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The 5 Best Substitutes for Thai Chilies

Besides being extremely hot, what do you know about Thai chilies?

Did you know that there are several different types of Thai chili peppers?

And did you know that they’re used in various cuisines, not just Thai food? If you’re a fan of spicy food, then you’ve probably tasted Thai chilies.

But if you’re not a fan of spice, or if you can’t find Thai chilies at your local grocery store, you may be wondering what the best substitutes for Thai chilies are.

In this article, we’ll look at five of the best substitutes for Thai chilies so that you can still enjoy your favorite spicy dishes, even if you can’t find Thai chilies.

What is Thai Chili?

what is thai chili

Thai chili peppers are a type of small, hot chili pepper used extensively in Thai cuisine.

These peppers are usually red or green and have a sharp, fiery flavor.

Thai chili peppers can be used fresh, pickled, or dried, and they are an essential ingredient in many popular dishes, such as curry and pad thai.

Thai chili peppers are also known as bird’s eye chili peppers or, by their scientific name, Capsicum frutescens.

While they are not as widely available as other types of chili peppers, Thai chili peppers can be found in Asian markets or online.

For those who cannot tolerate the heat of these peppers, handling them with care and wearing gloves when chopping or cooking with them is important.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Thai Chilies

For those who can’t handle the heat, these substitutes will give your dish the flavor of Thai chilies without setting your mouth on fire.

1 – Cayenne Peppers

cayenne peppers

If you’re a fan of Thai cuisine, then you’re probably familiar with the spicy, flavorful dishes that often feature chili peppers.

While Thai chilies are the traditional choice for these dishes, cayenne peppers make an excellent substitute.

Like Thai chilies, cayenne peppers are hot, with a Scoville rating of 30,000 to 50,000 units.

In addition, they have a similar flavor profile, with notes of sweetness and fruitiness.

As a result, cayenne peppers can successfully mimic the taste of Thai chilies in many dishes.

So if you can’t find Thai chilies at your local grocery store, don’t despair; cayenne peppers make a worthy replacement.

2 – Bird’s Eye Chilies

bird eye chilies

If you’re out of Thai chilies and need a substitute in a recipe, consider using Bird’s Eye chilies.

These small, intensely hot peppers are commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking.

They have a sharp, fiery flavor that can add some punch to a dish.

When substituting Bird’s Eye chilies for Thai chilies, use one chili for every two Thai chilies called for in the recipe.

You may also want to remove the seeds from the chilies before using them, as this will help to tone down the heat level.

With a little experimentation, you can easily find a suitable replacement for Thai chilies in any dish.

3 – Jalapeno Peppers

jalapeno peppers

Jalapeno peppers are a popular chili pepper that can be used as a substitute for Thai chilies.

Thai chilies are very hot, so if you’re looking for a less spicy version, jalapeno peppers are a good option.

They have a similar flavor to Thai chilies, so they’ll still give your dish a nice kick.

Just be sure to remove the seeds and veins before using them, as this is where the heat is concentrated.

If you want your dish to be even milder, you can also use bell peppers or sweet peppers instead of jalapeno peppers.

4 – Habanero Peppers

habanero peppers

For those who enjoy a little spice in their food, habanero peppers are a great substitute for Thai chilies.

Habaneros are significantly hotter than jalapenos, making them ideal for those who like their food with a bit of a kick.

In addition, habaneros have a fruitier flavor than Thai chilies, imparting a touch of sweetness to dishes.

When substituting habaneros for Thai chilies, it is important to use less pepper as the habanero is much more potent.

For those who are looking to add a little heat to their next meal, give habanero peppers a try.

You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

5 – Serrano Peppers

serrano peppers

Serrano peppers are a type of chili pepper that is often used as a substitute for Thai chilies.

While they are not as hot as Thai chilies, they still pack a punch and can add a great deal of flavor to dishes.

When substituting Serrano peppers for Thai chilies, it is important to keep in mind that they will not be as spicy.

As a result, you may want to use fewer peppers or add other ingredients to balance out the heat.

Additionally, Serrano peppers tend to have a more sharp and pungent flavor than Thai chilies.

So, if you are looking for a more mellow dish, you may want to substitute another type of chili pepper.

Overall, Serrano peppers are a great option for those who want to add some heat to their dish without going over the top.


In conclusion, there are many substitutes for Thai chili peppers that can be used in a variety of dishes.

Each of these substitutes has its own unique flavor profile that can add an extra layer of flavor to your dish.

When substituting Thai chili peppers, be sure to take into account the heat level of the pepper as well as the flavor profile to ensure that you are using the best possible substitute for your dish.

Which of these substitutes for Thai chili peppers is your favorite? Have you used any of these peppers in a dish before? Let us know in the comments below.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Thai Chilies

The 5 Best Substitutes for Thai Chilies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Cayenne Peppers
  • Bird’s Eye Chilies
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Habanero Peppers
  • Serrano 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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