What can I substitute for paprika?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for paprika?” with an in-depth analysis of paprika, the uses of paprika, some possible substitutes of paprika, and how they can be good for our health.

What can I substitute for paprika?

If paprika is not easily available we can substitute it with mild chilli powder, tomato powder, Aleppo peppers, black peppers, bell peppers, chipotle powder, and pimento de la vera.

What is paprika?

Paprika is a vital form of spice with an earthy, smokey, sweet taste along with fiery flavour. Taste and flavour also depend upon the paprika variety and quantity. The tint of paprika is bright and dark which is due to the more consistency of carotene that is found in paprika. Carotene is the same pigment that is present in carrots.

Paprika is termed as the main ingredient to give spice for many recipes such as deviled eggs, chorizo, stuffed bell peppers, and traditional Spanish rice. Paprika is found in many varieties that can be differentiated according to their varying flavour, taste, colour, smokiness, and heat levels. 

Where does paprika is extracted from?

The peppers which are used in the formation of paprika emerge from Central Mexico and after that, it was introduced in Spain. Paprika’s most commonly used forms are Hungarian paprika and Spanish paprika.

The flavour of both Spanish and Hungarian paprika is different such as flavour and taste of Hungarian paprika has a more versatile flavour that may be present in different shades such as medium or hot, and also it is sweeter to some extent while the flavour and taste of Spanish paprika are inclined towards smoky nature that can be hot or mild.

Where is paprika most commonly used?

Paprika is used to give vibrant, bright shades to any of the recipes such as in Creamy Garlic dressing or Grilled eggplant recipes. Smoky aroma is also provided through smoked paprika in recipes such as sausages, lamb kabobs, and chorizo.

Substitutes for smoked paprika

Smoked paprika is one of the deepest flavours that can’t be neglected in some of the recipes, its alternative compounds are not easily accessible. 

Some of the major substitutes are also hard to know as a good replacement for paprika but these substitutes add almost the same impact in recipes.

Some of the favourites substitutes for smoky paprika are as following,

Cayenne pepper powder 

This is used for sharp and hot paprika.

Chipotle chilli powder

This is a good substitute that is used for paprika which is smoky-sweet in taste.

Ancho pepper powder

Ancho pepper powder is good for that paprika which is sweet.

Chilli powder

Chilli powder is a one-to-one replacement for sharp and hot paprika.

Guajillo pepper powder

Guajillo pepper powder is also used as a good replacement for hot and sharp paprika.

Substitutes for Hot smoked paprika

Above mentioned paprika substitutes are best for smoky paprika but if you wish for some heat plush with smoky nature, then any of the above mentioned- substitutes can be associated with red pepper flakes.

Substitutes for sweet paprika

Smoked paprika is a by choice dish flavour that can’t be added to all of the dishes, but sweet paprika is considered a staple spice that can be used in almost every dish as with onion and garlic. 

If sweet paprika is not easily reachable then you can use the following mentioned substitutes for sweet paprika:

  • Tomato powder
  • Mild chilli powder

Other paprika substitutes 

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper is considered a hot red chilli pepper that is used to flavour a variety of cuisine. Cayenne pepper is termed as stronger and solid in taste and flavour than other paprika types. So, the content of cayenne pepper must be lesser or minimum to adjust the taste and flavour of recipes. 

To maintain the bright tint of paprika in any of the recipes it can be adjusted with a little bit of sugar or honey, this will help in distinction for the flavour and taste of sweet paprika.

Salt, heavy broth, or cream can also be added to the recipes to reduce or minimize the spicy nature of cayenne pepper, but its content will depend upon the ability of your spice tolerance and taste, the flavour of the recipes.

Chilli powder

Chilli powder is a pepper of hot chillies which is prepared either from cayenne peppers or red peppers. The same amount of chilli powder can be used as a good alternative compound to paprika powder. Its flavour is not much solid in spice.

Other FAQs about Paprika that you may be interested in.

Can paprika go bad?

Can I use paprika instead of curry powder?


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What can I substitute for paprika?” with an in-depth analysis of paprika, the uses of paprika, some possible substitutes of paprika along with their suitable content that can be used in recipes and also the nature of paprika such as mild, solid, or light.