Substitute for smoked Paprika

Substitute for smoked Paprika
Substitute for smoked Paprika

Smoked Paprika is very important when preparing dishes because it adds richness and characteristic bright color. Spices can make bland or boring meals to be delicious. In Spain, the call smoked Paprika pimento, and they use it to prepare various soups and paella. Smoked Paprika consists of dry peppers that are dehydrated, dried, and then crushed into a fine powder. Today this spice is famous for making so many dishes, and you can’t afford to miss it in your pantry. However, getting a substitute for Paprika is easy in case you run out of stock.

Before rushing to replace it with another spice, you must learn its importance and characteristics first. To make smoked Paprika, you need pods of pepper plants such as chili and bell. When dry it has a unique red color which can make your food attractive. Additionally, it adds peppery bite making your dish sweet and exciting to eat. Smoked Paprika comes in 3 varieties, i.e. hot, medium hot and mild. The amazing thing about it is that it remains sweet and refreshing without adding heat to your dish. Although there are some very hot varieties, make sure you buy what you can handle or enjoy. Using sweet Paprika as an alternative of the smoked version is going to change the flavor entirely.


1. Aleppo chili powder

It is made from a medium heat pepper (Aleppo) that is commonly grown in Syria. Before ripening the Aleppo pepper starts as pods. After ripening they dry and remove the seeds. After that, they crush the pods into a fine powder. It contains a mild heat level making it an excellent substitute for smoked Paprika. It has some cumin like undertones and fruitiness flavor but slightly salty. Because salt is used in the drying process to preserve the pods. Additionally, it has the scent of sundried tomatoes, which can make your dish exciting. Lastly, it has a similar deep color to that of smoked Paprika.


If you want an alternative that has all the characteristics as smoked Paprika, then you should go for Aleppo chilli powder. It will add the bright colour and fruity flavour to your soups.

2. Guajillo powder

Guajillo among the most popular peppers in Mexico, and it is commonly used to make salsas and moles. Also, many cooks across the world use it to make chili soups or stews. It contains sweet fruitiness that makes it an excellent alternative for smoked Paprika. Unlike Aleppo, Guajillo is easy to find in many stores. Typically it has a medium fruity heat, but sometimes it can range up to moderate heat. So if your recipe needs more heat alternative you can add some pungent chili. Use it in an equal amount as you could have used in smoked Paprika.


Guajillo powder is one of the most popular and affordable alternatives that you can use. Finding it will be easy, maybe you even have it in your pantry. It has the same fruity heat as Paprika, and it will blend in your recipe comfortably.

3. Ancho chili powder

Ancho chili powder is the most authentic substitute when preparing Mexican cuisines. It is made by crushing dry ancho chilies. It appears reddish-brown when you ground it finely. It has a unique earthy fruity flavor which makes it easier to blend as an alternative for Paprika. If you prefer more heat in your meal, use another substitute or combine it with any strong pepper. Ancho chili powder has a deeper color compared to smoked Paprika. So consider using less amount than that called for paprika powder. Lastly, ancho chili powder is readily available at the spices shelf in many supermarkets. However, you can also make your powder if you have the ancho chilies. Follow through the same steps as that of preparing smoked paprika powder.


If you are looking for a sweeter substitute, go for ancho chilli powder. It has the same fruity flavour but less it. because ancho chillies are mild. Lastly, the colour blends perfectly with that of Paprika.

4. Cayenne powder

It is made from a popular Latin American pepper known as Guyanese. Cayenne peppers are related to bell papers, and they both belong to the same plant family known as nightshade. Initially, they were only grown in South America, but Christopher Columbus introduced them to some parts of Europe in the 15th century. Since then their main uses are cooking or herbal medicine. To make cayenne powder follow the same steps as that of smoked Paprika. It is mainly used to prepare cuisines such as cayenne truffles, and marinated fish tacos among many others. It makes a great substitute for smoked Paprika because of its color and moderate level heat.

Cayenne pepper is among the most nutritious peppers. It explains the reason why it is used as an herb up to today. The main nutrients that can are available in this pepper include calories, fiber, protein, manganese and vitamin A, E, C, K, and B6. Further, it contains an active ingredient known as capsaicin which provides it with the medicinal properties. Let’s see some of its health benefits.

  • May boost your metabolism
  • It can lower blood pressure.
  • Aids digestive health
  • Helps to relieve pain
  • Reduces cancer risk


Cayenne powder is the most nutritious alternative you can use. Making and putting it to use is easy; just follow the same steps as in Paprika. It contains a moderate heat level and a colour that blends in perfectly to your meals.

5. Chipotle pepper powder

Chipotle pepper powder hails from dry chipotle peppers. It has an earthy, unique flavor. Additionally, smoked Chipotle pepper powder is the best substitute for smoked Paprika because it has a fruity heat and a smoky flavor. The chipotle pepper is popular for making southwestern dishes and Mexican-inspired cuisines. You can also combine it with some spices to prepare a meat marinade. It can have a lot of heat depending on the age of Chipotle pods. So useless is the amount of chipotle powder than your recipe calls for Paprika. Mix it with sweet Paprika in case you need more of the red color.


Chipotle pepper powder pepper is an excellent choice in terms of the smoky flavour. However, you should use less the amount than Paprika to maintain the mild hot flavour. Combine it with sweet Paprika if you need the deep red colour.

  • Red pepper flakes
  • Black pepper
  • Pimento de la Vera
  • Hot sauce
  • Chilli powder
  • Cajun Spice

Summary Table

Substitute Flavor Profile Texture Best Used In Source
Aleppo Chili Powder Mild, fruity, slightly tangy Ground powder Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes Ground dried Aleppo chili peppers
Guajillo Powder Moderate heat, fruity, sweet Ground powder Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine Ground dried guajillo chili peppers
Ancho Chili Powder Moderate heat, slightly sweet Ground powder Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine Ground dried ancho chili peppers
Cayenne Powder Spicy, pungent Ground powder Various dishes needing heat Ground dried cayenne peppers
Chipotle Pepper Powder Smoky, spicy, slightly sweet Ground powder Mexican, Tex-Mex, and BBQ dishes Ground dried and smoked chipotle peppers


What is the same as smoked paprika?

If you’re looking for a substitute for smoked paprika, regular paprika can be used, but it won’t have the same smoky flavor. You can also use a combination of regular paprika and a bit of ground cumin to add some depth to the flavor.

Can I use chili powder instead of smoked paprika?

Chili powder can be used as a substitute for smoked paprika, but keep in mind that chili powder often contains other spices like cumin and garlic, which might alter the overall flavor of your dish.

Are paprika and smoked paprika interchangeable?

Paprika and smoked paprika are not entirely interchangeable due to their distinct flavors. Smoked paprika has a smoky and slightly sweet taste, while paprika is generally milder. However, you can use paprika if you don’t have smoked paprika, but you’ll miss out on the smokiness.

Can I substitute cayenne pepper for smoked paprika?

Cayenne pepper is much hotter and spicier than smoked paprika. Substituting cayenne for smoked paprika will significantly change the flavor and make your dish much spicier. It’s better to use regular paprika if you don’t have smoked paprika.

Ji Eun Kim

Written by Ji Eun Kim

Don't listen to anyone who says you can't be vegan and do well in sports and fitness. Vegans can do great, look good, and feel awesome!

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