While cooking, you may suddenly realize that you have run out of an important ingredient like chili powder. That shouldn’t worry you at all. Fortunately, there are a few fantastic chili powder substitutes that are easy to find.
Some of those possible replacement ingredients you may even have already in your pantry.
A spoonful of chili powder can add a satiating hot kick to soup, grilled meat, a pot of beans, stew, or vegetables.
What is a good chili powder substitute?
Chili powder gives the classic vibrant red color to your dishes and has a distinct taste and aroma.
Find an alternative for chili powder is easy. But none of those alternatives may give you the same heat and distinct flavor you desire.
Here are some replacement ideas in a pinch.
1. DIY Chili Powder
Chili powder is a simple spice blend. It is easy to make and you may already have those spicy ingredients in your pantry.
You can simply combine the necessary spices in a bowl and mix. Store it in a sealed jar (preferably in a glass jar) and it would stay good for several months.
Paprika made from dried and ground peppers (bell peppers) is the chief ingredient in this spice mix. Ground paprika gives a blend of pungent and sweet taste to the mixture. If available, use smoked paprika. This can give a lovely smoky depth of flavor to the blend.
Another important ingredient in chili powder is cayenne pepper. Add just a few pinches of cayenne according to the level of pungency you prefer. People averse to high pungency should avoid it altogether.
You can vary the other ingredients in chili powder according to your taste preferences.
To make 40 grams of chili powder the following ingredients will be good enough:
- ⅛ cup sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
2. Smoked Paprika
Paprika is a good choice instead of chili powder. You can use either regular or smoked paprika. Normal paprika is crushed and dried chilies, smoked paprika contains chilies that are smoke-dried and then ground.
Most people prefer to use smoked paprika for its strong flavor and aroma.
Compared to the chili powder, the heat level of paprika is mild but somewhat hot and sweet.
By adding a few other ingredients into ground paprika you can achieve a replica of chili powder.
3. Red Pepper Flakes
Red pepper flakes or chili flakes are made from a mix of peppers from the capsicum annum family. Crushed red pepper is a kitchen spice rack staple in most homes. These flakes can be swapped for the chili powder mixture.
If you wish, you can ground the chili flakes to achieve the consistency of chili powder. Use mortar and pestle or an electric spice grinder to ground the flakes into a fine powder.
4. Ancho Powder
Ancho chilies are a type of dried chili pepper commonly used in Mexican cuisine. It is the dried version of is the poblano pepper. This chili is best known for its sweetness and earthiness flavor.
The poblano pepper is used in several chili blends. It is has a complex and distinguishable flavor that stands out of the rest.
Undoubtedly, ancho pepper works well instead of chili powder in most recipes. It is enough to use approximately half the portion of chili powder to produce the same level of pungency.
5. Chipotle powder
Chipotle chili powder is purely made of dried and ground chipotle chilies. This smoke-dried ripe jalapeño chili pepper is commonly used for seasoning.
Also, its smoky heat makes it a great ingredient in barbecue sauces and grilling rubs.
Jalapeno chili is hotter than most of the chili powder blends available to you. Use it sparingly. Preferably, chipotle chili powder in 1/3 quantity of chili powder is enough to give a good hot kick to your dishes.
6. Hot Sauce
When you have left with no options for finding a suitable alternative for chili powder, the last resort is hot sauce.
Hot chili sauce works great for adding a hot kick to soups, stews, and sauces.
Just a spoon full of hot sauce will be good enough to give a hot flavor to two servings of your dish.
The Bottom Line
Having a good substitute option is a great deal for foodies. The ingredients that go into the making of chili powder are itself can replicate the heat of chilies.
To sum it up, fairly good substitutes for chili powder are:
- IDY chili powder
- Smoked paprika
- Ancho powder
- Red pepper flakes
- Chipotle powder
- Chili pepper
- Hot sauce
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