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8 Best Chili Powder Substitutes You Can Try!

8 Best Chili Powder Substitutes You Can Try!

Looking for a Chili powder substitute? You must be spicy foody then! If you are, chili powder must be one of the staple items in your pantry items. Chili powder is undeniably one of the best spices of all time. 

Chili is red in color and just spices up the game of any dish it is added to! But at times, we might run out of it. What do then? Don’t let that you down; find a good chili powder substitute to add to your favorite dish.

Can’t think of a good chili powder substitute? Ancho powder, paprika, cayenne powder, red chili flakes, garlic powder, hot sauce, chili sauce, and black pepper are some of the best chili powder substitutes.

Even though chili powder is quite famous all around the world, there might be some of my readers who are new to chili powder. The next section is dedicated to them.

I will tell you everything about chili powder so that you can know it as much as anybody who has ever used it. Once you know what it is and how it tastes, you can substitute better. So let’s start?

What’s In The Post

Quick Peek: Chili Powder

Chili Powder is a spicy powder that adds flavor and color to any dish. This section has all the information regarding chili powder. You will know what the spice is, its flavor and texture profile, uses, and nutritional benefits. 

What Is Chili Powder?

Chili powder, otherwise called red chili powder, is obtained from dried and ground chilies. It has a dark red color with a fiery spicy taste. It is too hot and carries its spiciness to the dishes.

The chilies from which red chili powder is made are abundantly found in India. India is one of the largest exporters of chili powder. And for the same reason, chili powder is a staple ingredient in most spicy Indian cuisines.

But in countries like the US, chili powder is available in its pure form and also as a mix. This mix also contains other spice powders like ginger, garlic, and pepper.

Describing Chili Powder: Flavor and Texture

Chili powder has a pungent, spicy taste and peppery aroma to it. When added to any dish, it becomes the primary flavor of that dish. For this reason, one cannot skip chili powder if your recipe demands it.

The level of spiciness of the chili powder varies from one company to the other, depending on the level and variety of bell pepper used in it. However, if nothing is mentioned, then it’s moderately spicy.

Chili powder is not just a flavoring ingredient; it also adds color to the dish. It has a dark crimson red color, and this color will make your dish vibrant in looks.

Often we get chili powder in a grounded form. Hence, we can say it has a coarse and gritty texture. However, when added to a dish, it easily blends in.

Uses of Chili Powder

Chili Powder is mainly used for adding spiciness to the dish. If you love experimenting with Indian and Latin American dishes, you might know their spicy dishes are incomplete with chili powder.

Chili powder in small amounts can be used as a seasoning as well. It can be added to salads, soups, or fully cooked dishes. However, uncooked chili powder might have a strong spicy taste with a raw peppery taste to it.

Chili powder can also be used to add color to the food. It blends extremely well, giving the dish a red to orange color. Therefore if you want to add some spice and color to your otherwise bland dish, add some chili powder.

Other than that, you can also use chili powder for pickles. Take an already pickled vegetable and add some chili powder to enjoy an exquisite pickle. 

Chili Powder On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Chili powder, like other spices, is only used in a very small quantity. Therefore it will only add little benefits to our dish. However, it has some health benefits.

Chili powder is extremely beneficial for gut health. It aids in producing different intestinal juices and thereby helps in better digestion and maintaining good gut health.

Chili powder is a great source of potassium. Potassium is great for relaxing blood vessels and keeping the blood pressure at a normal rate. Therefore, chili powder is also great for controlling high blood pressure.

Red chili and chili powder contain capsaicin. Capsaicin aids in weight loss. It increases the metabolism of food and reduces appetite. In this way, it limits our food intake.

Chili powder has many more health benefits. That being said, it also has some cons. Chili powder in high quantities can upset your stomach and could even lead to diseases like an ulcer. Therefore use it in a minimum amount!

Why Use A Substitute For Chili Powder?

While reading the article, this question may have crossed your mind a few times. If chili powder is this amazing, why would I want to replace it? There are a few causes for this.

First and foremost, you’ve come looking for a replacement. It could be that you’ve run out of chili powder or you’re allergic to it. Such scenarios can occur with anyone, and we must be prepared with our substitutes in such situations.

Second, even if we enjoy spicy foods, the heat in chili may be too much for us. We know we can’t even tolerate half a teaspoon of this hot monster, even if our recipe calls for two teaspoons! That’s where a milder chile alternative comes in handy.

Finally, why go to the market when you can cook your dish using something you already have in your pantry?

I hope I’ve provided you with sufficient information regarding chili powder. Let’s get down to the crux of this article: the best chili powder substitutes!

8 Best Chili Powder Substitutes

This section has the best substitutes for Sweet paprika. Moreover, you will get to know how to use each substitute in your recipes too. 

1. Ancho Powder

Ancho Chili Powder

Ancho chili powder is made up of dried and ground ancho chilies. It is moderately spicy with a fruity undertone. Thus, this can be regarded as one of the best chili powder substitutes.

Ancho powder can sometimes be very spicy. Thus when replacing, use half a teaspoon of ancho powder for one teaspoon of chili powder. However, if you love more heat in your food, you can always add more.

2. Paprika Powder

Sweet Paprika

The paprika powders are of varying spiciness with a smoky undertone. It has a dark red color, just like chili powder. Hence it can be used as a chili powder substitute.

The spiciness of paprika can be of a different type. If you want a moderate level of spiciness, you can use normal paprika powder. If you prefer less spiciness with a note of sweetness, try the sweet paprika powder.

