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Savory Tweaks: 5 BEST Ground Red Pepper Substitutes

Are you tired of always using ground red pepper in your dishes?

Are you looking for an alternative that’ll provide the same flavor and heat? You’re in luck.

This article will explain the best available substitutes for ground red pepper, that are sure to add a new twist to your meals.

What’s Ground Red Pepper?

Ground Red Pepper is an exciting, flavorful and all-purpose spice that adds depth to a variety of dishes.

This vibrant red powder is made from whole dried cayenne peppers, which are ground down into a uniform consistency.

Easily recognized on the spice rack due to its bright red color, ground red pepper adds spicy heat to recipes without overpowering other ingredients.

The flavor is slightly smoky with a hint of sweetness and can range from mild to hot depending on the type of pepper used.

When cooking, it’s best to start with a small amount as the dish can be easily over-spiced.

Ground Red Pepper works especially well in salads, sauces and marinades where it adds wonderful texture and warmth without becoming overwhelming.

In addition, it can be added to soups, stews or stir fries for extra heat and flavor balance.

There’s no doubt that this powerful spice should become part of any chef’s pantry.

5 Best Ground Red Pepper Substitutes to Consider

When a recipe calls for ground red pepper, it typically refers to either cayenne, ancho or pasilla chile powder.

However, there are many other options that can be used as a substitute.

Other ground peppers like jalapeno, serrano and guajillo will all provide a spicy kick.

In addition to the traditional chili powder-based substitutes, there are herbs and spices such as paprika and crushed red pepper flakes that can also be used in place of ground red pepper.

Below is an overview of five common substitutes for this versatile ingredient.

1 – Chili Powder

Chili powder is one of the most popular substitutes for ground red pepper.

It typically contains a combination of different chili peppers, spices, and herbs meant to replicate the flavor and heat of the much spicier red pepper.

The popularity of chili powder makes it easily accessible in virtually any grocery store or online for curbside pickup or delivery.

Be sure to check the label before buying, as some chili powders may contain additives like sugar or cumin that may change the flavor profile you desire.

Additionally, it can be milder than ground red pepper, so adjust your measurements depending on how spicy you want your dish to be.

2 – Cayenne Pepper

An excellent substitute for ground red pepper is cayenne pepper.

This pepper is made from several chile varieties, but it is most often produced from a blend of Cayenne, Suyo Long, and Bird’s Eye peppers.

Cayenne pepper has a deep red color and packs a heavy punch with its heat level measuring at 30,000 – 50,000 Scoville Heat Units.

It can be added to a variety of dishes to give them a spicy kick.

It also provides the dish with an extensive range of health benefits such as boosting the metabolism and helping to reduce inflammation in the body.

But when using this substitute in place of ground red pepper, you should use half as much cayenne pepper as you would with ground red pepper due to the difference in heat intensity.

3 – Paprika

Paprika is made from dried and ground red peppers, so it is a natural substitute for ground red pepper.

The flavor of paprika and ground red pepper are similar, but paprika has a milder flavor.

Paprika can be used to replace ground red pepper in almost any dish and can help to brighten the color of the food as well.

It’s also easy to adjust the intensity of the heat in a dish by dialing up or down the amount of paprika used.

Be sure to pick up sweet or mild paprika if you want to dial down the heat, and choose hot varieties for an extra kick.

4 – Crushed Red Pepper

Crushed red pepper is one of the most popular spice blends in the world.

It might look like just a simple blend of dried peppers, garlic, and herbs but its presence can level up any dish.

The fiery taste of crushed oregano combined with subtle warmth from cayenne peppers will give your dish intense layers of complexity.

The texture also adds a nice variance to whatever it’s added to with its crunchy yet soft bits.

If you don’t have crushed red pepper on hand and want a similar flavor, you can substitute it with an equal amount of ground red pepper.

With ground pepper, you’ll get more even heat compared to the bursts of flavor that comes from using crushed red pepper.

5 – Hot Sauce

Hot sauces are a great substitute for ground red pepper as not only do they provide the same heat, but they also provide flavor and complexity that can’t be achieved with something like ground red pepper.

Hot sauces come in all kinds of different varieties, so it’s easy to find one that suits your flavors and heat level.

Some of the popular varieties include Tabasco sauce, Sriracha sauce, or even jalapeno based hot sauces.

Experiment with different brands and flavors until you find one you like.

Just make sure that the hot sauce you choose doesn’t add any additional ingredients that don’t fit into your dish.


Ground red pepper is a common and flavorful ingredient found in many cuisines.

It can be used to add spice to dishes or to create flavor profiles.

Finding a substitute for ground red pepper is necessary when the ingredient is unavailable or difficult to find.

Ultimately, the best way to learn about different substitutes for ground red pepper is by experimenting and trying out different combinations in the kitchen until you find a blend that works perfectly for your recipe.

With a little bit of practice, experimentation and research, finding the ideal substitute for ground red pepper will become second nature.

5 Best Ground Red Pepper Substitutes to Consider

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes


  • 1 – Chili Powder
  • 2 – Cayenne Pepper
  • 3 – Paprika
  • 4 – Crushed Red Pepper
  • 5 – Hot Sauce


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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