9 Best Chipotle Powder Substitutes

If you’re short of chipotle powder but still want something hot, check out these chipotle powder substitutes for a spicy kick.

Chipotle Powder Substitutes

Chipotle powder is a powdered spice made of dried and crushed chipotle chilis. Chipotle peppers are not a different species of pepper but are ripened jalapeño peppers that have been smoked and dried.

Chipotle powder imparts a smoky sweetness to dishes, so omitting it will cause the flavor of your dish to lose this dimension. Many Central and South American dishes call for chipotle powder, especially to add a note of heat to any dishes.

Despite having such a unique flavor, chipotle powder is not irreplaceable. There are many substitutes to chipotle powder that won’t radically change the taste of your dishes.

Chili powder is typically the best substitution, as the myriad of peppers used in its creation can help mimic the flavor profile. If you prefer something with more smokiness or more heat, smoked paprika and cayenne powder are just as good as substitutions.

Smoked Paprika

smoked paprika

Smoked paprika is more than just taking regular paprika and pouring smoke flavoring over it. Smoked paprika is made by roasting pimento peppers over oak. Especially common in southwestern Spain, it provides a radically different flavor compared to plain paprika.

While the flavor profile isn’t identical to chipotle powder, it makes for a viable substitution in most seasonings, marinades, and similar uses in meat dishes. It does a fantastic job of adding in the smoky off-sweetness that chipotle powder adds.

However, smoked paprika has no heat whatsoever, whereas chipotle powder has moderate spiciness. Because of this, it’s a great idea to add cayenne pepper or something else to add to the heat. If you’re using smoked paprika to avoid spiciness, then no additional ingredients are needed and you can substitute in an equal ratio.

Smoked paprika has a strong smoke-forward flavor with a rounded, woodsy flavor. It provides another element of depth in comparison to regular paprika. The deep red color can change the color of your food as well, so keep this in mind while using it. Smoked paprika is also an excellent edible garnish that adds visual appeal and flavor to dishes like deviled eggs.

Chili Powder

Chili Powder

Chili powder is a blanket term for different powders made using chili peppers. Many chili powders use chipotle peppers as an ingredient, making it a naturally fitting substitute. However, if you’re avoiding chipotle powder due to an allergy to chipotle, you’ll need to examining the ingredients list in the chili powder before buying.

Different brands will use different peppers, so giving an exact flavor profile is impossible. You might consider making chili powder by selecting, drying, mixing, and powdering peppers yourself. Common peppers include New Mexico, Ancho, and Cascabel chiles. Oregano, paprika, cumin, peppercorns, and other spices are also often added.

Chili powder can usually replace chipotle powder in an equal substitution. If the powder of your choosing doesn’t match the flavor profile, consider adding other ingredients to round out the flavor.

If it isn’t spicy enough, cayenne powder or red pepper flakes are a great addition. If it lacks smokiness or sweetness, smoked paprika can help improve the flavor profile. You can generally use chili powder any time that you would use chipotle powder.

Cayenne Powder

Cayenne Pepper

Surprisingly, cayenne powder doesn’t always contain cayenne peppers. The pure cayenne powder will have nothing more than dried and powdered cayenne peppers. However, many people add in other peppers to help add more elements of flavor and round out the spice. Some cayenne peppers also remove seeds before powdering, which removes much of the heat.

Cayenne powder is often very spicy depending on the brand and manufacturer. If you’re powdering the peppers yourself, removing the seeds or skinning the peppers will remove the majority of the capsaicin. This almost completely removes the heat. If you prefer the heat, leave these parts in.

Cayenne powder’s flavor is similar to paprika in sweetness, but much of its appeal comes from its heat. Consider cutting cayenne powder with smoked paprika when replacing chipotle peppers. Doing so will add more flavor while maintaining the heat.

Ancho Chili Powder

ancho chili powde

Ancho chili powder is a powder made solely of a single pepper. Dried poblanos are ground up with no other ingredients to create this powder.

