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The 5 Best Substitutes for Bird’s Eye Chili

If you’re a fan of spicy food, then you’ve probably tried bird’s eye chili.

This chili pepper is native to Southeast Asia and is commonly used in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.

It gets its name from its small size and shape, which resembles a bird’s eye.

Bird’s eye chili is one of the spiciest chili peppers, ranking at 50,000-100,000 on the Scoville heat scale.

If you can’t handle the heat, then you’re probably wondering what the best substitutes for bird’s eye chili are.

In this article, we will be discussing the five best substitutes for bird’s eye chili.

What is Bird’s Eye Chili?

what is bird eye chili

Bird’s eye chili, also known as Thai chili or prik kee noo, is a small, incredibly spicy chili pepper commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine.

The peppers get their name from their small size and round shape, which resembles a bird’s eye.

These peppers are typically red or green and can range in heat from mild to hot.

When cooked, the peppers release a potent, fruity aroma that is sweet and spicy.

When cooking, bird’s eye chili is often chopped or pounded into a paste and added to soups, curries, and stir-fries.

It can also be used as a table condiment, added to dishes such as noodles or rice.

While bird’s eye chili is not for the faint of heart, those who enjoy spicy food will find that it adds a delicious depth of flavor to many dishes.

You can find bird’s eye chili peppers at many Asian markets or online.

The peppers can be fresh, dried, or ground into a powder.

Fresh peppers will have the most flavor, but they can be difficult to find outside Southeast Asia.

Dried peppers are a good alternative and can be found in most Asian markets.

Ground chili powder is the easiest to find and can be found in the spice aisle of most grocery stores.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Bird’s Eye Chili

For those who love spicy food, bird’s eye chili is a common ingredient.

This chili pepper is often used in Southeast Asian cuisine and can add a serious kick to any dish.

If you can’t find bird’s eye chili or want to try something different, several substitutes will still give your meal a nice bit of heat.

1 – Serrano Pepper

serrano pepper

For those who enjoy a little spice in their life, the Serrano pepper is a great substitute for the bird’s eye chili.

Both peppers pack a punch when it comes to heat, but the Serrano pepper has a fruitier flavor that can enhance the taste of many dishes.

In addition, the Serrano pepper is more widely available than the bird’s eye chili, making it an easy substitution for those who want to add extra heat to their meal.

So next time you’re looking for a little more spice, reach for a Serrano pepper instead of a bird’s eye chili – you won’t be disappointed.

2 – Cayenne Pepper

cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper and bird’s eye chili are two popular types of chili peppers.

Both peppers are used in many different cuisines and have a reputation for being very spicy.

However, there are some important differences between these two peppers.

Cayenne pepper is typically milder than bird’s eye chili, making it a good choice for those who want to add a little bit of heat to their dish without making it too spicy.

In addition, cayenne pepper has a slightly fruity flavor, while bird’s eye chili tends to be more savory.

As a result, cayenne pepper is often used in sweet and savory dishes, while bird’s eye chili is more commonly found in savory dishes.

When substituting one pepper for the other, it is important to keep these distinctions in mind.

3 – Habanero Pepper

habanero pepper

For those who enjoy a bit of heat in their food, there is nothing like the habanero pepper.

This fiery little pepper packs a serious punch, and its bright flavor can add a touch of excitement to any dish.

However, habaneros can be difficult to find in stores, and they can be quite expensive.

For these reasons, many choose to substitute bird’s eye chili peppers.

While bird’s eye chili peppers are not as hot as habaneros, they still provide a decent amount of heat.

In addition, they are much more widely available and tend to be less expensive.

4 – Scotch Bonnet (also known as Bonney pepper)

scotch bonnet also known as bonney pepper

For many years, the bird’s eye chili has been the chili of choice for those who want a little extra heat in their dishes.

However, the bird’s eye chili can be difficult to find in some parts of the world.

As a result, many cooks have turned to the scotch bonnet as a substitute.

The scotch bonnet is similar to the bird’s eye chili in appearance and flavor.

However, it is slightly more pungent, with a Scoville rating of 100,000-350,000 units.

As a result, it should be used sparingly in dishes.

When substituting scotch bonnets for bird’s eye chilies, it is important to remember that a little goes a long way.

5 – Jalapeno Pepper

jalapeno pepper

The jalapeno pepper is a type of chili pepper that is commonly used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.

It is named after the city of Jalapa, Mexico, where it was first cultivated.

Jalapeno peppers are typically green when immature and red when mature.

They range in size from 2 to 3 inches long and are typically quite spicy.

When used in cooking, they are often chopped or sliced and added to dishes such as salsa, guacamole, or chili.

Jalapeno peppers can also be pickled or canned and enjoyed as a condiment.

For those who enjoy spicy food, jalapeno peppers are a delicious way to add some heat to your meals.


In conclusion, the five best substitutes for bird’s eye chili are cayenne pepper, serrano pepper, jalapeño pepper, habanero pepper, and scotch bonnet.

These substitutes will provide a similar level of heat and flavor to dishes that traditionally call for bird’s eye chili.

When substituting, it is important to keep in mind the different flavor profiles of each pepper and to adjust the amount used accordingly.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Bird's Eye Chili

The 5 Best Substitutes for Bird's Eye Chili
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Serrano Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Habanero Pepper
  • Scotch Bonnet (also known as Bonney pepper)
  • Jalapeno Pepper


  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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