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Savory Tweaks: 5 BEST Hot Paprika Substitutes

Are you looking for something that can replace the popular condiment hot paprika? Then, you’ve come to the right place.

Today, we’ll be introducing you to five unorthodox replacements that using in your meals.

From vegan-friendly options to fiery spices, these alternatives will match hot paprika’s unique punch.

Dive in with us and explore the possibilities.

What is Hot Paprika?

Hot paprika is a type of smoked dried red pepper made from sweet capsicum peppers.

It has a bright red-orange color and a hot, smoky flavor.

This type of paprika is significantly spicier than other varieties, diving deeper into complex notes of spice with subtle sweetness.

When cooked, hot paprika gives dishes an intense flavor that balances the sweetness with heat.

It’s an excellent way to add a punch of flavor without overwhelming the taste buds.

This spice also boasts of health benefits, such as aiding digestion and containing high levels of vitamin C and carotenoids.

To use Hot Paprika in your cooking:

  • Start by adding only small amounts to dishes to test out the intensity before adding more, as the flavor may be too strong for some recipients.
  • Mix it into sauces, salad dressings, dips or rubs for flavoring meats or vegetables.
  • Add it to stews that need some added depth and spicy kick along with other ingredients.
  • Sprinkle over roasted potatoes before baking.
  • Mix it into soups or chili for extra flavor layering.
  • Add to rubs that you can apply before grilling meats and vegetables.

Tips on Using Hot Paprika:

  • A little goes a long way when using this potent paprika; start off with less than indicated in most recipes since the heat level can differ greatly depending on variety and quantity used.
  • Salt enhances its intensity so use moderate amounts when seasoning foods with this type of paprika.
  • Blend with milder forms like sweet Hungarian to create balance between sweet and smoky flavors in recipes.

5 Best Hot Paprika Substitutes to Consider

Unfortunately, not everyone can find it in their local supermarkets, so if you’ve found yourself wondering “what is the best substitute for hot paprika?” read on.

Here are 5 of the best substitutes and how they can be used to add flavor and spiciness to your dishes:

1 – Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is one of the most common substitutes for hot paprika.

Both cayenne pepper and hot paprika are made from dried red chili peppers, but cayenne peppers are usually hotter than the hot varieties of paprika.

You can use cayenne pepper in dishes that require hot paprika, but you will have to adjust the quantity to control the heat.

Cayenne powder is convenient because it’s easy to measure out with a teaspoon or tablespoon.

It should also be noted that it may alter the flavor of your dish slightly, so be sure to add a bit extra seasoning if needed when using cayenne in place of paprika.

2 – Chipotle Powder

Chipotle powder is made from smoked, dried jalapeño peppers.

It has a smoky flavor and a medium spiciness.

Chipotle powder is great for adding smokey flavors to a dish and will give it a mild-medium heat.

It can also add richness and depth to dishes that call for paprika as it has notes of dried fruit, nuts and chocolate.

If you don’t want the smokiness of chipotle, you can replace it with an equal amount of pure paprika or one of the substitutes mentioned above.

The chipotle powder’s smokiness makes it a great choice for BBQ rubs and Mexican-style dishes.

In these cases, try using the same amount called for in the recipe but reduce the other spices slightly to accommodate for its strength.

3 – Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika is a type of Spanish paprika made from peppers that are dried over an open flame.

This gives it a deep and smoky flavor, slightly different from regular paprika, but with the same underlying sweetness and mild heat.

Smoked paprika adds a subtle smokiness reminiscent of bacon to dishes, making it a great choice for those who don’t eat meat or want to add a unique taste without overpowering the other flavors.

It’s perfect for adding flavor to rubs, sauces, stews and Moroccan recipes.

4 – Chili Powder

Chili powder is the powdered form of dried chilis, combined with one or more herbs and spices such as garlic, cumin, oregano, and coriander.

It has a mild to medium heat level and a deep red color.

Chili powder tastes great in any dish requiring more flavor along with a nice bit of heat.

The smokiness in chili powder also pairs nicely as an addition to Mexican dishes like tacos, enchiladas, or burritos.

Just like hot paprika, chili powder adds a wonderful smoky-spice to dishes while adding color.

When substituting chili powder for hot paprika you may need to adjust the usage amount – start low and work your way up until you hit the desired flavor level.

5 – Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes offer a nice alternative to hot paprika for seasoning dishes.

They have a slightly different flavor, ranging from tangy and sweet to pungent and spicy.

If you are looking for an easier-to-find substitute for paprika, red pepper flakes are a great option.

Just like with hot paprika, you can adjust the amount of heat depending on the type of red pepper flakes you choose.

For milder flavor, use crushed red bell peppers or New Mexico chilies; for spicier dishes, choose cayenne pepper or Fresno chilies.

If you’re not sure which one to use, start with 1/4 teaspoon as an initial measurement and adjust accordingly.

Red pepper flakes can be used in all sorts of recipes that call for hot paprika — chili con carne, deviled eggs and sautéed vegetables — as well as added to homemade sauces and dips.


In conclusion, hot paprika can be a great addition to many dishes, but it may not be an option for everyone.

For those who need an alternative to hot paprika or cannot tolerate the spiciness of this spice, there are five unique substitutes that will still provide the same strong flavor without too much heat.

Whichever substitute you choose to use in your recipes, you won’t miss out on that quintessential spicy flavor with these options.

5 Best Hot Paprika Substitutes to Consider

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


  • 1 – Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 – Chipotle Powder
  • 3 – Smoked Paprika
  • 4 – Chili Powder
  • 5 – Red Pepper Flakes


  • 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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