Paprika is a famous ingredient that provides a range of delicious flavors when added to your cooking. However, if you want to find some of these yummy spices without having to spend a small fortune on the real thing, then you should try out some of the many paprika substitutes that are available. You’ll be surprised with what you can substitute for this popular spice and still retain the flavor. Here is a rundown of 12 common substitutions:
What is Paprika?
Paprika is one of the most commonly used spices in cooking. It is made by grinding dried, ground-up peppers (usually cayenne, bell or tabasco peppers). Paprika can vary in color depending on what kind of pepper it was made from; some varieties are orange, while others are red. Paprika may also be flavored with other ingredients like garlic or onion.
The word “paprika” comes from the Hungarian word “paprika,” which means pepper. However, this spice is not related to black pepper in any way. In fact, paprika’s original name was the Polish word for bell pepper, “szynka.” Nowadays, paprika is used in cuisines across the globe and is an essential part of dishes like goulash, curries and some Hungarian specialties (like potato and cabbage side dishes).
Paprika is used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is often used in meat and vegetable dishes like goulash, meatballs, and stewed vegetables. Paprika can also be sprinkled on top of a dish to add an extra punch of flavor. Paprika also has a variety of uses in the health food market. For example, it can be taken as a natural remedy for heartburn and indigestion, or it can be used to add color to bland foods such as pickles or salads.
Paprika is often used to give dishes a red color, but white and yellow varieties exist. Each variety is made from a different type of pepper.
List of 12 Best Substitutes for Paprika
#1 Black Pepper / White Pepper
Black peppercorns (usually black pepper) provide similar properties to paprika. The main difference being black pepper doesn’t have the smokey flavor most associate with paprika.
If you make a recipe that calls for chili powder and a pinch of black pepper, go ahead and substitute both ingredients with the chili powder. Then spice up your dish by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or chipotle powder to add some spice and similar smoky flavor to your dish.
Another black pepper substitute is white pepper, which is usually available in finer grocery stores. White pepper will give a lot more aroma and flavor than black pepper; however, as it’s not very spicy, it doesn’t have the same smoky flavor profile that paprika does.
If you are making a recipe that calls for paprika and a pinch of black or white pepper, go ahead and substitute both ingredients with paprika. Then spice up your dish by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or chipotle powder to add some spice and similar smoky flavor to your dish.
#2 Tomato Juice + Chili Powder
No other color goes so well with so much. Tomato juice, as a paprika substitute, is your secret ingredient for maintaining the red color of your dish without overwhelming the other flavors.
For every teaspoon of paprika you would have added to your recipe, substitute 1 teaspoon of tomato juice and a dash of chili powder or cayenne pepper. A dash is enough to maintain the red color while improving the taste. If you use too much chili powder, it might overpower the main flavor profile of your dish.
Color and presentation are often more important than flavor, but in this case, it’s best if you maintain both flavor and presentation by using other spices such as chili powder or hot sauce along with tomato juice for that extra punch.
#3 Pimentón de la Vera powder
Pimentón de la Vera is a great substitute for paprika. Not only does it give a smokey flavor to your dish, but it also smells like paprika with its red color.
If you purchase pimentón de la Vera, we recommend substituting between 1 teaspoon of paprika and 1 teaspoon of pimentón de la Vera. However, keep in mind that pimentón is more expensive than paprika.
#4 Hot sauce
Knowing about the great substitute for paprika, we decided to add this in this article. And what better way is there than to showcase a variety of popular hot sauces? The recipes below will show you how to make quick and easy substitutions for paprika.
A dash of hot sauce can help you make paprika substitutions in almost any dish. As a good substitute for paprika, you can use a dash of your favorite hot sauce or even a few drops. This will allow you to boost the flavor of your dish without overpowering it.
#5 Aleppo chili powder
Aleppo chili is one of the most famous kinds used in Middle Eastern cuisine. A few sprinkles of this Turkish pepper can replace any paprika in your dish.
