15 Picante Substitute for Red Pepper Flakes in Spicy Recipes

Nothing, according to culinary enthusiasts, can heat and spice up cuisine like chilies and peppers.Cayenne, jalapenos, Anaheim, bell peppers, and Fresno peppers are used to make red pepper flakes.

They also save the seeds after drying and storing them. They are white (due to the seeds) and have a variety of crimson colours. The spiciness level is intense, and can sometimes be intolerable.

Here are some additional hot choices to consider if you want to try something new.

  1. Cayenne Pepper Flakes
  2. Cayenne Powder
  3. Red Chili Flakes
  4. Chili Powder
  5. Serrano Peppers
  6. Chipotle Powder
  7. Jalapeno Pepper
  8. Hot Paprika Powder
  9. Fresno Pepper

Chilies and peppers are not the same thing. Peppers are members of the genusPiper, while Chilies are members of the genusCapsicum.

So, why are chilies called chili peppers? When Christopher Columbus first met the plantcapsicum, he dubbed it peppers because of its spicy flavor.

In this context, the term pepper refers to the genuscapsicum rather than the genuspiper.

So, what factors should be considered while looking for the finest red pepper flakes substitutes?

Best 15 Red Pepper Flakes Substitute

When deciding on the finest red pepper flakes substitute, keep in mind that red peppers have a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) range of 15,000 to 50,000.

As a result, your best alternatives should fall inside or near to this range. You may just modify the measurements if your chili alternative has a lot greater SHU.

If red pepper flakes are unavailable, dried cayenne pepper is the finest option. Cayenne pepper is the most frequent foundation for red pepper flakes, and it has about the same spiciness level.

If you can’t locate them both, here’s a comprehensive list of additional options to explore.

Cayenne Pepper Flakes


Cayenne Pepper Flakes are the finest replacement. These are dried and crushed ripe cayenne pepper flakes. Cayenne pepper is the most common foundation ingredient in red pepper flakes. They may be purchased at a shop or picked fresh from the garden.

You may either bake them or sun-dry them (the latter is a longer procedure). After that, either crush the dry cayenne pepper by hand or puree it in a blender. Cayenne has a SHU range of 30,000 to 50,000. It complements pizza, salad, and other dishes.

Cayenne Powder

Cayenne Powder is a powdered version of cayenne pepper. It has a stronger taste, is hotter, and is more concentrated than cayenne flakes. Cayenne powder integrates into the meal, as opposed to cayenne flakes, which tend to float or remain on top.

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Cayenne powder is more likely to hit the maximum SHU point than cayenne flakes, therefore use less of it.

Red Chili Flakes


Red pepper flakes are formed by blending multiple types of peppers, while red chili flakes are prepared from just one kind of pepper. Chipotle, Urfa Biber, and Aleppo chilies are used to make chili flakes.

The hue ranges from rich, blazing red to pale, hazy red.

Chili flakes, unlike red pepper flakes, have their seeds removed. It has a milder flavor than red pepper flakes, making it ideal for novices.

Chili Powder

Chili powder is a blend of two or more varieties of peppers, such as paprika, Aleppo, cayenne, jalapenos, and ancho. Other spices, such as garlic powder, salt, onion powder, and cumin, are added to the peppers.

Depending on the amount of cayenne used, the spiciness varies from moderate to strong. Chili powder complements every recipe.

Serrano Peppers

Serrano peppers are indigenous to Mexico, especially the state of Puebla. Serrano peppers have a curved and elongated appearance and are 2 to 4 inches long.

Serrano pepper walls are waxy, thin, and have minimal hollow space, making it unsuitable for stuffing. The taste is fresh and green, with a SHU ranging from 10,000 to 23,000 points.

As a comparison, it is 9 times hotter than jalapenos. Serrano peppers are best harvested while they are green in color.Serrano is delicious raw, blended with salsa, or used to sandwiches, soups, salads, and stews.

Chipotle Powder

Chipotle powder is created from a single variety of pepper: jalapenos. The jalapeos are dried, smoked, and powdered.

Because of its fiery, smokey taste, chipotle powder is the perfect red pepper flake substitution in grilled dishes and sauces. Chipotle’s SHU range is 2,500 to 8,000 points.

