Best Paprika Substitutes

Is your recipe requiring paprika, but you don’t have any on hand? There is no need to fear since there are other spices that may be used in place of paprika. They may not have the exact same paprika taste, but they are the most similar.

Today, we’ll go through the top 5 paprika replacements.

What is Paprika?

Paprika is a global ground spice and Hungary’s national spice. It is used in a broad range of Hungarian dishes and is also used as a spice in place of salt and pepper. Paprika originated in Central Mexico before being introduced to Spain in the 16th century. It then expanded over Asia, Europe, and Africa. It is also the world’s fourth most popular spice.

Paprika is manufactured from a combination of dried peppers and members of the capsicum annuum family. Paprika is a versatile spice in addition to bringing a particular taste to a meal. It may be used to season foods, as a garnish, or to add color to dishes. The taste of paprika may be sweet (also known as plain paprika), fiery, or smoked. The fundamental taste of either is determined by the sort of pepper used to make paprika.

Paprika, like its tastes, is classified into three types:

  • Paprika dulce (sweet paprika). This form, sometimes referred to as paprika, has a little heat and a somewhat sweet flavor. Sweet paprika is the ideal option for folks with a low spice tolerance.
  • Paprika, hot. This variant, as the name implies, is produced from hot red peppers and lends a burst of chili flavor to a meal.
  • Paprika that has been smoked. This spicy condiment is created from dried and smoked peppers and is almost as hot as hot paprika.

While there are many spices that may be used in place of paprika, Ancho chili powder, Cayenne pepper, and Chili powder are the closest equivalents in terms of taste and color to paprika.

1. Ancho Chili Powder as Sweet Paprika Substitute

If you can’t obtain paprika, ancho chili powder is the finest sweet paprika replacement owing to its comparable flavor.

Ancho chili powder is created from ripe poblano peppers (also known as crushed ancho chilies) that have been dried and roasted. Ancho chiles have a rich red color and a sweet, gently fiery, and smoky taste. Because of its smokiness, ancho chili powder may also be used as a smoky paprika substitute. It also contains capsaicin, an appetite suppressant that may help with weight reduction.

In Spanish, ancho means “broad chili.” This pepper has a rich red color with raisin-like wrinkles. It is a common component in Mexican cuisine and may be found in a variety of dishes.

Some people may mistake ancho chili powder with ordinary chili powder, which is a blend of spices including cumin, chili peppers, paprika, and others. While ancho chili powder is not a common kitchen ingredient, you may need to add it to your shopping list.

In a recipe, use half to one teaspoon of ancho chili powder for one teaspoon of paprika. Don’t worry if you use a little extra since ancho chiles aren’t particularly spicy and only have a Scoville scale rating of 1000 to 1500. (used to measure the spiciness of chili peppers).

2. Cayenne Pepper as a Paprika Alternative

Cayenne pepper, which is almost similar in color to paprika but is quite hot, is another popular paprika substitute. Cayenne pepper is a popular spice to add to a variety of foods, including pizza, soups, meats, and, in certain countries, dessert. It’s a useful addition to your spice cabinet.

Cayenne pepper has a natural smoky flavor, but it is much hotter than smoked paprika. That is advantageous since you obtain the red hue while using less spice. If you are new to cayenne pepper or are sensitive to strong heat, start with a small quantity and gradually increase until you get the desired flavor.

Cayenne pepper originated in South America and was named after Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana. Other names for it include Guinea spice, cow-horn peppers, and bird pepper.

History documents suggest that cayenne pepper has been in existence for thousands of years. Around the mid-1500s, the Brits found cayenne pepper in India.

Cayenne pepper is known as Chili in Mexico, but it also goes by other names, including:

  • Capsique, also known as Poivre de Cayenne in France
  • Red pepper from the United States
  • Red African pepper
  • Pepper for African birds
  • The Spanish pepper
  • Guinea pepper is a kind of pepper.

Chili peppers are utilized to make cayenne pepper, which is responsible for the increase in cayenne spice levels. In terms of heat, it ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU (Scoville heat units) and is equivalent to tabasco. Cayenne pepper is also an excellent replacement for smoked paprika.

To one teaspoon of paprika, add a fourth or half teaspoon of cayenne pepper. If desired, add more. Begin with 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper as a substitute for paprika.

3. Regular Chili Powder as Sweet Paprika Substitute

Chili powder is tough to locate in a kitchen. Chili powder is used to add heat and color to many South Asian dishes.

Chili powder is made up of two basic ingredients: paprika and cayenne pepper, which are combined with additional spices including cumin, oregano, onion powder, and garlic. Chili powder is hotter than paprika but milder than cayenne pepper. Chili powder is the only spice that comes close to matching the color of paprika. Chili powder has a similar heat level as smoked or Hungarian paprika.

Chili powder has 500 to 1500 SHU, which may give a moderate burn but not a highly hot flavor. Chili powder may not be the optimal alternative for paprika for some individuals, but it is your best option when your recipe requires it.

Since paprika and chili powder have distinct flavors, you may begin with a modest quantity. For one teaspoon of paprika, use half a teaspoon of chili powder, then add more if desired.

