Smoked Paprika Substitute

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Smoked Paprika Substitute 

Help! What is smoked paprika, and what can I use as a replacement? If this is you, never fear, we have you covered! There are many smoked paprika substitute options that you can choose from. Below you will find a detailed list, as well as measurement conversions for the substitutes. 

smoked paprika full on

Best Substitute for Smoked Paprika

What happens when you run out of smoked paprika or need a substitute for the ingredient for various reasons. Never fear, we have a list of substitutes that you can use for smoked paprika.

Below we have outlined the list for our recommended, or best substitute, followed by other types of paprika that work, then other seasonings that will work as a replacement for smoked paprika. 

What is Smoked Paprika?

Smoked paprika is unlike any other kind of paprika, and is made by smoking a pimentón, which is the kind of pepper that originates from Spain, low and slow.

Typically, smoked paprika is smoked over oak wood. Smoked paprika is also made using a variety of this kind of pepper, one which is hot, one which is bittersweet, and the other is sweet, giving it a very unique flavor

Now, let’s look at the best replacements for smoked paprika. Below are several options for you to choose from.  

The Best Simple Smoked Paprika Substitutes

Chipotle Chili Powder

Chipotle chili powder or chipotle pepper powder is going to be your best replacement for smoked paprika. Chipotle chili powder is similar to smoked paprika in that it is made from dried peppers, only in the chipotle powder’s case, it is made from dried jalapeño peppers.

The chipotle powder has that smoky, and rich flavorsome taste which makes it serve as a good substitute for smoked paprika. You can use chipotle chili powder as a one from one substitute for smoked paprika. 

Substitution: 1 tsp chipotle chili powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika 

Chili Powder and Cumin

Chili powder and cumin combined together also make a very good replacement for smoked paprika. Chili powder has a similar flavor as paprika but lacks the smoky aspect that most paprika contains.

By adding cumin to your chili powder you get the smoky flavor along with the rich taste that chili powder provides. A good ratio for substituting is adding two parts chili powder to one part cumin, then using this mixture as a one for one replacement for smoked paprika. 

Substitution: 1 tsp chipotle chili powder + ½ tsp cumin = 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika 

Sweet Paprika

Sweet paprika has a lovely paprika flavor to it and will provide a similar coloring as smoky paprika does, but it does not contain the spice that smoked paprika does.

Smoked paprika has a lovely bold and smoky flavor whereas is sweet paprika provides the sweetness to your dish. Sweet paprika makes a good substitute, but you may need to add cumin to it to get the spiciness.  

Substitution: 1 tsp sweet paprika = 1 tsp smoked paprika 

Sweet Paprika and Cumin

Mix sweet paprika and cumin together to get a good substitute for smoked paprika. The suggested ratio to use for the substitute is two parts sweet paprika to one part cumin. You can then use this mixture as a one-for-one replacement for smoked paprika. 

Substitution: 1 tsp sweet paprika + ½ tsp cumin = 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika

smoked paprika

Guajillo Chili Powder

Guajillo chili powder or guajillo pepper powder is a good replacement for smoked paprika. Guajillo peppers are used to make this powder and are primarily found in Mexico.

These peppers make a seasoning that provides a fruity yet spicy taste. When using guajillo powder as a smoked paprika substitute you can typically use a one for one substitute ratio. 

Substitution: 1 tsp guajillo chili powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Liquid Smoke

Another good replacement for smoked paprika is to use liquid smoke. Although liquid smoke does not provide the same coloring when used by itself as smoked paprika does, it will provide a smoky flavor. 

You could always combine liquid smoke with approximately ½ teaspoon of regular paprika for the color and smoke combined. Keep in mind that liquid smoke can be quite strong so use it in moderation. 

Substitution: 1 tsp liquid smoke + ½ tsp regular paprika = 2 tsp smoked paprika

When using liquid smoke as a smoked paprika substitute, we recommend using a one to two replacement ratio, meaning use 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke where every 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika are called for. 

