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Chilli Powder Substitute

Chilli powder is not one particular spice; rather it is actually a blend consisting of six spices:  paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cumin, and a dash of cayenne powder.  Chilli powder is a rich, bittersweet blend of ground chilies and the other ingredient spices. It is a star ingredient in many Tex-Mex recipes, barbecue sauce, Bloody Mary, and barbecue meat rubs. You can also find chili powder used in chili con carne, Spanish rice, and tacos. The spice level in chili powder can range anywhere from mild to hot. Chilli powder is common in Indian, Korean, Mexican, and Portuguese cuisine.

 

The fiery hot taste and spicy kick that it renders to dishes are only one of the many benefits of red chili powder. Beyond adding taste, our dishes get healthier with every pinch of this versatile spice combination. The primary bioactive plant compound known as capsaicin is responsible for the hot taste and health benefits of chili powder.

Chilli powder benefits the body in the following ways: fights inflammation and pain, promotes digestive health, aids weight loss, enhances cognitive function, helps the heart, and relieves nasal congestion.

Chilli Powder Nutrition Facts

Chilli Powder Substitutes

Chilli Powder Substitutes

Making a recipe that calls for chili powder and doesn’t have it? Here are a few options that are suitable as a substitution.

Cumin

Cumin

Cumin is the dried, crushed seeds of a flowering plant from India and the Middle East. The cumin powder has an intense color and a powerful savory aroma that is instantly recognizable. Cumin is not spicy but its potency can make up for the lack of more delicate spices (like the oregano or onion in chili powder). Like chili powder, cumin provides earthy, savory undertones. To substitute, use half whatever amount of chili powder is required in your recipe.

Hot Sauce

Hot Sauce

A blend of spicy peppers and acid (usual vinegar), hot sauces can be very flavorful but usually contribute more heat than spice. Both chili powder and hot sauces contain ingredients with a kick. However, chili powder is considerably milder than most hot sauces! To substitute chili powder for hot sauce, use just a couple drops of hot sauce per tablespoon of chili powder called for in the recipe.

Paprika

Paprika

Paprika is prepared from ground dried pepper. The process results in a bright orange-red color powder. The three types of paprika are sweet, hot, and smoked paprika. The hotter version is known as Hungarian paprika, popular with Hungarian cuisine like Goulash. As stated above, this substitute is one of the ingredients in chili powder mix, using it in small amounts can hold the fort for chili powder in your recipe. Substitute with just a pinch.

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Most kitchens will have a bottle of red pepper flakes sitting around, and it’s an excellent substitute for chili powder, especially when you crush them even further. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the flakes into a powder form. The powder may be slightly hotter than a generic chili powder, but it’s a good choice to keep a recipe’s expected flavors intact.

Old Bay Seasoning

Old Bay Seasoning

Old Bay has a paprika base, so it can replace generic chili powder in very specific circumstances. Old Bay has a very distinct flavor, so it’s not a good choice for most recipes. If you need chili powder substitute for a general seafood spice, then Old Bay is an excellent option. Furthermore, it’s amazing on carbs recipes.

Harissa

Harissa

Harissa is a type of chili paste that’s a common accompaniment to North African and Middle Eastern dishes. It’s made by blending red chiles, roasted red peppers, and olive oil with cumin, garlic, and other spices. Chiles, cumin, garlic… I bet you see the similarities already. Harissa can be on the mild side or very spicy, and the label will tell you which one you’re working with. Dried harissa is the best to substitute with, use the same amount as the chili powder your recipe calls for.

Cajun Seasoning

Cajun Seasoning

Cajun spice blends are meant to replicate the flavors of the dishes of the Cajun people. The seasoning will typically have a hefty dose of salt, as well as black and white peppercorns, ground cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Cajun seasoning usually has a little heat from the cayenne; how much will vary between brands. Chilli powder and Cajun seasoning share a few similar ingredients, hence, is a great substitute. Substitute an equal amount of Cajun seasoning for chili powder in your recipe.

Chipotle Powder

Chipotle Powder

The chipotle powder consists of ground chipotle peppers and has no other ingredients. The chipotle powder has a rich smokiness that will add a significant amount of flavor to your dish, even when used in small quantities. Because the chipotle powder is made with jalapeños, it does have the potential to make your dishes hotter than they would be with most premixed chili powder blends. Use it carefully. Start with half the amount specified in your recipe and increase only if necessary.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper

Because cayenne pepper is a principal ingredient in chili powder, it makes sense to reach for some as a substitute. However, this is not a 1:1 substitute. A bottle labeled cayenne contains only dried and ground cayenne peppers and this is by far higher pepper than in chili powder. For every teaspoon of chili powder called for in your recipe, use only 1/8 of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some good recipes to try chili powder in?

Chilli powder is great in all different kinds of chili recipes. Try Vegetarian Chilli with sweet potatoes and quinoa, Chile con Carne with Beans, and Dark side Chilli (which incorporates dark chocolate into this traditionally savory dish).

Can you substitute paprika for chili powder?

You can use paprika in place for chili powder and achieve a similar effect, but you should know when using paprika you’ll get less heat and a milder spice than when using chili powder.

Can I substitute chili powder for cayenne pepper?

Cayenne is much hotter than chili powder, and it lacks the depth of flavor, so it is not an ideal substitute. If it is your only option, start with a small amount as suggested in the article, and increase to taste.

Conclusion

Chilli powder is a spice blend made with dried chilies and other spices. There’s really nothing like it! But, if you must substitute it, have a pick from the substitutes listed above. Within this list, you are sure to find a substitute that is already in your spice cupboard!