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Crushed Red Pepper Substitute

Spicy foods have been around for longer than you can imagine, an entire 6,000 years. There’s so much upside to spicy foods, one of them is that Capsaicin, an active chemical in peppers known to lower blood pressure. They can also help you lose weight by increasing your body metabolism. So, it’s no wonder why Crushed red pepper is so much in demand to be used in meals.

An interesting fact to note is that several varieties of pepper species come with varying degrees of hotness. Usually, green peppers are not as hot as red or orange peppers, and certain pepper species like the Carolina Reaper rank as the hottest peppers ever! What happens when you cannot find some crushed red peppers to spice up your meal?

Not to worry! Other substitutes can just give you as much heat as you desire; why don’t we show you some of them. But first, what are red peppers?

What is Red Pepper?

The red pepper is also called Cayenne pepper. If you prefer its Latin name, Capsicum annum, this species of pepper with moderate hotness is used to flavor dishes. Although cayenne pepper can come in other colors like yellow or purple, they typically are red, long, skinny, and curved at the tip.

These peppers may not necessarily be crushed in some recipes but are instead chopped.

However, red peppers may be mixed with other chili peppers, dried, and crushed into flakes used to make crushed red pepper. Its best-known use is in Mexican cuisines, where they are added to give those cuisines a spicy flavor.

Many commercial products sold as crushed red pepper do not contain only Cayenne pepper alone but also a blend of other peppers like Chile de Arbol.  Like all other seasonings, if not stored properly in an airtight container, crushed red pepper loses its flavor after a while.

Another exciting thing is that it’s not just employed as a flavoring agent; some other applications involve its use as a pain reliever or to ease cold symptoms, thus showing its an indication as a medicinal plant.

How Crushed Red Pepper is Used in Recipes

If you’ve ever been to a restaurant, you probably have been served a meal with pepper in a shaker. It’s not uncommon for crushed red pepper to be used as a condiment to help spice up food; by simply sprinkling some of this onto your meal, you can give your meal that spicy feeling, almost in the way that we use table salt in shakers.

As a seasoning or ingredient,  crushed red pepper can cook meat or hot sauces. See how crushed red pepper can be used in meals. Some amazing recipes you can try:

Substitutes for Crushed Red Pepper

What is a spicy meal if it has no pepper, especially when the recipe clearly says you need crushed red pepper? Being caught in a shortage or even in other cases, a jar of crushed pepper gone bad. There’s no need to panic, as just other ingredients can give your food the desired spiciness. Let’s look at a few.

Ground Habanero Pepper

Ground Habanero Pepper

This substitute has lots of heat, and if you’re looking to achieve that in a meal, you’ll certainly have no problem. One of the hottest peppers in the world, the habanero chili pepper, is what the spice is made from. It has a fruity flavor and isn’t usually in flakes, meaning a change in texture; regardless, it can serve as a good substitute replacing every quantity of crushed red pepper in your recipe with only ½ that quantity of ground Habanero pepper.



This is such a common spice on shelves, especially in the supermarket. Although its hotness and texture are nowhere near what is obtainable with crushed red pepper, that can be supplemented with the quantity used or by mixing paprika with another chili pepper.

Paprika may be plain or smoked. Smoked paprika gives your meal a different aroma; beware of avoiding this kind of paprika, especially if that’s not what you want with your meal.

To substitute paprika in your meal, for every ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper, your recipe demands to replace it with 1 teaspoon of paprika.

Hot Sauce

Hot Sauce

The most accessible and most convenient substitute is making a liquid dish such as Soups, sauces, or stew. A good amount of Hot sauces like Tabasco and Sriracha works as a perfect substitute for giving your meal the hotness you want.

Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I make Crushed Red Pepper?

  1. First, determine what level of hotness you want, and you can make a mixture of cayenne peppers with other groups of pepper to get the right hotness.
  2. Now chop off the stems, using a knife, remember not to remove the seeds.
  3. If you have an oven, heat it to 170 degrees, it’s the easiest way. Although if you live in hot areas, sun-drying works well.
  4. Line the peppers (avoid clumping them so they can dry well) on a sheet of clean paper.
  5. Put the peppers in the oven, or leave them in the sun.
  6. The next day, after the pepper has dried properly, put it in a blender and crush it to the desired size.
  7. Lastly, store well in an airtight container.


Spice is the variety of life. Everyone who has had a spicy meal can tell how invigorating and tasty such meals can be; the worst of cooking disasters is to have your intended spicy meal not have any pepper in it. If you do not have the luxury to make fresh red peppers into crushed red peppers, the substitutes above make it a fine convenience to make that meal a spicy delight.