Substitution: 1 tsp liquid smoke = 2 tsp smoked paprika

Smoked Sea Salt

Smoked sea salt is another good substitute option for smoked paprika. Smoked sea salt is a mild ingredient substitute but still provides that smoky flavor. If you choose to use smoked sea salt, you’ll want to be careful to not add too much, and omit any other salt added to your dish so that your food does not become overpoweringly salty. 

Substitution: ¾ tsp smoked sea salt = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Smoked Sea Salt and Chili Sauce

When mixing smoked sea salt and chili sauce together, or chili powder, you get a smoky flavored mixture, that also has a bit of a kick to it. Using this combination can also be a good substitute for smoked paprika.

Substitution: ¾ tsp smoked sea salt + ¼ tsp chili powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Tomato Sauce Combined With Chili Powder

Using tomato sauce as a smoked paprika replacement is a good option to replace the color, and add a bit of the fruity flavor, but it will not replace the smoked or spicy flavor of paprika.

When you combine tomato sauce with chili powder you get a good replacement for smoked paprika. Adding chili powder to your tomato sauce will give you a sweet, spicy mixture that will make a good replacement. 

Substitution: 2 Tbsp tomato sauce + 1 Tbsp chili powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

spices in bowls

Mild, Hot, And Sweet Paprika Substitutes

Regular Paprika

Regular paprika is a decent substitute for smoked paprika. Regular paprika does not have the smoky flavor that smoked paprika does, but otherwise they will provide a similar taste to each other. 

Substitution: 1 tsp regular paprika = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Regular paprika + cumin (for color)

Combining regular paprika with cumin makes a very good substitute for smoked paprika. You get the flavor that regular paprika provides, along with a slightly smoky flavor of cumin. This is a good match for the flavor and color that smoked paprika provides. 

Substitution: 2/3 tsp regular paprika + 1/3 tsp cumin = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Cumin + Regular Paprika + Cayenne

Combine regular paprika with cumin and cayenne to get a similar flavor and smoked paprika. Combining cumin with regular paprika and cayenne chili powder will make a smoky flavor substitute that is similar to smoked paprika. You can combine these and substitute the mixture as a one-for-one ratio for smoked paprika. 

Substitution: ½ tsp regular paprika + ¼ tsp cumin + ¼ tsp cayenne = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Hot Paprika

Hot paprika can be used as a substitute for smoked paprika, but be aware that it will add a lot of spice to the dish. Hot paprika is very hot.

You can use hot paprika alone as a substitute for smoked paprika, or you can combine hot paprika with cumin, or liquid smoke when substituting it for smoked paprika.

Keep in mind that a little bit can go a long way if you are not used to a lot of heat. Start with a little bit of hot paprika, then add more if needed. 

Substitution: ¼ tsp hot paprika = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Hungarian paprika powder

Hungarian paprika powder is a type of paprika powder, but it is spicier and can go farther than regular or sweet paprika.

Hungarian paprika can be used as a substitute for smoked paprika, however, keep in mind that a little bit can go a really long way.

When using this as a substitute it’s a good idea to start out with a little bit, then add more if needed so that you avoid ruining your dish. 

Substitution: 1/8 tsp Hungarian paprika powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Hungarian Sweet Paprika

Hungarian sweet paprika can be used as a substitute to smoke paprika as well. Hungarian sweet paprika can come in a variety of heat and sweetness. Be sure to carefully read your label when determining if you should use this as a substitute or not.

A little bit can go a long way, then feel free to add more if needed. To avoid ruining any kind of dish, it’s a good idea to start out with a little bit then add more. 

Substitution: 1/8 tsp Hungarian sweet paprika = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Other Paprikas

Other types of paprika may be used as a substitute as well. Be aware that most paprikas will provide the coloring of smoked paprika, but most of them lack the flavor. Some are very spicy, while others are not.

