The 7 Best Substitutes For Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a fiery, hot pepper that has been used for centuries as a spice in cooking. It’s also known for its ability to help with digestion, heartburn and stomach ulcers. But because it can be so spicy, many people who enjoy the taste of cayenne pepper may find themselves unable to use it because of the heat.

There are several ways to substitute cayenne pepper in your cooking without losing out on the flavor or health benefits of this unique food. The best way to find out which substitutions are right for you is to try them all! Here are seven great substitutes for cayenne pepper.

What Is Cayenne Pepper?

Cayenne pepper is a spice that comes from the fruit of the plant Capsicum annuum. It is most commonly used to add heat and flavor to dishes, but it also has some very real health benefits.

Cayenne peppers are native to South America, but they can now be found throughout the world in grocery stores and other food markets. They are usually dried before being sold in powder or flake form, so that they can be easily added to recipes. They also come in liquid form as well as dried, which can be added directly to soups or sauces for extra heat without having to grind them up first.

The active ingredient in cayenne peppers is called capsaicin, which gives them their distinctive spicy taste and which also provides many health benefits when consumed regularly.

The 7 Best Substitutes For Cayenne Pepper

#1 Paprika

Paprika is a spice made from ground pepper pods. It’s often used as a substitute for cayenne pepper because it has similar heat and flavor.

You can buy paprika in many different varieties; some have added smoky flavors, others are sweetened with sugar. Paprika is used in many cuisines, including Hungarian and Greek.

Paprika comes from the capsicum annum plant, which is native to South America. The peppers themselves are extremely hot, but when dried and ground into powder they become mildly spicy.

They’re often used to add color to dishes and sauces, which makes them a good alternative to cayenne pepper when you don’t want the extra heat or want to add more than just heat.

#2 Chili Powder

Chili powder is a spice made from ground chili peppers. It can be used in place of cayenne pepper, or it can be used as a substitute for paprika.

Chili powder is made from dried chilies, which are generally milder than cayenne peppers. They’re usually a mixture of different types of peppers, including ancho, chipotle, and pasilla peppers. Some varieties may include tomatoes and other ingredients in their preparation.

Chili powder is often used in spicy foods like chili con carne or tacos to add heat without overwhelming the dish with its flavor; however, you may also find it sprinkled over rice, meat dishes like barbecue chicken wings or burgers, or even mixed into salad dressings!

#3 Red Pepper Flakes

If you’re looking to add some heat and spice to your food, but don’t want the full-on cayenne pepper experience, red pepper flakes are a great option.

Red pepper flakes are made from the dried fruit of a type of chili pepper plant and have a milder heat than cayenne pepper. They’re also larger than cayenne peppers and can be used whole or ground up into powder form.

You can use red pepper flakes in soups, stews and sauces, or sprinkle them on top of your favorite dishes—they add a pleasing crunch when sprinkled on top of pizza or pasta dishes!

#4 Chili Sauce

In the culinary world, chili sauce is a versatile ingredient that can be used to add a kick to just about anything. It’s great in marinades and salads, but it also makes an excellent replacement for cayenne pepper in many recipes.

Chili sauce is made with tomatoes, vinegar, and other spices like garlic or ginger. It’s often used in Asian cuisine because of its ability to add heat without overpowering other flavors.

You can find chili sauce in the Asian section of your local grocery store or online. It comes in a variety of flavors including:

  • Sriracha (Huy Fong Foods) – This is probably the most popular brand of chili sauce! It’s got a nice balance between sweet and spicy flavors with a kick from garlic.
  • Tiger Sauce – This sauce is made with Thai-style chili paste and has an intense heat that’s mellowed out by sugar and soy sauce flavors.
  • Samurai Sauce – Similar to Sriracha but with more garlic flavor than heat so it’s perfect if you’re looking for something milder than traditional Sriracha but still want some heat!

#5 Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is a great substitute for cayenne pepper because it has the same heat and flavor, but it’s often infused with other flavors as well. Hot sauce can be made out of chiles, vinegar, and other ingredients like citrus juice or mustard.

Hot sauce is a condiment made from chiles that have been ground up into a paste-like consistency and then mixed with spices and vinegar. Hot sauce can be used in place of cayenne pepper for dishes that require heat but don’t need the added flavor of cayenne pepper’s earthiness.

The most common hot sauces are made from habanero peppers because they are very fruity-tasting and make for an ideal base ingredient for adding flavors without overpowering them with too much spice (which is why cayenne pepper works so well). Hot sauces can be used on their own as a dipping sauce for chips or as an ingredient in other recipes where you might use cayenne pepper—like chili or salsa!

#6 Sriracha

Sriracha is a condiment made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, and garlic. It is used to add spice to dishes and is often served with seafood or Asian-inspired dishes. The name “Sriracha” comes from the Si Racha District in Thailand, where it originated.

Because it’s made from chilis, Sriracha has a bright red color that’s perfect for adding color to dishes like salads or noodle bowls. It also has an intense flavor that adds spice without overpowering other ingredients. The flavor can range from mild to spicy depending on how much was added during preparation or cooking time—so you can use it in both hot and cold dishes!

#7 Gochugaru

The gochugaru pepper is a great alternative to cayenne pepper. It’s a Korean spice that’s made from red pepper powder and is often used in banchan (side dishes) and other popular Korean dishes such as bulgogi, bibimbap, kimchi stew, or kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew).

Gochugaru is made by sun-drying red peppers and then grinding them into powder. The powder has a deep red color that comes from the red pepper seeds and other spices added during the drying process. The flavor of gochugaru is similar to cayenne pepper but less spicy—it has some sweetness and smokiness from being sun-dried over a fire before being ground into powder form.

You can use gochugaru in place of cayenne pepper in any dish that calls for it—it might give your dish an extra kick!


We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of substitutes for cayenne pepper.

Cayenne pepper is a great spice to have on hand, but it can be expensive and difficult to find in some parts of the world. It’s also a common ingredient in many recipes, so if you want to substitute cayenne pepper with something else, you’ll need to think about how the flavor will impact your dish.

If you’re cooking for someone who’s sensitive to spicy foods or for children, then you’ll probably want to avoid using any of these substitutes as they will all add heat to your dish.

If you have any questions or comments about this list or about substituting cayenne pepper, please leave them below!

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