What can I substitute for liquid smoke?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for liquid smoke?” with an in-depth analysis of liquid smoke, what is the role of liquid smoke, how it can be used, and will also describe all possible substitutes for liquid smoke along with their measuring quantity.

What can I substitute for liquid smoke?

We can have a variety of substitutes for liquid smoke which include smoked paprika, chipotle powder, charcoal, smoked salt, smoked meat, smoked tea and we can also use a pinch of liquid from canned chipotle peppers as a good substitute for liquid smoke.

Liquid smoke

Liquid smoke is a type of seasoning that can be used in different dishes such as vegetables, meat, desserts, and fish. It is basically used to impart the smoky flavour in the dishes. 

Liquid smoke is also one of the good alternatives to a wooden house which is traditionally used for the purpose of smoking. It requires many hours for getting the same result of imparting smoke in recipes.

Liquid smoke is a type of smoke but it exists in liquid form after condensation of smoke. It is used in different processes such as cooking, browning, and flavouring the diet by exposing the food to smoke. Once it was claimed that in respect of preservation smoked meat is easy to protect for a long time as compared to dried meat.

Even in the presence of refrigerators, some people use smoke in a variety of meal plans that may be tailgates or barbecues.

History of Liquid smoke

This method of liquid smoking has been around since the 19th of century. A young man named Ernest H. Wright observed a droplet drizzling down from the stove pipe. He was a teenager and was working in a print shop, and this is described by the Rotarian in the edition of 1923. 

From this observation, he made experiments and found out that food can be turned into a more delicious taste and flavour, that will be intended to be smoked but actually, they are not being smoked.

Liquid smoke safe or not?

There is a controversial statement about practising liquid smoke for making food more tasty and favourable.

Sometimes we crave food with a smoky flavour, this smoky flavour can be generated through actual smoking or also can be done by using the liquid smoke bottle. A liquid smoke bottle consists of an organic component termed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

This aromatic hydrocarbon can be dangerous to health due to its carcinogenic nature this product is extracted during the smoking process as a byproduct.

Most good companies or brands of liquid smoke use very little amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). 

Either it’s in small content in liquid smoke bottles but it is never recommended to take the whole bottle as for a drink. It should be used in a very less amount or can be said as an adequate amount just as a seasoning in chilli or brisket, which is termed as pretty harmless and good to use.

Substitutes of Liquid smoke

If you are making any recipe and your bottle of liquid smoke is empty then there is no need to worry, we can use a number of products that can replace the liquid smoke that may include:

Smoked paprika

It is a type of spice that is synthesized after drying the peppers perfectly. These peppers should be dried over the oak burning fires, this process of drying peppers should continue for several weeks to get good results. Then, smoked paprika will be a perfect match of liquid smoke to fulfil the craving for smoky dishes.

Smoke tea

Smoke tea is also termed lapsang souchong. This smoke is generally used for different recipes such as in soups or stews if someone is craving for smoky flavour in their recipes. In these recipes, a smoky flavour is added by rubbing the smoke tea over the meat that smoke tea should be in dried form. Then it will transfer its flavour of smoke.

Chipotle powder

Chipotle powder is also known for its smoky nature and flavour. It has more spices as compared to liquid smoke. So, you should be careful while adding Chipotle powder in your recipes. 

The easiest way to use Chipotle powder is: you should start adding the powder in a small container then add this until you get your favourite spice flavour or the taste that the recipe calls for.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What can I substitute for liquid smoke?” with an in-depth analysis of liquid smoke, the different aspects such as its introduction based upon its taste, nature, how it originated, how can we use it in our recipes, and what are the possible substitutes for liquid smoke.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.