If you are using another kind of paprika for your replacement, be sure to read your ingredient carefully, then a good rule of thumb is to add a little bit to your dish at a time so that it does not get ruined. 

smoked paprika top down

Less Common Paprika Substitutes That Can Still Work

Aleppo Chili Powder

Aleppo chili powder can be a substitute for smoked paprika. It provides a smoky earthy flavor to your dish, but a little bit can go a long way. 

Substitution: ¼ tsp Aleppo Chili Powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Ancho Chili Powder

Ancho chili powder or ancho pepper powder will also provide a very similar taste to smoked paprika. Using this powder will also provide a similar color as smoked paprika. If you happen to have this one on hand, you can use it as a good substitute. 

Substitution: ½ tsp Aleppo Chili Powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are not as spicy or smoky but can make a good replacement for smoked paprika depending on what you are making. Using bell peppers will provide a sweet and mild flavor to your recipe. 

Substitution: 1 tsp bell pepper powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Black Or White Pepper

Black or white pepper can both work as a smoked paprika substitute. Although black and white pepper will not provide the iconic red coloring that paprika does, or the smoky flavor, it can provide a good seasoning.

Black or white pepper works because you usually have one or the other on hand. If you choose to use black or white pepper for your substitute, carefully evaluate what kind of dish you are making, as they are not interchangeable for every dish. 

Substitution: 1 tsp black or white pepper  = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Creole Spice

Creole spice can be used to substitute for smoked paprika as well. Creole spice will provide an orange color, rather than read like paprika, and it will also provide a lovely full-bodied and tangy flavor rather than spicy. 

Substitution: 1 tsp creole spice = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Cajun Seasoning

Another seasoning like cajun seasoning will provide a good substitute for smoked paprika. Although it is lacking in the smoked flavor, it will make a decent substitute. 

Substitution: 1 tsp cajun seasoning = 1 tsp smoked paprika

California Chili Powder

California chili powder makes a good substitute for dishes that are especially Indian, Mexican, or, Asian. You can simply combine California chili powder with oregano, garlic, and thyme for a delicious substitute. Using California chili powder enables you to have a lovely smoky and zesty flavor, that can replace smoked paprika. 

Substitution: ½ tsp California chili powder + ¼ tsp garlic powder + 1/8 tsp oregano + 1/8 tsp thyme = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Cayenne pepper

Cayenne pepper powder is a very spicy replacement for smoked paprika. Occasionally, cayenne pepper powder and paprika are confused with each other because they look very similar.

Cayenne pepper is a good replacement for the color, but it’s very strong when it comes to spice and flavor. If you want a bit of heat added to your dish, you can use cayenne pepper.

Keep in mind that a little bit goes a long way, so start with a little, then add more if needed.

Substitution: ¼ tsp cayenne pepper = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Chili Powder

Chili powder is a good basic replacement for smoked paprika. Although it will lack the smoky taste, you can always add a little bit of liquid smoke to get that back if you desire.

Chili powder comes in a variety of hot and mild, so be sure to pay attention to what you’re adding when using chili powder as your substitute for smoked paprika. Begin by adding a little bit, then add more if you desire. 

Substitution: ¼ tsp chili powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Chili Sauce

Using chili sauce as a substitute for smoked paprika works well if you are making a dish where the flavor is more important than the color, or added smokiness, you can use chili sauce as a good replacement for smoked paprika. If you wish to have the added smokiness to your dish, you can always add a bit of liquid smoke to achieve it. 

Substitution: 1 tsp chili sauce = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes work well to add a bit of heat and enhance the overall flavoring of your dish. Crushed red pepper flakes do not provide the smoked flavor or red coloring that smoked paprika is known for, but they will add a lovely flavor compliment. 

Substitution: 1 pinch red pepper flakes = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Cumin

Cumin works well when added to another spice to achieve a smoky and full-bodied flavor. For a quick and easy replacement add cumin to regular paprika for a close substitute to smoked paprika. 

