14 Aji Amarillo Paste Substitutes (That Will Keep Your Dish Flavorful)


Whether you’re out of aji amarillo paste or you’re looking for a similar flavor profile, there are a few substitutes that can do the trick.

Here are the best aji amarillo paste substitutes to use in your next recipe.

Let’s find out right away what they are!

14 Aji Amarillo Paste Substitutes 

Here are my top picks for substituting Aji Amarillo. 

1. Habanero Pepper

Habanero peppers are one of the special ingredients in most spicy chili sauces for their heated yet fruity tang and bright yellow-orange hue that makes them a great substitute. 

A note of caution: Habanero peppers are known for their fierce heat. They should be handled with rubber gloves and their seeds removed to lighten the intensity. 

How to substitute

It is advisable to use half the quantity of blended habanero pepper paste to substitute for the required quantity of Aji Amarillo paste.

Try this roasted Habanero salsa.

2. Scotch Bonnet Pepper

Scotch Bonnet peppers are another highly spicy way to substitute Aji Amarillo peppers.

The heat levels in each of these little Jamaican peppers vary. 

It is important to consider the heat levels of these peppers when using them as an alternative. They are also hard to find in most local grocery stores. 

How to substitute

Once blended, the sauce should be tasted to the recipe accordingly. Usually, half the amount is sufficient.

Try this traditional Caribbean chili sauce with Scotch Bonnet peppers.

3. Serrano Pepper

Serrano peppers are the commonly seen green and crunchy chilies.

They are very similar to Jalapeno peppers and the closest match to Aji Amarillo in heat levels. 

Do keep in mind that although similar in spiciness, Aji Amarillo and Serrano differ in taste. While the former has a fruity touch, the latter has a crisp note. 

How to substitute

Aji Amarillo and Serrano can be substituted in an equal 1:1 proportion once blended to a paste form.

Green salsa with Serrano peppers.

4. Roasted Poblano Peppers

Another delicious and heated alternative to Aji Amarillo paste is roasted and blended Poblano pepper paste with some additional herbs and seasonings. 

It is suggested to roast the peppers while they are still green to extract their earthy flavor. Poblano peppers also lack the fruity element that Aji Amarillo has. 

How to substitute

Roasted Poblano pepper paste and Aji Amarillo paste can be substituted for equal quantities of each other.

Beef-stuffed Poblano bake.

5. Manzano Pepper

Manzano is a Spanish staple known widely for its heated, fruity, and significantly citrusy flavor that can efficiently substitute for Aji Amarillo pepper paste. 

Do note that although Manzano peppers have a SHU value of nearly 30,000 units, the tangy element tones it down, making it less intense than Aji Amarillo. 

How to substitute

Equal or slightly more quantities of Manzano pepper paste can be used to substitute for equal quantities of Aji Amarillo paste.

Manzano pepper salsa.

6. Dried Or Frozen Aji Amarillo Chiles

Dried or frozen Aji peppers make a rich and easy-to-find substitute for Aji Amarillo as they are closely related both in taste and texture. 

However, when using store-bought dried or frozen Aji Amarillo canned peppers, it is necessary to maintain their dates. 

How to substitute

Aji Amarillo peppers and dried or frozen Aji peppers can be equally substituted for each other.

Peruvian chicken with Aji Amarillo peppers.

7. Jalapeno Pepper

Jalapeno is one of the most popular and globally found peppers, with a SHU value of 8,500 units. It is most often used to flavor Southwest American and Mexican cuisines. 

It is important to note that Jalapeno peppers have a much lower Scoville Heat Unit than the stronger range of 30,0000 – 50,000 SHU of Aji Amarillo peppers. 

How to substitute

An equal or slightly more quantity of Jalapeno pepper paste can be used to substitute for the mentioned amount of Aji Amarillo paste.

Try these five fiery Jalapeno recipes.

8. Sumac Paste

Sumac is a Middle Eastern staple spice with an intensely tart and citrusy flavor that can well substitute for Aji Amarillo for most dishes that require its tang. 

Do remember that Sumac paste is not essentially spicy at all and will not match the slight spiciness of Aji Amarillo paste. 

How to substitute

3/4th quantity of sumac paste along with additional spices can efficiently substitute for the required quantity of Aji Amarillo paste.

Sumac-spiced butterfly chicken.

9. Turmeric Paste

Turmeric paste is one of the most important South Asian ingredients and is a close match to Aji Amarillo paste with its dark yellow-orange hue. 

