Aleppo pepper delivers a kind of sweet and fairly hot flavor to dishes. It is a variety of pepper with an identical flavor to ancho peppers. Aleppo has a subtle cumin flavor with an indication of salt and vinegar flavor.
However, if you can’t find Aleppo pepper in your kitchen while cooking, or you just want to use something different, you can settle for other Aleppo pepper substitutes.
Paprika, Urfa, Marash pepper, antebi, Ancho pepper, Piri Piri, Gochugaru, chile de Arbol, and Pimenton de la Vera are all wonderful Aleppo pepper alternatives that you can use. They will give your dishes a similar heat, sweet, and savory flavor that Aleppo pepper delivers.
Let’s quickly learn more about Aleppo pepper and how to substitute them in your cooking!
What is Aleppo Pepper?
Also known as the Halaby chile pepper, Aleppo pepper is a Capsicum annuum variety used as a spice in dishes. Aleppo pepper got its name from the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Sadly, the ongoing crises in Syria affected the growth of this pepper. Today, most Aleppo pepper you see in stores is grown in Turkey, where the pepper flakes are known as pul biber.
When fully ripe, the Aleppo pepper is removed from its seeded, sun-dried, and grounded into flakes, and then mixed with olive oil and salt, leading to a bright red, earthy, somewhat hot spice that you can use as a garnish or spice in place of red chili flakes.
Aleppo pepper is arguably the most commonly used spice in Syria after salt and pepper. It became popular in the United States in the mid-1990s and is now being grown in America to meet the ever-growing demand.
What Does Aleppo Pepper Taste Like?
Aleppo pepper has a mild sweetness and tanginess with a bit taste of raisin, tomato, and citrus notes, as well as a cumin-like roasted flavor and earthiness. It has about 10,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), with a heat that builds slowly.
Best Aleppo Pepper Substitutes
1. Sweet Paprika and Cayenne Mix
Aleppo pepper is recognized for its earthiness in taste with indications of raisin and tomato, so utilizing solely the cayenne pepper would make your recipe have too much heat, and it’ll taste a little flat.
But if you combine it with sweet paprika, which is a milder chili pepper spice with an identical grade of flavor complexness to the Aleppo, you have made a winning blend.
The paprika brings in the flavor, and the cayenne furnishes the heat.
You can add salt if you prefer; it’ll make the Aleppo pepper a little salty due to its drying method.
2. Hot Paprika
Perhaps you don’t have the time or intention to blend cayenne and paprika; in making an Aleppo-like alternative, you can handily opt for hot paprika.
The tremendous element about this substitution is that it doesn’t need any extra prep on your part.
Identical to the delightful paprika and cayenne combination, you’ll receive a comparable flavor outline, but that bit of a prickly and spicy characteristic is already included.
Furthermore, a pinch of salt can smoothen out some of the savory characteristics of the hot paprika and reflect or reproduce the flavor of Aleppo pepper very well.
Hot paprika is specifically prepared with super spicy red peppers; that’s why I advise wielding it as lightly as possible because a tiny quantity can deliver the flavor of cayenne and other ground chiles.
Paprika is excellent for those who would like the smoky, earthy zest of Aleppo but not the spice. It can be a tremendous improvement to soups and stews.
Furthermore, you could also look for smoked paprika to improve those notes frequently found in Aleppo.
If all you have is paprika, it’s certainly worth utilizing incomparable parts. While it won’t have the same thrill, your dish can still prosper well enough from paprika’s Aleppo-like flavor.
4. Marash Pepper
Marash pepper is smokier and carries a little more heat than Aleppo pepper but is very comparable.
It’s a Turkish relish and is as generally known as black pepper is here in the States. The oily personality of these chiles is their distinctive characteristic. It has great moisture that carries the heat flawlessly.
Even though it makes a considerable substitute, particularly for some of us who would want to take the smoky and spicy tastes of Aleppo to the next degree, one of its negative qualities is that it’s not a popular spice and shouldn’t be an everyday backup plan.
It might be difficult to locate in a regular grocery store and will need some extra hunting.
Urfa is the second Turkish chili pepper we will discuss, coming from the Capsicum annuum family. This spice is another wonderful alternative you can use in place of Aleppo.
This pepper has chocolaty and wine flavor notes, which gives it a sophisticated but charming heat grade.
The producers dry the peppers under the sun; the unaffected openness to sunlight develops a smoky flavor, identical to the Aleppo peppers’ notes when it wasn’t even smoked.
The pepper is far darker and much smokier than other Aleppo alternatives you can find out there but also pretty amazing.
You can utilize it in proportional parts to the Aleppo pepper.