4. Chipotle Powder as a Paprika Substitute

After being dried and smoked, jalapeño peppers are pulverized into chipotle powder. It has a peppery flavor rather than a sweet one. Jalapeno peppers are predominantly grown in South Texas and southern New Mexico. The term chipotle comes from the Aztec word chilpoctli, which meaning “smoked chili.”

A little-known truth about chipotle powder is that it takes roughly 10 pounds of fresh red jalapeño peppers to manufacture one pound of dry chipotle. Because of their thick flesh, jalapeno peppers are smoked rather than sun-dried. It’s a lengthy and exhausting procedure.

Chipotle peppers vary from 2500 to 8000 SHU on the Scoville Scale, whereas spicy paprika is no more than 500 SHU. It is hotter than both ordinary and spicy smoked paprika. Chipotle powder is also deeper in color than paprika, which may alter the overall aesthetic of your food.

If paprika is unavailable and you need a viable substitute, chipotle powder may help. Since it is made using dried jalapeño peppers, it has an earthy and smokey flavor. However keep in mind that chipotle is hotter than paprika, so start with a tiny increment.

For one teaspoon of paprika, use 4 teaspoons chipotle powder. If you are sensitive to heat and don’t mind a little of tex-mex in your cuisine, use one teaspoon chipotle powder for one teaspoon paprika. If you’re not sure how much you can afford, start with one.

5. Aleppo Pepper Powder as Paprika Replacement

Aleppo pepper is a red spice that originated in Syria and was named after the city of Aleppo in northern Syria. Halaby pepper is another name for it.

While it is not a pantry essential, if you have Aleppo pepper on hand, it may be used in place of paprika. Aleppo pepper is often used as a spice rub or sprinkled over salads and hummus in Middle Eastern and Turkish cuisine (chickpea spread).

Aleppo pepper has a rich red color, an earthy taste, and moderate heat levels. Since salt is frequently added during the drying process, it may taste a little salty. Since Aleppo pepper resembles chili flakes, it may be apparent in your cuisine.

4th teaspoon and progressively raise the quantity until you reach the desired spice level. Aleppo pepper, which is hotter than ordinary paprika, is an excellent substitute for smoked paprika. Begin with 1 teaspoon in a recipe.


Paprika is a fantastic spice. It comes in a variety of tastes, each of which is distinct and caters to varied spice tolerances. While paprika is widely accessible, if you are short on time or do not want to go to the grocery store, you may always replace it with the spices listed above. These substitutions will mask the flavor and color without making a visible change in your dish.


What can you use if you don’t have paprika?

Don’t worry, you can still finish your meal without paprika by using the alternatives listed below.
Paprika Substitutes That Work. Best bets include: Cayenne pepper…. Black peppercorns…. Bell peppers…. Maras pepper flakes…. Cayenne pepper…. Bell peppers.
Jun 10, 2020

What can I substitute for 1 tsp smoked paprika?

3 tsp normal paprika + 13 tsp cumin (amounts are approximate). Cumin + regular paprika (for color).

1 part cumin to 2 parts ordinary paprika (also known as Hungarian sweet paprika). That is, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika equals 2

Can I use cumin instead of paprika?

Each of these spices have distinct smoky and earthy taste qualities. Paprika is a bright red spice with a moderate taste, while cumin is a brownish-yellow spice with a powerful flavor. And, sure, they may be used interchangeably!

How much chili powder to substitute for paprika?

Paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper

This is the appropriate ratio: Ratio of substitutions: 1 tablespoon chili powder equals 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 14 teaspoon cayenne. Depending on your spicy preferences, you may adjust the cayenne to taste.

What flavor does paprika give off?

The taste of the spice may vary from mild and sweet to quite spicy. Domestic paprika has a mild, sweet, and vegetable-like flavor. Certain Spanish paprikas are smoked before drying, giving them a smoky taste. Certain types, like as Hungarian, may have pungent (hot) flavors.

What does paprika do for a recipe?

This spice, often known as paprika, offers a splash of color to any cuisine. It may be sprinkled on top of deviled eggs or potato salad, or used to flavor meat rubs. It tastes like sweet pepper with no heat. If a recipe does not mention the sort of paprika to use, we suggest this one.

What is the conversion for paprika?

13 teaspoon cumin + 3 teaspoon ordinary paprika. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika equals 12 teaspoon liquid smoke. Cumin with sweet paprika: Color and subtlety are approximated, but smokey taste is not. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika = 2 teaspoons

Does cayenne pepper taste like paprika?

The distinction between cayenne and paprika in the kitchen manifests itself in three ways: Cayenne pepper is a hot spice that adds fire to any meal, while paprika has a softer, somewhat sweeter flavor. Cayenne pepper has a grittier texture than paprika, which is processed into a smooth, fine powder.

What is the closest spice to smoked paprika?

Chipotle powder is the finest substitute.

Check. Chipotle pepper powder is probably the closest thing to smoked paprika alternative you’ll find in most spice cabinets. Chipotle powder is created from smoked dried jalapeo peppers, so the earthy flavor essential to the replacement is there in abundance.

Can I make my own paprika?

Set your dehydrator to 130 degrees Fahrenheit and place the peppers inside. Dehydrate the peppers until they are absolutely dry. This might take anything from 4 to 12 hours.
Remove the seeds and crush the peppers into a fine powder in a spice grinder.
Keep it in an airtight spice container.
Jul 23, 2020

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