If you like to cook, then keeping your spice rack well-stocked can feel like a full-time job. Whether you’re continually refilling essential spices like basil and oregano or scrambling to find a smoked paprika substitute in your pantry, it’s a lot to keep track of.
Speaking of smoked paprika, did you know that there are a surprising amount of other ingredients that you can use in its place? From sweet paprika to cayenne to chili powder, you likely already have a great smoked paprika substitute on hand.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best alternatives to smoked paprika for your next recipe.
As you might expect, you can pretty easily swap sweet paprika for smoked paprika. Both types of paprika are made from red peppers, but their tastes are a bit different. While sweet paprika (often just called “paprika”) has a more mellow taste, smoked paprika has a spicy and smoky flavor. That’s because the peppers used to make it are smoked over a fire before turning them into a spice.
As you’re cooking, simply replace the amount of smoked paprika that you need with an equivalent amount of sweet paprika. Your dish will taste a bit different, but it will still have a similar flavor overall.
Chili powder is another smoked paprika substitute that’s easy to find in stores. Typically, chili powder is a blend of multiple spices, including paprika, cumin, and garlic powder. It’s also a bit spicier than traditional paprika or smoked paprika.
When adding chili powder to your dish instead of smoked paprika, start with a smaller amount than the recipe calls for. Taste it often to adjust the seasoning and spice levels to your preference.
Cayenne and paprika are often classed together since they’re both spicy and flavorful ingredients that are made from peppers. But unlike paprika, which is made from red peppers, cayenne is created from the long and skinny cayenne peppers.
And while they are interchangeable when you’re in a pinch, there is a noticeable difference between the tastes of these two spices. In particular, cayenne is hotter than paprika. It’s also grainier and grittier than paprika, which has more of a fine consistency.
Red pepper flakes
Even if you don’t have much else in your cupboard, chances are that you have a leftover packet of red pepper flakes from your local pizza place. If that’s your only option, you can use these chili flakes as a smoked paprika substitute to capture the general flavor of paprika.
Of course, red pepper flakes are chunkier and won’t blend into recipes as well as paprika. However, they can add a kick and a dash of flavor if you don’t have anything else available.
Whether you’re cooking a savory stew or a hearty meat dish, smoked paprika is a key ingredient to add deliciousness to your meal. But if you don’t have any on hand, one of these four smoked paprika substitute ideas should do the trick.
For more cooking ideas and tips, visit the Tastessence blog.