Jalapeno Pepper

Red pepper flakes are more hot than jalapeno peppers. It has a pod-like appearance and is 2.5 to 3 inches long. They are often thick, making them an excellent stuffing element.

When they are still green, they are the finest to pick. Green jalapenos have a flavor that is sharp, green, and bitter.

Jalapenos have a Scoville heat unit ranging between 2,500 and 8,000. It works well with salsas, sandwiches, fresh salads, and vegetable medleys.

Hot Paprika Powder

Paprika comes in three varieties: sweet, smoked, and spicy. Hot paprika is a Hungarian paprika variant. Use Alma Paprika Pepper if you want a paprika pepper with a kick.

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In Hungary, Alma Paprika grows near the Danube River. It ranks from 1,000 to 3,000 on the Scoville scale. Alma Paprika is 5 to 7 cm wide and 7 to 10 cm long, giving it a modest squat shape.

Alma Hot paprika may be used in casseroles, stews, roasts, and chili dishes.

Fresno Pepper

Fresno pepper is a variety of pepper that is often combined with cayenne pepper to form red pepper flakes. Fresno peppers resemble Jalapeno peppers in look and flavor.

However, Fresno is hotter, with a Scoville heat index ranging from 2,500 to 10,000. It tastes smokier and fruitier when it is red-ripe.

This pepper is named after Fresno, California, where it was discovered. Fresno may be substituted for jalapenos and serrano in any recipe that asks for them.

Tabasco Pepper

Tabasco is a pepper from the genus capsicum endemic to Mexico, not only a brand name. Tabasco gained popularity as an ingredient in the well-known spicy sauce. Tabasco’s characteristic juicy membrane makes it an ideal component for spicy sauce.

Tabasco SHU values, like Cayenne pepper, vary between 30,000 and 50,000. The spicy sauce is often served with pizza, hotdogs, and other ready-to-eat foods.



Gochugaru is a coarsely ground Korean chili pepper with a fiery, sweet, and smoky taste. It tastes similar to red pepper flakes but without the seeds. It has a bright red hue and is an important element in Korean cuisine.

Gochugaru has no documented SHU, however its hotness varies from moderate to hot. It goes well with soups, stews, kimchi, and cucumber salad.

Dried Chile de Arbol

Chile de Arbol is a long, slender pepper that is as hot as cayenne. It has a Scoville Heat Unit of 15,000 to 30,000 and is available in fresh, dried, and powder form. You may use a coffee grinder to ground the dry chili. It tastes smokey, peppery, and nutty.

Chile de Arbol is often used in condiments such as chili oil and spicy sauce. It goes well with stews, chili soups, salsa, and rubs.

Habanero Powder


Habanero powder is prepared by grinding dried habanero peppers. Habanero peppers are 1 to 3 inches long and have a pod-like appearance. Habaneros are indigenous to South America, notably Peru’s Amazon area.

With a Scoville point range of 100,000 to 350,000, habaneros are one of the hottest chili peppers. This chili pepper is often used in the preparation of homemade sauces and salsas. It is an excellent option for flavoring cocktails and other liquids.

Sichuan Chili Flakes

Sichuan chili peppers are grown in China’s Sichuan Province. This pepper has a fairly hot SHU of 50,000 to 75,000. It is often used in the preparation of kimchi and chili oil. It is more potent than red pepper flakes, so use with care.

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It’s an excellent addition to pizza, tacos, curries, casseroles, stir-fries, and other dishes. It’s also a great substitution for red pepper flakes in rubs, marinades, and barbecues.

Crushed Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo pepper is another somewhat spicy pepper. It has a semi-sweet, fruity, earthy taste with cumin undertones.

Aleppo pepper has a precise Scoville unit of 10,000 points. Dry, crushed Aleppo peppers, oil, and a sprinkle of salt are called for in the recipe.

Not All Peppers Are Created Equal

The sharpness and intensity of chili peppers are important traits to consider while selecting them.

