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10 Best Substitutes For Cayenne Pepper That’ll Save Your Meal

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The perfect dash of cayenne pepper can really bring out the flavor of some dishes, but you can’t always have it on hand. So what can you use as a substitute? Here are 10 great substitutes for cayenne pepper that are just as tasty and versatile as the real thing.

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What is Cayenne Pepper?

Cayenne pepper is a spice made from the dried, ground fruit of Capsicum annuum. It’s also sometimes called a red hot. Cayenne pepper is spicy and can be used in many different dishes. In some dishes, it can provide flavor and a bit of heat to what would otherwise be bland food.

In other cases, it can add a lot of spiciness to the dish. However, not everyone likes cayenne pepper. If you don’t like cayenne pepper or have an allergy to it, there are plenty of alternatives you could use in your cooking instead.

Benefits of Cayenne Pepper.

Cayenne pepper is a favorite spice in many kitchens and it’s easy to see why. It adds a lot of flavor and can also help you eat healthier by adding flavor without adding too much salt.

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You can use it to make everything from chili to scrambled eggs. But what are the benefits of cayenne pepper?

10 Best Substitutes For Cayenne Pepper.

1. Paprika.


Sometimes all you need is something spicy enough to add some heat, but not something hot enough to burn the mouth. Paprika can be that replacement. Try sprinkling some on eggs, potatoes, or rice for a flavorful kick.

2. Ginger.

Ginger is one of those spices that might sound unappealing at first but once you taste it chances are you won’t want any other seasoning on your dish. Try grating ginger into soups or baking pies and cakes with it. Ginger is a spice that has been used around the world for thousands of years.


In China, it was traditionally grown in ginger gardens and used as a natural remedy to treat an array of symptoms like stomach pain and sore throat. The root is usually ground up into a powder or grated before being added to recipes.

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3. Cilantro.

Cilantro is a great substitute for cayenne pepper. It is available year-round and can be grown in your garden. It’s easy to use in recipes as it has a strong flavor that masks the cayenne pepper taste. Cilantro can also be used to make salsa, and it adds a freshness that is perfect with fish tacos.


The leaves are also edible which makes it environmentally friendly as you don’t need to peel the leaves off before cooking with them. If you love spicy food but don’t like the heat, try adding cilantro instead of cayenne pepper because it adds just enough spice without being too hot.

4. Basil as a Substitutes For Cayenne Pepper.

Basil is a great substitute for cayenne pepper, especially in dishes that are traditionally made with the hot spice. It has a similar flavor to cayenne pepper, but it’s not as spicy. You can use dried or fresh basil depending on what you’re making.


Mixing salt and ground black pepper with fresh or dried basil will produce a similar flavor too. If you don’t have any other substitutes for cayenne pepper on hand, sprinkling some paprika on your dish is another option that will add some heat to your meal.

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5. Lemon/Lime Juice.


Add a little spice to your favorite dishes with these substitutes. The next substitute is lemon or lime juice. Add the juice of one to two lemons or limes to your dish and you will have the same effect as cayenne pepper.

6. Sriracha sauce.

For starters, there’s Sriracha sauce. Known as a hot sauce or a chili sauce, this condiment is made by combining chili peppers with vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. You might not realize it, but this particular hot sauce is actually named after the coastal city of Si Racha in Thailand.

Sriracha sauce Substitutes For Cayenne Pepper
Sriracha Sauce

In terms of what it tastes like, Sriracha’s flavor falls somewhere between tangy and sweet–a few dashes will have your taste buds singing with delight! Plus, there are many variations of Sriracha on the market now (including one that comes in a squeeze bottle), so you can spice up just about anything from eggs to sandwiches to tacos.

7. Chili Powder.

It is what can be substituted for cayenne pepper. Add just the right amount of chili powder to your food. Like cayenne, paprika can be added to almost any dish.

8. Thyme.

Thyme is a perfect substitute for cayenne pepper in soups, stews, and chili. It has a slightly similar flavor to cayenne pepper with a bit of an earthier note that can add depth to your dish. Thyme is also good with eggs, potatoes, and in sauces.

Thyme Substitutes For Cayenne Pepper

To make thyme more flavorful and easier to use as a seasoning substitute, try toasting the leaves until they are dry but not browned before adding them to your recipe or sprinkling them over your food.

9. Curry Powder.

Curry is a popular spice that is often used in the cuisines of India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It can be mixed with liquid to create a sauce or sprinkled over food before serving. Other spices can be used as substitutes for curry powder if desired.

10. Oregano.

Oregano is a versatile herb that can be used in many recipes. If you don’t have cayenne on hand and need a substitute, try oregano. Oregano has similar spicy qualities to cayenne pepper, but the flavor is lighter and sweeter.

Oregano Substitutes For Cayenne Pepper

It’s also a good choice if you’re looking to add more herbs to your recipe.

  • Crush dried oregano with mortar and pestle until it becomes very fine. You may also use a food processor for this step.
  • Pour crushed or finely chopped oregano into pot or pan with olive oil and sauté on low heat until the flavor releases, about 5-10 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions.

1. How often to use cayenne pepper for hair growth?

It is recommended to apply cayenne pepper 2 time to 3 times a week in hair, until you see effective hair growth.

2. Can cayenne pepper cause miscarriage?

No, consumption of cayenne pepper during pregnancy is totally safe and does not cause miscarriage or any kind of health issue to unborn baby.

Bottom Line.

Although you can’t always substitute cayenne pepper with other peppers, the substitutes above are all good options to have on hand. Experiment with them to see what kind of meals they work well in. Remember that the spiciness of these spices will vary by taste, so start small and add more if needed.

+5 Sources

Freaktofit has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, educational research institutes, and medical organizations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy.

  1. Unravelling the Mystery of Capsaicin: A Tool to Understand and Treat Pain; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3462993/
  2. Dietary capsaicin and its anti-obesity potency: from mechanism to clinical implications; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426284/
  3. Comparative anti-inflammatory properties of Capsaicin and ethyl-aAcetate extract of Capsicum frutescens linn [Solanaceae] in rats; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3824481/
  4. Blood Circulation Stimulation Properties of Cayenne Pepper:A Review; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326060740_Blood_Circulation_Stimulation_Properties_of_Cayenne_PepperA_Review
  5. Capsaicin Reduces Blood Glucose by Increasing Insulin Levels and Glycogen Content Better than Capsiate in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28230360/



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