6 Cayenne Pepper Substitutes You Should Try

Are you cooking a new recipe and realized you don’t have any cayenne pepper?

Maybe your favorite dish calls for cayenne pepper and you are all out and don’t know what you can use in its place?

Or are you looking for some substitutes you can try to spice up your cooking?

6 Cayenne Pepper Substitutes You Should Try

Whatever the reason might be, we have the answer for you!

We know how frustrating it is when you run out of a vital ingredient and are left standing in the kitchen with hot pans boiling and spitting, unsure what to do now.

If you don’t act soon dinner will be ruined and left a bland and overcooked mess. 

But fear not! Today, we are here with six fantastic alternatives to cayenne pepper you can use if you ever find yourself in this situation! Let’s dive in and see these options now.

1. Hot Paprika 

First, we have hot paprika. It’s available in most stores, and chances are, there is some lurking in your pantry!

You get a similar flavor with paprika, although it is milder than cayenne pepper.

You can compensate easily though, either by buying ‘hot’ paprika or simply double the quantity.

If the recipe calls for 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper, then use 2 tbsp of paprika and you will get a fantastic flavor full of heat!

2. Hot Sauce 

If you don’t have any dry ingredients in, then hot sauce can also work!

Just be mindful that in large quantities it will change the consistency of your dish, but if you are just adding a few drops instead of cayenne pepper, you should be fine. 

Hot sauce does have a distinct taste, so make sure that it matches the flavors in the dish you are making.

3. Sriracha 

Sriracha is a fantastic alternative to Asian dishes! The tangy and spicy sauce is loaded with peppers, chilis, and garlic, so it is sure to pack a punch!

Add a tablespoon of sriracha for every quarter tablespoon of cayenne pepper in your dish and you should be able to match the spice level of the cayenne pepper!

4. Red Pepper Flakes 

Red pepper flakes are a popular substitute for cayenne pepper and it is no wonder why!

They are slightly chunkier than ground cayenne pepper, but they will add plenty of heat!

Start with a tablespoon of red pepper flakes for every tablespoon of cayenne pepper, but you can always add some more flakes if you want even more heat!

5. Crushed Chilis 

Crushed chilies or chili powder is another fantastic substitute for cayenne pepper.

The powder or crushed chilis feature a variety of chilis that have been dried and ground or crushed.

There’s a good chance there will be some cayenne pepper in the mixture too, so you are sure to get a good flavor! 

Sometimes there will be smoked red peppers included, so test the chili powder before you use it to make sure it will match the flavors of your dish!

6. Gochugaru 

Finally, we have Gochugaru (see also ‘7 Spicy Substitutes For Gochugaru‘), a mixture of ground red pepper flakes popular in Korean cooking.

With sun-dried chili peppers (see also ‘The 5 Most Ideal Substitutes For Bird’s Eye Chili‘), this powder has a smoky flavor that can impact the final taste of your dish.

But it will add a unique taste that is full of flavor! As far as substitutes for cayenne pepper go, this is a good one! 

Final Thoughts 

And there you have it, six fantastic substitutes for cayenne pepper (see also ‘The 5 Best Amazing Substitutes For Red Pepper Flakes‘)!

Whether you want to add a powder replacement or some sauce, we are sure you will find a suitable option here!

Just make sure to taste the dish as you cook to ensure the intended flavor remains the same. 

Good luck! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Before you leave us today, check out our brief FAQ section to get the answers to your last-minute questions! 

What Is Cayenne Pepper?

Cayenne pepper is a type of pepper that is fairly hot. It is often used to add some heat and extra flavor to dishes in a range of cuisines around the world.

The cayenne pepper is fairly nutritious too and is packed full of vitamin C and provitamin A. 

You can purchase the peppers whole, dried, or ground into a powder form, which is typically used in cooking. 

Is Cayenne Pepper And Paprika The Same?

No, although they can be used as a substitute for one another, cayenne pepper and paprika are not the same.

Paprika tends to be milder than cayenne pepper and is a good alternative for those that don’t want their cooking to be too hot for them.

6 Cayenne Pepper Substitutes You Should Try

6 Cayenne Pepper Substitutes You Should Try

Recipe by Jenna

Are you looking for a substitute for cayenne pepper? Check out our 6 alternatives today!

Course: Uncategorized
5 from 1 vote


  • Hot Paprika

  • Hot Sauce

  • Sriracha

  • Red Pepper Flakes

  • Crushed Chilis

  • Gochugaru


  • Decided on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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