What are Mexican and Asian foods without a kick of spice? Cayenne pepper is the primary ingredient in these spicy food recipes.
Cayenne pepper is not just a regular spice that is added to multiple food recipes, but also an ingredient that is often difficult to substitute for. Its seasoning is made from dried cayenne pepper under a heat ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units.
That being said, if you’re looking for some Mexican food recipes for tonight’s dinner but are out of cayenne pepper, here’s a list of cayenne pepper substitutes to help you out.These substitutes will bring out the flavors exactly like cayenne pepper without compromising on the taste.
Cayenne Pepper Flavor
If you are still unaware of cayenne pepper, you know nothing about spices. Cayenne pepper is all you need if you want some warmth in your food with a bit of spice. It blesses your taste buds with its earthy dust flavors prepared with 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units. It has a thousand times the spiciness of regular chili.
Cayenne pepper is easily available everywhere during the picking seasons. You can get it in a dried, crushed, and powdered form from any local store. But it is not easily available throughout the year. Therefore, we have compiled a list of cayenne pepper substitutes that just do not add a burst of flavors to your Mexican dishes, but will hit a fine balance between fiery hot and tangy flavors.
10 – Mind blowing substitutes for cayenne pepper that will bring heat to your taste buds
Here are some of the simplest cayenne pepper substitutes that are easy to find and provide a great flavor when you don’t have cayenne pepper on hand.A quick look at this list, which consists of the closest substitutes, will surely help you pull out the one that complements your recipe to reach your desired level of spice goals.
Tabasco Pepper Sauce – Hot sauce
Tabasco pepper sauce, also widely known as Tabasco sauce or hot sauce, is a wet spice substitute for various spices. It consists of a deadly combination of vinegar, salt, and tabasco pepper. For the first time ever, the sauce was produced on Avery Island, in Southern Louisiana, for sale. After that, it reached every corner of the world due to its undeniable flavor. However, it is not a dry spice alternative to cayenne pepper but gives tough competition as a wet spice.
Besides being used as a spice enhancer, it also offers an effective way to lose some extra calories with the help of a component called capsaicin, present in it. The best thing about this sauce is that it contains zero calories. The sauce even helps to treat sinus and congestion problems and improves the metabolism rate of your body. Other conditions, like tooth pain, can also be treated using this sauce. Just drop a few drops on the tooth causing the pain and you will get relief until you go to the doctor.
Furthermore, you can use it in place of cayenne pepper in your oatmeal (eight drops of tabasco sauce equals a quarter spoon of cayenne pepper). However, it may be a good alternative only for those dishes in which cayenne pepper is used in a liquid form. So, if you want to replace it with dry cayenne pepper, then it would be best to get a fresh tabasco pepper for that purpose. The only drawback here is that fresh tabasco pepper is not easily available at local markets.
Serano Peppers – High Fiber Spice
This spice, with its extremely fiery flavor, can blow anyone’s mind. In terms of spice level, the Serano pepper is positioned next to the cayenne peppers.
This spice works differently. Its chili flavor starts to pop up after cooking it for some time. The more you cook it, the spicier it gets. Cook it for a good amount of time and you will see how it diffuses its spicy chili flavor into the dish.
Along with a spicy kick, it comes with some surprising health benefits. For starters, it is a low-calorie spice with a high fiber content, which is essential for heart health. Secondly, the low-calorie part helps everyone who is on a diet and is trying to lose some weight. Lastly, it relieves arthritis pain and controls blood sugar levels.
The Serano pepper is a popular alternative to jalapeno peppers when it comes to providing taste and heat.
Jalapeno Pepper – Mexican Spice
There is rarely anyone on earth who has not eaten a jalapeno pepper yet. Jalapenos appear on all toppings and fillings on pizza, tacos, and nachos. The pepper is popular because of its mild hint of spice. It originated in Mexico and later developed different variants that traveled across the world.
It promotes blood regulation for a longer life through the antioxidant agents present in it. For conditions like arthritis, muscle soreness, and neuropathy pain, it acts as a sedative. Moreover, vitamin A and C along with other micronutrients in them offer great health benefits that vouch for the longevity of life.
Jalapeno peppers are best used as garnishes and in smoothies.
Chipotle Morita Powder
Chipotle Morita powder isn’t a perfect substitute for cayenne pepper, but it can satisfy your smoky spice cravings even better than cayenne pepper. It is made from dried and crushed chipotle chilis, which are then developed into various variants. It is easily available at every grocery store.
Chipotle Morita Powder is a special ingredient in almost every Mexican food recipe. Its high consumption rate proves how much it is popular and loved by everyone. This is the reason why it is welcomed in every country and every cuisine.
This bright red chili powder along with delectable taste offers a great deal of health benefits like prevention from cardiovascular and cancer diseases. In particular, vitamin A deals with treating night blindness and other eye conditions.
Fresh Thai Peppers – Bird Chile
Thai chili pepper is the best choice if you want a fresh alternative to cayenne pepper that is not processed.
