What to Use When You Don’t Have Chili Powder?

Chili powder is a staple ingredient in many dishes, adding depth of flavor and a spicy kick to soups, stews, and sauces. However, sometimes you may find yourself in a pinch and realize you don’t have any chili powder on hand. This can be frustrating, especially if you have a recipe that relies on it.

What to Use When You Don’t Have Chili Powder?

When chili powder is missing from your pantry, try using ground cumin or coriander. Both spices are the same thing as chili powder, but ground cumin or coriander will add a different flavor profile than chili powder would have.

This blog post will tell you in detail about alternatives to chili powder and more information to use alternatives. Keep reading to learn more.

See Also: How to Make Chili Pepper Paste?

What to Use When You Don’t Have Chili Powder? – Guide

There are many alternatives you can use to add heat and flavor to your dishes when you don’t have chili powder. Here is a detailed guide to using chili powder alternative:

1: Use a combination of spices

One option is to mix together a combination of spices to create a homemade chili powder substitute. This can be a great way to tailor the flavor to your specific tastes, and it allows you to use up any spices you already have on hand.

Some common spices that are often used in chili powder include cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and oregano. You can also add in other spices such as coriander, onion powder, and cayenne pepper for extra heat.

Simply mix together equal parts of the spices you choose, and use this blend as a replacement for chili powder in your recipes.

2: Use paprika

Paprika is a type of ground pepper that is often used as a spice in its own right, but it can also be used as a substitute for chili powder. It has a slightly sweet and smoky flavor and is available in mild, medium, and hot varieties.

To use paprika as a chili powder substitute, simply replace the chili powder in your recipe with an equal amount of paprika. Keep in mind that paprika is not as spicy as chili powder, so you may want to add a pinch of cayenne pepper or another hot spice to compensate.

3: Use cumin

Cumin is another spice that is commonly used in chili powder and is a good option for substituting when you don’t have chili powder on hand. It has a warm, earthy flavor and is often used in Mexican and South Asian cuisine.

To use cumin as a chili powder substitute, replace the chili powder in your recipe with an equal amount of cumin. You can also mix cumin with other spices such as paprika, garlic powder, and oregano to create a more complex flavor.

4: Use hot sauce

Hot sauce is a versatile condiment that can add heat and flavor to a wide variety of dishes. If you don’t have chili powder, you can use hot sauce as a substitute to add a spicy kick to your recipe.

Simply add a few teaspoons of hot sauce to your dish in place of the chili powder. Keep in mind that hot sauce can be quite potent, so start with a small amount and adjust to taste.

5: Use fresh or dried chilies

Another option for adding heat and flavor to your dishes when you don’t have chili powder is to use fresh or dried chilies.

Fresh chilies, such as jalapenos or serranos, can be diced and added to your recipe for a spicy kick.

Dried chilies, such as ancho or guajillo, can be soaked in hot water and then pureed or ground to create a paste that can be used in place of chili powder.

Just be sure to adjust the amount you use based on the heat level of the chilies you choose.


When it comes to adding spice and flavor to your meals, chili powder is always a great go-to. But if you don’t have any on hand, fear not – there are plenty of other options out there for you.

Whether it’s a combination of cumin and paprika, a flavorful blend of herbs and spices, or simply a shake of hot sauce, you can find something to suit your taste and your recipe.

So don’t stress if you’re out of chili powder – you’re sure to find something else that will do the trick. I hope this blog post is helpful for you in understanding what to use when you don’t have chili powder.

Read Also: How to Make a Chili Pepper Braid?