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Cayenne Pepper Substitute – With an Amazing Homemade Cayenne Pepper Recipe.

I’ve heard people say, “no substitutes – only the real stuff will do.” But:

  • When you’re at the Pharmacy collecting your meds and they have a generic which is half the price but does the same job – you say ‘Yes, thanks.”
  • When your home is a wreck (courtesy of the kids), your helper is ill and can’t make it; she sends you her sister who is willing to get started now – you say, “Yes, thanks.”
  • When you’re out of tomato sauce, and you cook fresh tomatoes and spice them up a bit – you’re using substitutes – in a wise way –  but they’re still substitutes, yet you all always say, “Yes, thanks.”

Who doesn’t love a dish with Cayenne Pepper cooked in it? I do! Did you know it’s full of natural goodness!

Health Benefits from Cayenne Pepper:

Look at this list of eight science-based potential benefits:

  • It could boost your metabolism. The capsaicin in cayenne peppers has metabolism-boosting properties, so
  • It could help to reduce hunger.
  • It could lower blood pressure.
  • It could aid digestive health.
  • It could help to relieve pain.
  • It could improve psoriasis.
  • It could reduce your risk of cancer.
  • It’s easy to add to your diet.
  • It helps with liver damage.
  • It’s an anti-inflammatory.
  • It helps to stop blood from clotting.
  • It lowers cholesterol.
  • It helps with heart disease.
  • It helps you to lose weight.

Here is yet another list but, this time, it contains cayenne pepper substitutes that do not compromise your recipes.

Cayenne Pepper Substitutes:


An available option that is found in almost every grocery store, so it’s easy to find. It’s made from some ground up chili peppers and, therefore, a chili powder with a specific name. It’s a beautiful rust red and has more flavor than heat. When it comes to the tasting and eating, you’ll find that Paprika is much milder than Cayenne – it doesn’t heat things all that much.


You will find this in Korean cooking, and it is made from sun-dried chili peppers. It’s vibrant with a good flavor, but the overriding flavor is one of smokiness. This coarsely ground mix of red pepper flakes called Gochutgaru is hotter than Paprika and could substitute for Cayenne.

And talking of red pepper flakes, it’s an excellent segue to move on to

Red Chili Flakes

Here’s another ingredient that so easy to find in almost every grocery store. It’s made of crushed and dried red chili peppers and very popular when used on pizza slices.

It has a different texture to Cayenne, and it’s not nearly as hot, so you would need to use quite a bit more – according to your taste.

Chili Powder

Yet another good substitute for Cayenne is Chili Powder. It is formed from different chili peppers that are dried and ground into a powder. It is often noticeably darker than Cayenne because not only is it made from darker red peppers, they are sometimes smoked, which also makes it a darker shade. You need to smell and taste before use but, it’s quite a good substitute for Cayenne.

Hot Sauce

A few splats of an excellent hot sauce make a perfect substitute for Cayenne. I hear the best hot sauce is a Louisiana Style Hot Sauce such as Tabasco or Crystal hot sauces. If you’re very picky, then try to look for a non-vinegar based hot sauce. It’s hard to find but maybe worth it in the end for you.

There Are Other Chili Pepper Options

Serrano Pepper is probably one of the best substitutes regarding heat. It’s made from red serrano peppers.

Here is another excellent substitute that varies in heat levels. The peppers are red or orange. The difference is that you would have to cook the actual fresh peppers into the dish, or you would have to dehydrate them to make chili powder – you might find that too much of a schlepp.


You can always find substitutes for Cayenne, Paprika, and Sriracha. If you’re a person with a ‘thing’ about the heat in your food (or Chili Pepper Madness) or if you’ve got the Cayenne Pepper Crazies, read on because you need to know this!

Instructions on How to Make Cayenne Pepper at Home:

Have you ever thought of making your own Cayenne Pepper at home?

Here are the instructions which are easy to follow:

  1. You can grow your Cayenne Peppers – ask your local nursery.

  2. When they're grown, or you've bought them, this is what to do:

  3. Put on some plastic gloves, or you'll never forgive yourself because you'll burn everywhere on your body for days ,and no, – you can't wash it off or splash milk on it. It still burns like crazy ,and you won't get much sleep for days.