These chilis, as their name implies, are an essential part of Thai cuisine, but they are now widely used in other cuisines as well. It is also called the Bird of Chile or prik ki nu.
Thai peppers are red and green in color. They do not just add a tint of spice to your dishes, but they also garnish them beautifully with their vibrant colors. These fresh peppers help boost your immunity and improve your eye condition because they contain vitamins A, B, and C.
Do try these fresh Thai peppers in a spice roasted potato recipe. You will love them!
Gochugaru – Korean Chili Pepper
Gochugaru is the name of Korean chili pepper. It is the best substitute for cayenne pepper because it offers the same level of spice and heat to your taste buds, like cayenne pepper. These red long chilis have a slight sweetness that blends with the heat and adds a sharp flavor to your recipes.
These red-colored flakes, like peppers, are high in vitamins and fiber, which help with cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Further, some studies have proved that the consumption of this Korean chili kills cancer cells and inhibits their growth.
If you want a sweet-chili substitute for cayenne pepper, grab a pack of Gochugaru and you will see how it works wonders in your dishes. However, to explore the complete profile of flavors of this spice, make some kimchi using it.
Gochugaru is difficult to find locally, so you may have to check an Asian spice specialty store for its availability.
Black Pepper – Mild Pepper
Black pepper is a mild substitute for cayenne pepper, which brings a gentle and prolonged heat to your food recipes.
It is the most used pepper, which has a high number of antioxidants in it. It helps treat joint swelling and arthritis conditions. The most fascinating quality of this pepper is that it reduces the inflammation in the airways caused by asthma.
If you are looking for a way to reduce your cholesterol levels, consuming black pepper is the natural way to do so. It contains antioxidants (just like turmeric) which increase the absorption of curcumin. Further, it works well to improve brain functioning and has also proven effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease.
The mild words should not be used to describe this pepper, as its long-lasting heat will make you sweat.
Red Chili Flakes
Sounds quite familiar, no? This pepper is present in every pantry. Even our grocery shopping is incomplete without adding it to the cart. Its flavor is quite different from a spice, but it is an excellent substitute for cayenne pepper.
The only con we can identify with this spice is that there’s no perfect measure of it. Its quantity added to any dish depends on the brand you are using, as its spice level varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
A quarter of the cayenne pepper is made up of 2 to 3 spoons of red chili flakes. You can also determine its spice level by checking the label prior to purchasing it. Do you know the secret benefit of this chili powder? It helps you lose weight by substantially increasing your metabolism rate.
Along with some vitamins and minerals, this pepper contains special compounds from plants. For instance, Capsaicin, Capsanthin, Ferulic, etc. that treat numerous ailments. Therefore, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that chili flakes are beneficial for health only if used in a decent quantity. However, excessive use can lead to the development of cancer cells.
Red chili flakes can be added to recipes while cooking or simply sprinkled on top as a seasoning.
Paprika spice has two variants: sweet paprika – a mild spicy version, and hot paprika – an average spicy version. Cayenne pepper’s heat level is so high that even hot paprika is considered mild in the presence of it.
Due to some amazing health benefits and taste, paprika spice is greatly welcomed in every cuisine, though its origin is from Hungary. It contains antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eye’s vision, as well as vitamin E and iron, which support the immune system and fill iron deficiencies.The capsaicin contained in this chili treats arthritis pain with the help of its anti-inflammatory qualities. So, if you wish to have better health and glowing skin, make the consumption of this chili a part of your routine.
Paprika works as a great substitute for cayenne pepper in numerous European and Mexican dishes.
When you don’t have any of the spices mentioned above, you can give this option a try. It can be a substitute for cayenne pepper to some extent.
We normally buy spice mixtures like tobacco spice mixtures, taco seasonings, curry powder and many more from our local grocery stores. However, before buying, you must check the ingredients of the mixture as it must have cayenne pepper in it to be a substitute. If cayenne pepper is on the list of ingredients and the taste of the mixture is close to the dish you are making, then it is safe to use that spice mixture. But keep it as your last resort because it is just an alternative, and you don’t know how it will turn out in the end. So be ready: either it will succeed or it will fail completely.
As a final thought, cayenne pepper can not be completely replaced. The heat level it gives is unattainable. Therefore, it is used in flaming hot Mexican dishes like roasted meat, salsa sauce, spicy Mexican rice, etc. However, there are very close substitutes for it that can fulfill its deficiencies to some extent. For instance, hot paprika and Tabasco sauce are the closest substitutes in terms of heat level, while Serano and jalapeno peppers could be used as mild substitutes. The rest including black pepper, chili flakes, Thai chili, and red chili can also make a good alternative to cayenne pepper, but they must be used in greater quantities to meet the spice level of cayenne pepper.
Try out any of the above-listed cayenne pepper substitutes and prepare some finger-licking, scrumptious dishes for your upcoming feast!