Chili Paste

Best Chili Paste Substitutes (Top 5)

Cooking Tips

Do you find hot food savory and delightful? Do spicy dishes boost your appetite? If you answered yes to these questions, then there is no doubt you would want that hot chili spice on your food every time you eat whether you want it really smoking hot or just that delicate spicy taste.

Chili sauce are good for hot and spicy food flavoring, but if you want that extra kick on your dish or condiments, then paste is the best option.

When you cannot find chili paste while doing your grocery shopping, do not worry because there are several options you can use as alternative to paste or you can even prepare your homemade chili creamy paste.

The essential part of using chili is to make your food hot and savory so even if you miss out on that chili paste you can still use substitutes like pepper bits, spicy flavored tomato pastes, and cayenne spiced ketchups.

We described below the top 5 options you can choose from as a replacement to chili paste when you ran out of it but still wanted that hot and spicy dish.

The Ultimate Guide to Chili Paste Substitutes

Some people thought of chili paste as a kind of condiment because it actually looks like one and it is mostly used to make condiments taste spicy.

For those who are not familiar with the difference between chili sauce and paste might also believe that they are just the same specially that they add the same flavor to food once added.

So, what is chili paste?

Imagine a thick cream oozing with very hot chili flavor taste, that is chili paste.  It usually uses tomato paste as base to make the chili paste. It is three times thicker and hotter that chili sauce.

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As to how I will use them, normally I will put hot chili sauce out of the bottle on my pizza but I will have to mix a portion of chili paste in tomato sauce or ketchup before wanting to put it on my pizza.

Chili sauce itself is a handy condiment while chili paste is used to make condiments or food taste spicy.

Though they may come in a variety of how hot the paste is or what other extra flavors were added, the purpose is essentially the same, to make food taste hot or spicy.

As I have said earlier, at times chili pastes are not easy to find in the market and that is when we resort to finding alternatives that will give us that same tastes. So, here are some substitutes you can choose from.


1. Make Your Own (DIY Chili Paste)

If you think you will not be satisfied by simply finding some alternative, you can make chili paste at home and it is very simple to do.

I prefer fresh chili when making homemade chili pastes as main ingredient, but you can take your pick.

You will need ingredients such as fresh chili or dried grounded chili, olive oil, salt, garlic, onions, and other seasonings or vegetables you like on your paste.

Here is a quick walkthrough for making homemade chili paste in the simplest way. 

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until they become pasty.
  2. Heat a pan with olive oil and sauté it with your preferred vegetables to add to your concoction.
  3. Add your mixture and cook for not more than 30 minutes under low to medium heat temperature.
  4. Stir up the mixture consistently while cooking so as not to burn the paste.
  5. Add your chosen seasonings or flavorings and cook it for not more than five minutes.
  6. Let it cool for a moment on your pan, then transfer it to a food container with lid that is good for storage.
  7. Store it in your fridge after it totally cooled down.

Following this procedure will give you a thick paste which is now ready to be used in your condiments and other dishes.

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2. Red Pepper Flakes

One kind of seasoning that spicy food lovers usually have in their kitchens are red pepper flakes.

Crushed red peppers are not mainly made from red chilis only but with other ingredients like cayenne and ancho bell.

This spicy seasoning is very handy to be added in any types of dishes or condiments while preparing food or cooking.

These tiny flecks of red pepper can also be used to make an alternative to chili paste by mixing it with tomato sauce.

You can also make your own spicy sweet condiment by mixing it with soy sauce and sugar.

3. Hot Sauce

Chili sauce or pepper sauce is commonly called hot sauce and it is a table condiment for spicy food lovers. It appears to have a pasty consistency and other are slightly liquid.

Chili pastes are different from hot sauces, but when chili paste is not available, you can always use hot sauce as a substitute to spice up your food or condiments.

You can squeeze that hot sauce bottle on your pizza or on to any food you are cooking that needs a little spicy kick.

You can find different brands of hot sauce in the market and each also differs in consistency and how spicy each one is. Also, some hot sauces come thicker than the other brands.

For example, I am fond of the Sriracha Hot Sauce compared to other brands because its consistency is almost like that of a chili paste.

4. Ketchup (mixed with Cayenne Pepper)

Ketchup is a common condiment to most people and is basically called a table sauce. It is usually thick or has pasty consistency with a sweet tangy taste from tomatoes while cayenne pepper is also a familiar spicy seasoning which other people prefer to use due to its moderate level of spiciness.

If chili paste is not available to spice up your dish, you can also use cayenne pepper by adding it directly to you dish or you might want to make your own chili paste using cayenne pepper and ketchup.

You can prepare your own spicy paste with a cup of ketchup mixed with a tablespoon of finely grounded cayenne pepper.


5. Spicy Tomato Paste

The best alternative for me in the absence of chili paste is the spicy tomato paste. You can buy tomato paste in the market all year round.

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There will be no need for you to fuss over preparing your own paste or worry about its consistency. Just mix the cayenne pepper powder or grounded chili with the tomato paste and you will love the result.

Remember that when making your own spicy paste, you can regulate how spicy or how thick you want your paste to be.

Chili Paste
Chili Paste

Related Questions

We want to share more information about making your favorite spicy dish with chili paste or its alternative.

We described in the article above our 5 substitutes but here is some other information you might want to know.

Will Curry Paste Work as a Substitute for Chili Paste?

Yes, to spice up your food you can use curry paste but remember it has a distinct taste that may overpower your dish.

Curry paste is a mix of garlic, ginger, shallot, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and red chilies. The turmeric gives the distinct taste together with the other ingredients hat is why you need to know your recipe well before using it so as not to change the taste of your dish.

What are benefits of  adding chili paste to dishes?

Chili is rich in vitamins A, C, B6, K1 and other minerals like potassium, copper, and antioxidants.

With its vitamins and mineral contents, chili is known to reduce inflammation, aid weight loss, boost immune system, helps reduce bad cholesterol, aid in clearing lungs and nasal congestions, and works as a natural pain reliever.

We use chili to make the chili paste therefore we can get all the healthy properties of chili on the chili paste.

What Do You Use Chili Paste for?

You can use chili paste to spice up a lot of dishes apart from the typical spicy recipes. Some examples are:

  • Spicy burgers
  • Spicy soup
  • Meat marinade mixture
  • Sweet and spicy dips
  • Sour and spicy dips
  • Spicy meatloaf or meatballs

What is the difference between chili paste and chili sauce?

Chili paste has a thicker or pasty consistency and its main ingredient is red chili peppers. You need to dilute the paste to have a moderate spicy taste in your dish at it is very spicy compared to hot sauces. It is commonly used in cooking and not as a ready condiment on your table.

Chili sauce has a thinner or almost watery consistency because it has other ingredients in it that has already moderated it spicy taste. It is commonly used as a table condiment which means you can readily use it to spice up your dish while already having meals.

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