Best Kashmiri Chili Powder Substitute: Top 19 Spices to Use


Vegetable curries and meat gravies are incomplete without a dash of Kashmiri Chillies that add bright red color and give these dishes an amazing flavor.

If you cannot find Kashmiri chili powder, there are several substitutes that will work in a pinch. Here are the best Kashmiri chili powder substitutes.

So, let’s jump straight to the list of substitutes.

Kashmiri Chili Powder Substitute

1. Deggi Mirch –Degi Mirch

Since Deggi Mirch powder contains a combination of ground Kashmiri chilies with red bell peppers, it adds a sweet yet smoky flavor with a delicious spiciness. 

It also gives an excellent, bright red color to your dishes and contains mild heat. 

Mostly used in Indian recipes, deggi mirch goes great with chicken curries, soups, stews, vegetable gravies, and sambhars.

How to Substitute

Take deggi mirch in the same quantity as Kashmiri chili powder.

2. Byadgi Chillies

Byadgi chilies have the same vibrant red color as Kashmiri chili and look almost the same. But it is hotter and spicier. 

It is a major ingredient of dishes like Mangalorean chicken, chili chutney, fish curry, and chicken ghee roast.

How to Substitute

Substitute 1 teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder with ¼ teaspoon of byadgi chili powder.

Check out this video to make chicken ghee roast using byadgi chilies:

3. Paprika (Regular Paprika) Plus Cayenne

Paprika provides a smoky yet sweet flavor that compliments the bright red color of cayenne pepper, ultimately giving you a very similar taste and color to Kashmiri chili powder. 

While paprika is known for lowering cholesterol and controlling diabetes, cayenne pepper improves digestion and lowers your blood pressure. Therefore, their mixture is highly beneficial for your health.

How to Substitute

Take 3 teaspoons of paprika and mix it with 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Use this mixture in the same way as Kashmiri chili powder.

Try this Chicken Paprika recipe:

4. Ancho Chili Powder 

Ancho chili powder has an intense and smoky flavor (more than Kashmiri chili powder) with moderate heat.

It is ideal for dishes like roasted vegetables, soups, grilled meat rubs, stews, barbeque sauces, and other Mexican cuisines.

However, despite its slightly sweet taste and very mild heat level that matches Kashmiri chilies, it doesn’t provide the same bright red color.

So, the final appearance of your dish would not be the same.

How to Substitute

For each teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder, use half a teaspoon of ancho chili powder.

Here’s how you can make Mexican-style adobo sauce:

5. Guajillo Chilies

Having a deep red color with a moderate and slightly fruity taste, guajillo chilies contain more heat than ancho chilies, and they have less spiciness than Kashmiri chilies.

Some dishes that guajillo chiles fit well into including birria tacos, chicken mole, beef birria, Mexican chicken adobo, guajillo pork chops, and chile Colorado. 

How to Substitute

To create a flavor that closely resembles Kashmiri chilies, you can mix 4 whole guajillo chiles with 1 teaspoon of black tea and 1 tablespoon of paprika. 

Always add guajillo pepper towards the end of your cooking and for every 1 part of Kashmiri chili powder, use half the quantity of guajillo peppers.

Watch this video to know how you can make guajillo sauce or chile Colorado:

6. Smoked Paprika Plus Cayenne

The mixture of smoked paprika and cayenne peppers offers a similar smoky flavor along with mild heat that helps to replicate Kashmiri chili powder’s taste.

Dishes that this mixture fits excellently well into include beer can chicken, soups, bean and chicken quesadillas, devilled sausages, roasted pork loin, and bacon roasted turkey.

How to Substitute

Combine ¾th teaspoon of smoked paprika powder and ¼th teaspoon of cayenne. Use this blend in a 1:1 ratio to replace Kashmiri chili powder.

Try this crispy smoked paprika chicken wings recipe:

7. Rogan

When you prepare any gravy, a layer formed of oil separates out, this layer is called Rogan.

You can easily prepare your own rogan by using any kind of chili powder. While replacing Kashmiri Chillies, always opt for red-colored chilies for most similar results.

Avoid using powder of chilies with an extremely high heat level. 

How to Substitute

To make Rogan, heat oil in a pan and let it cool down for some time. Then add your red chili powder and keep on stirring until the oil turns red. Use it instead of Kashmiri chili powder. 

8. Beetroot

A non-pepper color substitute

Beetroot has a distinctly sweet and slightly earthy flavor with a deep red or purple-like color. Hence, it offers your dish a similar burnished red appearance to Kashmiri chili powder.

However, you must only use it in a pinch because its flavor can sometimes overpower the overall taste of your dish.

Nevertheless, it still makes tasty kebabs, salads, milkshakes, and soups.

9. Soaked Red Chillies

You can easily replicate the color of Kashmiri chilies by using a paste of soaked red chiles. But only use chilies with mild heat and vibrant red color for most similar results.

Remove the seeds and soak the chilies for at least half an hour in cold water. Then blend them in a food processor and use them in the same way as Kashmiri chili powder.

Check out this video to make Rogan chicken curry using soaked red chilies:

10. Red Food Colors

A cheap color substitute 

For people who are allergic to chiles or simply hate spicy food, adding a bit of red food coloring does the job of Kashmiri chili powder without adding any flavor.

It is a good alternative because it would not have any effect on the overall flavor of your dish.

Here’s how you can make homemade red food coloring using beetroot:

11. Whole Dried Kashmiri Chili

Often used for tempering oil, dried Kashmiri chilies are one of the best alternatives since they are only used to make Kashmiri chili powder. 

