Aleppo Pepper Substitutes – 5 Similar Peppers To Use

I’m sure that everyone would love to have Myhammara dip or Ful medames with their moderately hot, smoky taste. It’s equally amazing to taste the grilled kebabs marinated with Aleppo pepper.

The Aleppo pepper comes from a burgundy chile, also known as the Halaby pepper. Its name comes from the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Today, it is grown and cultivated in Turkey and in northern Syria. It registers around 1,500 heat units on the Scoville scale.

The ripened peppers are semi-dried, de-seeded, and coarsely ground like chili flakes. Aleppo and Aleppo-style peppers are used in Middle Eastern condiments that are often used to season beans, salads, and meat.

This article explores the close substitutes for Aleppo pepper that you can use in a pinch.

Best Substitute For Aleppo Pepper

Are you looking for an Aleppo pepper substitute? Here you have got the solution.

You can use Aleppo chili on grilled or roasted chicken, kebabs, seafood, or in salads and vegetable dishes.

By the way, it’s difficult to source this pepper outside the agricultural areas of Syria and Turkey.

If you can’t find the Aleppo pepper flakes required for your recipe, you can still save the recipe by using the best alternative to it.

Depending on your heat tolerance, choose the right replacement pepper spice for your recipe. Here are a few good stand-in ingredients for Aleppo pepper flakes.

1. Blend Cayenne Pepper and Sweet Paprika

Aleppo pepper has an earthy flavor with hints of resin and tomato, but cayenne pepper lacks this flavor profile. However, they are both spicy and hot peppers. On the other hand, sweet paprika is known for its earthy and fruity flavor, akin to Aleppo pepper.

A blend of sweet paprika and cayenne pepper provides a similar flavor and heat to this Syrian chile flake. To achieve the closest flavor profile to Aleppo pepper, mix four parts of sweet paprika with one part of cayenne pepper.

If you don’t have Hungarian sweet paprika, use regular paprika.

Overall, the paprika and cayenne pepper mix is an excellent substitute for Aleppo crushed peppers.

2. Crushed red pepper

Red pepper flakes don’t have the exact complex flavor of Aleppo pepper. But in an emergency, you can certainly use it as a replacement.

The subtle sweetness of pepper flakes is somewhat similar to that of Aleppo pepper.

Usually, two or more varieties of chilies are blended to make red pepper flakes, and thus, it has a deep heat profile. For the maximum infusion of their flavors, crush the flakes into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle.

Some chefs recommend adding a bit more salt and a few drops of olive oil to the crushed red pepper mixture to achieve that perfect Aleppo pepper consistency.

You may also consider using one of the substitutes for pepper flakes in your cooking.

3. Marash Pepper

Marash pepper, which is known as “Maras Biberi” in Turkey, is the essence of several genuine Turkish dishes. It’s a close cousin of the Allepo pepper.

Marash pepper is known for its rich, complex, and slightly sweet flavor. It is smokier and has more heat than Aleppo pepper.

In Turkish cuisine, they are both used interchangeably.

4. Antebi Pepper

The appearance and flavor profile of the Antebi pepper is quite the same as the Aleppo and Marash peppers. It has a milder heat profile than Aleppo but is a bit fruitier. Undoubtedly, Antebi pepper is a wonderful alternative to Aleppo pepper but they are a scarce variety of pepper rather difficult to trace in most places outside Turkey.

5.  Gochugaru

Traditionally made from sun-dried Korean red chili peppers, gochugaru has a complex flavor profile with smoky, spicy, and sweet flavors.

These crushed and seedless red pepper flakes are a good substitute for Aleppo pepper.

In fact, it is difficult to distinguish the taste differences when Gochugaru is used in place of Aleppo peppers.

If you don’t have this Korean pepper, one of the alternatives to gochugaru may work for your recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Aleppo pepper the same as crushed red pepper?

Unlike crushed red pepper, Aleppo pepper flakes contain no inner flesh or seeds. Flavor-wise, Aleppo flakes are fairly mild with a sweet, slightly citrusy edge. On the other hand, crushed red pepper is made of medium-hot peppers; mostly cayenne peppers, and they lack the complex flavors of Aleppo but are spicy and hot. All the same, these two peppers can be used interchangeably in most recipes that call for either of them.

Is Aleppo pepper the same as Aleppo chili?

Yes, they are the same. Aleppo is also known by different names, such as Halaby Pepper, Near Eastern Pepper, Halab Pepper, Pul Biber (Turkey), and Haleb Biber (Armenia). Aleppo chili is a commonly used chili flake in Mediterranean cuisines.

What is the difference between Aleppo pepper and Harissa?

Harisa is not a pepper but a hot chili pepper paste, native to the Maghreb. It contains multiple ingredients such as roasted red peppers, Baklouti peppers, spices, and herbs such as garlic paste, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, cumin, and olive oil. Whereas, Aleppo pepper is a chili flake made from Halaby pepper and contains no other ingredients except salt.

What is the difference between Aleppo pepper and Ancho chili powder?

They have many similarities in flavors and uses, but Aleppo pepper has an earthy flavor with a bit of saltiness and a citrusy hint. Ancho chili powder is made of dried and ground ancho chilies and also contains other spices and herbs like oregano, garlic powder, and cumin. Ancho chiles are a quick substitute for Aleppo pepper and vice versa.

Is Aleppo pepper the same as Cayenne pepper?

They aren’t the same peppers. Cayenne pepper can be 3 to 5 times hotter than Aleppo and has a flat flavor. Usually, crushed red pepper flakes are made of cayenne pepper, but they lack the complex flavors of Aleppo chili, which has hints of cumin, salt, and slightly citrusy and smoky notes.

How to cook with Aleppo pepper?

First, toast the pepper in a dry pan over medium heat until it becomes fragrant. Then grind the pepper into a powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add a little powder to your dish during the last few minutes of cooking.

Final Thoughts

The best substitutes for Aleppo pepper are a mix of smoked paprika and crushed red pepper flakes, or alternatively, a blend of Hungarian sweet paprika and cayenne pepper for a similar fruity, tangy, and slightly smoky flavor with a gentle heat.

Another great substitute option is Turkish marash biber, a chili pepper that’s a lot like Aleppo pepper. It may take some searching to find, but it’s a great choice if you come across it.

For further reading, see the best substitutes for chipotle powder in your cooking.