What Can I Substitute for Chili Paste?

Chili paste is often used in restaurants to add heat and strong pepper flavor to a variety of dishes, including salsas, soups and pastas. It's not always easy to find at your local grocer, but here are some viable alternatives.

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

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Crushed red pepper flakes are dried cayenne peppers that have been crushed. These flakes usually have a large number of small seeds, which makes for a very hot, peppery flavor.

Hot Sauce

A bottle of your favorite hot sauce is a simple substitution for chili paste. While lacking the consistency of chili paste, the intense pepper flavor (usually from cayenne, jalapeño or habanero peppers) and spiciness make hot sauce an easy replacement ingredient.

Ketchup With Ground Cayenne Pepper

Ketchup has a very similar texture to chili paste. With the addition of ground cayenne pepper, it becomes a suitable substitute. One to two teaspoons of ground cayenne pepper to one cup of ketchup makes a fiery replacement for chili paste.