The BEST Substitute for Paprika (7+ Swap In Ideas)

There are several good substitutes for paprika, depending on your dish and what qualities of paprika you want to replace. Whether you’re looking for sweetness, smokiness, or heat, here are some great substitutions.

Smoke

Chipotle Chili Powder

Made from smoked jalapeños, it offers a similar smokiness with a bit more heat. Start with half the amount of paprika and adjust gradually.

Ancho Chili Powder

Made from dried poblano peppers, it provides a smoky sweetness without the intense heat. Use a 1:1 ratio, but be mindful of its smokiness.

Smoked Paprika

This is the obvious choice if you want to maintain the signature smoky depth of paprika. Use a 1:1 ratio, but taste as you go, as its intensity can vary.

Paprika on spoon.

Sweetness

Guajillo Chili Powder

Made from dried guajillo peppers, it offers a subtle sweetness with a fruity undertone. Use a 1:1 ratio, but adjust based on your preferred sweetness level.

Bell Pepper Powder (or Bell Peppers)

Ground red bell pepper offers a mild sweetness and subtle earthiness. Use about 1.5 times the amount of paprika for color intensity.

Sweet Paprika

If you primarily use paprika for its mild sweetness and vibrant color, sweet paprika is the most direct substitute. Use a 1:1 ratio.

Paprika spread on black plate.

Heat

Cayenne Pepper

This will replace the heat aspect of paprika, but lacks the sweetness and smokiness. Start with a very small amount (1/8 teaspoon per teaspoon of paprika) and adjust cautiously.

Chili Powder

Choose a mild chili powder if you only want the slight heat of paprika. Use a 1:1 ratio, but be mindful of any added spices in the chili powder blend.

Aleppo Pepper Flakes

These offer a medium heat with a fruity hint. Use a tiny amount initially and adjust to taste.

Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning typically contains paprika and other warm spices like chili powder, cumin, garlic, and onion. This blend offers a similar earthy, savory, and slightly spicy flavor profile to paprika.

Close up of paprika in bowl.

Tips

  • No substitute will perfectly replicate paprika, so adjust quantities and experiment to find what works best for your recipe.
  • Consider the other spices in your dish to avoid flavor clashes.
  • Start with less of the substitute and add more gradually to avoid overpowering your dish.

Related Recipes

Here are some recipes that use paprika:

Collage of paprika substitutes with text overlay.

The BEST Substitute for Paprika

There are several good substitutes for paprika, depending on your dish and what qualities of paprika you want to replace. Whether you're looking for sweetness, smokiness, or heat, here are some great substitutions.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 teaspoon paprika

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

Instructions

  • Use a 1:1 ratio of ancho chili powder to paprika, but be mindful of its smokiness.
  • Use in your favorite recipes.
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