. Slit the peppers with a paring knife, then use your fingers to remove the seeds and veins. Discard the seeds and veins, along with the peels.


Slit a pasilla pepper with a paring knife. Don't cut the pepper in half.

Remove the veins and seeds with the tip of your paring knife.

Placed the pepper in a bowl of hot water. Allow the pepper to soak for about 5 minutes.

Remove the pepper from the water and lay the pepper aside to dry. When the pepper is dry, stuff it with shredded meat or grated cheese according to any chili relleno recipe.

In Sauces

Toast a pasilla pepper for use in sauces. To toast the pepper, place a whole pepper in a hot skillet.

Turn the burner to low heat, then toast the pepper. Turn the pepper often so that both sides toast evenly. Don't allow the peppers to turn black.

Chop the pepper or pull it into small pieces. Incorporate the pieces into your favorite chili sauce recipe.