7 Smoked Paprika Substitutes That Will Amaze You

We all have used at least two or more smoked paprika on our experiments in the kitchen. Its bittersweet, yet spicy and smoky flavors absolutely provide any dish with a good lift. Sure, there are times when is it very easy for us to look for smoked paprika at our local grocery stores. However, we cannot ignore the fact that there are days when we run out of it.

And the moment a recipe calls for a Spanish pimento or smoked paprika and we do not have any, we are dying to figure out what to do as an alternative without it.


What is a Smoked Paprika?

Smoked paprika comes in various assortments. Others are on the spicy side, sweeter, and some are in a range of bitter-sweet. Paprika is a type of spice that’s made up of diverse sorts of dried chili peppers that are mixed together.

Smoked, sweet or Hungarian, one thing is for sure, you can use this type of spice mix to provide smokiness, spiciness, color and umami to each sort of dishes that are vegetable and meat-based.

Paprika is commonly used in soups, stews, paella, chili and roasts. Thus, for instance, if you ran out of spice or you just want to know what alternatives can you use for smoked paprika, you are on the right track.

Smoked paprika

Smoked paprika

Read Also: Awesome Ways to Thicken Chilli

Chipotle Pepper Powder

This type of powder is relatively hotter than the types of peppers that are used to create smoked paprika. This indicates that you have to be completely cautious when you use this pepper. This unique mixture can’t only add more than enough spice to your dish, but it will also provide it just the right smokiness and an actual deep color to your soups and stews.

Chipotle Pepper Powder via The Spice & Tea Exchange

Chipotle Pepper Powder via The Spice & Tea Exchange

If you want to use chipotle powder as an alternative for a smoked paprika, then ensure to use 1/3 for each whole teaspoon of paprika. If you want to create a remarkable spice rub for your future barbecue, then this recipe from Food Network is for you.

Moreover, if you would want to use smoldered chipotle in the sauce of adobo, then try this from My Recipes for a great chili.


Kochukaru or Gochugaru, which is also recognized as the hot pepper flakes in Korea, is Asia’s sort of a nice mixture of spicy red peppers. They are dried with their seed that is removed to keep their bright and deep red hue when grounded. The texture’s flakier and rougher compared to the traditional chili powder or paprika.

However, if you want to add a little bit of sweetness and a whole lot of color and spice to your dish, then this spice is the best substitute I can recommend for you to use. For a great vegetarian dish, aside from kimchi, Ktchn’s cucumber salad is a terrific dish to recreate.

Gochugaru via The Kitchen

Gochugaru via The Kitchen

But, if you are craving for something meaty, you can also try the taste of Korean Spicy Braised Chicken by following the recipe from Maangchi.

Cayenne Pepper Powder

Cayenne pepper isn’t merely loved for its taste and spice, but also, because of its weight loss and medicinal properties. Moreover, in cooking, it is used to add a strong amount of heat to any kind of dish. It is also identified as Guinea spice, which is made of bird pepper or dried chili pepper and ground into a truly fine powder.

Cayenne Pepper Powder via The Spice and Tea Exchange

Cayenne Pepper Powder via The Spice and Tea Exchange

If you use its powdered form, a little really goes a long way. And if you’ll use it as an alternative for a smoked paprika, you have to mix it with a small portion of cumin to achieve that bittersweet taste. In a recipe that needs 1 tsp of paprika, use 2/3 of cayenne pepper and 1/3 tsp of cumin.

A great recipe from BBC for Chicken Tikka Masala can also be achieved with vegetables for a vegetarian variation of the recipe. Moreover, you can create your own version of a homemade hot sauce or you can use it for different preparations for meatballs, too.

This recipe from Kitchen Stewardship can help you flavor your steaks, hot wings, burgers or any dish that should have a bit of razzle-dazzle.

