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Gourmet Hacks: 5 BEST Substitutes for Hot Paprika

Alright, so you’ve hit the jackpot in your spice rack, only to find hot paprika has ghosted you.

Yep, that little tin of fiery red goodness decided to bail just when your recipe needed it most. No sweat!

Before you toss your chef’s hat in defeat or consider a bland meal an inevitable fate, I’ve got some slick moves up my sleeve.

This guide isn’t just about finding a backup dancer for hot paprika; it’s about spotlighting those backup spices that can shimmy their way into your dishes and still keep the flavor party going strong.

Get ready to high-five your pantry because we’re about to make your kitchen rock without that elusive paprika!

The 5 Best Substitutes for Hot Paprika

If you’re a fan of spicy, smoky flavor and have run out of hot paprika, don’t despair.

There are plenty of other tantalizing spices that make for excellent substitutes in recipes that call for the fiery red powder.

Here are five options to keep your taste buds tingling:

1 – Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a culinary wonder, perplexing foodies and spice lovers alike.

This intensely spicy red powder is widely used as a topping or an ingredient in many dishes and sauces.

What’s so special about cayenne pepper? To start, its taste and texture are intensely spicy yet still quite palatable to the palate – allowing it to add something special to any dish while improving its flavor profile.

If you’re looking to replace paprika with something equally hot, cayenne is your best bet; just be sure to reduce the amount slightly, as it can be overwhelmingly spicy.

2 – Chipotle Powder

Who knew you could buy a bag of dust and turn it into something as delicious as chipotle powder? This unique and distinct spice is prized by foodies everywhere for its smoky, slightly sweet flavor and deep mahogany hue.

Derived from ground smoked jalapenos, the texture of this chili powder is surprisingly soft to the touch; its flavor characteristics can start off quite mild until the heat sneaks up on you.

The best part? It makes a great substitute for hot paprika in that beloved homemade chili recipe.

For an added boost of flavor, try blending dry-roasted garlic or cumin with chipotle powder when swapping it in for paprika.

3 – Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika is a unique Spanish spice that perplexes many foodies.

It brings a smokiness to a dish without the heat of regular or hot paprika.

Smoked paprika has an earthy flavor, and it adds a slightly rustic taste to recipes.

It also has a unique texture, bringing an almost crunchy element to finished dishes.

If you want some of the benefits of smoked paprika but wish it had more spiciness, then use half-smoked paprika and half-hot paprika for your recipe.

This will add depth to the dish as well as some warmth from the hot version.

Its combination of smokiness, subtle heat, and complexity makes smoked paprika an excellent flavor booster for your favorite dishes.

4 – Chili Powder

Chili powder is one of the most perplexing and often misused spices out there.

A mixture of various spices like chili, cumin, garlic, and oregano, it can be used for a variety of dishes from Mexican to Indian cuisine.

The texture is coarse, and the flavor is complex – smoky, pungent, and spicy – with heat ranging from mild to extremely hot, depending on the blend and amount added.

It’s ideal for sauces, soups, and chili con carne recipes.

As a substitute for hot paprika, you can use an equal amount of chili powder – adjusted depending on how hot you want it to be.

That way, you get more complexity in your dish while still achieving the desired level of spiciness.

5 – Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes can make for an excellent addition to any dish, adding a wonderfully spicy pop of color and flavor.

The heat is generally milder than tabasco sauce or other pre-made hot sauces thanks to their concentration as whole dried peppers instead of the ground chili powder.

Red pepper flakes also have a unique texture – when sprinkled over food, they tend to stay crunchy and hold onto their form.

If you’re out of hot paprika or other spices with heat but want that same kick from the pepper itself, red pepper flakes are the perfect substitute.

Surprisingly versatile and dynamic in terms of adding nuanced levels of heat to all sorts of dishes, it’s no surprise why many chefs reach for these vibrant red flecks in their cooking.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Hot Paprika

Spice up your recipes even without hot paprika! These five substitutes provide the perfect amount of heat and flavor to your dishes, ensuring they remain deliciously fiery.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


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


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword Substitutes for Hot Paprika
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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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