Cayenne Pepper Substitute – 8 Easy Alternatives Worth Trying

Substitute For Cayenne Pepper

It is worth learning about a suitable substitute for cayenne pepper.

People all over the world have been making use of chili pepper for adding hot and pungent flavor to numerous food delicacies.

Surprisingly, hot pepper has been in use for both medicine and food for the past 9,000 years! Currently, Currently, it’s gaining a lot of popularity as a weight loss diet.

We make use of hot pepper in fresh form, dried and powdered, and as dried or smoked flakes in preparing a variety of cuisines, soups, and sauces.

In case of the unavailability of cayenne pepper, you can replace it with other types of hot pepper that belong to the C. annuum species.

There are several varieties of chili peppers that differ in hotness according to the capsicum content in them. But only a few of them come close to the quality and effectiveness of cayenne pepper.

While choosing a replacement for cayenne pepper, select the pepper types that have a Scoville scale rating between 25,000–55,000 SHU.

8 Easy Substitutes For Cayenne Pepper

What Can I Use as a Substitute for Cayenne Powder in Cooking? It is a commonly raised question in cookery forums.

As we have mentioned, there are several varieties of chili pepper available, but only a couple of them have similar hotness and pungency of cayenne pepper.

The alternative chili types you choose instead of cayenne pepper should possess a similar amount of capsaicin concentration.

The capsaicin concentration of peppers is measured in Scoville heat units (SHU).

We have identified a few types of red chilies that can replace cayenne pepper. They can easily be integrated into your food delicacies as whole chilies, dried powder, or flakes.

Here are the top 8 hot peppers to use in place of cayenne pepper: 

1. Paprika

Paprika is produced in countries like Hungary, the Netherlands, China, Serbia, Spain, and some regions of the United States.

Hot paprika chili is very much akin to cayenne pepper both in quality and taste. Use it as powder, flakes, or whole chili.

One teaspoon (2 grams/one serving) of paprika supplies 6 calories and contains Vitamin A (21% DV).

The heat levels of paprika vary according to its verity. Hungarian paprika is the most recommended variety for recipes because it has a unique flavor and higher pungency.

Since the heat level of paprika is much lower than cayenne, you need to use a quantity by half a ratio more to achieve the same pungency of cayenne pepper.

2. Serrano Pepper

The serrano pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a popular chili pepper mostly cultivated in the mountain regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo.

The Scoville rating of Serrano pepper is 10,000 to 25,000 which is very close to cayenne pepper in pungency and heat.

It is best when used as whole green chili instead of fresh green cayenne pepper.

3. Jalapeños Pepper

The jalapeño is perhaps the most popular chili pepper in the United States.

In comparison to cayenne pepper, it has a lower heat level and distinct flavor.

If you are using Jalapeño instead of cayenne pepper, you have to use a little more quantity than the latter to achieve a similar heat level.

It is an ideal choice for people who prefer mild hot chilies.

Just like cayenne pepper, it can also be used as whole chili, powder, or flake forms in hot recipes.

4. Red Chili Flakes

Any type of red chilies belonging to the species of Capsicum annuum, including cayenne pepper, is used for making red chili flakes.

Red pepper flakes are commonly used for perking up pizza, chowders, salads, pickling, homemade sausage, sandwiches, spaghetti sauce, soups, vegetable recipes, or stir-fries.

You can substitute cayenne pepper flakes with red chili flakes made from De Arbol Chiles, Japones Chilies, and Tien Tsin chilies.

Top-quality red chili flakes are got from Birdseye chilies, Capsicum frutescens, cultivated in India. Its hotness and pungency are similar to cayenne pepper.

You can also substitute raw, whole, or powder form cayenne with red chili flakes made of cayenne.

Some of the popular brands of red chili flakes have a mixture of three or more types of pepper chilies including cayenne pepper.

5. Chipotle Powder

It is basically the Jalapeno peppers in roasted form.

After roasting the hotness of this pepper is mellowed down and gives a smoky and spicy flavor.

In most of the ethnic food aisles in the grocery stores, you can find roasted chipotles in whole or ground into powder form.

The heat of the jalapenos varies according to the place where it is sourced. Thus the hotness and pungency of the chipotle powder are much lower than cayenne pepper.

If you wish to make the recipe hotter and spicy, then you need to add more amount of chipotle powder and vice versa.

Chipotle has a smoky flavor which is more appealing to most people than that of the cayenne pepper.

Chipotle is a good alternative to cayenne pepper especially for those who prefer mild pungency and richer flavor.

6. Hot Sauce

Some of the recipes require cayenne pepper to be used in liquid/sauce form. In such cases, it is easy to replace the cayenne pepper sauce with few drops of pepper sauce.

Tabasco sauce, Sambal hot sauce, or bell pepper sauce are excellent replacements for cayenne pepper sauce.

But hot sauces may not work well as replacements in recipes that require whole or powdered cayenne pepper.

7. Tabasco Pepper

Tabasco pepper is a fine replacement for cayenne pepper as both of them share a similar heat profile.

The juicy texture of Tabasco pepper is more advantageous in using dishes that have gravy.

Tabasco pepper has a totally different flavor from most types of red chilies and for this reason, adding Tabasco pepper can change the flavor of the dishes to a significant extent.

Tabasco pepper is a good substitute for cayenne pepper especially in making salsas and hot sauces.

Tabasco pepper has the same red color as cayenne pepper but a lower level of hotness.

8. Thai Pepper

If you are looking for chilies hotter than cayenne pepper, Thai pepper is a fantastic choice.

In fact, the heat produced by Thai pepper is almost double the amount of cayenne pepper – 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville heat units.

It is a good replacement for cayenne pepper if you love really spicy dishes.

Cayenne Pepper Substitutes

The Bottom Line

Cayenne pepper is a popular and unavoidable spice in a variety of cuisines, hot sauces, and soups. Thus, it is good to know about cayenne pepper substitutes.

As a substitute for cayenne pepper, you may use any of these peppers:

  • Bell Peppers
  • Jalapeño Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cherry Pepper
  • Anaheim Pepper
  • Serrano Pepper
  • Poblano Pepper
  • Basque Fryer Pepper
  • Tabiche Peppers
  • Naga Bhut Jolokia Chilli
  • Scotch Bonnet Peppers
  • Jamaican Hot Pepper
  • Bahamian Pepper

You can replace cayenne pepper with any variety of pepper belonging to Capsicum genus under C. annuum species of plant with Scoville scale rating between    25,000–50,000 SHU.

Most red chili variants have a distinct flavor, unlike the cayenne pepper that has a neutral flavor.