However, it’s important to note that it isn’t as sweet and smokey as paprika, so we recommend using 1 teaspoon of Aleppo chili powder for every 1/2 teaspoon of paprika.
This will help you enhance the flavor profile of your dish rather than just changing it.
#6 Bell pepper powder
Bell pepper powder is another great substitute for paprika. Bell pepper powder is hot, spicy and smoky, just like red paprika.
The main reason bell pepper powder is a better alternative to paprika than just chili powder, is because it retains the same color as red paprika. It also doesn’t contain any acidity that will affect the taste of your dish.
For every teaspoon of paprika, you can use 1 teaspoon bell pepper powder in your recipe. Also, experiment with a different type of bell pepper powder to see if you like the change in flavor.
#7 Ancho Powder
Ancho powder is a mild and smoky paprika that is great for chili recipes. It has a sweet taste with hints of chili pepper.
This type of spicy level varies based on what kind of ancho chile powder you use and how much you blend it in your dish. Using ancho chile powder can give you an additional spicy punch to your dish.
To make an ancho powder, you have to first roast the ancho chilies to remove the seeds and make them into a powder. For every teaspoon of paprika, you can use 1/4 teaspoon ancho powder in your recipe.
#8 Chipotle powder
Another popular way to substitute for paprika is chipotle powder. Paprika is often used in Mexican recipes, and many people like to use chipotle powder instead.
Although this spice may not be as popular as paprika and cayenne, it provides a very similar smokey flavor. Some people even prefer the taste from chipotle powder over paprika.
We recommend using 1 teaspoon of chipotle powder for every 1/2 teaspoon of paprika. You can substitute this amount with any other spice or seasoning you like. Adding a pinch of crushed red pepper or cumin, then season your dish with your favorite hot sauce to get that smoky flavor.
#9 Cayenne Pepper
How to Substitute Cayenne Pepper for Paprika? Since cayenne pepper has a different taste than paprika, we recommend making a recipe that calls for cayenne pepper and adding it to the dish. This can be done with almost any recipe that calls for paprika, as most of them are similar in flavor. For example, go ahead and season your steak or shrimp with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Then add a bit of hot sauce to your dish to give it extra flavor.
Use half as much cayenne pepper as you would paprika. For every teaspoon of paprika, you’d use half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
#10 Cajun Spice
If you are making Cajun cooking, then using cayenne pepper as a paprika substitute will work great. Cayenne pepper gives an extra kick of heat to any recipe. But it can also be used as a best paprika substitute because it possesses very similar flavors to paprika.
#11 Red Pepper Flakes
Red pepper flakes are a very common substitute for paprika. Often used in chili recipes, red pepper flakes give are a spicy, smokey flavor and similar color to paprika.
One tablespoon of red pepper flakes can replace every 1/2 teaspoon of paprika when it comes to the smokey look and taste. This makes red pepper flakes a great way to boost the flavor of a dish.
However, when increasing the amount of red pepper flakes you should consider that it can overpower some types of recipes. It is for this reason we recommend using a little bit of red pepper flakes to substitute for paprika.
Seasoned salt can also be used instead of substituting with plain salt and black pepper. It serves as an easy way to add flavor to any recipes without the hassle or mess other spices leave behind.
#12 Red cayenne pepper
Last but certainly not least, red cayenne pepper is a great substitute for cayenne pepper, as it has similar flavors and uses.
In fact, it’s possible to use this as a replacement for red pepper flakes. A few sprinkles of this Mexican spice will add some heat to your dish without all the mess.
We recommend using 1 teaspoon of red cayenne pepper for every 1/2 teaspoon of paprika. You can substitute this amount with any other spice or seasoning you like. Adding a pinch of crushed red pepper or cumin, then season your dish with your favorite hot sauce to give it an extra kick.
How To Make Your Own Paprika
In conclusion, the main purpose of this article was to give you a list of great substitute for paprika. Whether you are out of paprika or even want to experiment with different flavors, we hope this article will help you in the future.
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