It is not possible to count the number of recipes that require smoked paprika, yet you might not find any of this spice in your rack. A good smoked paprika substitute can make your life a lot easier if you get run out of it.

The flavor of smoked paprika is quite specific in nature, so the flavor of the substitutes should come as close as possible. The base of this spice is a smoked chili pepper, and most of the alternatives have the same base. 

Smoked paprika and its alternatives are perfect for hearty meats and meals. Especially, barbeque won’t be the same without hot spicy flavors. Here are the alternatives that can replace smoked paprika in recipes like these.

1.    Chipotle Powder

The smoky and earthy flavor of chipotle powder has turned it into the closest spice to smoked paprika. As the chipotle powder is made from dried, smoked, jalapeno peppers, its earthy tone can substitute smoked paprika in almost any dish. 

Chipotle contains substantially more heat than paprika, so don’t use it keeping the same proportion as paprika while using it as a substitute. Otherwise, you will risk your food becoming way too spicy for you to eat.

But if you like the extra-spicy flavor with additional heat, then chipotle powder should be your go-to option.


2.    Cumin

This is an alternative you can make in your kitchen with the available resources. Smoked paprika is added to dishes basically for its mild heat and smokiness. Adding some cumin to regular paprika or chili powder will replicate the same flavor.

While adding cumin to have a similar smokiness and mild heat, make sure to keep its amount less than chili powder. Or else you will lose the spiciness and the flavor will turn sweet.

You can also use liquid smoke instead of cumin to have the same effect while preparing dishes like soup or stew. However, it’s highly recommended not to apply liquid smoke in lighter dishes.

3.    Powdered Guajillo Pepper

Mexico is very well-known for its wide range of hot peppers, and Guajillo Pepper is one of those. Being a staple in rich mole sauces, Guajillo pepper is an excellent alternative to smoked paprika. Its flavor is not similar to smoked paprika, but that doesn’t mean it will ruin the food taste.

The flavor of Guajillo pepper is smoky and slightly sweet. You shouldn’t use this as an alternative if you don’t like any hint of sweet flavor in your dishes. But a slightly sweet flavor can enhance the taste of many spicy dishes.

4.    Cayenne Pepper Powder

This is the spiciest entry into this list. Even the natural flavor of cayenne pepper has hints of smoke. On the Scoville scale, its heat ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU.

Smoked paprika lovers don’t mind the extra-spicy and smoky flavor in their food, so they can surely opt for cayenne pepper powder. But adding too much of this substitute will make the food way too spicy. So spicy that you might not even be able to eat it.

However, if this spice is applied in the right proportion, then food taste can become even better due to its unique flavor.

5.    Ancho Pepper Powder

This is the second Mexican dried chili on this list. Ancho pepper is very different from smoked chili, but its powder form can work as a perfect substitute.

The base element of Ancho peppers is dried Poblano peppers, which don’t even come close to dried paprika. That’s why the powder form of Ancho peppers isn’t as smoky as smoked paprika.

But you can easily find them and get the job done if you are willing to compromise the amount of smokiness you want to see in your food. Some recipes are better without extra-smokiness and Ancho pepper is the best ingredient for those dishes.


Final Thoughts

While it is quite normal to obsess over spicy food, you should maintain a certain limit. Eating too-spicy dishes on a frequent basis can cause acute health problems. In addition, you might start to dislike the other flavors apart from spiciness if you get addicted to chili-based dishes.

Too much spice inflames your stomach lining, creating gastritis. In a state like this, you can suffer from nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of fullness in your upper abdomen every time you eat something. 

Such physical issues will reduce your productivity and hamper your appetite. For staying away from such problems, don’t go overboard with spicy food.

These above-mentioned alternatives can provide your desired spiciness no matter what dish you’re preparing. GO for any of them whenever you’re short of smoked paprika.

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