Although Turmeric paste and turmeric powder are easily available, it does not have the fruity and spicy flavor featured in Aji Amarillo paste. 

How to substitute

Turmeric paste and Aji Amarillo paste can be used in equal amounts to substitute each other with other additional spices.

Easy way to make Turmeric paste.

10. Paprika

Paprika is another easily available red chili powder that can substitute Aji Amarillo paste in nearly all dishes that need it with its subtle heat. 

It is important to know that paprika is most often only found in its powdered form. A dish would need more amount of it to achieve the same level of spice as Aji Amarillo paste. 

How to substitute

Equal or more amounts of paprika are required to equally substitute for Aji Amarillo paste in most dishes.

Smoked paprika chicken.

11. Chipotle Pepper

Chipotle peppers are the reason behind the popular Adobo sauce that is used to add a strong heat to most Mexican dishes. 

Do bear in mind that Chipotle peppers have a bright red hue but do not come close to the nearly 50,000 SHU of Aji Amarillo peppers. 

How to substitute

Equal quantities of Chipotle peppers and Aji Amarillo peppers can be used to substitute for each other.

Smoky Chipotle beef chili.

12. Aleppo Pepper

Aleppo peppers are often used in meat marinades and rub and can spice up any pasta or toast with their spicy and tangy flavors. 

Do note that Aleppo peppers are sold in their powdered form but taste much like Aji Amarillo powder itself. It has to be mixed with other liquid ingredients to match better. 

How to substitute

The quantity of Aleppo pepper powder depends on the recipe. Usually, an equal quantity of it can sufficiently substitute for Aji Amarillo.

Onion relish with Aleppo pepper.

13. Lime Powder

Lime powder, as the name suggests, is prepared from dried and crushed limes.

It has a strong citrusy flavor that can substitute for the fruitiness in Aji Amarillo paste. 

It is important to note that lime powder is citrusy but not always strong enough to be a prominent flavor. Other seasonings are needed. 

How to substitute

Half the quantity of lime powder combined with other stronger herbs and spices is sufficient to substitute for the required amount of Aji Amarillo.

Easy Lime powder recipe.

14. Onion Paste

Onion paste is another common ingredient in a lot of recipes for its fresh and strong texture that can be an effective alternative for Aji Amarillo paste. 

However, do remember that onion paste does not have the red hue or spice level matching that of Aji Amarillo paste. 

How to substitute

Equal amounts of onion paste and Aji Amarillo paste can be substituted in a 1:1 proportion with other added flavorants.


What Is The Best Substitute For Aji Amarillo Paste? 

The best and closest substitutes for Aji Amarillo paste are Chipotle pepper, Roasted Poblano pepper, Dried or frozen Aji Amarillo pepper, Scotch Bonnet pepper, and Habanero peppers.
They all share similar heat levels, and most have a shared tangy and fruity taste that is what makes Aji Amarillo a distinct and essential part of many delicious splatters.

What Is The Spiciest Substitute For Aji Amarillo Paste? 

Habanero Pepper and Scotch Bonnet Pepper are doubtlessly the spiciest and most heated substitutes for Aji Amarillo pepper with Scoville Scale values ranging from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU each. 

Aji Amarillo peppers have a SHU value of nearly 50,000 making them comparatively less intense than the other two.

Is Aji Amarillo The Same As Aji Mirasol?

Yes, Aji Mirasol is simply the sun-dried form of Aji Amarillo pepper. Once dried, the flavor of the peppers changes to a richer, more concentrated form with lesser spice than the fresh peppers. 

Most people use both the fresh and dried forms of Aji for marinades and seasonings.

Can You Make Aji Amarillo Paste At Home? 

Yes, it is rather easy to make your own Aji Amarillo paste with the simple ingredients of chopped Aji Amarillo peppers, chopped onion, chopped garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt to taste. 

The paste is ready to be served once all ingredients are blended into a thick paste. It can be used for cooking and also as a dipping side.

Bottom Line

I hope you now have various ingredients and condiments that can help to efficiently substitute Aji Amarillo. 

Be sure to share this post with your friends and family so they can find the perfect aji amarillo paste substitute for their next meal.

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About Judy Taylor

Judy has been fascinated with food and drinks since her teenage years. She loves experimenting with various cuisines, her favorite being pairing food with wine and drinks. She travels 7-8 months a year across the globe, exploring local food and culture. Her dream is to open a small Mexican outlet on a beach someday.