Top 9 Substitutes for Paprika You Should Know

Spices or condiments have been used since ancient times to preserve and season food. Obtained from different parts of certain plants, they are capable of providing novel flavors to the most tasteless foods.

Today we will tell you how to easily replace one of the most common spices, paprika.

Paprika is a reddish-orange-colored spice that is made from dried red bell pepper. 

We can find it in sweet, smoked or spicy varieties. The sweet version is a mild flavor unless large amounts are used, for example, in some Hungarian dishes. 

The flavor of the single spice is difficult to imitate, but not impossible. Paprika can be replaced with various spices depending on the flavor dimensions you hope to gain. 

Many people use paprika in their dishes to add a touch of color or a light flavor. In this case, you should use a substitute that gives you a touch of color but doesn’t transform the flavor much.

Here are the low-spice alternatives:

#1. Ancho chili Powder

The chile ancho is the dried poblano pepper. It has a subtle and spicy flavor. 

Ancho chili powder is a key ingredient in many Mexican dishes, such as tamales, adobo, and mole.

As we mentioned before, the pepper we use is usually soft, so ancho chili powder is the best option. Although it has a slightly spicier flavor, we will not find much difference.

#2. Chili Powder

Chili powder is not as hot as ancho chili. It will also add to your dishes a color very similar to paprika.

What you have to keep in mind is that it is usually made with more than one spice. This makes it taste different from paprika.

If all you are looking for in your recipe is to add a little color, then this one is perfect.

#3. Tomatoes

Although it seems incredible, you can substitute the paprika for tomatoes. We tell you how!

Here are two options: you can buy a dried tomato or dry the tomatoes yourself in the sun.

Then use a spice grinder or mortar to grind the sun-dried tomatoes to a fine powder. 

Use this as a substitute for sweet paprika to add a slightly tart-sweet flavor and red coloring to your dishes, but don’t expect the same mild pepper flavor from this substitute.

#4. Tomato juice + Chili powder

This is a good alternative if we want to try something different. 

The flavor will be different but if we use this substitute for color and presentation, it would work perfectly.

This is also a good alternative if you want liquid in the recipe. Mix tomato sauce or tomato juice with a tablespoon of chili powder.

Many times, what is sought in a recipe is not to have the same color but to add more spiciness. If this is your case, you can get out of trouble with any of the following alternatives:

#5. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper has the same color as paprika but just like ancho chili powder, it has a hotter flavor. It is one of the most common alternatives, and it is also very easy to find in supermarkets.

Our advice is that depending on the recipe and your tolerance to spices, reduce the amount of cayenne you use.

For example, if you normally add a teaspoon of paprika, add only half of cayenne.

#6. Aleppo Peppers

Aleppo Pepper is a spice named for the city of Aleppo in northern Syria. Most Aleppo peppers on the market come from Syria. This spice is widely used as a condiment in Turkish cuisine.

It has a moderate level of spiciness and has a light fruity flavor. It is a very satisfactory alternative. The only downside is that it can be difficult to find in stores. 

If you are in a hurry, discard this option. But if you have time, it might be interesting to buy it online and try new dishes with it.

#7. Black Pepper

Black pepper is of Hindu origin and has been used since ancient times for culinary and medicinal purposes.

It can be obtained very easily in supermarkets because it is one of the most commercial spices in the world.

Substituting paprika for black pepper will not give your recipe a special color, but it will add the spicy touch you are looking for.

Replace it in the same quantity for example: One teaspoon of paprika for one teaspoon of black pepper.

#8. Chipotle Powder

The chipotle powder is made from dried chipotles. They are smoked and preserved for a long time.

The powder has a reddish color and is widely used in Mexican cuisine as a condiment. It is a good alternative if what we are looking for is to add a spicy and smoky flavor to any dish.

As we have already mentioned, there are many options when it comes to replacing paprika.

If you do not have any of the spices that we have mentioned in this article, do not worry because here we bring you the last solution: bell peppers.

#9. Bell Peppers

It is common to have these vegetables in the fridge. It may not be the fastest option but it can still serve us.

The important thing here is that the peppers you choose are ripe.

Now you have to dehydrate the peppers, you can use a dehydrator or you can cut them into slices and dehydrate them in the oven at a temperature of 120ºF.

In both cases they have to be brittle, when they are at this point you just have to grind them. With this substitute, you will have paprika with more flavor but homemade.

As you see there are many options but there are also many recipes, you just have to find the perfect match.

paprika substitutes

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