  4. Then gather up those home-grown peppers, wash and dry them, and throw out any that look 'off' or 'iffy.

  5. I repeat, first, put on some plastic gloves (you are now warned – take me seriously, please)

  6. Remove the stems and slice them lengthwise.

  7. Put the cayenne peppers onto the dehydrator trays.

  8. To deseed is optional, as seeds often fall out after drying, so why bother, you might say, however.

  9. Some people say the seeds are bitter so maybe take the trouble to remove them.

  10. Follow the recommendations of the dehydrator but, dehydrate the cayenne peppers at 135 degrees F for at least five hours until they're completely dried all the way through – it could take up to eight hours or even longer!

  11. To speed up the process of drying, chop the peppers into smaller pieces before putting them on the rack to dehydrate.

  12. You'll know when they're thoroughly dried because they'll be crisp and crackly when you handle them. They won't bend – they'll snap.

  13. Now put some peppers in a mortar and pound them with a pestle until they are adequately ground. Then repeat this with more peppers until you've ground them all. You can grind them into a coarse grain or a fine powder – it's up to you.

  14. Sift that powder because you may find a few odd sod chunks in there.

  15. Lastly, I'm repeating the warning about failing to wear plastic gloves. The peppers secrete oil, which gets into your skin in seconds, and anyone you touch – or anywhere you feel on yourself – will burn like hell. The eyes immediately send out warning signals because that oil has something that gets into the air and hurts thee yes. Wear the gloves – even put on safety glasses – you'll find it's worth it.

  16. Store in airtight containers.

A Recipe

This recipe should please almost everyone, and the reason I chose this one is that you can make so many adjustments to it to suit your palate and the people you are cooking for. With this type of versatility, you can’t lose! So here it is:

Chili Con Carne

(which means chili with meat!) A sort of delicious stew.

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 lbs Minced ground Beef
  • 1 Large Onion (chopped)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 tbsp Dried Oregano
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 5 tsp Cayenne Pepper (more if you like it hot and spicy)
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 28 oz Can of Crushed Tomato
  • 0.5 cup Beef Stock
  • 14.5 oz Drained can of Kidney Beans
  • 1 pinch Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 good Handful of Fresh parsley (not dried, chopped)
  1. It's effortless to make – there's no oven work – It's all on top of the stove:

  2. Pour the Olive Oil into a large skillet or frying pan and heat on medium.

  3. Add the chopped Onions and saute (fry) 'til golden.

  4. Add the chopped garlic and fry for another minute.

  5. Add the Minced Beef and fry (8mins) until cooked (no pink) but still juicy.

  6. Add the Cumin, Oregano ,Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, and Tomato Paste

  7. Stir and fry for about two minutes.

  8. Add the Tomatoes, Beef Stock, and Kidney Beans.

  9. Add Salt and Pepper – season to taste.

  10. Stir in the chopped fresh (not dried) Parsley.

  11. Simmer over a low heat.

  12. Stir occasionally until the Chili Con Carne thickens slightly.

  13. Cook for about 1 – 1 ½  hours.

As this recipe allows for really generous servings, there could be a quantity left over and Chile Con Carne is always better on the second day – it’s a bonus!

It stores well in the fridge for 3-4 days and freezes well also.

Nutritional Information:

Calories: 524kcal (26%)   

Carbohydrates: 30g (10%)

Protein: 45g (90%)  

Fat: 25g (38%) 

Saturated Fat: 8g (50%)

Cholesterol: 117mg (39%) 

Sodium: 691mg (30%)

Potassium: 1530mg (44%)

Fiber: 9g (38%)

Sugar: 10g (11%)

Vitamin A: 940IU

Vitamin C: 19.5mg

Calcium: 153mg (15%)

Iron: 9.7mg (54%)

I hope you roll up your sleeves and make your own Cayenne Pepper at home. I wonder if you will.

Also, I hope you make the Chile Con Carne and enjoy it – it’s a gratifying dish to make for the family on a weeknight – or dress it up for the weekend special.

Weekend Special

For a more sophisticated weekend wine and candles style:

  • You might like to serve it on a bed of rice.
  • You might want to add a good sprinkling of grated cheese and put it in the oven until the cheese melts and gets all golden and bubbly.
  • Then you could serve it with a scoop of sour cream, which goes well with the rice and bread and wine.
  • A rough red wine would be splendid to match up with it – or a nice cold beer! and some chunky bread.

Most of all, I hope you have fun – lots of it.

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