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The 5 Best Substitutes for Espelette Peppers

Have you ever heard of a spice known as Espelette pepper?

This uniquely-flavored spice adds a vibrant kick to dishes ranging from savory stews to sweet desserts, and its complex, earthy flavor has made it a favorite among chefs and food enthusiasts alike.

Though it is less spicy than other chili peppers, espelette pepper has a delicious smoky quality that gives any dish a touch of sophistication.

Unfortunately, this prized ingredient can be difficult to find outside France, which means many home cooks go without it.

If you’re looking for a tasty substitute for espelette pepper, there are several options available.

In this article, we’ll look at five of the best substitutes for espelette pepper.

By using these spices or flavoring agents in place of this hard-to-find ingredient, you’ll be able to add that unique French flavor to your favorite dishes without having to spend hours on a plane.

What is Espelette Pepper?

what is espelette pepper

Espelette pepper is a type of chili pepper that is typically grown in the French Basque region.

The peppers are small and slender, with a bright red color.

They have a slightly sweet taste and a moderate level of spiciness.

Espelette pepper is traditionally used as a seasoning for various dishes, such as soup, stews, and potatoes.

It can also be used to make a spicy powder sprinkled on meats or vegetables.

In recent years, espelette pepper has become increasingly popular as a culinary ingredient, and it is now used in many different cuisines from around the world.

When grown in the Basque region, espelette pepper is typically harvested in October.

The peppers are then dried and ground into a powder.

The powder can be stored for up to a year without losing its flavor.

For the best flavor, espelette pepper should be used fresh.

So if you’re looking to add a little kick of spice to your dishes, be sure to give espelette pepper a try.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Espelette Peppers

For many years, Espelette peppers have been one of the most popular spices used in French cooking.

Known for their bold and spicy flavor, these peppers are often difficult to find and can be quite expensive when you do come across them.

Fortunately, several other ingredients make excellent substitutes for Espelette peppers.

These include:

1 – Smoked Paprika

smoked paprika

First on our list is smoked paprika.

This spice is made from dried and smoked peppers, typically from the Capsicum annuum family.

The peppers are ground into a fine powder that can be used to add flavor and heat to any dish.

Smoked paprika has a similar flavor profile to Espelette peppers, but it is not as spicy.

It also has a smoky, savory flavor that can enhance the taste of many dishes, from roasts and soups to sauces and marinades.

Consider the intensity of smoked paprika when substituting it for Espelette peppers.

If your recipe calls for a mild or medium-spicy level, smoked paprika will be a good choice.

However, if you need a very spicy pepper, you may want to look for something else.

2 – Chipotle Powder

chipotle powder

Chipotle powder is made from smoked dried jalapeño peppers and is a powerful ingredient with versatility.

It can be used as a spice in cooking or added to sauces, marinades, and rubs to give them a smoky flavor.

It can also be used as a finishing powder, Sprinkled on top of food before serving.

The chipotle powder has a deep, rich flavor that can elevate any dish.

It is perfect for grilled meats, fish, vegetables, soup, chili, etc.

And because it is concentrated, a little goes a long way.

When substituting chipotle powder for Espelette peppers, you should keep the ratio of 1:1.

However, keep in mind that chipotle may be a bit spicier than Espelette, so you may want to adjust your recipe accordingly.

3 – Aleppo Pepper

aleppo pepper

With its deep red color and fiery flavor, the Aleppo pepper is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine.

Originally from the Syrian city of Aleppo, this versatile spice is used in everything from stews and soups to salads and sauces.

The pepper gets its heat from capsaicin, a compound found in other chili peppers.

In addition to its unique flavor, the Aleppo pepper is also rich in vitamins A and C, making it a healthy addition to any dish.

Compared to Espelette and paprika peppers, the Aleppo pepper has a much more concentrated heat and is sure to add plenty of flavor to any dish.

4 – Red Pepper Flakes

red pepper flakes

Red pepper flakes are a common ingredient in many kitchen pantries and make an excellent substitute for Espelette peppers.

These flakes are made from dried and crushed chili peppers, typically from the Capsicum annuum family.

Red pepper flakes have a spicy flavor that can vary in intensity depending on the pepper used.

They are commonly used to add heat and flavor to dishes such as pasta, pizza, soups, stews, and sauces.

Red pepper flakes can also be sprinkled on foods for a spicy garnish.

5 – Cayenne Pepper

cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is a spicy ingredient that is commonly used in cooking.

This aromatic spice comes from the dried pods of chili peppers, and it is well known for its intense heat and peppery flavor.

Many cooks use cayenne pepper to add a kick to their recipes, but this versatile ingredient can also be added to smoothies, salads, and even DIY beauty treatments.

In addition to being delicious and versatile, cayenne pepper has numerous health benefits.

Due to its high concentration of capsaicin, a chemical compound that gives peppers their heat, cayenne pepper has been shown to boost metabolism, improve circulation, and soothe the pain.

So, the next time you’re looking for an Espelette pepper substitute, consider using cayenne pepper for a fiery flavor and all the associated health benefits.


Esplette peppers are a unique ingredient that can add a lot of flavor to any dish.

However, if you don’t have any on hand or can’t find them at your local grocery store, don’t worry.

There are plenty of other spices and ingredients that can be used as substitutes.

Try Aleppo pepper, red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper for a similar flavor.

Each of these tasty ingredients can be used in various dishes, and they are sure to add heat and delicious flavor to your cooking.

Whether you’re looking for an Espelette pepper substitute or want to try something new in the kitchen, consider using one of these versatile spices the next time you cook.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Espelette Peppers

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


  • Smoked Paprika
  • Chipotle Powder
  • Aleppo Pepper
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Cayenne 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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