If you prefer your dish to have that fiery, hot flavor, you must already be in cahoots with chili paste!
I, for one, simply can’t have enough of this tasty paste and always end up adding it to my soups, pasta, and salsa dishes.
This is why it’s a real bummer when I run out of my trusty batch of chili paste and can’t go to the grocery store to restock.
However, my love for this condiment has helped me prepare an excellent list of chili paste substitutes that I can rely on whenever I run out of it.
This allows me to enjoy my meals exactly how I like them – hot and spicy!
What is chili paste?
As its name suggests, chili paste is essentially a hot paste prepared by grounding chili peppers.
Its taste can differ from region to region, depending on the type of chili peppers used to prepare it.
Moreover, chili paste can be seasoned with salt only, or it can have a whole host of herbs and spices to give it a unique flavor.
Some chili pastes even have an umami flavor thanks to the addition of dried shrimp!
As for its consistency, chili paste can either be in the form of a thick paste or a bit thinner with a dipping sauce kind of variety.
The best chili paste substitutes
Here are some spices and other ingredients that you can use as a chili paste substitute:
1. Crushed red pepper flakes
Inarguably one of the best chili paste subs you can find in the market, these flakes are essentially dried cayenne peppers that have been crushed.
They contain small cayenne pepper seeds, which make them quite peppery and hot.
You can also add crushed red pepper flakes to your warm and cold dishes and even use them as a topping for pizzas and other dishes.
You can also prepare your red pepper paste with them.
Simply take 1T of red pepper flakes and add a few pinches of sugar and a dash of soy sauce to them.
Stir this mixture together until it has formed a nice paste.
2. Hot sauce
Believe it or not, but when you run out of chili paste, your favorite hot sauce can save the day!
Even though your prized hot sauce doesn’t have the rich consistency of chili paste, it can certainly deliver the intense peppery flavor, making it a good substitute for chili paste.
Sriracha is easily the best hot sauce to use instead of chili paste in your dishes.
This is large because it offers more or less the same hot flavor, and it’s also thicker than other types of hot sauces.
3. Ketchup with ground cayenne pepper
The good news is that ketchup has more or less the same texture as chili paste.
All it lacks is the spice quotient, but you can quickly fix that by adding some ground cayenne pepper into the mix.
Take one cup of your favorite ketchup and add 1t or 2t of ground cayenne pepper in it for a spicy chili pepper replacement.
4. Spicy tomato paste
If you want your chili paste substitute to be spicy, flavorful, and thick, then your very best bet is to use hot tomato paste.
It won’t give your dish the same flavor as chili paste, but it should work as a suitable replacement, especially for consistency.
Use canned tomato paste and spice it up with 1t or 2t of crushed red pepper flakes or chili powder. Alternatively, you can use a few dashes of hot sauce in the paste.
You can adjust the spices according to your spice tolerance.
Mix the spices into the paste as thoroughly as possible, and then use the paste in your dishes.
5. Homemade chili paste
Homemade chili paste is an excellent chili paste alternative. You can make it from fresh and dried cayenne peppers.
When using fresh peppers, grind them in your food processor with a smidge of olive oil.
You can also include flavorful ingredients, such as onions, garlic, and some seasonings.
You can also make your paste from dried peppers. Simply remove the seeds and stems. Put the peppers in some hot water for 20 minutes. This will help them rehydrate and become soft.
Process the rehydrated peppers until they turn into a paste.
The bottom line
It can happen to the very best of us: You’re in the middle of your sought-after salsa dish and suddenly, you realized that you’ve finally freshed out of chili paste!
Luckily, these substitutes I’ve tallied shouldn’t only get you right back in your interrupted cooking, but should also make you more resourceful down the line!
- Spicy tomato paste
- Pick the spicy tomato paste as your substitute
- Use canned tomato paste and spice it up with 1t or 2t of crushed red pepper flakes or chili powder.
- Alternatively, you can use a few dashes of hot sauce in the paste.
- You can adjust the spices according to your spice tolerance. Mix the spices into the paste as thoroughly as possible, and then use the paste in your dishes.