Substitution: 2/3 tsp regular paprika + 1/3 tsp cumin = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Garam Masala

Garam Masala is a type of spice that originates from southern Asia. This spice will give you a bold smoky flavor, along with a huge kick. Garam masala is made from cinnamon, mace, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and cardamom pods. This is a substitute for smoked paprika that works well for meat and rubs. 

Substitution: ½ tsp garam masala = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Ghost Chili Pepper Powder

Ghost chili pepper powder can also be used as a smoked paprika substitute, however, ghost chili pepper powder has a much stronger flavor. Just a pinch of ghost chili pepper powder can go a very long way and have a very strong bold flavor. Start out with just a tiny bit, if using this as a substitute, then add more if needed.

Substitution: 1 small pinch ghost chili pepper powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Gochugaru

Gochugaru is a spicy red pepper powder primarily from Asia, or Korea. These peppers can make a good replacement for smoked paprika if you are looking for a flavor replacement. They do not contain the smokiness or red coloring of smoked paprika, however, these little pepper flakes can pack a punch.  

Substitution: 1 small pinch Gochugaru pepper flakes = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce can be another substitute for smoked paprika. Hot sauce can be very spicy depending on which kind of sauce you choose to use and does not contain the smoke or exact flavoring of paprika. If you are simply looking to replace the flavor, this works as a substitute.

The substitution ratio will depend on what kind of hot sauce you choose to use. Below is our suggested substitution ratio, however it may vary depending on if your sauce is super spicy or mild.

Substitution: 1 tsp hot sauce = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Pasilla Pepper Powder

Pasilla pepper powder is made from chilaca peppers and can make a good substitute for smoked paprika. This powdered spice contains a smokey flavor that is rich, earthy, and sometimes bold. If you choose to use this for your substitute, be careful if your powder is spicy, or mild. 

Substitution: ½ tsp pasilla pepper powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

smoked paprika close up

Pimenton de la Vera

Pimenton de la Vera can also be used as a smoked paprika substitute. If you are choosing to use this for a substitute for smoked paprika, you may want to choose the spicy version so that you get the full flavor, and heat. 

Substitution: 1 tsp Pimenton de la Vera = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Powdered Guajillo

Powdered Guajillo is made using guajillo peppers from Mexico. This powder is a good substitute for smoked paprika because of the tangy, spicy, and smoky attributes of this seasoning. 

Substitution: 1 tsp Powdered Guajillo = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Sichuan Chili Flakes

Sichuan Chili Flakes are made with a combination of peppercorns and Asian chili.  Using Sichuan chili flakes as a substitute for smoked paprika will really bring the heat to your dish. Because of the strong spice for this seasoning we recommend starting with just a pinch, then adding more if desired. 

Substitution: 1 pinch Sichuan Chili Flakes = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Spanish Pimentón Powder

Spanish Pimentón Powder is a type of paprika powder that is unique to Spain. If you are able to find this, it makes a good substitute for smoked paprika. When considering this is a substitute keep in mind that it comes in three varieties, mild, sweet, and spicy.

Depending on what variety you are using will determine how much you should use to substitute for smoked paprika. 

Substitution: 1 tsp Spanish Pimentón Powder (Sweet & Mild) = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Substitution: ¼ tsp Hot Spanish Pimentón Powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Sumac

Sumac can also be used as a smoked paprika substitute. It does not provide a smoky flavor but will make your dish taste flavorful, lovely, and slightly lemony.

It is a less common ingredient to have in your pantry, but if you happen to have it, and your dish would taste good with a hint of lemon, you can use this as a substitute for smoked paprika. 

Substitution: 1 tsp sumac = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Tomato Paste

Tomato paste will not provide the smoky or spicy flavor that smoked paprika brings to your dish. However, tomato paste can be a good replacement for smoked paprika by adding tomato flavor and adding a bit of sweetness to your dish.  

Substitution: 1 tsp tomato paste = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Tomato powder

Tomato powder will also not provide the smoky flavor that smoked paprika does. However the same with tomato paste and tomato powder, both add a sweet, tomato flavor to your dish they can help to enhance the flavor. 