Powdered Guajillo

Powdered Guajillo via Oaktown Spice Shop

Powdered Guajillo via Oaktown Spice Shop

One of the most typically used peppers in Mexico is Guajillo. This type of pepper is definitely spicy though it gives a tangy flavor of cranberries, the sweetness of tomatoes and the smoky aroma of paprika. It is a fact that these qualities can make it a great alternative for a smoked paprika.

Guajillo powder, either dried or ground, magically works with your sauces, soups, stews and rubs. Go and try this amazing pork recipe from Epicurious.com. And if you are looking for the best Spicy Salsa, then Bon Appetit provides you with the best cooking tips where you can utilize various sorts of chili powders and tomatoes.

California Chili Powder

California Chili Powder via Mucho-mex Shopify

California Chili Powder via Mucho-mex Shopify

This powder isn’t merely a great substitute for smoked paprika for its dark red color and bold flavors, it can also be used to replace guajillo. This type of powdered chili is made up of Dried and ground Anaheim peppers. It can complement the flavors of Asian, Mexican, Indian and any dish from the South.

Use it with oregano, garlic powder and cumin to give your dish with a smoky aroma with just the right amount of bitterness. Make the best steak rub, sausages or vegetable seasoning with this recipe from Recipe4Living. Also, you can try out this fantastic treat from Minimalist Baker to give your fruit salad a spicy yet refreshing one.

Garam Masala

Garam Masala via Epicurious

Garam Masala via Epicurious

Garam Masala is a very versatile and powerful mixture of spices that’s typically used in Mediterranean and Asian Dishes. This mixture is usually made up of coriander seeds, cumin, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamom, dried chilies and mace.

These various spices are grounded altogether and used in rubs, curries or as a perfect seasoning for your tandoori, falafel and stews.

Garam Masala’s smoky and bold flavors are different from paprika. However, it’s a great substitute for if you want to achieve a dish with more flare. If you aim to have a flavorful family meal, try this Indian recipe from Food.com. Use garam masala to cook an actual healthy vegetarian dish, similar to this soup from A Beautiful Plate.

Sichuan Chili Flakes

Sichuan Chili Flakes via My Recipe Magic

Sichuan Chili Flakes via My Recipe Magic

Szechuan or Sichuan Pepper Powder is a combination of Szechuan peppercorns and dried Asian Chili. These are ground up into a course meal and are used to season most soups, noodle dishes and stir-fries. These spices are good substitutes for a smoked paprika if you really want a spicy dish while these flakes aren’t much used on their own.

Often, Sichuan pepper flakes are used to make a delicious chili oil that is usually used as a seasoning or condiment for different Asian dishes.

Try making this chili oil recipe from The Work of Life, which you can use as a dipping sauce or a condiment for your favorite Asian fried shrimps or pork and dumplings. Also, Food Network offers you the right recipe that you are searching for! Here’s their version of the favorite of the crowd Spicy Sichuan Stir-Fry.


There are a lot of smoked paprika substitutes that are available in the local stores in your place. However, these are the top alternatives to achieve the feel of a spicy, smoky flavor to enhance your dish according to your preference.

Chipotle Pepper Powder

Chipotle Pepper Powder

You can try mixing and matching these previously presented chili powders and you might be really surprised at what it has in store for you since they really work well together. Thus, you must not be afraid to put your palate to the test and begin experimenting in your personal kitchen. It is a fact that there is nothing that can beat the natural taste that smoked paprika can provide to your food.

However, it still pays to know what you can use if you ran out of paprika. These suggested alternatives are great for emergency purposes and for bringing some life to even the dullest recipes you could ever cook.

Have you enjoyed discovering things about paprika substitutes in this article? If so, you may share this to your friends who would love to experiment with you right now!

Read Also: Ways To Store Peppers

Lita Watson

Hi there! I’m Lita, and I’m absolutely in love with cooking blogs. I’m a beginner in cooking and i try my best to make it quick and easy. Even though, it’s not always quick and easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so i keep learning and blogging about quick and easy ways to create delicious and yummy foods for my two kids and a wonderful husband.

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