Ancho chili powder has more heat than the average chili powder and a roughly equal amount compared to chipotle powder. Due to this, ancho chili powder will replace chipotle powder in an equal ratio. However, the flavor profiles are considerably different, so you may want to add other ingredients.

While the heat is higher, the smoky flavor is usually missing. Some brands may sell a smoked ancho chili powder which can help with that substitution. Adding smoked paprika is also a great way to add this flavor. You may also want to add chili powder instead, which will provide a wide range of flavors with a higher spice of ancho chili powder.

Gochugaru Powder

Gochugaru Powder

Gochugaru is a Korean spice often called Korean chili powder. Similar to crushed red pepper flakes, gochugaru is made from sun-dried Korean red chili peppers called taeyang-cho. Gochugaru is available in multiple forms and is a primary ingredient in the wildly popular Korean chili paste, gochujang.

Gochugaru powder and chipotle powder have nearly identical flavor profiles. Gochugaru is slightly less smokey but makes up for this with greater heat. Because of this, you can substitute in equal parts without adding in other ingredients, assuming you enjoy the heat that gochugaru adds.

If you don’t want the heat, you can instead use a half-ratio in your substitution. When doing so, add in an ingredient like ancho chili powder or guajillo powder to make sure you have enough of your preferred ingredients. You can also use chili powder if you don’t have others on hand or prefer that flavor profile.

Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo pepper is also known as the Halaby pepper. Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Turkish cuisines often use this pepper. The pods of the pepper are ripened, semi-dried, de-seeded, and ground to powder. Despite having the seeds removed, it still has an average heat.

Aleppo has a roughly similar flavor profile to chipotle, but it’s far from identical. The powder is a fairly mild heat once it’s been mixed in with other ingredients with a sweet flavor. It lacks the smokiness of chipotle powder, but can still replace it in an equal ratio if you prefer the flavor.

If you find it should have more heat, add cayenne or ancho chili powder.

Hot red pepper flakes are also popular as an addition when substituting. You can use Aleppo pepper in any situation you would use chipotle powder.

Piri Piri Powder

Piri piri powder, often called peri-peri or peli-peli, is a seasoning of a blend of spices. The name comes from the Swahili word for chili pepper and most commonly uses African bird’s eye chili. Oregano, garlic, and paprika are also common ingredients in piri piri seasoning.

Piri piri seasoning is a great substitute when flavoring meats. While you can use it in nearly any cooking situation, meats and especially chicken seasoning are its most popular use. Because it contains many more ingredients than chipotle powder, the flavor profile is much more complex.

Piri piri powder also has less heat than chipotle powder. If you prefer piri piri powder over chili powder, you can use an equal ratio. If you find the flavor profile lacking, add other chili powders like cayenne pepper powder to your preference.

Guajillo Powder

Guajillo powder

The guajillo chile is simply a mirasol pepper, a thin-skinned Mexican chili, that has undergone drying. Guajillo is vital in many Mexican dishes and is a fantastic substitution for chipotle powder.

Guajillo has a slight heat, but a highly complex flavor. Notes of green tea, pine, and berries are prominent in guajillo powder. It’s typically an ingredient in sauces, salsas, meat rubs, mole, and stews, just as chipotle powder is.

You can substitute guajillo powder for chipotle in an equal ratio and use it any time you would use chipotle powder. If you find it lacks in heat in comparison, add a pinch of cayenne or Aleppo powder.

Pasilla Powder

Pasilla Powder

Our final substitution is pasilla powder, which consist of dried and ground pasilla chile peppers. There are no other ingredients, which means it’s easy to make at home if you struggle to find it in stores.

Pasilla powder has a moderate heat level that can add background warmth to many dishes, such as chilis and soups. The flavor profile includes fruity undertones but lacks the smokiness of chipotle peppers.

When substituting, you can use an equal ratio. However, given the different flavor profiles, it’s best to substitute with other ingredients. Gochujang and smoked paprika can help add in the missing smokiness while substituting.