Which Is The Best Smoked Paprika Substitute: Choose From These 9 Options

Cooking a recipe that calls for a smoked paprika but you don’t have one at all? Grab these best smoked paprika substitutes now!

Too excited for a recipe with smoked paprika? But oh, there’s none of the said spice on the spice rack? What to do now? Worry not as you are not alone in such case! Though not a staple spice, smoked paprika has a specific flavor making it a lot easier to find the best smoked paprika substitute once you don’t have one. Indeed, the right substitution would help in maintaining the intended flavors of the recipe that you are excited about.


Smoked Paprika Defined

Also referred as Pimenton, smoked paprika has a rich smoked chili pepper flavor which is perfect for hearty meals and meats. And it is a spice considered to be born for barbecue. It also ranges in heat from mild to hot. Almost sweet quality will be offered by the milder version while hotter version would render a lot more bittersweet flavor.

Smoked paprika was Determination

Via simplylivingtips.com

This spice is widely available in most specialty stores and also grocery stores but might not have any readily on hand to add into a recipe. Some other chili-based spices, as well as spice combinations, could stand as alternatives for smoked paprika. However, none might fully replicate the unique flavor of the said spice.

9 Smoked Paprika Substitutes To Grab


Chipotle Powder

For the closest possible alternative, chipotle powder sits on top. This spice is made from smoked dried jalapeno peppers having earthy tone playing a crucial role in the substitution.

Smoked paprika is typically mild which is made from chili peppers compared to the medium heat of the jalapeno. And you must always keep this in mind as you consider ratios in a certain recipe. You might consider lowering the amount or spice to taste in order to make sure that you are not into over-spicing.

Chipotle powder could indeed be a great smoked paprika substitute in chili, stews and also grilled meat preparations. Take note that if a recipe calls for a teaspoon of smoked paprika, only use just a third much of this chipotle powder. You can just add after that if you want more heat.​


Cayenne Pepper Powder

Another ideal substitute is the cayenne pepper powder. This is a popular spice that is used for adding flavor to numbers of dishes including pizzas, soups, meats, and some desserts making this one an easy grab from the cupboard. It has a natural smoke flavor however it is a lot hotter compared to smoked paprika.

So, always be careful and use it only in tiny increments once you are not accustomed to a lot of spice. Because of its natural smoke flavor, this serves to a great option if you don’t have smoked paprika at all.


Spanish Pimenton Powder

Spanish Pimenton Powder

Also known as Pimenton de la Vera, this one is a version of smoked paprika which comes from Spain considered as the largest producer of paprika.

Spanish Pimenton powder is wonderfully intense as well as full of flavor. It is also available in different varieties in order to match your taste buds like sweet, moderate and also very hot. The oak which is used during the drying process is the key to the full-bodied flavor of this alternative.

Spanish Pimenton

Via thespruce.com

As said earlier, there are different varieties of this powder. You have to choose the one which you think would be a lot more suitable both to your dish and your taste buds.

The three varieties are the Pimenton Dulce which is the sweet paprika made from red and round peppers, Pimenton Picante which is known as a hot paprika which comes from different peppers and the Pimenton Agridulce which is the medium-hot paprika that is made from dark red and long peppers.


Ancho Pepper Powder

Considered as a dried chilli, ancho pepper powder is a great alternative to smoked paprika the same with the Guajillo pepper but it is less smoky and milder. Since ancho pepper is not too hot, you shouldn’t worry when it comes to using too much in your recipe. Ancho is the Spanish term for wide chile.

Ancho Pepper Powder

Via 5megamall.fan-key.com

In addition, it is nearly black and it also shriveled up the same with raisin. And this is a most widely used spice in the Mexican cuisine.

You might as well be surprised to the fact that ancho peppers are definitely poblano peppers which are hung on vines to age. The moment they turn red, they are picked and finally dried. Most people are confused about ancho peppers with Mulato peppers and pasilla peppers, both known as other varieties of dried chili peppers.


Garam Masala

Garam Masala

Mostly used in Mediterranean and South Asian dishes, Garam Masala is a very versatile and powerful blend of spices. And this blend is mostly made up of coriander seeds, cumin, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, mace, bay leaves and some would even use dried chilies.

These spices are ground together and will be used in rubs, curries and also perfect seasoning for the tandoori, stews and falafel. This substitute has bold and smoky flavors which are different from paprika but could still be an alternative if you want to give the dish a more flare.


Guajillo Powder

Among the most popular chilies in Mexico are the Guajillo chilies which are particularly used in salsas and moles. And they are also effective once used in soups and chili. Guajillo powder, on the other hand, has a sweet fruitiness wherein some people compared it to cranberries. This fruitiness could make it as a good smoked paprika substitute.

Guajillo Powder

Via herbies.com.au

Once ground, this Guajillo chili is versatile enough wherein it could be used in making harissa and you could combine it with some other spices in order to make a barbecue rub.

Indeed, the heat that these chilies could offer might range from very mild to only moderately hot. In most cases, cooks would add a more pungent chili once there is a need for a more heat. And you could also use the same amount of this alternative as you would with hot smoked paprika.




Gochugaru is also referred as Korean hot pepper flakes is the version of a great blend of spicy red peppers in Asia. They are dried having their seeds removed in order to keep their deep and bright red hue once grounded. When it comes to texture, it is a lot flakier and rougher compared to the traditional paprika or the chili powder.

However, if you really want to add a tinge of sweetness along with a whole load of spice and color to a certain dish, this one is considered as a great smoked paprika substitute to ever use.


Ghost Chili Pepper Powder

Ghost Chili Pepper Powder

Via kivahealthfood.com

And for a further substitute, you might consider ghost chili pepper powder. This is considered as one of the hottest peppers in the world.

But, there is a need for you to use its ground version very sparingly. Once you couldn’t handle the heat, you could use this alternative for any recipe like to chicken and pizza sauce. Ghost chili peppers are mostly found in India and they exclusively grow in the North-eastern part of Nagaland and Assam.


Ground Cumin And Chili Powder

You can also use two of your favorite spices to substitute for smoked paprika and they are the chili powder and the ground cumin. Since chili powder is too mild, it couldn’t be a perfect alternative but because cumin has a smoked and woodsy flavor, the combination of the two will result to a delicious substitute.

Ground Cumin And Chili Powder

Just simply combine a part of cumin to two parts of chili and this combination can work well with eggplant, chicken, eggs, pork, potatoes, poultry, fish, soups, and stews.

There you have it! If you don’t have smoked paprika yet your recipe calls for its flavor, the above mentioned substitutes could definitely be considered!​

Final Thoughts

Now, have you chosen which one is the best smoked paprika substitute? Though all of them are great candidates, still choosing the one that will suit the need of your recipe and the preference of your taste bud. So, though given with options as smoked paprika alternatives, it still pays that you know how to pick the right one. You should also learn the best ways on how to use smoked paprika.

If you have any thoughts about the topic, we are pleased to invite you to write them in the comments below. Happy reading!

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Hi there! My name is Cindy Mari and cooking is definitely my passion. I love looking for interesting topics about cooking and share them with everyone. Aside from being passionate about cooking, I am also a foodie at heart.

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