chipotle powder substitute

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If you’re looking for a quick substitute for chipotle powder, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, you will find the best alternatives for chipotle powder as well as the recipes they can be used in and the substitute ratios for each replacement.

chipotle powder

What is chipotle powder?

Chipotle powder also called chipotle chile powder is an earthy, smoky seasoning made from grinding ripened, dried, smoked jalapeños (which are also called chipotle chile peppers or chipotle (Morita) chiles) into a fine powder that often has a medium to high heat.

Flavor of chipotle powder

This powdered seasoning has a sweet & smoky flavor. It is also mildly spicy, earthy, and pungent.

Chipotle powder can also have a deep rich smoky flavor that comes from the drying and smoking process of making the chipotle powder.

Uses of chipotle chile powder

Chipotle chile powder is popularly used in many Mexican and southwestern recipes and adds great flavor to chilis, barbecues, nachos, soups, quesadillas, sauces, pizzas, salad dressings, dry rubs for meats and so much more!

Now, that you know all this, here are the alternatives for chipotle powder

6 best ways to substitute for chipotle powder

Smoked paprika powder

smoked paprika

Smoke paprika powder also called smoked paprika, pimenton, smoked pimenton, Spanish paprika, or sweet paprika is a powder made from smoking dried red chili peppers over wood.

Smoked paprika is flavorful, has a deep red color, and has a strong and smoky scent. 

When it comes to the spiciness of smoked paprika, it all depends on the brand, but, generally, this spice is often mild, and some brands are also sweet.

This spice is similar to chipotle powder, in terms of color and smokiness. When it comes to heat, the chipotle powder is hotter than smoked paprika.

However, smoked paprika makes the perfect substitute for chipotle powder in recipes such as certain chilis, soups, quesadillas, sauces, dry rubs, etc where a lot of heat isn’t required. 

Ratio: You can use smoked paprika on a 1:1 ratio with chipotle powder


Chipotle chile (or ripened jalapeño chiles)

Another way to substitute chipotle powder is with some chipotle chiles or chipotle peppers which are made by the process of drying and smoking ripened jalapeños.

Chipotle peppers are used to make chipotle powder or canned in adobe sauce, but you can also get the smoked dried chipotle peppers on their own as well. It works great in recipes like enchilada sauces, stews, soups, chilis, and even meats. If you’re looking for some, you can grab chipotle peppers on amazon.

So how much chipotle powder equals 1 pepper?

Ratio: One whole dried chipotle pepper is equivalent to 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder.

Chipotle flakes

Chipotle flakes, also called chipotle pepper flakes are another great alternative to chipotle powder. Chipotle flakes are made by coarsely grinding ripened, dried smoked jalapeños into pepper flakes. 

Chipotle flakes have a robust, smoky, and authentic flavor that can be used for tacos, salsas, guacamole, sauces, pizzas, and more. It’s also great for garnishing as it’s coarse.

Ratio: Chipotle powder is more densely packed than chipotle flakes, so use a ratio of 1:3 in your recipes for a good chipotle powder substitute.

Ancho powder

ancho chili powder

Ancho chile powder or ancho powder is a ground powder made wholly from dried and ground ancho chiles (or pure dried poblano peppers). 

Ancho powder has a flavor that is sweet, smoky, mildly spicy, pungent, and fruity with underlying notes of chocolate and raisins and it has a very similar hue to chipotle powder.

Ancho powder is a good chipotle powder replacement in recipes such as sauces, stews, salsa, or even dry rubs for meats.

Because ancho powder is only moderately spicy, don’t expect the same heat that you would get from chipotle powder.

Ratio: Use ancho powder in place of chipotle powder on a 1:1 ratio.

Crushed red pepper flakes

red pepper flakes


Crushed red peppers are made from a mix of peppers in the capsicum annum family including ripe jalapeño chiles, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, Fresno chiles, and Anaheim.

However, the base of red pepper flakes is ripe cayenne peppers.

Crushed red peppers are another easy replacement for chipotle powder in recipes like eggs, salads, soups, stews, stir-fries, sauces and so much more. 

Crush red peppers have more heat than chipotle powder, as its base is cayenne and so you should be mindful of that when substituting in certain recipes.

Also, crushed red peppers don’t provide any smoky flavor, in fact, crushed red peppers are pungent and spicy.

Nonetheless in a pinch, it can be used as a suitable replacement for chipotle chile powder.

Note, crushed red pepper flakes scores 15,000 to 45,000 on the Scoville heat scale while chipotle powder only scores 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units. So keep this in mind when you are swapping the two out in certain recipes.

Cayenne pepper (or cayenne pepper powder)

 cayenne pepper powder

One question that is very often asked is:

Can I substitute cayenne pepper for chipotle powder?

Cayenne pepper powder and chipotle powder are not very similar and therefore, cayenne is not the best substitute for chipotle chile powder

Cayenne pepper powder is red-orange, with a flavor that is hotter, without the smokiness. Chipotle powder on the other hand is dull red, with a smoky, earthy, pungent flavor that works well in barbecues.

However, in a pinch, you can use cayenne pepper with another powder like smoked paprika to add a similar flavor to your recipes for a decent chipotle powder substitute.


How to make your own homemade chipotle powder

To make it, grab yourself some chipotle chiles from amazon. Then simply use a grinder to grind those dried smoked peppers into a powder form for your own homemade version! 

Chipotle powder ingredients

The only ingredients you’ll need to make chipotle powder is dried smoked ripened chipotle chiles. 

Now that you know how to find some amazing chipotle powder substitutes right in your spice cabinet, you should have little to no trouble making some of your best recipes that call for chipotle powder even when you’ve run out and need a quick chipotle powder alternative in a pinch!  

More powder substitutes…

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