Oregano To Black Pepper: 5 Substitutes For Red Chilli Powder

It is an unhidden truth that Indians love spicy food. Most of us might be so addicted to this flavour that less-spicy foods are considered bland in India. Be it a curry or any other savoury dish, the addition of various spices and herbs is a must for us, and chilli is another essential ingredient of Indian cuisine. Even our salads are prepared with chillies. Both green and red chillies are staples in our cooking. Green chillies are used for less spicy dishes, while red ones are used to making a dish super-hot.

Red chillies can be found in both whole and powdered forms, and they are equally important in Indian cuisine. Adding it in any form can give your dish a fiercely spicy flavour. Red chilli powder is commonly used to add a gorgeous red glow to the food, apart from adding a sharp flavour. It is also popularly used for marinating vegetables and meat before cooking them. Most Indian curries make use of red chilli powder to enhance the taste and flavour of the dish. It is also known to be beneficial for managing blood pressure, digestion, and immunity-building.

But if you run out of red chilli powder in the middle of cooking a dish or any member of your family is allergic to it, here are five simple substitutes you can use in your recipes. These are easily available and give the same sharp and smoky flavour to your food:


Yes, this Italian seasoning can definitely help you. Many chilli powders incorporate oregano for a better flavour. It might not have the same heat as a red chilli or lend a zingy red colour to the dish, but it is definitely going to enhance the taste of your dish. This seasoning is best used in soups and sauces. Oregano packets can be easily found in the kitchen, as most of us save them from pizza and pasta orders.

Powdered Spices

This might be a complicated way of substituting red chilli powder, but the result is definitely worth it. Spices are a common cooking ingredient that will always be in the kitchen. All you have to do is make a powder of them and use it in your dish. Cumin, black pepper, paprika, cayenne powder, ginger powder and salt are the main spices used to prepare them. You can also add some oregano to the powdered spices.

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is a popular way to add spicy flavour to any dish. It is popular in many parts of the world. Hot sauce is a more convenient substitute for red chilli powder than powdered spices. But just make sure you are using it in a controlled manner. Two to three spoonfuls of hot sauce can add a significant amount of heat to one meal. If you are cooking for kids, then be more careful.


Cumin is another alternative to red chilli powder that can provide a similar level of spiciness although not a vibrant red colour. It is rich in aroma and gives a great flavour to dishes like stews, curries, and masala tea. If you are out of red chilli powder, then adding cumin to your food will give it the authentic flavour you have been expecting from red chilli. The right measurement is in the ratio of 2:1 of cumin in the place of red chilli.

Black Pepper

Black pepper, or peppercorns, is a common spice found in the Indian masala dabba. It has a sharp and pungent aroma along with a spicy taste. These tiny beads can definitely substitute for your red chilli powder with their amazing flavour. Black pepper is also good for common ailments such as coughs and indigestion. Just be careful when picking up the peppers; always choose the darker ones as they are more flavourful.