If you want the heat of spice, just like chili or above, one can try Spanish paprikas. When used as a chili powder substitute, use the standard 1:1 ratio.

3. Cayenne Pepper

Cayene Pepper

Cayenne pepper is very spicy in nature. It is like chili has a crimson red color and gives a lingering spiciness to the food. So if you are a spice lover, cayenne pepper is the best chili powder substitute.

Cayenne pepper has a high heat level. It has a little fruity undertone and thus enhances the dish’s flavor. When using cayenne pepper as a chili powder substitute, one needs to be careful.

While replacing, add one-fourth of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper for one teaspoon of chili powder. Cayenne pepper takes a minute to blend in, showing its true spiciness. So wait for a minute to do the taste check. If you need more heat, add more later.

To have the best chili powder substitute, you can try mixing little cayenne pepper with paprika powder; in this way, you’ll have color as well as flavor.

4. Chili Flakes

Chilli Flakes

Chili Flakes are nothing but crushed chili. It is spicy and can be used as a chili powder substitute. Chili flakes are something we can always rely on. It brings the spicy, fruity taste of the chili powder and can be used as the main ingredient or as a garnish.

However, if one needs grounded chili flakes, we can always ground them to powder form. While replacing chili powder, use two teaspoons of chili flakes for one teaspoon of chili powder.

5. Cumin Powder

Cumin Powder

Cumin has a very mild note of spiciness with a nutty flavor. When added to a dish, it enhances its flavor and hence can be considered a chili powder substitute.

Cumin powder does not have heat or a spicy taste to it. Its flavor is almost comparable to a lemony pepper taste. Even though it doesn’t bring the exact chili flavor, the flavor produced by cumin powder is excellent.

You can use cumin as it is or in crushed form. While using as a chili substitute, use two teaspoons of cumin powder for one teaspoon of chili powder.

6. Hot Sauce

Hot sauce

Hot sauce is a mixture of chili powder, vinegar, salt, and some other ingredients. It has a tangy, spicy taste and works well as a chili powder substitute.

Hot sauce is something most of us have in our fridge. Therefore whenever we lack chili powder, we can always rely on hot sauce. It will be a great addition to curries, sauce, and also as a side dip.

While replacing, you can use half a teaspoon of hot sauce for one teaspoon of chili powder. One downside of hot sauce is that it will change the total flavor of the dish.

7. Chili Sauce

Chili Sauce

Chili sauce is a paste that is made of chili and vinegar. Often, sugar is also the main ingredient of this sauce. Hence it will have a sweet and spicy taste and be regarded as a chili powder substitute.

However, chili sauce cannot reproduce the exact chili powder flavor. Most of the time, the spiciness of the chili will be subdued by the sweetness. Therefore while choosing a chilly sauce, choose the one with more spiciness.

While using chili sauce as a chili powder substitute, use half a teaspoon of chili sauce for one teaspoon of chili powder. Before adding chili sauce, do a quick taste test of the dish to understand how it tastes afterward.

8. Black Pepper Powder

Black Pepper Powder

Black pepper has a warm woody-spicy taste. It carries a heat of spiciness, just like chili powder. Therefore, it can be regarded as one of the best chili powder substitutes.

Black pepper, on the other hand, does not have as many hues as chili powder. As a result, it’s best for meals with a strong flavor profile. You can also use freshly crushed black pepper if it’s available.

Use an equal amount of crushed or powdered black peppercorn as chili powder in a recipe. If you enjoy spicy foods, black pepper is the spice for you.

Short Recap Of The Best Chili Powder Substitutes

Are you still undecided about which of these substitutes you should choose? Don’t worry; here’s a little clip that may assist you in escaping this difficult predicament.

Most appropriate: Paprika is the most acceptable chili powder substitute since it can practically match the flavor and taste of chili powder.

Most Acceptable: Cayenne powder is the most available one. Even if they don’t have the same flavor as chili powder, they can be used safely in most dishes.

Best flavor combination: When black pepper powder is employed, the flavor profile is the best.

How To Use Chili Powder Substitutes In Your Recipes

Chili Powder Substitutes

 Ancho powder, paprika, cayenne powder, red chili flakes, garlic powder, hot sauce, chili sauce, and black pepper are some of the best chili powder substitutes.

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  • Ancho Powder
  • Paprika Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili Flakes
  • Cumin Powder
  • Hot Sauce
  • Chili Sauce
  • Black Pepper Powder
  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.

Final Thoughts

I hope you were able to find the finest chili powder substitute by the time we got to the end of this post. Chili powder offers a nice touch of spice to dishes, but it can be too much for some folks.

However, substitutes with a milder flavor profile work well as chili powder substitutes. You can choose the best substitution based on your preferred flavor profile, and I’m confident you’ll have a great time cooking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’S)

What seasoning is similar to chili powder?

Paprika powder mixed with some cayenne powder brings the closest chili powder flavor.

Can I replace chili powder with cayenne pepper?

Yes. cayenne pepper is a good chili powder substitute. However, cayenne pepper is spicier than chili powder and one should use cayenne powder in moderation as a chili powder substitute.

How much cayenne pepper do I substitute for chili powder?

While replacing chili powder with cayenne pepper, add one-fourth of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper for one teaspoon of chili powder.

Which is better chili powder or paprika?

Chilli powder is much spicier when compared to paprika. However, paprika is less spicy and has a smoky undertone to it. Both of them are equally good and can be used as each other’s substitutes.

What can you use instead of chili powder?

Ancho powder, paprika, cayenne powder, red chili flakes, garlic powder, hot sauce, chili sauce, and black pepper are some of the best chili powder substitutes.


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