Finding The Best Smoked Paprika Substitute – 3 Solid Alternatives

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Best Smoked Paprika Substitute – Smoked paprika is used in a series of dishes, but especially in the South American cuisine. Obtaining it is a long process that implies drying, smoking, and grinding peppers.

smoked paprika substitute

There are different varieties of smoked paprika though – some of them are sweet, while others extremely hot. Even if you’re not really a fan of the South American cuisine, chances are you’ll run into a plethora of recipes requiring a dash of smoked paprika for that unique taste.

Smoked Paprika Substitute Options

Unfortunately, unexpected situations do occur when least expected. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in the impossibility to go shopping right away, so you’ll have to find a smoked paprika substitute around your kitchen. What are your best choices then?

1. Chipotle pepper powder

Chipotle pepper powder is an excellent smoked paprika substitute due to the similarities in taste. Besides, it is smoked and offers an identical aroma. Just like smoked paprika, chipotle pepper powder is quite common in South America. It works wonders when used in barbecues or stews. Not only the taste is similar, but also the overall deep red appearance.

See also: Pepperoncini Vs. Banana Pepper

It’s important to use this substitute at the right ratio. Chipotle pepper powder is way hotter than even the hottest smoked paprika. If you use the same proportions, your dish might be impossible to eat. You should use about half of what you need. If it’s still too spicy and you have some sweet paprika around, add a dash of it to ameliorate the spiciness.

2. Sweet paprika and cumin

Using sweet paprika as a smoked paprika substitute is a terrible idea. They taste completely different. However, when used in a combination with other spices, it might actually work. Sweet paprika has the same flavor, as well as the color. It doesn’t have the smoky aroma though. In this case, mixing it with cumin will make a good alternative.

Related: Cumin Substitute

Cumin works well with other spices, but it also tastes smoky. In terms of spiciness, you might want to add a dash of cayenne. Don’t put too much of it or you’ll end up with completely unusual flavors.

As for the ratio, stick to 1:1 – use the same amount of this mix.

3. Guajillo chilies

Guajillo chilies are quite popular in South America, especially in dishes like salsa. They work just as well in soups and chili. Unlike other spices, these chilies have a fruity aroma, as well as a sweet taste. If you haven’t tasted them before, you should expect something similar to cranberries. Their fruitiness makes this smoked paprika substitute a good option for your dishes.

Guajillo chilies are available in more forms but stick to the ground version. Keep in mind that different manufacturers have different standards of hotness. Sometimes, Guajillo chili can be quite hot. Normally, you should stick to the 1:1 ratio. If you’re not sure, go with less and just add more of it later.


In the end, you’re obviously not stuck to smoked paprika. No matter what the situation is, you can always find a reliable smoked paprika substitute.

See also: Paprika Vs. Smoked Paprika