Wilbur Scoville, a chemist, invented the Scoville Heat Unit in 1912 to quantify the quantity of capsaicin, the main chemical in chili peppers that creates heat.[Source]

Chili peppers may belong to the same genus, yet their SHU levels varied. So, when substituting red pepper flakes, the ratio is not always one to one.

Here are some examples of how to calculate the ratio when using a replacement for every teaspoon of red pepper flakes:

  • 1 tsp dried cayenne pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 2 tsp dried chile de Arbor
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan chili flakes
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp habanero powder
  • 1 tbsp hot paprika
  • 2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 3 tsp crushed Aleppo peppers
  • 2 to 3 tsp red chili flakes

Substitute For Red Pepper Flakes Related FAQs

Can I use chili paste as substitute?

Yes, you can!

Chili paste is prepared from chili peppers and is often used as a flavoring agent, sauce base, dipping sauce, and meal element. However, since chili pastes vary in heat, start with a little quantity and add more as needed.

Can I make my own red pepper flakes?

You most certainly can!

Collect 2 to 3 varieties of peppers, such as cayenne, Anaheim, and jalapenos, then dry them in a dehydrator or oven. When they’re dried, smash them with your hands until they form flakes. Keep in an airtight container.

Can I use bell pepper as substitute?


Although bell peppers are chili peppers, they do not contain any heat. Bell peppers get 0 points on the Scoville Heat Unit. Bell peppers have a recessive gene that limits capsaicin production.

Capsaicin is the chemical component that gives pepper its spicy flavor. The pepper will be flavorless without it.


What can I use if I don’t have red pepper flakes?

To obtain the same amount of heat, use four times as much ground cayenne pepper. We suggest beginning with a lesser quantity and gradually increasing to taste.2 to 3 Excellent Substitute: Cayenne Pepper, ground

Because ground cayenne pepper is manufactured from the same pepper as crushed red pepper flakes, it is an excellent alternative. Use 1

What is the same as red pepper flakes?

Is Crushed Red Pepper the Same as Red Pepper Flakes? You mention “crushed red pepper.” I pronounce it “red pepper flakes.” They’re the same thing. The main producers all name their versions as “crushed red pepper,” although there is no difference other than semantics.

What is better than red pepper flakes?

In terms of taste, ground cayenne powder is most certainly one of the greatest alternatives to red pepper flakes. However, since ground cayenne pepper is fairly fiery, do not use a 1:1 ratio. The cayenne pepper complements stews like this one as well as a great Indian meat curry. So use cayenne pepper!

Can I use paprika instead of red pepper flakes?

Paprika. Do you have a bottle of paprika on hand? It may be used in place of red pepper flakes! Although the texture of paprika and red pepper flakes differs, the spice is one of the finest options because to its distinct taste and vibrant color.

How to make your own red pepper flakes?

How to Make Pepper Flakes
Preheat the oven to 170°F or a low setting.
Carefully chop the pepper stems off using a knife.
Peppers should be lined on nonstick cookie sheets.
Bake for around six hours in the oven.
Place the dried peppers in a food processor or crush them by hand the following day.

Is cayenne pepper the same as red pepper flakes?

However, the cayenne pepper is the most usually used pepper for crushed red pepper flakes. The bulk of red pepper flakes will be a blend of peppers, with cayenne accounting for the lion’s share. The makeup will differ based on the brand or business you choose.

Can I use chili powder instead of flakes?

Yes. Both may be used in lieu of one another. Chili powder and flakes are both prepared by crushing red chillies.

What flavor is red pepper flakes?

It has a faint earthiness similar to cumin, sharp citrus overtones, and a medium spice level—ideal for adding heat to baba ghanoush or marinating meats and fish for grilling. Homemade chile flakes are delicious in homemade chili crisp.

What seasoning is red pepper flakes?

Red pepper flakes are a combination of ancho, bell, and cayenne peppers that offer a slight spiciness to pizza, pasta, and other dishes. Savory Spice contains crushed red pepper flakes.

Which is hotter chili powder or red pepper flakes?

Which has the most potent heat? Is it better to use chili powder or chili flakes? When comparing generic to generic (no particular chili in the name) and merely a dash on your tongue, chili flakes (also known as red pepper flakes or crushed red pepper) will win in terms of total intensity.

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