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Kashmiri Red Chili Powder Substitute | What to Use Instead

Kashmiri chili powder is made from ground Kashmiri chilies and has a slightly smoky taste often used in Indian cooking. It is a spice not common in many kitchens, so you are likely reading this for that reason.

You can make a substitute for Kashmiri red chili powder by mixing three parts smoked or regular paprika and one part of cayenne together. If you don’t have smoked paprika but want that smoky flavor, try adding a bit of liquid smoke to the recipe to compensate.

Authentic Kashmiri powder is hard to replace perfectly. Therefore, you may want to order some for the next time you need it in a recipe. Here is the link to my favorite brand.

Please read on to learn more about replacing Kashmiri chili powder.

What Can You Substitute for Kashmiri Chili Powder?

If you do not have smoked paprika and cayenne to mix as a substitute for Kashmiri chili powder, you might try just using ordinary paprika with a bit of cayenne. The taste will not have the smoky flavor that Kashmiri chili powder has; however, try adding a bit of liquid smoke if you have it handy. 

The main reason Kashmiri chili powder is used in Indian recipes is the color, not so much for the flavor. Kashmiri chili powder may sound spicy, but it is mild in taste. Before food coloring was made, it was used a lot in recipes to give it the red coloring.

Another substitute you can try is Byadgi Chili, which is also from India. It has a red color, like Kashmiri chili powder. The significant difference is the heat level. Whereas Kashmiri is mild, Byadgi has a very hot fiery taste. 

Also, sometimes Guajillo chilies are used as a substitute for Kashmiri chili powder. You will need four Guajillo chilies, a teaspoon of black tea, and a tablespoon of paprika to make the substitute. While the taste is not exact, it is pretty close. 

How to Make Kashmiri Chili Powder

Red Chili Powder

You may wonder if it is possible to make your homemade Kashmiri chili powder and, if so, how to go about it. 

As a general rule, Kashmiri chili powder can be made by taking a little over half a pound of long red chilis and a little over half a pound of Kashmiri red chilies, preparing them, and roasting them before grinding them in a powder.

Here is the recipe: 

Homemade Kashmiri Chili Powder


You will need a little over a half-pound of red chili peppers and a little over a half-pound of Kashmiri chilis.


  1. Wash and remove the stems from both types of peppers.
  2. Line baking sheets with foil
  3. Place the destemmed and cut peppers on the pans, and bake at 250 degrees for about thirty minutes.
  4. Place in a dehydrator for about ninety minutes. Cool them down completely
  5. Put them in the blender and grind them into a fine powder.

You can store your homemade Kashmiri chili powder in an airtight jar for up to four to six months at room temperature. If you want to store it longer than that, place part of the powder in another jar and refrigerate. 

Pro Tip: If you would like your Kashmiri chili powder to be a little spicier, add more cayenne chili peppers than the  50/50 mixture.

Alternative Methods

  • You can also roast the chilis by placing them in a deep round pan and dry roasting them until crisp. Let them cool, and then grind them up in a blender and store them in a jar. 
  • Some people also sundry them in the sun for up to three days until they are crisp, and then finish them by blending them into a fine powder.

Related The 6 Best Similar Adobo Substitutes.

What is the Difference Between Kashmiri Chili Powder and Chili Powder?

Kashmiri chili powder is a with a much milder taste than regular chili powder. Kashmiri also has a smoky flavor and adds a bright red color to food when added. On the other hand, regular chili powder is made most often from cayenne peppers and has a much hotter flavor.

Can You Use Chili Powder Instead of Kashmiri Chili Powder?

Chili powder is too hot to replace the milder Kashmiri chili powder in most recipes. A more reasonable substitute would be three parts smoky or regular paprika and one part cayenne pepper.

This substitute would be a much closer representation of the Kashmiri chili powder flavor. The regular paprika will be a little sweeter without the smokiness will be gone.

Is Kashmiri Chili Powder and Paprika the Same?

Kashmiri chili and paprika are very different spices. Paprika is much sweeter than other chilis and can be made by grinding up dried red bell peppers into a powder. It is used more as a garnish than anything else. Kashmiri chili powder is made with the long red Kashmiri pepper that has a mild heat.

Is Kashmiri Chili Powder Hot or Mild?                                                                                           

Kashmiri chili powder is the mildest of chili powders and is known chiefly for adding red hues to food when added to recipes. It is used in many Indian dishes to add color to them. 

Final Bite

If you need to substitute Kashmiri chili powder, there are several ways, but the closest to the original is the one made with smoky paprika and chili powder. You can use it in a variety of recipes, especially of Indian origin.

If you need something to give your food a beautiful red coloring, Kashmiri chili powder is a great choice. The flavor is mild and smoky, making it an unusual combination. You can find it in most Indian grocery stores or order it online or attempt to make it yourself from fresh Kashmiri chilies.

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, don’t miss 6 Substitutes for Black Pepper to Spice up Your Cooking.