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7 Fiery Swaps for Thai Chili Peppers in Your Recipes

Got a craving for that spicy kick Thai chili peppers bring but can’t find them? We’ve got you covered. You know, sometimes finding those little firecrackers in stores feels like searching for a needle in a haystack.

No need to abandon your spicy recipe dreams! We’ve lined up some hot alternatives that may already be hiding in your pantry.

Ever thought about using jalapeños or serrano peppers instead? Yes, they can really do the trick. Hang tight as we spill the beans on how to keep that heat in your dishes without Thai chili peppers.

7 Easy Substitutes for Thai Chili Peppers

Alright, spice enthusiasts, let’s talk about the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) of Thai chili peppers. You might be wondering, how hot are these little red gems exactly? Well, Thai chili peppers pack a punch, ranging between 50,000 to 100,000 SHU.

To put that into perspective, that’s about 20 times hotter than your average jalapeño! So, next time you’re about to toss a handful of these fiery beauties into your dish, just remember: a little goes a long way.

For those moments when you can’t find or simply don’t have Thai chili peppers on hand, here are seven easy swaps to bring that heat back into your dishes.

1 – Serrano Pepper

First off, the serrano pepper is a solid alternative for Thai chili peppers. Its heat level ranges from 10,000 to 25,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). So, it’s less fiery, but still brings that satisfying kick.

We suggest using 3 – 4 serrano peppers for every Thai chili in your recipe. They’re easy to find and versatile.

They’re also great raw or cooked. We’ve thrown them in salsas, garnishes, and stir-fries.

For more on swapping out Thai chili peppers, you might find this Serrano Pepper Substitutes article handy.

2 – Jalapeño Pepper

Next up, jalapeños! These guys bring a milder kick and range from 2,500 to 8,000 SHU. Perfect if you want a little heat without burning your taste buds.

We usually go with 4-5 jalapeños for every Thai chili pepper in our recipes. Easy to find, they work in everything – salsas, tacos, even pickled!

Feel like experimenting? Check out this jalapeño pepper substitutes article.

Jalapeños are our go-to for a less fiery but flavourful swap.

3 – Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne, the go-to spice for those who like it hot! Say hello to a pepper that means business. With a heat range of 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), it’s the perfect middle ground between mild and fiery.

Use half a teaspoon of cayenne powder in place of each Thai chili. It’s a simple swap that works for many recipes.

Unlike larger peppers, cayenne is powdered. It blends seamlessly in soups, sauces, and stews without chopping. Plus, it’s always on our spice rack, making it super convenient.

For more on substituting cayenne, check out this Cayenne pepper substitutes piece.

4 – Red Pepper Flakes

For a quick and easy spice fix, red pepper flakes are our go-to. These crushed bits of dried chili peppers bring a heat level between 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. They’re perfect for adding that fiery kick to nearly any dish.

We typically use half a teaspoon for every Thai chili. This keeps the spice manageable and easy to adjust. Easy to sprinkle onto pizzas, pastas, and sauces, red pepper flakes are super versatile.

They blend smoothly into dishes, no chopping required. For more spicy swaps, check out the best red pepper flake substitutes article.

5 – Ancho Chili Powder

Next up, it’s ancho chili powder! This spice is mild with a smokey, slightly sweet taste. It’s only around 1,000 to 2,000 SHU, so it’s nowhere near as hot as Thai chilies.

To get the right balance, we use one whole teaspoon for each Thai chili. We’ve found it shines in soups and stews. It mixes well, no chopping needed, making it super convenient.

On a lazy Sunday, we used it in our favorite chili recipe—total hit! Our friends loved the unique twist.

6 – Guajillo Chili Powder

If you want a mild, smoky twist, Guajillo chili powder is your friend. It’s got a gentle heat of around 2,500 to 5,000 SHU.

We use one tablespoon of Guajillo for every Thai chili. Perfect for soups and stews. Its sweetness with a touch of tangy fruitiness elevates our recipes.

Remember our Sunday stew? We tossed in Guajillo powder, and it was a hit! Much easier to handle than chopping fresh chilies.

Need more info on swaps? Our guajillo pepper substitutes article has you covered.

Totally versatile, Guajillo is now a staple in our pantry.

7 – Bird’s Eye Chili

Last but not least, let’s talk Bird’s Eye Chili! These tiny peppers are fiery, clocking in at 50,000 to 100,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

We suggest using one Bird’s Eye Chili per Thai chili. They’re small but mighty and will keep your dishes super spicy.

We love them in stir-fries and curries. They offer a great kick without overwhelming other flavors.

One time, we tossed a couple into our curry, and wow, the spice was just right!

Curious about more pepper swaps? Check out the Bird’s eye chili substitutes.