Skip to Content

5 Best Kashmiri Chili Powder Substitutes: Elevate the Recipe

Kashmiri chili powder, a jewel among spices, not only adds color to your dishes but also a subtler heat that’s beloved in cuisines around the globe.

Unfortunately, it’s not always the most accessible spice, and sometimes you need a reliable plan B.

Enter the substitutes – those trustworthy kitchen sidekicks that can swoop into any recipe with the same pizzazz.

Today, we’re exploring five of the best allies for those moments when Kashmiri chili powder is missing from your pantry.

Key Takeaways:

  • Kashmiri chili powder is a versatile and unique spice that adds depth, color, and flavor to dishes.
  • Regular chili powder, paprika, Byadgi chili, Deggi Mirch, and ancho chili powder are all suitable substitutes for Kashmiri chili powder.
  • Each substitute has its distinct flavor profile and cooking tips, making them perfect for various dishes.
  • Experimentation and adaptation are key to successfully using substitutes while cooking. So don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen!

🙋‍♀️ Understanding Kashmiri Chili Powder

For centuries, Kashmiri chili powder has been a secret ingredient in dishes, adding a brilliant red hue and a gentle warmth that’s appreciated even by those who shun spicier fare.

Its unique characteristics make it a staple in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine, forming the bedrock of dishes from stews to kebabs. However, the challenge often lies in procuring this specialty spice, which is where versatile substitutes come to the rescue.

If you’re a culinary enthusiast keen on experimenting with this flavorful thread, or simply someone who loves to branch out from the usual suspects, read on.

Our selection isn’t just about heat; it’s about understanding the marriage of color and flavor, and the delicate dance of aroma and health benefits that spices bring to every dish.

👨‍🍳 5 Best Kashmiri Chili Powder Substitutes

Without further ado, here are five of our favorite Kashmiri chili powder substitutes:

Substitute 1: Regular Chili Powder

Before we explore exotic substitutes, consider the spice closer to home; regular chili powder. This pantry staple is a blend of ground-up chili peppers, cumin, oregano, and garlic. It’s commonly used in Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine, praised for delivering a balance of heat and earthy undertones.

Flavor Profile: Expect a medium heat level with a strong earthy flavor.

Cooking Tips: Use it in any dish that requires a warming kick without overpowering the other flavors. It’s a great match for chilis, soups, and even rubs for meats.

Usage Suggestions: For every teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder, use ¾ teaspoon of regular chili powder.

Substitute 2: Paprika (Sweet or Smoked)

Paprika comes in a variety of versions, but both sweet and smoked palettes can perform beautifully in the place of Kashmiri chili powder.

Sweet paprika offers a mild flavor that excels at adding color, while the smoked option brings depth akin to the smokiness found in Kashmiri chili powder.

Flavor Profile: Sweet paprika has a more vibrant red color and a delicate sweetness, while the smoky version has a hearty, rich flavor with a smoky aroma.

Cooking Tips: Use sweet paprika for mild dishes and coloring, and the smoked for a deeper, earthy taste perfect for meats and stews.

Usage Suggestions: Sub in an equal amount of paprika for your Kashmiri chili powder, but remember to adjust for heat based on the specific paprika you choose.

Substitute 3: Byadgi Chili

From Southern India, Byadgi chili is more than just a flavor – it’s known for the bold red hue that it imparts in dishes.

The mild heat, like Kashmiri, compliments rather than clashes, making it a standout alternative for dishes where color plays a key role alongside taste.

Flavor Profile: Byadgi chili carries a gentle heat with slightly sweet and tangy undertones.

Cooking Tips: Use in traditional Indian fare like curries and biryanis, which highlight the blend of mild and complex spices.

Usage Suggestions: For a teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder, use 1.5 teaspoons of Byadgi chili for matching heat and color.

Substitute 4: Deggi Mirch

Hailing from the Indian subcontinent, Deggi Mirch isn’t just about spice; it marries color, flavor, and a moderate level of heat beautifully. It’s often a go-to for chefs aiming to liven up a dish without overwhelming it.

Flavor Profile: A mix of sweet and heat, with a focus on a vibrant red hue.

Cooking Tips: An excellent choice for dishes where the chili’s flavor is as important as the color.

Usage Suggestions: Start with a 1:1 ratio, and then adjust to taste for your recipes calling for Kashmiri chili powder.

Substitute 5: Ancho Chili Powder

Ancho chili powder, a standard in Mexican cooking, shares the same dusky color and rich tone that chefs love about Kashmiri chili powder. It’s not as hot, but it’s equally complex, which makes it a winner in many dishes.

Flavor Profile: A mild, fruity, and slightly smoky flavor that is a delightful addition to dishes like mole and tamales.

Cooking Tips: It’s perfect for those who enjoy more subtle heat yet are still inclined towards a nuanced flavor.

Usage Suggestions: For milder dishes with a teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder, you can use ancho chili powder in the same quantity.


Homemade Kashmiri Chili Powder Recipe

Experience the vibrant flavors of Northern India and Pakistan with this homemade version of Kashmiri chili powder. Made from dried red peppers, this spice blend adds a beautiful color and gentle heat to any dish.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Spice Blend
Cuisine Indian
Servings 1 cup


  • 10 dried Kashmiri chilies


  • Begin by removing the stems and seeds from the dried Kashmiri chilies.
  • In a small skillet, toast the chilies over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will release their flavors and make them easier to grind.
  • Allow the chilies to cool before grinding them into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  • Store the chili powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.


  • For a spicier version, leave some of the seeds in the chilies while grinding.
  • You can also mix Kashmiri chili powder with other spices like cumin and coriander for added depth
Keyword homemade kashmiri chili powder
Did you make this recipe?Mention @CooksCrafter or tag #CooksCrafter!
5 from 4 votes (3 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Monday 18th of March 2024

Kashmiri chili powder has such a unique flavor profile. Any guesses which substitute would come closest to it?

Andrew Gray

Monday 18th of March 2024

I love the richness Kashmiri chili powder adds! I've tried smoked paprika as a substitute before, but I wonder how the others fare in comparison.