Calabrian chili paste is a staple in Italian cooking, adding an extra kick to dishes like pizza and pasta.
But what happens when you can’t find this unique ingredient at your local store?
Fortunately, there are several substitutes for Calabrian chili paste that will still give your dish the same flavor and heat.
From fresh chilies to hot sauce, here are twelve of the best substitutes for Calabrian chili paste so that you can enjoy your favorite recipes without compromising on taste.
What is Calabrian Chili Paste?
Calabrian chili paste is a spicy condiment made from Calabrian chilies, which are small and bright red in color.
It has a unique flavor that is both sweet and spicy, with notes of garlic and vinegar.
The paste is usually made by grinding the chilies into a fine powder, then adding olive oil, salt, garlic, oregano, and sometimes vinegar to create a thick paste.
Calabrian chili paste can be used as an ingredient in many dishes or as a condiment for added heat and flavor.
It’s often used to add spice to pizza sauces or pasta dishes like spaghetti alla puttanesca.
It can also be mixed into mayonnaise for sandwiches or spread on toast with ricotta cheese for breakfast.
Additionally, it can be stirred into soups or stews for extra depth of flavor.
The spiciness level of Calabrian chili paste varies depending on the type of chilies used; some varieties are milder than others so it’s important to taste before using if you’re not sure how hot it will be!
The 12 Best Substitutes For Calabrian Chili Paste
Calabrian chili paste is a rich and flavourful ingredient that can be hard to find in some places.
If you’re looking for an alternative, here are twelve substitutes that will still give you the same bold flavors:
1 – Harissa
Harissa is a spicy North African chili paste made from hot peppers, garlic, olive oil and spices such as cumin, coriander and caraway.
It is used to flavor soups, stews and couscous dishes. Harissa can also be used as a condiment or spread on sandwiches.
Harissa has a unique flavor that combines the heat of chilies with the sweetness of roasted red peppers and the earthiness of spices like cumin and coriander.
The combination creates an intense yet balanced flavor that adds depth to any dish it’s added to.
Pro Tip: To reduce the spiciness of harissa, add some honey or yogurt to your dish before serving. This will help balance out the heat while still allowing you to enjoy all the flavors!
2 – Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha sauce is a type of hot sauce or chili sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt.
It is named after the coastal city of Si Racha in Thailand where it was first created.
Sriracha has a distinct flavor that’s spicy but not too hot. It has a garlicky taste with hints of sweetness and acidity from the vinegar.
The heat level can vary depending on the brand you buy, so be sure to check the label before using it in your cooking!
Pro Tip: Sriracha is great for adding some heat to dishes without overpowering them. Try adding it to soups, sauces, marinades or even just as a condiment for sandwiches and wraps!
3 – Sambal Oelek
Sambal Oelek is a type of Indonesian chili paste made from ground red chilies, vinegar, and salt.
It has a spicy, tangy flavor that adds heat to any dish.
Sambal oelek can be used as a condiment or an ingredient in marinades, sauces, and dressings.
Sambal oelek is often used in Southeast Asian cooking to add heat and depth of flavor to dishes like curries and stir-fries.
It’s also great for adding some kick to dips or marinades for grilled meats or vegetables.
Pro Tip: If you want to reduce the spiciness of sambal oelek, try adding a bit of sugar or honey when using it as an ingredient in recipes.
This will help balance out the heat without sacrificing too much flavor!
4 – Jalapeno Pepper
The jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper that is prized for its heat, which can range from mild to very hot.
It’s commonly used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, as well as in salsas and sauces.
The jalapeño has a bright green color when fresh, but it turns red or orange when dried.
Jalapeno peppers have a unique flavor that is both spicy and slightly sweet.
They are often used to add heat to dishes without overpowering the other flavors present.
When cooked, they become sweeter and more mellow in flavor.
Pro Tip: To reduce the spiciness of jalapenos, remove the seeds before adding them to your dish!
This will help keep the heat level down while still providing plenty of flavor!
5 – Red Chili Flakes
Red chili flakes, also known as crushed red pepper flakes, are a type of spice made from dried and crushed red chili peppers.
They have a strong, spicy flavor that can add heat to any dish.
Red chili flakes are often used in Italian cuisine, but they can be found in many other cuisines around the world.
Red chili flakes are an easy way to add some heat to your dishes without having to use fresh chilies or hot sauces.
A pinch of these fiery little flakes will give your food just enough kick without overpowering it.
Sprinkle them on pizza, pasta dishes, salads and more for a flavorful boost!
6 – Anaheim Peppers
Anaheim peppers are a mild variety of chili pepper.
They are long and thin, with a bright green color when fresh.
Anaheim peppers have a mild heat level, ranging from 500 to 2,500 Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
This makes them perfect for adding flavor without too much spice.
Anaheim peppers can be used in many dishes, such as enchiladas, tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more. They can also be roasted or grilled for an added smoky flavor.
When cooked they become sweeter and less spicy than when raw.
Pro Tip: To get the most out of your Anaheim peppers try roasting them first!
Roasting brings out their sweetness and adds depth to their flavor profile.
Simply place the whole chilies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast at 400°F for 10-15 minutes until lightly charred and softened.
7 – Serrano Peppers
Serrano peppers are a type of chili pepper that is commonly used in Mexican cuisine.
They are small, thin-walled peppers with a bright green color and a mild to medium heat level.
Serranos have an earthy flavor with hints of citrus and grassiness.
Serrano peppers can be used fresh or dried, but they are most often found in salsas, sauces, and marinades.
They can also be pickled for use as a condiment or added to dishes like tacos or burritos for extra heat and flavor.
