13 Best Smoked Paprika Substitutes

Smoked paprika is an essential spice in many cuisines and cultures around the world. It adds depth and smokiness to any dish.

Its smoky, earthy aroma and flavor adds a lot to any dish. Its taste is perfect for meat dishes such as chicken, beef, lamb, or pork.

I love using regular paprika in my cooking, but I sometimes run out of it. This is why I’m writing this article today – to share some great smoked paprika substitutes everyone can use.

If you’re looking for substitutes for smoked paprika, you can use Regular Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Chipotle Powder, Ancho Chili Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, Cajun Spice, and a lot more.

These are all delicious spices that will give you the same great taste as smoked paprika but are easier to find and often cheaper.

Keep reading to know how you can swap these handy substitutes in any recipe.

What is Smoked Paprika?

Paprika is actually a ground spice made from dried peppers. The peppers are then dried and finely ground into a fine powder.

Normally these peppers are red peppers, but there are also spicy paprikas made with cayenne powder.

Regular paprika has a mild spiciness that’s similar to red pepper flakes. Smoked paprika, on the other hand, has that earthy smokiness like barbecue sauce which is what makes it special.  ​

13 Best Smoked Paprika Substitutes

1. Regular Paprika

Paprika

9 Best Paprika SubstitutesRegular paprika is made with ground red peppers, but it’s much less spicy than cayenne pepper or chili powder.

This means that you can substitute it in any recipe without having to worry about the spice level. It still has a bit of spiciness, but it’s much milder than the other substitutes on this list.

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Regular paprika is made with red peppers and has a smoky flavor similar to barbecue sauce.

It doesn’t have as much of an earthy flavor as smoked paprika, so you’ll want to use more of this substitute in your dish.

2. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is made from dried hot chili peppers that give it an intense spiciness.

It’s also a great substitute for smoked paprika because of the smoky flavor and earthy notes it provides, but be careful when you use this one.

You’ll want to use less since cayenne pepper is much spicier than regular paprika.

Cayenne pepper is made from dried hot chili peppers and has a smoky flavor similar to barbecue sauce.

3. Chipotle Powder

Chipotle powder is made from dried smoked jalapeno peppers.

It’s known for its smoky spicy taste that makes it perfect as a substitute for smoked paprika, but keep in mind that you might need to use less of it.

Chipotle powder is made from dried smoked jalapeno peppers and has a smoky flavor similar to barbecue sauce. It’s perfect for giving your dish an extra kick of spice!

4. Ancho Chili Powder

Ancho chili powder is made from dried, smoked Poblano peppers. It’s smoky and spicy like regular paprika, but you’ll also get a slight sweetness that makes it perfect for meat dishes. 

It’s great because you can use this substitute anywhere there are Mexican flavors involved.

5. Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes are made from dried, crushed hot chili peppers. They’re spicy and smoky like regular paprika, but they also have a distinct sweetness to them that you’ll taste in your dish.

Red pepper flakes are made from dried, crushed hot chili peppers which gives them a smoky flavor similar to barbecue sauce. It’s spicy, so be careful when using it!

6. Cajun Spice

Cajun spice is a blend of spices that adds a lot of heat to your dish.

It’s made from ground chili peppers, onions, garlic powder, and other seasonings so it might be easy to substitute smoked paprika with cajun spice.

However, the flavor it adds is smoky with some earthy notes, so you can use it as a replacement if you want to!

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7. Gochujang Powder 

Gochujang powder is made with fermented soybeans and chili peppers. It’s known for its smoky spicy taste, making it the perfect replacement for smoked paprika.

Since this spice is also very salty, you might need to use less of it than paprika.  

It’s smoky and spicy like regular paprika, but it also has a distinct saltiness and some sweetness that works well with meat dishes. It’s perfect for adding some heat!

8. Guajillo Pepper Powder

Guajillo pepper powder is milder than cayenne or red pepper flakes, but it still has a smoky and spicy flavor that will be perfect for meat dishes.

Guajillo pepper powder is made from dried guajillo peppers and gives food a smoky flavor similar to barbecue sauce.

It’s milder than red pepper flakes, but still has some spiciness to it!

9. Pimenton de la Vera

This smoky paprika is made from smoked pimento peppers, so it’s a great alternative to smoked paprika.

It has a much more intense flavor than regular paprika, though. This one will definitely have you falling in love with the smokiness!

10. Smoked Sea Salt

Smoked sea salt is a great substitute for smoked paprika because they have similar flavor profiles.

It’s made by adding liquid smoke to sea salt, so you’ll want to use less of it in your recipe since smoked sea salt is more potent.

11. Liquid Smoke

Liquid smoke gives food a smoky taste without requiring you to have any actual firewood! It’s suitable for people who are allergic to smoke, too.

However, keep in mind that the flavor is more intense than smoked paprika so you’ll need to use less of it!

Liquid smoke gives your food a smoky flavor without requiring you to have any actual firewood.

It’s perfect for people who are allergic to smoke or who don’t want their dish to smell like smoke.

12. Chili Powder

You can use chili powder as a substitute for smoked paprika because they both have similar flavor profiles, but it might be too spicy for some people.

Keep in mind that chili powder is made from dried, ground chili peppers, so it’s much more potent than smoked paprika.

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13. Tomato Paste

Tomato Paste Substitutes

Tomato paste is a great alternative to smoked paprika because it has a sweeter flavor that would work well in meat dishes.

However, tomato paste is made from tomatoes that have been cooked down and strained so you should add some water to your recipe while using this substitute.

What does Smoked Paprika Taste Like?

Smoked paprika has a smoky, spicy flavor with notes of chili pepper that tastes great with meats. It comes in both sweet and hot varieties.

It goes well in many dishes because it’s spicy but not too hot to overpower the other flavors in your food.

Difference Between Paprika and Smoked Paprika?

Smoked paprika is a type of Spanish paprika made from dried, smoked red chili peppers. It’s also known as Pimenton and is used in dishes like chorizo, goulash, and paella.

Paprika on the other hand is simply made by grinding dried red chili peppers, but it doesn’t have that smoky taste.

Can I Use Regular Paprika in Place of Smoked Paprika?

Yes, you can!

However, the flavor will be different! Regular paprika is made from dried, ground chili peppers and doesn’t have a smoky taste.

How to Make Smoked Paprika Substitute at Home?

If you happen to run out of smoked paprika and need a replacement quickly, here’s a quick recipe for how to make your own smoked paprika substitute.

To make this, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of chili powder and 1 tablespoon of cumin. You can also add some garlic and onion powders if you like. Mix them together and store them in a jar.

This mixture is just as good as regular smoked paprika but isn’t quite as smoky so you’ll need to add a bit more.

What Dishes Use Smoked Paprika?

Smoked paprika is perfect for meat dishes because it brings out the flavors of beef, pork, and chicken. It’s also great for eggs and potatoes.

Here are just some examples of popular dishes that use smoked paprika:

  • Sausage scrambles
  • Chorizo
  • Chicken tikka masala
  • Beef tacos
  • Tortilla soup
  • Shepherd’s pie

Final Words

The best substitute for smoked paprika is actually one that shares very similar taste properties.

If you’re looking for a smoked paprika substitute that has the same smoky flavor, try guajillo pepper powder or liquid smoke.

If you want something more intense, go with cayenne pepper powder, red pepper flakes, or chili powder.

Tomato paste is also great because it has a sweeter flavor than smoked paprika, so it’ll work well in meat dishes.

Now you know what smoked paprika is and what substitutes would be best for it. If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and family.

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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