Best Substitutes for Liquid Smoke

Best Substitutes for Liquid Smoke
Best Substitutes for Liquid Smoke

Just to begin with a simple definition, Liquid smoke is a highly concentrated seasoning that is commonly used to impart a smoky flavor to fish, meat or even to vegetarian mock meat recopies. In short, it is a water-soluble liquid used for flavoring and its colors range from yellow to red. Liquid smoke is not a chemical or synthetic flavor but genuine liquefied wood smoke. It is used as an alternative for cooking with wood smoke. It is generally manufactured by condensing the smoke from wood. It enhances the appealing flavor and aroma of real smokehouse wood without actually using an actual smokehouse. Vegetarians, barbecue aficionados, vegans and foodies all have their opinions regarding liquid smoke. Individuals against it claim that it has an overwhelming chemical taste. Regardless of what your opinion is, if you want to achieve that smoky flavor without liquid smoke, below are some alternatives;

Spanish Smoked Paprika

This spice is created by drying peppers over oak-burning fires for several days. Actually, there are two different versions to suit your appetite: Pimenton de la Vera, Picante has a hot smoky flavor, and Pimenton de la Vera, Dulce has a sweet, smoky flavor. Use the former to kick your barbecue extra and the latter for vegetarian beans.


Chipotle Powder

This is made by grinding jalapeno peppers and slowly smoking them over a natural wood fire. The chipotle powder is a staple in Mexican cuisines but has become popular in the United States.

We two varieties: Morita chipotle powder made with red jalapenos, and brown chipotle powder made with green jalapenos.


Smoke Tea

If you are a tea drinker, probably you should try this Chinese black tea which gets its smoky aroma and flavor from being dried over pine fires. In order to use it as a liquid smoke replacement, you need to pour boiling water over smoke tea leaves, let the tea steep for a few minutes, and then use the brewed tea as an alternative.

Facts Summary Table

Substitute Flavor Profile Texture Best Used In Source
Spanish Smoked Paprika Smoky, slightly sweet Ground powder Meats, stews, sauces Dried and smoked red peppers
Chipotle Powder Smoky, earthy, spicy Ground powder Meats, Mexican cuisine Ground dried chipotle peppers
Smoke Tea Smoky, aromatic Dried leaves Infusions, flavoring Tea leaves processed with smoke


What is the closest thing to liquid smoke?

The closest thing to liquid smoke is smoked paprika, which adds a smoky flavor to dishes. However, smoked paprika might not replicate the exact depth of flavor that liquid smoke provides.

Can I substitute smoked paprika for liquid smoke?

Yes, you can substitute smoked paprika for liquid smoke to add a smoky flavor to dishes. Keep in mind that smoked paprika won’t provide the same liquid consistency as liquid smoke.

Can I substitute Worcestershire sauce for liquid smoke?

Worcestershire sauce can provide a similar smoky and savory flavor to dishes, but it also contains other flavors and might be more intense. Use it in moderation as a substitute for liquid smoke.

Can you make your own liquid smoke?

Yes, you can make your own liquid smoke by smoking wood chips, collecting the condensed smoke, and then diluting it with water. However, this process requires specialized equipment and may not yield the same consistent results as commercially available liquid smoke.


Traditional smoking or barbecuing is the best substitute for liquid smoke in a recipe. Using a smoker or a barbecue is the best way to get the flavor without using liquid smoke. When you are in short supply of liquid smoke, you can opt for the traditional smoking method to give that smoky flavor to your dishes. However, smoking can be time-consuming and you can lack all the tools needed. Smoked fish, chicken or turkeys, ham hock with baked beans are other alternatives that can also be considered when you are searching for good substitutes for liquid smoke.

Yuki Tanaka

Written by Yuki Tanaka

I'm from Utashinai and I love tasty food and nice words. I also write blogs, take pictures of food, and create recipes. Cooking and baking are my favorite things to do!

Substitutes for Celery Salt

Substitutes for Celery Salt

Best Substitutes for Leeks

Best Substitutes for Leeks