Cayenne pepper is hot, red chili pepper, which is used to flavor dishes and also for medicinal purposes. The other names given to cayenne pepper are Guinea Pepper or Bird Pepper. It is named after a city in French Guinea, called Cayenne, which is one of the main cultivators of pepper, bell pepper, jalapeños, etc.
Cayenne pepper belongs to the nightshade family. It is four to twelve inches in length, and the color can be deep green, yellow, orange or red. It is long, skinny and wrinkled in appearance and hot in taste. The fruit of this plant are dried and ground or pulped and baked into cakes, when the pepper is fresh. The baked cakes are then ground and sifted to make powdered cayenne pepper. It is often used in cooking spicy dishes, either in the powdered form or in its whole form.
Vinegar-based sauce is also made using cayenne pepper. Though is it not too difficult to obtain, there are a few substitutes that can be used if you run out while cooking.
Fresh Cayenne Pepper Substitutes
Green chilies are often used as substitutes for fresh cayenne pepper. However, when you buy green chilies, make sure they are firm to touch and their skin is smooth. If the chilies are wrinkled, their crisp texture and fresh flavor are lost forever. Since cayenne pepper is hot in taste, you will also have to be careful when you choose green chilies. Select chilies which have pointed tips and narrow shoulders. Holland chili is also used as a substitute for fresh cayenne pepper.
Any dish that calls for cayenne, could easily be a hit, if hot paprika is used in place of cayenne. There wouldn't be much alteration in the taste of the dish. Stewed dishes and sauces can be divinely tasty with a dash of this smoky red, hot paprika. It is also a rich source of Vitamin A.
Jalapeño pepper is spicy and rich in flavor. Nutrition is the second good reason why you can pick these as an alternative to the cayenne. It is rich in vitamins, which are required by the human body. They are obtained as green and a more mature jalapeño could be a glaring red in color. Beans, corns are excellent choices to have jalapeño in. They are also used in salsa. This could also save your day if you are running short of cayenne, and you have to have a smoky flavor to the dish.
Scotch Bonnet chilies
Scotch bonnet chili is very popular in the Caribbean and is as spicy and hot as jalapeño peppers. It is one of the hottest varieties of peppers that is recalled only for the amount of spice that it adds to the dish. This characteristic makes it ideal for the preparation of various hot sauces types.
There are also a wide variety of colors that this pepper adorns. So, in case you need to add some lively colors to your dish along with a signature of pungent taste, go ahead with this as a substitute for the cayenne.
Some other substitutes may include the following which are used as the recipe calls for. Whether the substitute is used as a flavoring agent or as an ingredient in the recipe, decides which substitute would fit the best. Take a look at the following:
'Powdered' Cayenne Pepper Substitutes
Red pepper flakes and red chili flakes are two of the closest substitutes of cayenne. If chili powder is what you are going to use, then you will have to make sure the chili powder does not contain any other spices, as more often than not, chili powder comes with other spices added. These spices can alter the taste of your dish to a considerable degree.
From the entire list of cayenne pepper substitutes, it can be very confusing to decide which is the best substitute. In case a particular recipe demands cayenne pepper and you have run out, the substitute should be decided depending on the dish to be made. At the same time, you will also have to take into consideration how spicy you want to make your dish, as some of the substitutes can make your dish very spicy indeed.