Have you run out of paprika again and wondering what can I substitute for paprika? I can completely relate to your situation as I use paprika frequently in different recipes. Usually, it isn’t until I’m halfway through a recipe that I find out I do not have paprika. Fortunately, I found out that there’s a way to complete my dish with paprika substitutes.
Paprika is one of the most important spices that you should have in your spice rack. It gives a distinctive flavor to the dish and adds a bright color to it. This common spice comes in different varieties. Some of the best ones are Hot Hungarian paprika, sweet Spanish paprika, and bourbon smoked paprika from New Mexico. However, when you run out of it, you can always use some paprika substitutes to make your recipes a hit!
What is Paprika?
Paprika is a deep-red seasoning used in cooking a variety of savory dishes. There are several varieties of paprika, including sweet paprika (Hungarian) and smoked paprika (Spanish).
Grinding dry pods of bell pepper and other chili peppers give you paprika powder. Historians believe that peppers were first grown in the region which is now Brazil and part of Bolivia.
Over the years, paprika became an important ingredient in Spanish and Hungarian cuisines. The spice added a rich color and flavor to a simple recipe, which led to its widespread popularity. Paprika is now grown in various regions of the world.
Is Paprika the Same as Chili Powder?
No. Paprika and chili powder taste very different from each other. They are made from different peppers and include different ingredients.
What Can I Substitute for Paprika?
Following are some of the best paprika substitutes that you can find in your spice rack:
1. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne is one of the best substitutes for paprika. It gives the same color to your dish as paprika would but it is a lot hotter. A pinch of cayenne pepper works in place of paprika. Cayenne is a good spice to use in combination with other seasonings to replace paprika because of its heat level.
When substituting cayenne pepper for paprika only use ½ the amount. So if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of paprika only use ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
2. Chili Powder
Chili powder is another substitute for paprika that also looks very similar in appearance. You should also remember that it is a blend of ingredients and is a bit hotter than paprika. That said, you can use half the amount of chili powder as a paprika substitute in any dish.
When substituting chili powder for paprika only use ½ the amount. So if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of paprika only use ½ teaspoon of chili pepper. You can choose to do a 1 to 1 ratio with chili powder if you are ok with a bit more heat. I personally prefer the half ratio. Feel free to experiment with this one.
3. Chili Flakes
Chili flakes or crushed red pepper are also a paprika substitute, but they differ a lot in texture. You can use simple chili flakes like those you find in pizza places. They work well for substituting the heat, color, and flavor of paprika.
When substituting chili flakes for paprika use a ¼ ratio. So if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of paprika only use ¼ teaspoon of chili flakes.
4. Aleppo Pepper Powder
This substitute might not be a common kitchen spice but for some reason, I had it in my spice rack when I experimented with this. Luckily, it turned out to be great. The hotness of Aleppo powder is somewhere between paprika and cayenne pepper. The flavor differs a lot, however. Aleppo powder has a tomato-like tangy flavor and some smokiness, but overall it works great as a substitute for paprika.
When substituting aleppo pepper for paprika only use ½ the amount. So if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of paprika only use ½ teaspoon of aleppo pepper.
Smoked Paprika Substitute
The Spanish name for smoked paprika is pimento and Spanish people use it in a variety of dishes, mostly in soups and stews. Smoked paprika is made from dried, smoked pepper, which is then ground to powder.
Chipotle pepper powder is the closest substitute for smoked paprika. Chipotle powder is made from smoked and dried jalapeno peppers. This gives this spice a slightly earthy tone which makes it a good substitute for paprika. That said, you should remember that this substitute will also give extra heat to your recipe. Smoked paprika is usually mild as it comes from chili peppers. You can avoid over-spicing the recipe by using half the amount that was suggested in the recipe.
Sweet Paprika Substitute
Despite its name, sweet paprika is not as sweet as it sounds. In fact, some might feel that it is not sugary or sweet at all. The name is to distinguish this type of paprika from other varieties that are usually spicier. The quality of sweet paprika depends on the type of peppers that were used to make the spice.
If you run out of sweet paprika, there are different spice powders that you can use instead. Ancho chili powder or Chipotle chili powder are the best substitutes for sweet paprika. Another thing to remember is that these spices substitute evenly for sweet paprika. This means that you can use 1 teaspoon of Ancho powder as a substitute for 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika.
Paprika is one of the most common kitchen spices around the world. Some even consider it as important as salt in your spice rack. Due to its importance in so many recipes, you might run out of it often. So, it is important to know paprika substitutes that can be very useful when you have already started cooking. Besides, even if you have paprika, using paprika substitutes every now and then give a new flavor to your old recipe.