Substitute for paprika

Substitute for paprika
Substitute for paprika

Paprika is a spice that has been and is still used as a spice in foods for various reasons. These reasons may be in terms of flavor, its health benefits, it’s color, which is bright crimson, and lastly, because of the spice, it adds to one’s dish. This spice comes in a variety of styles that people choose according to their preference, and these varieties include; hot, sweet, and smoked paprika. Paprika is made of ground dried pods of pepper plants, some of them which are either the bell peppers or the chili peppers.

The flavors and colors of your paprika will differ considering the choice of pepper you use for its preparation, and these colors vary from bright orange, red to deep red. The orange-colored paprika is the hottest, while the red ones are the sweetest. For its use, since it’s a spice, it’s used for garnishing, and it’s sprinkled on eggs, hors d’oeuvre, and salads mostly because of the color.


1. Cayenne pepper

This is a red chili pepper, which is normally hot but hotter than paprika and also stronger, so when substituting it for paprika, one has to consider the level of hotness hence considering using a lesser amount. It is used to add flavors in varying cuisines. In many recipes where one wants to retain the different sweet flavor of paprika, adding sugar and honey as sweeteners are the best decision. In other instances, one can also choose to add salt, heavy broth, and cream, which helps to decrease the level of spiciness of the cayenne pepper.


Cayenne pepper is the best alternative as your substitute, most probably because it has the exact same spicy taste in your dish as the paprika. For the individuals who would like a paprika substitute because of the color, cayenne is the best choice, and if one wanted an alternative for hot paprika, cayenne again is the wisest choice for its hot in nature.

2. Chili powder

This is another alternative for your paprika, and it’s made by the combination of chili pepper base garlic powder and made up cumin. For this reason, chili pepper is hotter than paprika, and for that, when substituting for each other, one has to consider the hotness. It is important to however note that chili powder is normally used as a seasoning spice. Comparing it to cayenne pepper, it’s less spicy, so when substituting it, one should use the same amount or ratio as that of paprika pepper.


As said earlier, chili powder is a mixture of other ingredients, and it’s hotter, but the ratio of substitution is 1:1. They are the same, but it’s only the taste that differs.

3. Aleppo pepper

This is a red spice that is most commonly known as the Middle Eastern red-colored spice or a Halaby pepper, and it has its own spicy taste, which is in between that of cayenne pepper and the paprika. When substituting it, one has to be cautious of the quantity since the preference of taste and level of hotness will be the determinant. It’s normally used to sprinkle on pizzas and salads, and it’s added to sauces, chili and marinades too.


The two can be substituted for each other, but the difference is that when using. Aleppo pepper instead of paprika, one has to use the combination of sweet paprika and cayenne.

4. Cajun spice

Since it has no different from the above-mentioned substitutes, Cajun spice is also a very good substitute for paprika mostly because of its taste, which is brought about by the ingredients that make it up. These ingredients may include black and white peppers and cayenne. It is used for seasoning for its not as hot and strong as cayenne, and that qualifies it as a very good alternative for paprika. Most people use in preparations of Cajun recipes.


Cajun recipe is widely used, especially in America, where it’s referred to as the Cajun cuisine. There are a variety of foods that use this seasoning and to mention just a few; creamy, spicy chicken pasta shrimp and chicken jambalaya with Cajun seasoning.

5. Bell peppers

This is the best substitute for paprika if one is considering homemade paprika. One gets fresh bell peppers dries them and grinds them, and that makes them the best alternative since they have a sweet smell, flavor and are distinct. Many people will prefer it as a substitute for its nutritional values. It improves one’s eye health, it’s a source of fiber, antioxidants, and it also reduces the risk of anemia.


Remember when using bell peppers, one chooses the ripe ones, and it’s just paprika only it’s homemade, and the last product of the ground pepper is what your paprika becomes. It provides more flavor, color, and aroma in one’s dish.

6. Black peppers

This is one of the famous spices used in the world because of its health benefits, and it’s a good paprika substitute as well. Some of the health benefits include; reducing the risk of anemia, heart disease, dental disease, and relieves impotency, among others. This pepper is used when one does not need the red color that is normally provided by paprika. In addition, one can either use black or white pepper, and both will be good substitutes. Just like the paprika, the black pepper is used for seasoning and as a spice.


Black pepper and all pepper, in general, are grown in large quantities in Vietnam, and this country again is one of the largest exporters of pepper.

7. Hot sauce

This is one of the many sauces that are produced from chili pepper, but in this case, they are added other ingredients like water oil, vinegar, and alcohol. It is the best substitute because of its flavor and health benefits. It is said to improve a person’s eye vision, helps in weight loss, reduces cancer, and also helps in relieving pain, among others.


If you don’t have your paprika and you have your hot sauce or can make it easy, don’t worry about this will supplement your paprika.

Facts Summary Table

Substitute Flavor Profile Texture Best Used In Source
Cayenne Pepper Very spicy, sharp Ground powder Spicy dishes, sauces Dried and ground Capsicum annuum
Chili Powder Spicy, earthy, smoky Ground powder Chili, stews, rubs Mixture of dried chili peppers
Aleppo Pepper Moderate heat, fruity Crushed flakes Middle Eastern dishes Ground dried Halaby peppers
Cajun Spice Spicy, earthy, herbal Ground mixture Cajun-style dishes Blend of various spices
Bell Peppers Mild, slightly sweet Crisp Salads, stir-fries, fajitas Various Capsicum annuum varieties
Black Peppers Pungent, slightly spicy Whole peppercorns, ground Seasoning, marinades Dried and ground peppercorns
Hot Sauce Spicy, tangy Liquid Flavoring, dipping, condiments Mixture of peppers and vinegar


What spice is the same as paprika?

Paprika is a unique spice, but if you’re looking for a similar flavor profile, you might consider using mild chili powder or even ground cayenne pepper, depending on the heat level you’re aiming for.

Is paprika the same as chili powder?

No, paprika and chili powder are not the same. Paprika is made from dried and ground sweet red peppers, while chili powder is a blend of ground dried chilies along with other spices like cumin, garlic powder, and oregano.

Is paprika and cayenne pepper the same thing?

No, paprika and cayenne pepper are not the same. Paprika is a milder spice made from dried and ground sweet red peppers, while cayenne pepper is a hot chili pepper that adds heat to dishes.

Can I substitute red pepper flakes for paprika?

You can use red pepper flakes as a substitute for paprika, but remember that they are generally hotter than paprika, so they might add more heat to your dish. Adjust the quantity according to your taste preferences.

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!

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