Aleppo Pepper: Substitutes, Flavors, And Uses In Cooking

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

Without much ado, this article explores the best substitutes for Aleppo pepper, and also a little about its origin, flavor, and uses in cooking.

What is Aleppo Pepper?

Aleppo pepper is made from dried and coarsely ground Halaby chile peppers. This pepper gets its name from Aleppo, a town in Syria, the place of its origin.

This pepper is used just like the crushed red pepper in various Turkish dishes. Notably, this spice is a staple of Middle Eastern cooking. Today, you will find several Mediterranean cuisines that use this pepper as a key ingredient.


What does Aleppo pepper taste like? It has a smoky, fruity note with a tanginess similar to a condiment to a garnish.

It’s moderately spicy and has a maximum heat level of 10,000 Scoville Heat Unit (SHU). Evidently, this pepper is two times hotter than common jalapenos.

Uses In Cooking

How is Aleppo pepper used in cooking?

Aleppo peppers are a common ingredient in several Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. A pinch of ground Aleppo spice can add a flavorful complexity and visual panache to roasted veggies, pasta, or even simple egg omelets.  Even when it is sprinkled over a pimiento cheese sandwich, it adds a wonderful spicy flavor.

In Middle Eastern cooking, this condiment is traditionally used to season meat, beans, muhammara dip, and salads. Use it in any recipe that calls for pepper flakes.

What Is A Good Substitute For Aleppo Pepper?

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

By the way, the pepper is notoriously difficult to source outside Syrian and Turkish home regions.

If you find that you don’t have Aleppo pepper flakes required for your recipe, still you can save the recipe by using a suitable alternative to it.

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

1. Blend of Cayenne Pepper and Sweet Paprika

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

Thus, a blend of sweet paprika and cayenne pepper provides a similar flavor and heat of Aleppo pepper flakes. To achieve the closest flavor profile of Aleppo pepper, mix four parts of sweet paprika to one part of cayenne pepper.

In case, you don’t have the Hungarian sweet paprika, use any generic variety of paprika.

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 crushed red peppers is somewhat similar to the Aleppo pepper.

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

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.

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 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 cuisines, they both are used interchangeably.

4. Antebi Pepper

The appearance and flavor profile of Antebi pepper is quite the same as the Aleppo and Marash peppers. It has a milder heat profile than Aleppo but 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 tastes.

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.