Dried Kashmiri chilies are good for making Schezwan sauce, Mysore chutney, chili garlic sauce, and various chicken recipes.

How to Substitute

For each half teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder, use 1 whole dried Kashmiri chili.

12. Smoked Salt + Red Chili Powder

If you cannot find any other suitable substitutes, then a mixture of smoked salt and any kind of mild red chili powder will also work well. 

Some dishes that you can make using smoked sea salt include pulled pork, smoked pork chops, garlic-baked chicken breasts, roasted cauliflower, baked chicken legs, fishcakes, and bolognese ragu.

Here’s how you can make an easy salt and pepper shredded chicken:

13. Hot Sauces

The market has a great variety of chili sauces available in different flavors and levels of heat. So, you can pick the ideal hot sauce depending on the kind of taste you desire in your recipe.

Shrimp with rice, roasted tomato salsa, buffalo chicken dip, Spanish beef hash, turkey legs, chicken wings, and buffalo turkey burger are dishes that hot sauce works well with.

Try this honey hot wings with hot sauces recipe:

14. Homemade Kashmiri Chili Powder

A DIY substitute

If you have some Kashmiri Chillies, then you can easily make your own Kashmiri chili powder to get that same bold flavor and color. 

For this, first, remove the seeds along with the stems of the chilies. Let the chilies dry either in the sun or in the oven at low heat overnight.

You can also use a food dehydrator. When the chilies dry completely, blend them into a smooth powder. 

Use it as required instead of Kashmiri chili powder.

15. Gochugaru

Also called Korean hot pepper flakes, gochugaru is a Korean chili powder whose taste varies according to the type of chilies used to make it.

Generally, it provides an excellent spicy flavor with mild heat and subtle sweetness and offers a similar vibrant red color to Kashmiri chili powder.

Sometimes, its flavor may also be a little smoky. Hence, it pairs well with soups, stews, cucumber salad, and kimchi.

Other dishes that it fits well into include: fermented spicy cabbage, Korean rice cake stir fry, street food skewers, army stew, spicy braised tofu, and chicken stir-fries.

Watch this video to make spicy cucumber salad using Korean hot pepper flakes:

16. Chipotle Powder

Since the chipotle powder is obtained from jalapeño peppers after smoking and drying them, it contains a nice smoky flavor that works as a great alternative and adds more depth and taste to your dish. 

Skillet chicken thighs, lime cauliflower tacos, chicken satay with grilled vegetables, chicken quinoa burritos, tofu tacos, cauliflower and turkey chili, chipotle roasted pork and tenderloin, and chicken and vegetable soup are some dishes that you can make using chipotle powder.

Try this Chipotle Quinoa Chili Recipe:

17. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne peppers have the same taste as Kashmiri chilies and contain less heat. So, it is a good substitute. 

It works great with soups, pizzas, hot sauces, meats, and seafood. It is beneficial for your health since it is known to boost metabolism, initiate weight loss, bring down your blood pressure levels and improve digestion.

Check out this video to make cayenne pepper chicken:

18. Hot Paprika

Hot paprika originates from crushed spicy red chilies and contains more heat. Therefore, if you like high heat in your food, then it is a great substitute that will add a great spicy and tangy flavor to your dish.

It offers a vibrant red color like Kashmiri chilies to your soups, curries, stews, meat dishes, and vegetables.

Always add hot paprika only towards the end of the cooking process to retain a maximum of its flavor and colour.

Here’s how you can make Spinach rice in the paprika sauce:

19. Red Chili Powder

Red chili powder contains one or more types of crushed red chilies. It is a major ingredient in most Indian snacks.

It fits well into dishes like baby back ribs, black bean chili, chili-lime chicken kabobs, taco seasoning, pulled pork, fajita seasoning, and shredded chicken taco filling.

How to Substitute

For each teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder, use a ¼th teaspoon of red chili powder. 

Try this red chili pork recipe made using red chili powder:


Q1. Can you use chili powder instead of Kashmiri chili powder?

Ans. Even though you can replace Kashmiri chili powder with chili powder, it contains more heat and is a lot spicier than Kashmiri chilies. 

Q2. How is Kashmiri chili powder different from regular chili powder?

Ans. Kashmiri Chillies have their own distinctive flavor which makes their powder taste differently from regular chili powders. Their heat level is also lower than most red chili powders. 

Q3. What does Kashmiri chili taste like?

Ans. Kashmiri chili isn’t very hot and contains lower spiciness than most other types of chilies. It contains a bright red color and has a slightly sweet taste along with a smoky aftertaste.

Q4. Is cayenne pepper the same as Kashmiri chili powder?

Ans. Even though cayenne pepper is a good alternative, it is the same as Kashmiri chili only in its taste and not in hotness because it has less heat than Kashmiri chili powder. 

Q5. What is Kashmiri chili powder made of?

Ans. Kashmiri chili powder is made by grinding red peppers of medium quality.

Bottom Line

That’s all about Kashmiri chili powder substitutes!

Apart from these, if you have other substitution methods, then please let me know. 

Also, if you know any spice-loving cooks and foodie friends who like trying out different peppers, then please do share this guide with them.


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About Pratibha Singh

Pratibha is a popular home chef and loves to prepare some amazing Indian dishes. A foodie to the core she enjoys other cuisines too. She has been cooking since childhood and often prepares meals for her family, friends, and even strangers. Her motto in life: “Always be prepared!”