Pasilla chiles are long, slender, sometimes twisted dried chiles with wrinkly skin. They are medium to very hot, with a rich flavor that works well in sauces.
Popular jalapeños are also available dried and smoked. Called chipotles in this dried form, they also are found canned in adobo, a spicy chile sauce.
Thai chiles are spunky for their size, with lots of intense heat. For spicing up Thai-inspired dishes, this chile is the choice.
Pequín are tiny chiles, loaded with blistering heat -- use them sparingly and with caution!
Poblanos and anchos
Poblanos and anchos are the same variety of chile -- but poblanos are fresh; anchos are dried. Both are mild to medium-hot, with deep, complex flavors.
Anaheim chiles are available in fresh and dried forms. They are versatile and offer medium heat.
Cascabel chiles have a medium heat level and are most often sold dried. Pick one up, shake it, and you'll hear how it gets its name -- "cascabel" is Spanish for "rattle."
Habañeros are native to the Caribbean. They pack searing heat and are available fresh and dried. The fresh form is most popular.