Pro Tip: To reduce the heat of serrano peppers without sacrificing flavor, remove the seeds before adding them to your dish! This will help you get all the delicious flavors without too much spice.
8 – Habanero Peppers
Habanero peppers are a type of chili pepper that is native to the Caribbean and Central America.
They are small, but pack a punch when it comes to heat!
Habaneros range from 100,000–350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), making them one of the hottest peppers in the world.
Habanero peppers have a unique flavor profile that is fruity and smoky with hints of citrus and tropical fruit. The heat can be intense, so use caution when adding these peppers to your dishes!
Pro Tip: If you want to reduce the heat without sacrificing flavor, try roasting or grilling habanero peppers before using them in recipes.
This will mellow out their spiciness while still allowing you to enjoy their delicious flavor.
9 – Cayenne Peppers
Cayenne peppers are a type of chili pepper that is commonly used in many cuisines around the world.
They are typically dried and ground into a powder, but can also be found fresh or as flakes.
Cayenne peppers have a very spicy flavor, with heat levels ranging from mild to extremely hot depending on the variety.
Cayenne peppers are often used to add heat and flavor to dishes such as curries, stews, sauces, and marinades.
The intense spiciness of cayenne peppers makes them an excellent substitute for calabrian chilli paste when you’re out of it.
Pro Tip: To reduce the heat level of cayenne pepper without sacrificing flavor, try adding some sugar or honey to your dish!
This will help balance out the spice while still providing plenty of delicious flavor.
10 – Ancho Chile Peppers
Ancho chile peppers are dried poblano peppers.
They are mild to medium-hot in heat and have a sweet, smoky flavor with notes of raisins and prunes.
Ancho chiles are often used in Mexican cuisine, as well as other Latin American cuisines.
Ancho chiles can be used to make sauces, salsas, marinades, and rubs for meats or vegetables.
They can also be rehydrated and blended into soups or stews for an extra kick of flavor.
When using ancho chiles in recipes that call for calabrian chilli paste, you may need to adjust the amount of salt or sugar accordingly since the flavors will differ slightly from one another.
11 – Chipotle Pepper Powder
Chipotle pepper powder is made from dried and smoked jalapeño peppers.
It has a smoky flavor with a hint of sweetness, as well as a moderate to hot level of heat.
Chipotle pepper powder can be used in many dishes to add flavor and spice, such as tacos, chili, soups, stews, marinades and sauces.
Chipotle pepper powder is an excellent substitute for calabrian chilli paste because it has similar smoky notes but with more heat.
The chipotle pepper powder will give your dish an extra kick that the calabrian chilli paste won’t provide.
Pro Tip: To reduce the heat of the chipotle pepper powder without sacrificing its flavor, try adding some honey or brown sugar to balance out the spiciness!
12 – Dried Chile Peppers
Dried chile peppers are a type of pepper that has been dried, either naturally or artificially.
They come in many varieties and can range from mild to extremely hot.
Dried chiles have a deep, smoky flavor and intense heat that is often used to add depth and complexity to dishes.
Dried chiles are an essential ingredient in Mexican cuisine, as well as other Latin American cuisines.
They can be used whole or ground into powder for use in sauces, salsas, marinades, soups, stews and more.
When using dried chiles it’s important to remember that the heat level will vary depending on the variety you choose – so make sure you know what you’re getting before adding them to your dish!
Pro Tip: To reduce the intensity of the heat from dried chiles without sacrificing flavor, try soaking them in warm water for 15-20 minutes before using them in your recipe.
This will help mellow out their spiciness while still allowing their unique flavor profile to shine through!
Can I substitute sambal oelek for Calabrian chili paste?
Yes, sambal oelek can be used as a substitute for Calabrian chili paste.
Sambal Oelek is a type of chili sauce made from chili peppers, vinegar, and salt that is commonly used as a seasoning or flavor enhancer in Asian cuisine.
It has a fiery taste that can add depth and spice to any dish, and can be used in place of chili paste in recipes.
It is hotter than some other types of chili paste, so you may need to adjust the amount you use to suit your taste. However, if you are looking for a substitute for chili paste, sambal Oelek is a great option.
How hot is Calabrian chili paste?
Calabrian chili paste is quite hot, with a Scoville rating of 25,000 to 40,000 units. To put this into perspective, regular jalapenos have a Scoville rating of only 2,500 to 8,000 units.
The heat of the Calabrian chili paste is slightly less intense than the whole pepper due to the addition of oil and spices that help to balance out the spiciness.
All in all, Calabrian chili paste packs quite a punch, making it a great addition to any dish for those who like a bit of heat.
In conclusion, Calabrian chili paste is an essential pantry item for many cooks, but it can be difficult to find.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other options that can provide the same flavor and heat as Calabrian chili paste.
The best substitutes for Calabrian chili paste are harissa, sriracha sauce, sambal oelek, jalapeno pepper, red chili flakes, Anaheim peppers, Serrano peppers, habanero peppers, cayenne peppers, ancho chile peppers, chipotle pepper powder, and dried chile peppers.
All of these substitutes can provide the same flavor and heat as Calabrian chili paste and are readily available, so you can easily find one that works for your dish.
The 12 Best Substitutes For Calabrian Chili Paste
- Sriracha Sauce
- Sambal Oelek
- Jalapeno Pepper
- Red Chili Flakes
- Anaheim Peppers
- Serrano Peppers
- Habanero Peppers
- Cayenne Peppers
- Ancho Chile Peppers
- Chipotle Pepper Powder
- Dried Chile Peppers
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.