Best Paprika Substitute?


Paprika is one of the most common spices used- and for good reason. Paprika comes in a variety of styles - hot, smoked, sweet - and some of the best paprikas are either Hungarian or Spanish. Paprika can also provide several health benefits, adds spice to your dish, and a bright crimson color, paprika should never go missing in your kitchen cabinet. But what if you suddenly run out of this spice? Do not worry because you can still complete your dish without paprika using the following alternatives.

Best Paprika Substitutes

Best bets: Maras pepper flakes
Cayenne pepper powder
Black peppercorns



Maras pepper flakes

Maras pepper is widely used in Middle Eastern countries because of its perfect level of spiciness and sweetness. ½ teaspoon of Aleppo peppers should be enough equivalent if you are required to put one teaspoon of paprika powder. However, if you want to increase the level of spiciness, feel free to mix one teaspoon into your dish.

Cayenne pepper

It’s one of the best alternatives for paprika because it provides the same spice into your dish. This red hot chili pepper is slightly stronger than paprika, so you might want to minimize the amount you’re going to put into your dish. For instance, one teaspoon of paprika is equivalent to a ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper only. If you want to achieve the flavor of paprika, we highly recommend that you mix it with a little sugar. Also, adding salt can help you to at least decrease the level of spiciness.

Black peppercorns

This would be a great alternative if you wanted to use paprika to add a little spice to your dish. Both black and white pepper can be used if you don’t have any paprika powder. Since peppers cannot provide the reddish with orange tinge hue that paprika does, make sure that your dish is not an Italian or any tomato-based meal.   

Bell peppers

If you don’t have any of the spices that we’ve mentioned above, do not worry because you can create your own paprika using bell peppers. Make sure to choose ripe peppers when making this. Let them brittle using a dehydrator. Now, use the dried peppers to grind, and you can now have your own paprika powder in just a couple of minutes. The good news is that it can generate more flavor, color, and aroma when you’re going to add it to your dish.
Paprika, indeed, is one of the most used spices in the kitchen. Hence, the next time you run out of some paprika powder, you don’t need to run to your nearest grocery store to buy some when you can make your own. Aside from that, replacing paprika with other spices will let you experiment and prepare the dish according to your personal taste.


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  • Mitch

    Hi Rosemary! We’ve never seen a recipe that calls for “whole paprika,” so honestly not sure. Send us a link to a recipe that does and we’ll try to help!

  • Rosemary Appleby

    I cannot buy whole paprika locally. How much dried paprika would I use as a substitute?

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