Paprika Vs Chili Powder: What is the Difference?

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Paprika Vs Chili Powder



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Both paprika and chili powder are popular spices that are often found in most kitchen. But what is the difference between paprika vs chili powder? Are they the same? Can one be substituted for the other?

Paprika and chili powder can used interchangeably, however, substituting paprika for chili powder will give the dish a less spicy and somewhat sweet taste as chili powder is usually more spicy than paprika.

Paprika and chili powder both have the same vibrant red color, their tastes and composition are completely different.

Paprika is considered different from chili powder due to its composition. Chili powder is often used as a spice and it consists of chili pepper as a base, cumin, and garlic. While paprika is made purely from chilies and has a natural sweetness.

What Is Paprika?

Paprika is a mild-flavored spice usually sprinkled over dishes for a bright outlook. Paprika is a ground spice mixture of dried peppers that belong to the Capsicum maximum family.

They belong to the same species as the cayenne pepper, poblano pepper, sweet peppers, and others. Paprika ground peppers vary in color, heat level, and spiciness depending on the peppers used to make them.

It was originally cultivated in Mexico before spreading to other countries like Spain, Asia, Europe, and Africa.

What Is Chili Powder?

Chili powder is made from a ground mixture of one or several varieties of chili peppers, and sometimes, chili seasoning mix is added to it.

It is used as a spice in dishes to add piquancy and flavor. Varieties of peppers used to make chili powder include cayenne, chipotle, pasilla, Piri Piri, New Mexico, and jalapeno peppers.

Some other spices blended with chili powders include onion, garlic, and cumin. Chili powder is used in several cuisines in countries like Bengali, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, China, Thailand, and the USA.

Paprika Vs Chili Powder: Major Differences


Although paprika Vs chili powder look similar, the ingredients used in their production are quite different.

Chili powder usually has chili pepper as a base, and then other ingredients are added to it. The chili base can be ancho peppers, cayenne peppers, or any additional spicy pepper.

On the other hand, paprika is made from ground chilis with pimento peppers as the base. It has its heat level ranging from mild to a strong kick of spicy taste when it settles properly on the tongue.


Chili powder, as stated earlier, is much spicier than paprika. Paprika pepper sits at pimento peppers level of hotness of about 100-500 Scoville while chili powder has a ranger range of about 1000-1500 Scoville heat unit.

Due to the number of spices mixed in general, chili powder is a lot more earthy in its flavor compared to paprika.

Can Paprika Be Substituted For Chili Powder?

The answer is yes, paprika can also act as a substitute for chili powder, but your dish wouldn’t be as spicy as it would’ve been if you had used the chili powder.

Substituting chili powder for paprika in certain words that require paprika will also give the dish a hotter and less flavorful taste.

Is Paprika Similar To Chili Powder?

The only similarity these two peppers have in common is the vibrant red color and nothing more. Chili is very spicy and less tasty, while paprika is tasty and cannot be used in spicy dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Paprika A Chili Powder?

Paprika is a popular chili powder that is made from ground peppers. It is not as hot as chili powder because one of its major ingredients is sweet pepper.

What Can I Substitute For Paprika?

Before choosing a paprika pepper substitute, you should know the type of paprika your recipe needs.

Paprika peppers are divided into three: smoked paprika, hot paprika, and sweet paprika.

You can use the chipotle chili powder; for recipes that require hot paprika, you should consider using cayenne pepper, guajillo pepper powder, or chili powder, and for the sweet paprikas, you can use the ancho pepper powder.

What Substitute Is Similar To Chili Powder?

A good substitute for chili powder is a chipotle powder made from smoked or ground jalapeno pepper, which gives it a smokier taste, and ancho chili powder made from dried poblano peppers.

If you are unable to have access to any of the ones mentioned above, you can also use hot sauce as a substitute, but this can only work properly if you’re making a liquid-based meal.

So if you’re out of chili powder when making soup, you can add in a few tablespoons of hot sauces like the tabasco or sriracha.


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