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The 5 Best Substitutes for Aleppo Peppers

Aleppo pepper is an interesting type of chili because it has a unique flavor profile.

The fruitiness of the chili comes through very strongly in its flavor, along with hints of tomato and cinnamon.

It’s becoming increasingly popular as people discover the unique taste that this chili can bring to their dishes.

These factors make Aleppo pepper particularly suited to certain dishes, like Middle-Eastern and North African cuisine.

One downside of the popularity of Aleppo chili is that it can be difficult to come by.

If you’d like to try cooking with Aleppo pepper but don’t know how or where to start, you might want to consider some alternatives.

In this article, we’ll take a more in-depth look into what Aleppo pepper is, and then we’ll talk about some of the best alternatives you can use.

What are Aleppo Peppers?

what are aleppo peppers

Aleppo peppers are a type of chili pepper that originates from Syria, although they can now be found worldwide.

These peppers are dried out and crushed into flakes or powder as spices for cooking.

Aleppo pepper has a mild to moderate level of spiciness and is not as spicy as other peppers such as habaneros or sequins.

These peppers grow on can grow up to one and a half meters high and produce small yellow-green flowers and bright red fruit.

However, the pepper itself is long and narrow like a banana pepper and is generally four to eight centimeters in length.

These peppers can be used as a substitute for crushed red pepper or paprika and are becoming increasingly popular due to their smoky, sweet taste that makes them very versatile in cooking.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Aleppo Peppers

If you are looking to substitute Aleppo peppers in your favorite recipes, a few options are available.

Here are the five best substitutes for this spicy pepper:

1 – Cayenne Pepper

cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is a type of chili powder used in cuisines worldwide to add a bit of spice and a lot of taste.

This pepper originated from Cayenne, an area near French Guiana.

It’s crucial to note that cayenne peppers are usually red when fully mature but may be white, yellow, or red when they are still unripe.

This pepper is, on average, 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units.

The level of spiciness in this chili is due to the presence of capsaicin.

It’s important to note that cayenne pepper isn’t typically very smoky, but it does have a lot of heat.

When using cayenne pepper as a substitute for Aleppo pepper, you may find that your dish turns out somewhat milder than anticipated.

2 – Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

crushed red pepper flakes

Another popular substitute for Aleppo pepper is crushed red pepper flakes.

These flakes are typically made from dried cayenne peppers and seeds.

In addition, these peppers may be ground into a powder before being sold as crushed red pepper or left whole with the stems still attached after being dried out.

Crushed red pepper flakes have a lot of heat that can range anywhere between 30,000 and 50,000 Scoville units.

It’s important to note, however, that different peppers may have different levels of heat even if they are of the same variety.

The main objective of using crushed red pepper flakes as a substitute for Aleppo peppers is to find something with enough heat so that your dish doesn’t turn out bland.

3 – Ancho Chili Powder

ancho chili powder

Ancho chili powder is made from anchos, which are dried poblanos.

When substituting Aleppo peppers with ancho chili powder, remember that the latter ingredient has a smoky richness even though it doesn’t have as much heat.

This may result in your dish has a more mild taste than anticipated.

Finally, ancho chili powder has a deep red color that any cook would love to have in their meal.

When using ancho chili powder as a substitute for Aleppo peppers, remember to add it later in the cooking process.

This is because this particular type of chili powder will burn if cooked too long or at too high of a temperature.

4 – Pasilla Chili Powder

pasilla chili powder

Last but not least, pasilla chili powder is another common substitute for Aleppo pepper.

This powder is made from dried pasilla chilies.

These are typically milder than other chili powders available on the market, similar to cayenne pepper.

Much like ancho chili powder, this type of chili powder has a rich taste but doesn’t have as much heat as crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.

In addition, this powder has a deep brown color.

To maximize the flavor of pasilla chili powder as a substitute for Aleppo peppers, it’s best to add it toward the end of cooking or sprinkle it on top of your dish after cooking is done.

5 – Pimento de Padron (Spanish Peppers)

pimento de padron spanish peppers

Last but not least, Pimento de Padron is a type of pepper that closely resembles Aleppo pepper.

These peppers typically measure between 1,000 and 5,000 Scoville units on the heat scale.

In addition, these peppers have a deep red color with thin skin.

The plant itself grows to about 2 feet tall and has small yellow flowers.

Pimento de Padron is an excellent substitute for Aleppo pepper due to its quick cooking time and rich flavor, even though it doesn’t have as much spiciness.

A common way of using these peppers is by sprinkling them with salt and eating them raw.

They can also be served fried in olive oil and seasoned with garlic and herbs.

While the plant itself is native to Spain, it has been grown in California since 1968 [and potentially much earlier].


Aleppo pepper is a chili pepper with an earthy and tangy flavor with hints of citrus and smoke.

However, it’s important to note that this ingredient doesn’t have as much heat as other chili peppers, such as cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.

Many cooks substitute Aleppo peppers with one of the following alternatives: crushed red pepper flakes, ancho chili powder, pasilla chili powder, and pimento de Padron.

Each of these ingredients has a rich earthy flavor that can be beneficial to a dish and a smoky taste.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Aleppo Peppers

The 5 Best Substitutes for Aleppo Peppers
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Ancho Chili Powder
  • Pasilla Chili Powder
  • Pimento de Padron (Spanish 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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