Chili powder is a must ingredient in most of the cuisines around the world including Mexican, Asian, American, Korean, Portuguese, and Thai cuisines. If you are trying to make a dish that calls out for chili powder and then there is the realization that your spice shelf does not contain one, do not panic because some ingredients can easily be used as a chili powder substitute, and nobody will feel any difference.

Korean red chili powder

Chilli Powder Substitutes

Many spices can substitute chili powder depending upon the recipe you are making and the origin. Like in most Mexican recipes, the chili powder they refer to is mostly a blend of many spices than the raw ground chili.  

Dried Button Chilli

Dried Button Chilli

If you are out of chili powder, you can always grind some dried Button chilies in an electric spice grinder to have fresh homemade chili powder. The tip is to store it in a refrigerator, which will prevent it from decolorization and staleness.


The base of paprika or smoked paprika is also chili pepper, and it’s a dominant spice present in almost every kitchen. Paprika’s heat level is a little different than button chili, but that ranges from mild to spicy depending upon the quantity you prefer, but in the end, it’s a great choice when you run out of store-bought chili powder. If you are using mixed spice Paprika, it might change the flavor of your dish slightly, but that is unnoticeable for most.

Hot Sauce

If you have none of the chilies around, then hot sauce is always a suitable replacement for chili powder, it can not give that sparkling red color to your dish, but that you can attain by adding red food color, and hot sauce will be a great choice if you are adding it to a sauce or a soup. The quantity of hot sauce used will be a little higher than chili powder as it’s mild in heat, so to have a similar effect as chili powder, a considerable increase in dashes of hot sauce is required.

Ancho Powder

Ancho powder can easily be found in Mexican grocery stores or some big supermarkets. Ancho pepper is part of the holy trinity of Mexican chilies. These chilies are composed of a complex flavor and have a unique blend of sweetness and earthiness. It’s an excellent substitute as it has moderate heat and can give a bit of a kick. In addition, it consists of one ingredient, ground poblano pepper; only half of its quantity can work wonders.

Precise Hot Pepper Powders

Precise pepper powder like chipotle powder or cayenne powder is a brilliant substitute in this regard, and they are typically hotter than regular chili powder. So a small amount of these pepper powders are sufficient. However, chipotle is on the smokier side and will give your dish a unique flavor

Specific Seasoning; Old Bay

This seasoning can replace the regular chili powder blend but in particular circumstances. Unfortunately, the old bay has a very odd flavor, so it’s not recommended for many dishes. But if you want a specific spicy flavor generally present in seafood,  then this seasoning is a brilliant option,  and it’s excellent on crabs.

Must-Try Recipes

Try these plant-based dishes that will surely give your lifestyle a good, soulful twist.


Add any substitute for chili powder from the list mentioned above and make your dish a signature recipe of your own, enjoy your cooking; it will then not only fulfill the cravings but will be a soothing experience for your soul. Never stress yourself out for the missing ingredients. Just try to enjoy on-hand options and experiment with them all according to your preferences.