6 Best Aleppo Pepper Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Aleppo pepper is a slightly spicy and fruity pepper that is typically used in its dried flake form in the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. The popularity of this pepper has grown in the United States during the 20th century with the rising interest in Middle Eastern cuisine, but its origins in Syria can make it difficult to find here.

Luckily, there are several excellent substitutions you can find. Using the right aleppo pepper substitute will help keep your meals taste great with just the right amount of spice.

Best Aleppo Pepper Substitute

The best aleppo pepper substitute is ancho chili powder. Other alternatives include paprika, red pepper, cayenne pepper, marsh or antebi peppers, and Korean gochugaru.

Ancho Chili Powder

Ancho chili powder is the closest aleppo pepper substitute as it gives your dish the same spiciness that you get from aleppo.

Crushed cayenne pepper in a wooden spoon with red chillis placed around

Cayenne pepper contains a high amount of capsaicin. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Hot or Smoked Paprika

Either of the paprika is dark red in color and finely ground, adding a punch of flavor and similar saltiness. If you don’t like a lot of heat, smoked paprika is a great choice!

Sweet Paprika and Cayenne Pepper Blend

Mix sweet paprika and cayenne pepper based on the heat you want in your dish. Just a tiny dash of cayenne might be enough to add spice to a whole meal, but heat-seekers may want more. Aleppo peppers are often dried with salt, so add an extra pinch of salt to this mix for the right blend.

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes have a milder aroma as compared to that of aleppo peppers or high-quality paprika. Using the spice in your recipe is a great way to get the heat you’re looking for.

Marash or Antebi Peppers

Marsh or antebi peppers are used widely in many cuisines as aleppo peppers. Marash peppers are smokier and have more heat, while antebis are fruity and milder.

Gochugaru

A staple in Korean cooking, these de-seeded crushed red pepper flakes make a great substitute for aleppo pepper. Using gochugaru in your dish will give you a similar heat and sweetness as aleppo peppers.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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