7 Best Red Pepper Flakes Substitutes

red pepper flakes in a bowl

Oh, you're about to make a dish for which you need Red Pepper Flakes, but you notice that the jar is empty. You don't want to go out now? Don't worry, there is a solution. Most likely, you already have the best substitutes for red pepper flakes in your kitchen. You just need to figure out how to use them.

Substitutes can be just as good for different dishes. As a substitute, we can use chili, hot sauces, and various types of hot peppers. To know which spices and how to use them, read on.

You’ll find out:

  • What are Red Pepper Flakes
  • What do Red Pepper Flakes Taste Like
  • The Best Substitutes for Red Pepper Flakes
  • A Guide to Substitutes for Red Pepper Flakes

What are Red Pepper Flakes

The Red Pepper Flakes are a combination of seeds and pieces of hot red pepper. These flakes are made from different kinds of hot red pepper. The most common are chili peppers, red cayenne powder, anaheim, serrano or red chili, and jalapenos.

So, before being ground into flakes, the peppers must first be dried well. After preparation, they should be stored mainly in glass bottles or jars. The bottles preserve the quality and taste of the flakes.

This hot spice is ideal for different types of dishes, such as pasta, sauces, soups, eggs, sandwiches, etc. They are often used as an addition to hamburgers and pizza, and many people love them as a spicy spice in soups.

You can even make it at home by crushing two or three types of dried peppers or dried chilis. You can crush them by hand or use a food processor.

What Do Red Pepper Flakes Taste Like?

If you want your meals to have a strong, hot taste with a touch of spiciness - add red pepper flakes. When you add them to your meal - there is no way that anyone will remain indifferent.

Red Pepper Flakes have a subtly spicy flavor. If you add them to the dish at the beginning of cooking, then the whole meal will gain heat. But, adding them by the end, will make the meal taste spicy.

Over time, red pepper flakes will lose their freshness and spiciness. So before you use them, check if they are bright orange and red like before. If they are darker, it is probably time for new ones.

You Have to Try These Substitutes for Red Pepper Flakes

But before you buy new ones, you can try some fantastic substitutes for red pepper flakes. Here are some you must try.

1. Cayenne Pepper Powder

Since these two types of peppers are made from the same type of pepper, it is logical that ground cayenne pepper is the best substitute. It is used as one of the ingredients for red pepper flakes, so it can also serve as a great substitute, right?

Ground cayenne pepper is slightly spicier than red pepper flakes. Also, the texture is a little different, since cayenne pepper is in powder form. Therefore, be careful when spicing food. Try with a smaller amount and add more later if necessary.

Your best option is to cut the amount in half, and use ½ teaspoon of cayenne powder for every 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

2. Hot Paprika Powder

Hot paprika powder is an ideal solution because almost every house has it. The powder is made from dried hot peppers and is often used in various stews, sauces, marinades, and other dishes.

Although the intensity is less hot than red pepper flakes, it is a perfect solution when you want to complement the dish with bright red color and aroma. And, if you want to achieve heat and spiciness, you can combine them with other hot spices and condiments.

3. Red Thai Peppers

Thai chili is one of the best substitutes for red chili flakes. Just like the chile de Arbol, it is very hot, so it fits perfectly into marinades, soups, and sauces if you don't have red pepper flakes. Its intense and powerful taste will add heat to your food.

4. Chili Powder

Every kitchen usually has chili powder as one of the basic spices. Therefore, if you have run out of crushed red pepper flakes, you can use chili powder. It's made from different types of red chili peppers and other spices such as cumin, garlic powder and onion powder. Because chili powder is usually less intense than red pepper flakes, use a bit more than usual.

Your best choice is to use a 2:1 ratio. Means adding 2 tablespoons of chili powder for every 1 pepper flaks tablespoon stated in the original recipe.

5. Habanero Powder

Habanero powder is made from special habanero chili peppers that are dried and then ground. This pepper belongs to one of the hottest in the world, so you have to be extremely careful with the dosage when seasoning. We suggest you use a small amount, half a teaspoon, and slowly add more if needed.

Although habanero peppers don't have the same texture as red pepper flakes, they are a perfect substitution due to their spice and heat.

6. Hot Chili Sauce

If you don't have any of the peppers mentioned above, you can use hot sauces instead. The best of them is chili sauce, which can usually be hot or sweet. You can use it for different types of meals. It will give them a unique aroma and piquancy.

Watch out for the heat. Each sauce is different, so it is best to try with a smaller dose that you can increase later. It will go perfectly with grilled meat, pasta, and sauce.

7. Hot Sauce

Different hot sauces are also a good enough substitute for red pepper flakes. If you don't have any dry pepper, you can add any hot sauce to your dishes. However, we can use hot sauce in salads, soups, sauces, and moist dishes. Since it is a sauce, it cannot be used in its entirety like red pepper flakes.

A Guide to Substitutes for Red Pepper Flakes That Will Help You

Substitutes Typical Characteristics How to Best Use It?
Cayenne Pepper Powder Hot and Spicy, Little Fruity Flavor With Meat, Egg Dishes, Cheese Dishes, Hot Sauces, Seafood
Hot Paprika Powder A Bit Spicy, Vivid Red Color With Meat, Egg dishes, Stews, Marinade
Red Thai Peppers Fruity and Subtly Earthy Flavor, Hot, Spicy Soups, Marinade, Sauces
Chili Powders Mild to Moderately Spicy; Aromatic Chilis, Stews, Soups, Meat, Beans, Sauces
Habanero Powder Very Hot, Fruity Taste Sauces, Salsa, Stews, Meat, Tropical Fruit Drinks
Hot Chili Sauce Hot, Mild to Moderately Spicy With Barbecue, Meat, Potatoes, Rice…
Hot Sauces Hot, Spicy Flavor Sauces, Soups, Marinades

All in all, you may think the dish you want to make won't turn out well without red pepper flakes, but a good substitute can work wonders. After all, you might discover a new great recipe that the whole family will like.

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