Kick “boring” out of your dinner vocabulary with these fantastic chipotle powder substitutes!
Chipotle powder adds tons of personality to any dish. And these easy alternatives are spicy, smoky, and super tasty.
Don’t worry, though, they’re not too spicy.
As much as I love chipotle, it’s not always easy to get your hands on. Or maybe you used the last of your stash and forget to get more.
In that case, you’ll need these chipotle powder substitutes to ensure your dinner is just as tasty as ever.
Luckily, I’ve found 11 of the best alternatives for chipotle powder. And I bet you have a couple in the pantry already!
Is Chipotle Same As Chili Powder?
Chipotle has become a very popular spice thanks to a certain fast-food restaurant.
If you recognize their logo, you’ll recognize a chipotle chili pepper. But how is it so different from regular chili powder?
Chipotle is not the same as chili powder, which is lightly spicy with herb and fruity notes. Chili powder is a blend of dried chilies along with other spices, such as oregano, garlic, and cumin, making it flavorful and complex. In contrast, chipotle is made up of only pure ground chipotle chilis.
But what are chipotle chilies?
Well, have you ever seen a ripe jalapeño? Then, you’ve seen a chipotle in its infancy.
Chipotles are made from smoked and dried ripe jalapeños. You get chipotle powder when you grind these peppers very finely.
The result is a deliciously flavorful and mildly spicy pepper that adds boldness to every dish.
In my opinion, chipotle powder is excellent on everything – even desserts. But, it’s most commonly used on meats or vegetables.
It’s great as a dry rub, a simple dinner spice, or in marinades.
What are the Best Chipotle Powder Substitutes in Recipes?
The best chipotle powder substitutes in recipes include smoked paprika, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. Each of these will bring a smokey tast and mild heat to your recipes. Other terrific options include adobo and ancho-chili powder, though they bring a little more spice, so use with caution.
Of course, no substitute will be perfect. It’s all about finding something that will work in a pinch, so experiment and see what you like best.
These chipotle powder substitutes vary from spicy and smoky to downright firey.
But all of them are delicious, and all of them will add some excitement to your meal!
11 Best Substitutes For Chipotle Powder
1. Smoked Paprika
If you’re not sure about adding extra heat to your dish, try smoked paprika.
It’s a fantastic chipotle powder substitute because it nails the smoky flavor – minus the heat.
It’s made of smoked and dried pimiento peppers, so the process is the same as making chipotle. That means it’s got the same rich smokiness we all love.
But, pimientos have a much lower Scoville heat measurement than jalapeños, which means smoked paprika isn’t spicy.
So, if you need/want heat for your dish, consider adding a dash of cayenne.
Substitution Ratio: Substitute an equal amount of smoked paprika for chipotle powder (1:1).
2. Chili Powder
Chili powder is a quick and easy chipotle powder substitution.
Most people have some variety of chili powder in their pantries already. If not, you can find it in any grocery store.
As mentioned, this is a mixed spice blend, meaning you don’t just get smoky heat. That’s why it’s often used to make chili.
The flavors are well-rounded and bring any dish to life.
Substitution Ratio: substitute an equal amount of chili powder for chipotle powder (1:1).
Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the other spices in your recipe since this has herbs included.
3. Cayenne Pepper
If you like it hot, cayenne pepper is the substitution for you!
With three times the heat of chipotle peppers, this option is not for the faint of heart… or tongue.
Cayenne pepper is not processed in the same way as chipotle, so it’s not smoky. Therefore, cayenne recipes are just what you need if you just want to add spice.
It’s particularly great in soups and on meat.
Plus, cayenne has many health benefits, like improving digestion and protecting cellular health.
Substitution Ratio: substitute half the amount of cayenne for chipotle powder (1/2 tsp of cayenne = 1 tsp of chipotle).
4. Ancho-Chili Powder
Like chipotle powder, ancho-chili powder is a pure pepper powder from Mexico.
It’s made from my personal faves – dried poblano peppers. So, it’s smoky, and it does have a bit of heat.
However, it is a VERY mild heat. So, if you’ve found chipotle is too spicy for you, you should consider this alternative.
Substitution Ratio: substitute an equal amount of ancho-chili powder for chipotle powder (1:1).
This delicious Korean spice is often found in dishes like kimchi or bulgogi.
And while it originates in Asia, it will work for Mexican-inspired cooking. Or any dish you need to spice up, for that matter!
Gochugaru tastes amazing in sauces, rubs, marinades, and soups. It adds both spice and smokiness, just like chipotle.
Substitution Ratio: substitute an equal amount of gochugaru for chipotle powder (1:1).
6. Adobo Seasoning/Sauce
Adobo seasoning is actually what the restaurant Chipotle uses on their chicken. So, if you’re a fan of Chipotle chicken, you’ll like this.
Made from various chilis and seasonings, like black pepper and garlic, you’ll find adobo is pretty popular in Latin America – and for good reason!
It’s spicy, smoky, and seriously delicious.
In powder form, abodo is delicious as a rub or a general seasoning. As a sauce, it’s a fantastic marinade or soup base.
Substitution Ratio: substitute an equal amount of adobo for chipotle powder (1:1).
7. Piri Piri Powder
If the chipotle powder spice level isn’t doing it for ya, try Piri Piri.
Like chili powder, it isn’t a pure pepper. Instead, it’s a mix of delicious and hot spices that add fire to every dish.
Piri Piri is commonly used in Portuguese and some African cuisines because it’s bold, flavorful, and spicy!
Personally, I love it on chicken (have you ever tried Nando’s?) or shrimp. But it works well with most meats ad even on fries.
Substitution Ratio: substitute an equal amount of Piri Piri powder for chipotle powder (1:1).
8. Aleppo Pepper
Aleppo peppers are commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking. They have a similar heat level as chipotle, so they’re a great substitute.
However, they’re not smoky, so I’d advise adding smoked paprika to the recipe too.
That said, aleppo peppers are delish!
Substitution Ratio: substitute an equal amount of Aleppo pepper for chipotle powder (1:1).
9. Guajillo Powder
Guajillo powder is made from mirasol peppers and it’s an umami bomb your taste buds will love.
It’s sweet, savory, and just a little spicy.
It’s the kind of heat that sits nicely on the back of your tongue, but you don’t need a giant glass of milk to get through your dinner.
Guajillo is tasty on meats, veggies, and even with chocolate!
Substitution Ratio: substitute an equal amount of guajillo powder for chipotle powder (1:1).
10. Pasilla Powder
Pasilla powder packs a flavorful punch!
It’s smoky and spicy, but not nearly as much as chipotle. So, use this option if you’re hesitant about adding heat.
Pasilla powder has fruity notes, adding a delicious richness to every dish. Often the powder has other spices mixed in, so it is really quite tasty.
Pasilla powder makes a fantastic meat rub or general seasoning.
Substitution Ratio: substitute an equal amount of pasilla powder for chipotle powder (1:1).
11. Crushed Red Pepper
Crushed red pepper is fabulous as a chipotle powder substitution because it’s very easily acquired. It’s also quite spicy as it’s made with lots of chilis.
This option is excellent if your dish needs more spice than smoke.
You might want to grind it before using, though. That way the flavors can properly marry in the dish.
I have a small coffee grinder that’s cheap, cheerful, and ideal for spices.
Add this to dressings and marinades or sprinkled it over eggs or pizza.
Substitution Ratio: substitute an equal amount of crushed red pepper for chipotle powder (1:1).
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