What is The Best Chili Powder Substitute To Consider?


Have you experienced cooking on your favorite recipe with a need of certain ingredient but you have none? Like for instance, a recipe calling for a chili powder? What if you don’t have any chili powder in the pantry at all? You probably do not want to run out to the store, right? So what are you going to do now? Well, the best thing to consider is to look for a chili powder substitute that will offer the needed dash of heat for the recipe. Good to know that there are wide options to choose from.


Getting to Know Chili Powder


Also coined as powdered chili, this spice is referred to as a dried and pulverized fruit of one or more kinds of pepper and in some cases with the addition of some other spices. It is being used as a spice in order to add piquancy or pungency and also flavor to certain dishes.

In some cases, chili powder is known by the specific kind of chili pepper used. It is consumed by numerous of different cuisines in almost all over the world.

It has a blend of chili peppers along with other spices which include garlic powder, salt, oregano, and cumin. Chilies that are commonly used are; cayenne peppers or red chili peppers both known as the species of Capsicum annuum.

However, many types of hot pepper could be used such as jalapeno, ancho, pasilla and New Mexico chilis. In result, thanks to many possible additives, the spiciness of the chili powder is indeed variable.

Chili Powder And Its Health Benefits


Before knowing the best chili powder substitute, it would also be best that you are familiar with the health benefits that this spice could offer. Here are some of them:

  • Chili powder has this ability to help in boosting energy production and will increase antioxidant defense.
  •  Assist in red blood cell formation.
  • This spice can help in improving cognitive functioning.
  • Chili powder could also help in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
  • It helps in supporting the digestive system.
  • Chili powder could help individuals in fighting infections and is great for hair and skin.

You will definitely gain this health benefits out of consuming chili powder or some of its substitutes.

7 Chili Powder Substitutes to Consider

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes


Most of the kitchens would have a bottle of red pepper flakes that sits around and it is considered as an excellent substitute, particularly once you crush them a lot further.

You might use a pestle and mortar to grind the flakes leading to a powder form. This powder might be a bit hotter compared to the generic chili powder; however, this one is on top when it comes to intact flavor of a certain recipe.

Specific Hot Pepper Powders


Hot pepper powders are always a great choice. These powders could also be a lot hotter compared to the original generic chili powder. Some options are chipotle powder or cayenne powder.


Most individuals don’t even realize the fact that paprika which is a staple in many kitchen cupboards definitely contain a chili pepper base. This spice could range from relatively mild up to decently spicy. This one is another great choice in a pinch.


However, there could be other spices that are mixed in with paprika so it might slightly change the overall taste of the dish.

Known to be a 100% ground chillies, paprika is also a mix of chillies as well. It has its own scale of heat that ranges from noticeable one to a strong kick like the heat offered by the Cayenne.

But the generic chili powder could be hotter than the generic paprika. And the taste might not be the same as one another. You will lose some spiciness, and the taste will be sweeter if you use this as an alternative to chili powder.

Hot Sauce


Once a recipe is calling for a chili powder, and you don’t have one, hot sauce is a great alternative to be mixed into a dish with a liquid base such as a sauce or soup. You might use a dash or two of this hot sauce as for adding a heat. Sriracha and Tabasco sauce could be great options to provide the heat and flavor you hope for.

Also referred as pepper sauce or chili sauce, this substitute is any seasoning, salsa or condiment that is made from chili peppers along with other ingredients. With that, it could also provide the heat that you might be looking for like from the chili powder.

Old Bay Seasoning

This one has a paprika base so it could replace the generic chili powder in some circumstances. However, this seasoning has a very distinct flavor so this must not be considered as a great choice for most of the recipes.

Old Bay is an excellent option if you are looking for a general seafood spice.

Ancho Powder

Ancho powder is being used in most chili powder blends. It is also responsible for most of the flavor which you get from chili powder. If it is the flavor that you want, this will definitely meet your needs. It brings a moderate heat to dishes together with fruity and smoky flavor notes.

Ancho powder consists ground poblano peppers having no other additives. Once using this in place of chili powder, you should only add about half of the amount which your recipe needs for chili powder then work up from there.

Chipotle Powder


This powder has ground chipotle peppers, and there is no other ingredients. Chipotle peppers are jalapenos which have been smoked and dried. It has a rich smokiness which would add a significant amount of flavor to the dish though used in small quantities.

Since this one is made of jalapenos, it does have the possibility to make the dishes a lot hotter compared to the most premixed chili powder blends. You just have to carefully use it. Simply begin with half the amount needed in the recipe and just increase in increments right from there.

Those are the best substitutes that you might consider once you run out of chili powder. Simply choose the best one that will offer the flavor you need to spice up your life or the one that perfectly offers the same taste as the chili powder.

The Best Homemade Chili Powder Substitute 

If there’s still an ample time and you don’t want to run out to the nearest store, the best thing to consider is to make your own chili powder from scratch. Yes, you heard it right! Making your own chili powder is considered as the best bet as a chili powder substitute.

Chili Powder Substitute

Knowing the fact that chili powder is a mixture of certain spices wherein most of the components are widely used and readily available. This means that it is best that you create your own chili powder.

With that, you might use ¼ cup of sweet paprika together with a tablespoon of garlic powder, dried oregano, and onion powder. Eventually add 2 teaspoons of cumin to the mixture.

Based on your tolerance for heat, you might throw in some cayenne powder to taste. Put all the ingredients in a tightly sealed container then shake it to combine them. You might use it in the same way which you would use a premixed blend.

And take note, since manufacturers all use their own individual recipes for the chili powder, you might not get the same result which you would with the favorite brand. Over a certain period of time, you could play with the proportions of individual spices in order to get desired flavor profile.

So, the best choice as a substitute for chili powder is to make your own one.

If you are interested in other ingredients, refer here: Ingredients

Final Thoughts


Chili powder is used widely as a spice to many stews, soups, chilis and other recipes. Even though it’s likely that you always have this spice laying around in the kitchen, other options are easily available. So, in any instance that you have none of the beloved classic chili powder, worry not as there are other alternatives to consider.

Chili powder substitute options could do great if your recipe calls for the added heat that the said powder could provide. So the next time you run out of this spice, grab some of the best options included above.

Do you have any substitutes for chili powder? Share it with us now! We are happy to read your comments!


    Hi There! Welcome to Cooking Is Passio where I can tell you the things I love. My name is Vivian Carpenter. I am not only a foodie at heart but also passionate about cooking. I rely on the support of other cooking blogs like me to get new cooking tips as well as new recipes. This blog is the great way to share my experience and my love cooking with others. And I hope this blog can help you - the cooking lovers like me - cook your favorite dishes.

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