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Spice It Up: 5 BEST Substitutes for Chili Flakes

Chili flakes are a common ingredient in just about every household around the world.

Could you possibly imagine your pizza without some good ol’ chili flakes? Exactly.

It is no secret that chili flakes help in bringing both heat and flavor to all the dishes.

Chili flakes are widely used in both Mexican and Italian cuisines.

You can easily locate and buy this ingredient from stores near you.

Plus, they also possess a longer shelf life, so you can always buy them in larger quantities and store them with ease.

We are positive that the best substitutes for chili flakes include ground cayenne pepper, dried peppers, paprika, ground habanero pepper, and Chile de Arbol Powder.

What are Chili Flakes?

what are chili flakes

Chili Flakes refer to a condiment or spice that consists of crushed and dried red chili peppers.

The cayenne pepper is usually used for producing this condiment.

But many commercial producers use various others cultivars, mostly within the Scoville unit range of 30,000 to 50,000.

Many food manufacturers use chili flakes for chowders, sausage, pickling blends, spaghetti sauce, soups, and pizza sauce.

The use of chili flakes in pizzas began during the late 1800s.

Some Southern Italians began migrating to America, and chili flakes were being served by the 1900s in pizzerias.

This ingredient also goes by the name of “Red Pepper Flakes”.

Its taste and look will differ based on the flakes’ size, heat content, and flavor.

Also, its growing location also acts as a major factor in determining its type.

The 5 Best Substitutes For Chili Flakes

Here are some of the best substitutes for your chili flakes:

1 – Dried Peppers

dried peppers

We are positive that dried peppers are one of the best alternatives for chili flakes.

Dried peppers are grounded to the point that you will be left with a mixture of flakes, ground pepper, and seeds.

The best part is the fact you can easily make it at home by removing the stems and grinding them in your blender or food processor.

Different peppers will possess varying heat levels.

Here, if you wish to obtain a great flavor match, then make sure to pick a pepper that possesses similar heat to cayenne.

However, ensure that you are using gloves whenever you handle these hot poppers.

Substitute Ratio – Once it is grounded, you can stick with a 1:1 ratio substitute as the chili flakes.

2 – Chile de Arbol Powder

chile de arbol powder

Now, this condiment isn’t something that you will commonly find in households.

But if you do have some lying around inside your pantry, then why not give it a try as a substitute? This condiment features a bright red color and an earthy flavor.

The heat range of this ingredient has Scoville units of 15,000 to 30,000.

If you compare it to cayenne pepper, then Chile de Arbol Powder does possess a milder spice level.

Its heat makes it a great candidate for chili soups, sauces, salsa, stews, and rubs.

Substitute Ratio – If your recipe is asking ¾ tsp of chili flakes, then you can go for ½ tsp of the Chile de Arbol Powder.

3 – Ground Cayenne Pepper

ground cayenne pepper

Ground Cayenne Pepper also stems from crushing red pepper flakes, making it an excellent substitute.

By adding cayenne pepper, you are able to obtain the exact level of heat as the chili flakes.

Plus, you can easily locate this pepper from the supermarket.

Once you blend this pepper, you will be stunned by its fine powder form, but the texture won’t be the same as chili flakes.

Since cayenne pepper features a higher level of capsaicin, it tends to be hotter than chili flakes.

But this level of heat helps in promoting weight management.

Substitute Ratio – We would recommend you to go for ¾ or ½ of the ground cayenne pepper in substitution for 1 tsp of chili flakes in the recipe.

4 – Ground Habanero Pepper

ground habanero pepper

You will easily find this substitute in your pantry.

Remember that habanero pepper is one of the spiciest peppers in the world.

This particular pepper is notoriously known for its heat and fruity flavor profile, making it a standout in the culinary world.

Did you know that the Scoville heat unit of habanero pepper stands at 150,000 – 300,000? But it doesn’t bear the same texture as the chili flakes; however, it still works as a great substitute.

Habanero pepper does have certain health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, fighting weight gain, and preventing cancer.

Substitute Ratio – Ground Habanero Pepper is extremely hot, so it’s important for you to stick with ½ or even less of the required chili flakes amount in the recipe.

5 – Paprika


It is also possible to substitute your chili flakes with your bottle of paprika.

Yes, it does possess a different texture in comparison to chili flakes, but its color and flavor are what catch our attention as a substitute.

Since paprika doesn’t come with a lot of heat, we would advise you to pair it with something spicy.

You can always dry the red bell peppers and grind them to give paprika that needs heat.

Paprika possesses antioxidant properties that help in reducing risks associated with heart illness and cancer.

Plus, your immunity will improve, and you will have an easy time alleviating gas in your body.

Substitute Ratio – If your recipe requires ¼ tsp of chili flakes, then you can proceed to add about 1 tbsp of paprika.


Chili flakes are mainly used as a popular spice in countless cuisines.

They do contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, also promoting weight loss in people.

And believe it or not but chili flakes can help in relieving pain.

Chili flakes will easily change any bland dish into something delicious.

All the crunchy texture and spiciness will make a major difference in all your dishes.

You can start incorporating them into your diet from today.

best substitutes for chili flakes

The 5 Best Substitutes for Chili Flakes

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Dried Peppers
  • Chile de Arbol Powder
  • Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • Ground Habanero Pepper
  • Paprika


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Follow the substitution ratio to determine how much is required in your recipe.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @EatDelights or tag #eatdelights!

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