6. Ancho Pepper
Ancho peppers are recognized for being smoky, having a dull heat, and a flavor profile that is not different from paprika.
It’s an outstanding substitute because of this similarity I have noted above regarding heat level and earthy flavor.
In fact, people argue that ancho is the “best substitute” for Aleppo.
As they pinpoint, the ancho pepper has about 1,500 heat units when measured on the Scoville scale. While delivering the heat, it is still relatively reasonable and, therefore, a near-perfect alternative for Aleppo pepper.
It is exceptionally prominent in Mexican and Tex-Mex food, so you will surely see it at your local Latin American food market.
Don’t forget, though, that, unlike Aleppo pepper, ancho has a smokier flavor that can distort your final dish, so you may want to apply caution when using it. Besides, its color is darker and could alter the definitive look of your dish.
7. Antebi pepper
Another alternative if you can’t get Aleppo? Try the Antebi pepper. Antebi pepper originates from the exact region as Aleppo peppers; some chefs even use Aleppo and Antebi interchangeably.
Antebi is a powerful, hot pepper with a scarcely fruity flavor. In fact, it’s generally used to spice dishes like steak, fish, and vegetables.
8. Piri Piri
If you’d like your food to be spicy, you can try the Piri Piri, otherwise known as peri-peri for Aleppo.
Piri peppers are extremely hot and are close relatives to the tabasco pepper. Like other chile powders, the peppers are dried and then ground into a powder.
Piri Piri peppers develop in the wild in various parts of Africa, and even though they’re also commercially grown there, they’re not the most popular spices you can find in the States.
Take caution, though; if you decide to replace Piri Piri for Aleppo, your dish will be much hotter.
It is very hot, ranging from around 50,000 – 150,000 on the Scoville scale.” If you prefer to use this alternative, using it slightly will be your best bet.
This relish of Korean descent is a nice alternate for Aleppo pepper if what you want is the color, sweetness, and an indication of heat.
Gochugaru performs excellently well in dishes that comprise chicken, eggs, vegetables, and pickled foods. You will get this spice in any Korean food mart or Asian store.
Before you conclude on using it, follow me.
Be mindful that gochugaru is a little smoky, too; it may distort the remaining flavors in your dish. But you can, if you like, you can put in a little tomato sauce or paste to disperse the heat.
10. Chili Powder
This substitute will function well because it includes chili flakes, but it is slightly spicier.
You can use the chili powder specifically when making chili, meat stews, or dips. Remember, though, that chili powder also has a smoky flavor, so you may need to equalize it with something sweet.
Some brands of chili powder have more cayenne pepper than others, so you might want to take a little lick to taste before you put it. This mix also comprises cumin, oregano, garlic, and other spices, so the flavor can differ.
11. Chile de Arbol
Chile de Arbol is a tiny but very effective Mexican chili pepper. As you can deduce or might have read before in my previous articles, the flavor is filled with heat and has a bit of acid.
Be mindful, though, that this choice is much tastier than Aleppo pepper, so you may prefer to use Chile de Arbol that is dry and has been grounded, and that is also combined with something sweet.
Chile de Arbol will come in handy when cooking chicken, lamb, dips, and other flavorings. You might get this pepper when you visit Mexican or Latin American food markets.
12. Pimenton de la Vera
Pimenton de la Vera is very prominent in Mediterranean cuisine, especially in seafood, chicken, lamb, potatoes, and stews.
While it may appear identical to normal paprika, this alternative is a bit sweeter and more severe, making your dish more complicated.
You might find Pimenton de la Vera in any Mediterranean cafe or food mart, but it will be more expensive because it is rare.
To save your money, you can combine ½ teaspoon of ordinary paprika with ½ teaspoon of pimenton de la vera.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is so special about Aleppo peppers?
Like salt, Aleppo-style pepper is a flavor booster. It goes well with slow-building heat with earthy, cumin undertones and a little hit of fruity flavor.
Is Aleppo pepper smoked?
These dried long peppers have a smokiness and sweet flavor with just the proper quantity of heat.
What is another name for Aleppo pepper?
It is also known as Halaby pepper.
What do Aleppo peppers look like?
The Aleppo pepper is identical in size and shape to a jalapeño, growing two to three inches long, with an elongated, twisted impression, with a tip that is narrower than a jalapeno. As the peppers grow, they ripen to a deep red color.
What is the meaning of Aleppo?
Aleppo is the name of an ancient city in NW Syria, an industrial and commercial center.
I hope this article is useful to you in your search for the best Aleppo pepper substitutes. You might not always get what you want, but at times, you have to make do with what you have.