6 Best Substitutes for Red Pepper Flakes

Best Substitutes For Red Pepper Flakes
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Are you looking for a way to kick up your favorite dishes’ flavor without using red pepper flakes?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll explore four delicious, spicy, and best substitutes for red pepper flakes that are sure to add a kick to your cooking. 

From ground chilies to smoked paprika, there’s something here for everyone. Read on to discover some flavorful and best substitutes for red pepper flakes!

1. Chile de Árbol Powder

You’re lucky if your kitchen contains the starter of this list of the best substitutes for red pepper flakes; some chile de arbol.

Chile de arbol is milder than red pepper flakes, but their tastes are indistinguishable. Popular in Latin American and Mexican cuisine is chile de arbol. 

As a result, it excels in various dishes, including salsa, sauces, chili, stews, soups, and rubs. If you like, you can substitute at a one-to-one ratio.

So, for every teaspoon of red pepper flakes, you need one teaspoon of chile de arbol. Use 1/2 teaspoon for every 3/4 teaspoons of red pepper flakes for a milder dish.

2. Ground Cayenne Pepper / Cayenne Pepper Powder

Ground cayenne pepper is one of the best substitutes for red pepper flakes because it has a similar heat level and flavor profile.

The heat level of ground cayenne pepper can range from 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units (SHU).

That’s about the same heat level as red pepper flakes, which is between 20,000 to 40,000 SHU.

Further, it can be used as a 1:1 substitute in recipes and gives dishes a great kick. Cayenne pepper powder is also a good option if you want more control over the heat level since it can be adjusted by adding more or less to a recipe.

3. Hot Sauce

We must be honest and say that hot sauce doesn’t taste like red pepper flakes. Just plain doesn’t. It is tangier and almost sour, which can be overpowering. 

Naturally, anyone who has ever used hot sauce understands what I mean. However, it will function if you want to add heat. It can change the flavor of your meal, so use it sparingly and only as a last resort.

Add a few dashes and taste for every tablespoon of red pepper flakes. If possible, stay away from spicy food unless you must have it. All in all, it is on our list of the best substitutes for red pepper flakes!

4. Paprika

Red pepper flakes can most effectively be replaced with paprika for taste. It doesn’t have a lot of heat like chili powder, and the texture won’t be the same.

But if you want to give a dish some color and flavor, paprika, one of the best substitutes for red pepper flakes, is great. 

However, you’ll need to increase the quantity you utilize significantly. What does that imply, then? Increase it? Triple that? Nope.

Use four times as much paprika as red pepper flakes in this recipe. With those words: 1 teaspoon of paprika equals 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

Additionally, watch out for unintentionally using smoked paprika. Your meal gains a smokey flavor that you might not like.

5. Dried Peppers

Consider dried peppers if you need a good substitution for red pepper flakes.

Dried peppers are an excellent alternative to red pepper flakes because they provide a similarly intense flavor with the same kick of heat.

You can use them in any recipe that calls for red pepper flakes, and they can be found in most grocery stores and online. 

The best part is that dried peppers come in various sizes, shapes, and flavors, so you can experiment and find the one that best fits your needs. You can even make your blend of dried peppers if you prefer!

The heat level of dried peppers can vary, so it is important to know what kind you are buying. 

While many recipes will call for milder forms of dried peppers, like ancho chiles, some will require much spicier types, like chipotle peppers.

It is also important to remember that when using dried peppers, one of the best substitutes for red pepper flakes, the amount you need to use may be different since the heat levels vary.

But overall, dried peppers are a great alternative for those looking for something more intense than red pepper flakes.

6. Chili Powder

Another great alternative, which is also the last on this list of the best substitutes for red pepper flakes, is chili powder. Although it has significantly less heat than red pepper flakes, it tastes similar. 

After all, chili powder is nothing more than dried, ground, and spiced chili peppers. However, as I just said, the flavor is similar.

Additionally, you must use twice as much to impart heat to something.


Are you looking for a way to switch up your favorite recipes and add some extra spice?

Red pepper flakes are a great way to add flavor to any dish, but plenty of alternatives can provide a unique kick to your meals if you’re looking for something new.

This guide discussed different spicy and best substitutes for red pepper flakes so you can add a new twist to all your favorite recipes.

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