Substitution: 1 tsp tomato powder = 1 tsp smoked paprika

Other Spices

Other spices and seasonings may work as well to replace smoked paprika depending on what you were making. Some basic replacements for smoked paprika could be as simple as salt, pepper, oregano, basil, thyme, and garlic powder. What you use as a substitute depends on what you were making, and your desired outcome for flavor. 

Making Your Own Smoked Paprika At Home

Not only can you grab ingredients from your spice rack or pantry as a substitute for smoked paprika, but you can also make it yourself. Below is a step-by-step guide of how you can make your own smoked paprika from scratch. 

You Will Need: 

Chili peppers

Gloves

Oak wood or pellets

Smoker

Grinder

Step-by-Step Guide:

Step 1: Rinse and Prepare

Throughly wash and dry your peppers before smoking them. Do not use your peppers if they are mushy or have turned bad. You want to use nice fresh peppers for making smoked paprika. 

Put on a pair of gloves, then cut your peppers and remove the stems, seeds, and any ribs from inside. Slice your peppers into thin rings, or small pieces. You can leave them whole or in halves if desired, but they will take longer to dry out. 

Step 2: Smoke

Heat your smoker to 220°F. Then, add your pepper slices to an aluminum foil dish, and place them on the smoker. Smoke for at least three hours, turning occasionally, until you see the peppers dry out. 

Step 3: Dry

Once your peppers are smoked, they have likely begun to dry but are not completely dried out and are good for storage. The fully dry out your peppers, you can allow them to dry in the sun which may take several hours, or you can dry them out in your oven. 

To use your oven to dry out the peppers, place them on a baking dish, or leave them on the tray you were smoking them on, and allow them to warm in your oven at the lowest possible temperature, this is usually around 175°F, until they are dried.

Step 4: Storage 

When your smoked dried peppers are completely dried out, store them in an airtight container until you are ready to use them. Dried peppers will keep for several weeks when they are stored in a cool dry location away from the sunlight. 

Step 5: Prepare for Use

When you are ready for use, remove the dried peppers from your air-tight container and grind them into a powdered form. Use as desired for any smoked paprika.

The best alternative: Chipotle powder

A decent second choice: Sweet paprika and cumin

In a pinch: Guajillo powder

Paprika vs Smoked Paprika: When To Use Which

Smoked paprika is made by taking chili peppers and smoking them until they begin to dry out. Then these peppers are fully dried and crushed into powder resulting in smoked paprika. Paprika on the other hand is simply made by crushing dried chilies.

Why Use Smoked Paprika

When you use smoked paprika adds an extra depth of flavor, earthiness, and smoke to your dish that is otherwise not easily achieved. By using smoked paprika you add a depth of flavor that rounds out your dish. 

How to Store Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika purchased from the store can simply be stored in your pantry or on your spice rack. However, if you are making your own smoked paprika, you may want to store it as whole dried peppers, then crush them right before use.

Where to buy smoked paprika

Smoked paprika can be purchased from almost any grocery store. You can also purchase it online and have it delivered if desired. There are many options when it comes to purchasing smoked paprika. And of course, you can make it yourself as well. 

What’s A Good Smoked Paprika Substitute?

There are many, many options when it comes to finding a smoked paprika substitute. A lot of it depends on what you’re making and your overall desired outcome for your recipe.

An easy and good smoked paprika substitute includes regular paprika mixed with cumin or chipotle powder. Another great way to come up with smoked paprika is to make your own by smoking chilies and then drying them out. 

Substitute for Smoked Paprika

There are a variety of options when it comes to a smoked paprika substitute. Some are as easy as opening your pantry and finding a substitute, combining a few for the best flavor, or making your own homemade version.

What you choose as your replacement depends on what you have on hand, as well as what you are making. We hope that these options have helped, and that you are able to find a good substitute for your recipe. 

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