Best Substitute For Chili Pepper

best substitute for chili pepper

Ever wondered which spice brings intense heat to your dishes. It’s a chili pepper with capsaicin, which gives chili pepper its intensity when ingested or applied topically.

There are many types of chili peppers, but we commonly use red ones. Their primary use is to enrich your recipe with a unique spicy flavor with a pinch of sweetness and sourness. Also, they’re pretty hot, and I bet you can never have it as a whole in one go without drinking water.

Besides, these peppers are full of various health benefits, including better digestive health and metabolism, reduced risks of cancer, protection against fungal infections, colds, and the flu, relief against joint pain, inflammation, better heart health, and much more.

Therefore, to help you achieve the spicy, rich flavor and the spark of hotness with all the essential nutrients. We shall provide you the best substitute for chili pepper, especially when you run short of it.

Best Red Chili Pepper Substitute

Listed below are some of the best alternatives you use in place of chili pepper to have a similar taste in your recipes.

1. Dried Poblano peppers

poblano pepper

The poblano is a mild chili pepper originating in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Their dried form is Ancho pepper which is one of the most popular ingredients in Mexican cuisine.

The Ancho has a rich smoky flavor with sweetness, moderate heat, and a mild paprika zest. Their hotness measure between 1,000-2,000 SHU of the hotness scale.

Just like any dried chili pepper, we usually rehydrate it before using it for cooking. This process involves soaking the ancho peppers in boiling water for 15 to 30 minutes until they become soft. You can use these peppers in your thick sauces, including mole sauce, adobo sauce, and enchilada sauce. The flavor, heat, and color added to the sauces make it pretty mouthwatering for one.

You can also use them in your tacos, beans, salad, salsas, beef chill, pasta, and much more. Besides, they’re highly nutritious. They’re rich in vitamin A and C, carotenoids, capsaicin, and other compounds. This may act as antioxidants, have anticancer activity, and fight inflammation. Therefore, they would be an excellent red pepper substitute due to their delicious taste and nutritional properties.

2. Cayenne chili pepper

Cayenne Pepper

Another red chili pepper substitute is Cayenne chili pepper which is moderately hot, earthy, and spicy. Its powder is eight times hotter than chili powder. Your dish would be blazing hot, but it would lack the other flavors provided by chili powder.

They’re 10 to 25 cm long with 30,000 to 50,000 SHU hotness intensity. They are common peppers used in spicy dishes either as a powder or in its whole form. Also, they’re popular as herbal supplements.

You can use them in your seafood, all types of egg dishes (deviled eggs, omelets, souffles), meats, stews, casseroles, hot sauces, curries, and cheese dishes. Besides, they also have numerous health benefits. It helps digestion, heal upset stomach, slow intestinal gas, and stop stomach pain, slow diarrhea. Also, it’s good for weight loss, relieves pain, and boosts the immune system.

3. Paprika


You may also swap Paprika with the red chili peppers. Paprika is a spice with milder and thinner flesh, made from dried and ground red peppers.

Their hotness intensity is 250- 1000 SHU. However, the vibrant red spice varies in flavor, heat levels, and color depending on the pepper used to make the Paprika. Some are extremely hot and spicy, while others may be sweet, with no heat and a mild flavor.

They have multiple culinary uses as it’s an essential ingredient in numerous dishes throughout the world. You can use it as seasoning rice, stews, steak, broth, soups, or use it as a garnish, but the flavor is more effective when heated with oil.

Additionally, it adds various beneficial compounds to your diet, including vitamin A, capsaicin, and carotenoid antioxidants. It may also aid in preventing inflammation and improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Hence, it’s perfect as red chili substitute.

4. Tien Tsin Chili

tien tsin chili

Tien Tsin or Chinese red peppers are most popular in Asian cooking and an excellent chili pepper substitute. They’re extremely hot with heat units as 50,000-75,000 SHU. Their flavor is musty and hot with a spicy aroma.

Their culinary uses include stir-fry dishes and soups, and you should remove them before serving. Also, they’re excellent to crush the flakes or powders to use as a spicy condiment in various dishes.

Besides, they are full of vitamin A and C antioxidants. They can help in rebuilding your collagen, just like other chili peppers.

check out the difference between Red Chili Flakes vs. Red Pepper Flakes

5. Serrano


Serrano with hotness 5,000 to 15,000 SHU gives Smokey hotness and an earthy flavor to your recipes. So, if you can tolerate such hotness, go for it but use it wisely.

They are popularly available in green color. However, you can also find red and yellow ones, but that’s quite rare. Enjoy your hot salsas, sauces using Serrano and enjoy the most mouthwatering delicious dishes in life.

Moreover, they’re rich in antioxidants, vitamins especially A, C, and B 12, crucial for your eyes, skin, and heart, respectively.

6. Jalapeno


This medium-sized chili pepper has a hotness of around 3,500 to 8,000, which makes them not very hot. They are an excellent alternative for chili pepper as they’re similarly tolerable, and you can use them in your salads, salsas, dips, and other dishes.

Moreover, you can various health benefits along with its delicious taste. They’re rich in vitamin A, B, C, K, folate, and potassium. They also have carotene, an excellent antioxidant that helps you fight against damage to your cells. The majority of its health benefits have come from capsaicin that makes the pepper spicy.

7. Pequin chili peppers

pequin chili peppers

Pequin chili peppers would be an excellent option, but they are very hot with 30,000 to 60,000 SHU heat intensities. However, their flavor is citrusy, smoky, and nutty, making your cuisine very delicious and flavorsome.

You can include them in your salsas and sauces to get a perfect twist of hotness and rich, spicy flavor. Other common uses include pickling, soups, and vinegar. They’re highly valuable in Mexico because of their rich spiciness.

Besides, they’re a good source of vitamin A, C, and K and beta carotene and potassium. The small pepper also contains large amounts of iron, magnesium, and capsaicin. Therefore, they may help you improve your cognitive functions, cardiovascular health, digestive issues, and fight against infections and inflammations.

Related Articles


There are multiple types of peppers. Each has a different level of hotness and spiciness. In this article, we have briefed you on some of them to substitute with chili pepper effectively.

You may use any one of them depending upon the savor you desire or their availability. Still, our preference would go for Paprika as it’s readily available in the grocery stores. It also has a mild flavor suitable for the majority of people.

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