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The 5 Best Substitutes for Aji Amarillo Paste

There are many ways to use aji Amarillo paste, from sauces to soups and stews.

The sauce’s flavor is very strong and unique – it has a citrusy tanginess with a slightly spicy finish.

It is used in Peruvian dishes as a source of heat and an additive for its unique flavors to enhance the other ingredients.

Aji Amarillo paste is usually sold canned and found in almost any Latin American market.

If you cannot find aji Amarillo paste, it’s easy – if not simple – to make yourself.

If you cannot find a Latin American market near you, aji Amarillo paste is also available for purchase online.

However, if aji Amarillo paste is unavailable in your area or you don’t have the time to make it from scratch, some substitutes will give you similar results.

In this article, we’ll list five of the best substitutes for aji Amarillo paste, as well as use each alternative in a recipe.

What is Aji Amarillo Paste?

what is aji amarillo paste

Aji Amarillo paste is a bright orange, thick sauce made from Aji Amarillo chili peppers and various other ingredients such as lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and salt.

The Aji Amarillo pepper is native to Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador.

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It has been spreading through other regions due to increased popularity outside of its native range.

Aji Amarillo paste is served in many dishes ranging from meats and vegetables to soups and seafood.

Examples of recipes that use this sauce include Arroz Chaufa, Anticucho de Pollo, Ceviche, Papa a la Huancaina, Lomo Saltado, Aji de Gallina, and Aji de Camarones.

This paste is a common ingredient in Peruvian cuisine and can be found at many local restaurants.

It is also available on Amazon.

com for purchase by those who want to make their recipes or even have it on hand as a condiment.

When paired with the right foods, this sauce can create an amazing taste that benefits any meal.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Aji Amarillo Paste

If you cannot find aji Amarillo paste at your local grocery store, don’t worry.

You can use many substitutes to get the same effect as the original sauce.

1 – Chipotle Peppers

chipotle peppers

Chipotle peppers are made from smoked jalapeno peppers.

They are dried to make them easy to store and transport.

Typically, making these peppers involves smoking them over pecan or mesquite wood.

This is why they have a distinct smoky flavor that resembles bacon or ham, which some people may enjoy.

The heat is significant but not overwhelming.

As a result, this makes it great for those who can’t handle spicy food or want to tone down the heat.

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Chipotle pepper powder is available in most grocery stores and online retailers.

For instance, it can be purchased on for under $8 per jar.

In addition, it is often used to make taco meat and chili sauce.

2 – Roasted Pablano Peppers

roasted pablano peppers

Pablano peppers may also be used as a substitute for Aji Amarillo paste.

They are commonly stuffed with cheese and served alongside other dishes such as fajitas or burgers.

Their flavor profile makes them ideal for many different types of dishes.

These peppers are typically light in color but can vary quite a bit depending on how ripe they are when picked.

Although somewhat spicy, the heat level is not overwhelming like chipotle peppers.

Pablano peppers are indigenous to Mexico and may make salsa or southwestern food.

These peppers can be a tasty addition to your meal when prepared properly.

They may be found in most grocery stores or from multiple online retailers.

3 – Dried or Frozen Aji Amarillo Chiles

dried or frozen aji amarillo chiles

Another option is to use dried or frozen aji Amarillo peppers.

Not only will this add hot flavor to your dish, but it will also provide an extra spicy kick that may be too much for some people.

These peppers do not freeze well when fresh and must be added after cooking.

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They are typically sold in powdered form since they are dried.

As a result, they may be easier to find than fresh ones and may not last as long in your pantry.

Since these peppers are so hard, grinding or blending them into a paste is nearly impossible.

Typically, only the seeds are removed before being picked and sold commercially.

Removing the seeds will make the pepper less hot.

4 – Scotch Bonnet Peppers

scotch bonnet peppers

If you can handle the heat, scotch bonnet peppers may be used in place of Aji Amarillo paste.

They are similar to habaneros and can find fresh outside of Caribbean countries.

This might make it hard for some people to use them as a substitute for the original sauce.

If you can find these peppers at your local grocery store, consider yourself lucky.

The amount of heat in each pepper will vary.

As a result, the heat level of your recipe may also change depending on which peppers you use.

This type of pepper is native to Jamaica and was named after the Scottish bonnet (cap) due to its resemblance to one.

They can be found in many European ethnic markets but are not very common at most grocery stores.

5 – Habanero Peppers

habanero peppers

The final alternative is to use habanero peppers.

They are extremely hot but have a nice fruitiness that makes them ideal for many dishes.

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To avoid hot spots in your dish, be sure to remove the seeds from the habanero pepper before you add it.

Also, you must use rubber gloves when handling these peppers since they can burn your hands if you don’t.

If possible, try wearing a mask since breathing in the fumes from these peppers may irritate.

Habanero peppers are commonly made with hot sauce but may also be found fresh in specialty shops or grocery stores.

However, these are often very expensive and usually only available during summer.


Aji Amarillo paste is a common ingredient in many South American dishes.

Since it can be difficult to purchase outside of South America, many people are looking for the best substitutes that will allow them to create these dishes at home.

Chipotle pepper powder, roasted poblano peppers, dried/frozen Aji Amarillo chiles, scotch bonnet peppers, and habanero peppers are all suitable alternatives that can be used in place of aji Amarillo paste.

Each one provides a different texture and flavor profile, so choose the best substitute based on your cooking preferences.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Aji Amarillo Paste

The 5 Best Substitutes for Aji Amarillo Paste
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Chipotle Peppers
  • Dried or Frozen Aji Amarillo Chiles
  • Roasted Pablano Peppers
  • Scotch Bonnet Peppers
  • Habanero Peppers


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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