What is a substitute for Thai chilies?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “What is a substitute for Thai chilies?’, and tell you how Thai chilies are used in cooking. We will also discuss a few different types of Thai curries that use Thai chilies.

What is a substitute for Thai chilies?

The substitutes for Thai chilies are listed below. You can use these substitutes for when you have run out of Thai chilies at home or when they are not available at your local grocery store.

Thai chili peppers are red or green. They come in different sizes but are usually small. They have a very juicy, sweet and spicy flavor. They contribute a great deal of flavor to Thai dishes, especially Thai curries.

Dried Thai chilies

You can use dried Thai chilies when you have run out of fresh Thai chilies. You can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried Thai chilies for every 2 fresh Thai chilies.

Serrano peppers

Serrano peppers can be used as a substitute for Thai chilies but they are not as hot as Thai chilies. You will need to use more serrano peppers to match the spice level of Thai chilies. However, they still serve as a good substitute.

Jalapeno peppers

Jalapeno peppers are easily available at almost all grocery stores. You can use these instead of Thai chilies. Jalapeno peppers come in different spice levels so you will have to adjust their quantity according to the heat level of your jalapeno peppers.

Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers are very hot, almost similar to Thai chilies when it comes to heat. You can use fresh or dried cayenne peppers. They serve as one of the best substitutes for Thai chilies.

How are Thai chilies used in cooking?

There are many ways in which Thai chilies can be used for their flavor and heat. Some of them are listed below.

  • They can be used to make pasta, curries, soups and stews.
  • Cut them from the middle and throw them in any dish such as Thai curries. They will release their flavor and spice in the dish.
  • You can also dry them in sunlight and use them.
  • You can use them to make chili paste at home.
  • You can also use these to make Thai chili sauce.
  • You can use Thai chili peppers to make curry paste as chilies are an essential ingredient in almost all Thai curries.

Which Thai curries use Thai chilies?

You can add Thai chilies to any type of curry to make it more spicy. However, some of the popular Thai curries that are made with Thai chilies, or can contain Thai chilies are listed below.

  • Green curry: The main ingredient in thai green curry are green chillies. Green chillies mixed with fresh coriander give the curry its vibrant green color. The other ingredients that are usually added are lemongrass, vegetables, and sauces. It is one of the most popular curries. Proteins such as beef, chicken, or prawns are also used. 
  • Red curry: The main ingredients in red curry are red chillies or red chili powder. It is distinct because of its spiciness from the red chillies. Alternatively, red chili paste can be used. 
  • Yellow curry: Yellow curry gets its color from ground turmeric. Coconut milk is added to give the curry a nice texture. Fish sauce, curry paste, and chili peppers are also used. Chicken usually goes best with thai yellow curry. Other ingredients like ginger and garlic are also added to further enhance the taste.
  • Massaman curry: Massaman curry is a bit milder than other types of curries. It contains ingredients like those used in Indian style curries for example cardamom and cinnamon. You can add Thai chilies in it to make it spicy if you like spicy food.
  • Panang curry: Panang curry is different from other Thai curries because it has ground up peanuts in it. The peanuts give it a very nutty, earthy flavor which is distinct from other curries. It is rich, sweet and savory. You can add heat to it by adding Thai chilies.

Other FAQs about Chili that you may be interested in.

Can you freeze aji verde?

Can you freeze 5 bean chili?

Can you freeze 3 bean chili?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “What is a substitute for Thai chilies?’, and told you how Thai chilies are used in cooking. We also discussed a few different types of Thai curries that use Thai chilies.



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