Mirasol Pepper: All About Them
The mirasol pepper is a Mexican chile pepper popular in making traditional mole sauces. The name means “looking at the sun”. In dried form, they are known as guajillo peppers. Learn more about these peppers below.
Scoville Heat Units: 2,500-5,000 SHU
The mirasol pepper is a popular chili pepper in the Mexican culture widely known for making traditional Mexican mole sauces. The name translates to “looking at the sun” in Spanish, taken from how the peppers grow upright on the plant, literally “looking” at the sun as they grow on the plant. You may know mirasol peppers by their dried variety, the guajillo pepper, which is much more common and hugely popular in Mexican cuisine.
The peppers are sometimes referred to as the travieso chile (“naughty pepper” or chile Trompa (“elephant’s trunk”).
What Do Mirasol Peppers Look Like?
The Mirasol varies in size and appearance, but it is conical in shape, and commonly 2-3 inches long (can be 4-5 inches long), and about .5 to .75 inches wide (can be up to 2 inches). It is red to dark red, or copper in color. It is a fairly thin skinned pepper, ideal for drying into popular guajillo peppers.
On the plant, mirasol chiles grow in clusters and grow upright, producing peppers that mature from green to red or a vibrant orange-red. The plants grow to 18-24 inches in height, and typically produce in 70-80 days (mid season). The pods themselves are sometimes smooth but can be wrinkled, with variations in size and texture.
What Do Mirasol Peppers Taste Like?
The flavor of the Mirasol offers up a unique spicy flavor, though not too spicy. It is fruity and berry-like, and is described as full-bodied, distinct, and “delicate”, with hints of strawberry or other berries, and an incomparable rich chili pepper flavor with milder heat.
How Hot are Mirasol Peppers?
Mirasol peppers range in heat from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale, which is considered a milder to mild-medium heat range. Compare that to the common jalapeno pepper, which averages about 5,000 SHU, and you’ll find the hottest mirasol chile is about as hot as an average jalapeno pepper.
Growing Mirasol Peppers
Start your mirasol chili seeds indoors about a quarter inch deep in warm soil. Allow the seedlings to sprout, and transfer the pepper plants outdoors when the weather is warmer. These peppers, and peppers in general, grow best in fertile soil that is well drained. The pods grow upright, hence the name “Mirasol”, which means “facing the sun” or “looking at the sun”.
Like many Mexican peppers, this pepper has different names in fresh and dried form. The red peppers are called “mirasol” when fresh, and called “guajillo peppers” when dried.
Learn more about growing chili peppers.
Cooking with Mirasol Peppers
These peppers are perfect for chicken, fish, potato, or pork dishes and add a delicious spiciness to salsas, stews, chilis and particularly mole sauces, for which they are known for. They are very common in Peruvian cooking, and also Mexican cooking. You can incorporate them into just about any dish in Mexican cuisine.
Buy Mirasol Pepper Seeds
You can buy mirasol chile pepper seeds online at Amazon (affiliate link, my friends). Enjoy growing them!
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m glad to help.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 6/23/20 to include new photos and information. It was originally published on 9/22/13.