Chili Paste Substitute – How To Pick It From The Spice Rack?

Written by Patricia Jones

A lot of recipes call for the chili paste to add heat and spiciness to the food items. With its addition, it enhances the taste of food that makes the dish more relishing and entertaining.

If you are running short of the said ingredient or unable to find it in the nearby grocery store, it is imperative to get a hand on chili paste substitute.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives available on the market. Whenever you need a substitute for chili paste, you can make its use and enjoy your food as usual.

Before doing the chili paste substitution, let’s know what makes a chili paste-

What Does Chili Paste Mean? – A Condiment

Chili pepper is the main ingredient of chili paste. Apart from this, it may or may not contain the mixture of salt, spices, oil, shrimp paste and fish sauce.

Depending on the variety of chili pepper, the hot and spiciness of the paste also vary. In some cuisines, you can find garlic and herbs as its content.

Some of the popular chili pastes include Gochujang (it is Korean red chili paste), Biber Salscasi (it is Turkish red pepper paste), Harissa (it is Tunisian hot chili pepper) and Yuzukosho (it is Japanese fermented paste). These items come with the same label.


When you are in the supermarket, look for the term ‘chili paste’ as well as above-mentioned items on the rack. Each of these pastes provides you with the same result in the cooked food.

However, you can observe a slight change in the flavor. In case, there are no more stocks left on the shelves. Check out these substitutes to simplify your process-

Chili Paste Substitute – A List Of Good Alternatives

Being a foodie, I know how much important it is to add the essential condiment for preparing delicious meals. If you ever need chili paste alternative, this list of substitutes will help you out-

  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

It is the dried cayenne peppers, made by crushing it and has a large number of seeds. It makes your dish very hot and gives a peppery flavor.

If you are looking for red chili paste substitute, this is the ideal choice. However, you may not get the similar paste thickness with the addition of pepper flakes.

To complement your dish, you can add garlic paste and increase its consistency.

  • Hot Sauce

When your goal is to achieve spiciness, you are free to go with the hot sauce. It is capable of providing the thickness as well as spiciness to the food item.

Purchase a bottle of your favorite hot sauce and do an easy replacement. Depending on the choice of hot sauce, you get the flavor of cayenne or habanero or jalapeno peppers.

It definitely makes your cooked food hot and spicy.

  • Ketchup With Pepper

Most individuals prefer ketchup over other alternatives because of its similar texture to that of chili paste. It mostly contains cayenne pepper or flakes.

With the addition of this type of ketchup, you can prepare your ideal dishes. No doubt, it is readily available on the market.

  • DIY Pepper Paste

Do you want to add homemade chili pepper paste? It could be the best way to complete the list of ingredients by preparing paste at home.

At first, you have to buy dry habaneros or other types of chili pepper from the market. Now, make its paste or crush it using mortar and pestle.

Combine the chili peppers with garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, cumin and paste them.  Once it gets ready, you can add them to the recipe with confidence.

The best thing is- some people also have homegrown habaneros. It will make your process smoother and faster. If required, you can read the article on ‘how to dry out peppers at home’.


Are you looking for an ideal tool that can crush herbs, chili pepper and other ingredients? Click here and check the reviews of top seven ‘mortar and pestle’ available on the market.

Substitute For Thai Chili – A Valuable Tip

The biggest difference between Thai chili paste and regular chili pastes is that Thai chili contains shrimp paste or fish sauce as one of its ingredients. And, it is often mixed with tamarind.

If you substitute any of the above-mentioned alternatives, it won’t provide you with the ideal flavor of Thai chili paste.

So; whenever your recipe calls for Thai chili paste, you must substitute it with spicy Thai shrimp soup. No doubt, it will work fine in any of your recipes.

It definitely solves your query such as ‘What can I substitute for chili paste and prepare one of my favorite meals?’ Needless to say, the substitutes may affect the cooked item in a subtle way.

Bottom Line

As of now, I hope finding the ideal chili paste substitute for your recipe doesn’t require much effort. Now, it depends on you how you are going to enjoy your food.

If you follow the DIY method, you can also customize it by adding herbs and other ingredients to bring a different flavor. And, enjoy the food with your family and friends!

For any query or suggestion, you are free to comment on the below box. It will be a great feeling to get a feedback. So, don’t forget to share your experience!

About the author

Patricia Jones

Patricia is a fine dining chef at Wake Forest, North Carolina. She is also a caring mom and a lovely sister. Her heart and passion lies in the art of cooking great dishes for her family and customers.

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