Calabrian Chili Substitute – All Ingredients That You Can Use

Spicy is a well-known and important flavor in many different cuisines worldwide; some regions even take spicy as the main flavor. Calabria is no exception with the famous specialty of Calabrian Chili. However, you can’t always find this ingredient.

So, what can you use as a Calabrian chili substitute? Technically, you can use other kinds of spice with similar flavor and texture to replace Calabrian chili, such as Habanero pepper, Hot sauce, Chili Flakes, Serrano Green pepper, in different recipes.

Yet, how to use each and how usage equivalent for each. Let discover this article to know precisely what you should do. Here we go!

What Can Be Great For Calabrian Chili Substitute

Calabrian Chili

Calabrian chili is a cultivar grown in the Calabrian region of Italy. The special climate here has created various chili peppers with a special intense flavor that cannot be found anywhere else. However, there are still some possible Calabrian peppers substitute in the world, including the following ingredients.

1. Habanero pepper

First, let’s talk about Habanero pepper – the spiciest pepper that belongs to the Chilean pepper family. Those who have tasted Habanero’s spiciness can tell it has a bit of fruit and citrus notes. Habanero pepper has a gentle but equally strong floral aroma.

What makes Habanero a perfect substitute for Calabrian chili paste is that they all contain capsaicin. This chemical can stimulate the tactile organs to receive the feeling of “pain,” making your brain think that your mouth is “burning” in the characteristic pungent taste. You can use Habanero in kraft chili mac with some mushroom substitute; we can guarantee the flavor will blow your mind away.

Besides, this spice is divided into many different groups, including the lightest White Habanero, the Fatali yellow chili, and the hottest one is called Chocolate Habanero.

Habanero pepper contains many vitamins (A, B, C, D) and trace elements (calcium, iodine, phosphorus, potassium, iron). These are excellent antioxidants, which help prevent aging and increase stress resistance. However, you should also only eat a moderate amount of pepper because it is very spicy and hot, which can cause stomach problems.

2. Hot Sauce

Hot pepper sauce is the key condiment in many hot spicy dishes. Basically, they are chili peppers that have been dried, chopped, and mixed with several additives, colorants, and sweeteners.

Because due to the density, hot pepper sauce is often mixed to make dipping sauces or used in stews, soups. You can find this ingredient anywhere, from grocery stores, supermarkets near your home, or luxury 5-star restaurants.

Compared with regular chili, Calabrian chili paste substitute will be sweeter, less spicy, and more palatable to diners. They are also much more convenient and versatile when you can use them to make many different dishes.

This is also a perfect choice for those who are new to spicy food but can’t stand the intense extra heat of Calabrian chili oil. A little sweet and spicy taste can stimulate the taste buds, helping us enjoy the food more effectively.

The only weak point is that using hot pepper paste can change the texture of your dish from thick to more liquid. Although this is not a big problem, you should also consider choosing the best Calabrian chiles substitute.

3. Chili Flakes

For those who have once experienced the cuisine of South American countries, it is certainly impossible to forget the pungent taste of dishes containing spicy pepper flakes.

This is a Chili Powder Blend consisting mainly of chili peppers mixed with other spices, including cumin, oregano, cloves garlic, and a pinch of salt. A variety of peppers can be used, including ancho, jalapeño, New Mexico, and pasilla chiles. As a result of different potential additives, the spiciness of any chili pepper can vary.

Chili flakes are similar in texture to Calabrian chili pepper. They are both varieties and taste quite similar, both causing a tongue reaction due to capsaicin. However, chili flakes also add sweet flavor and saltiness, which can give your dishes a whole new flavor.

Usually, chili powder can be kept well for more than a year if stored properly. You should store and refrigerate it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and keep it away from light.

4. Serrano Green pepper

Serrano or “Capsicum annuum” is a chili pepper from the mountains of northern Mexico, more commonly in Hidalgo and Puebla. It is also known as green chili, and its main characteristic is the intense kick of heat that ranks among the top hot peppers in the world. The darker the green color, the stronger the flavor.

Today, this chili is very popular, as its distinctive flavor has made it a favorite in many other countries.

In kitchens around the world, chefs often use Serrano peppers when they are green and unripe. You can eat it raw, sliced ​​into batches, or minced to use in salsa or sauces.

Serrano peppers are prized for their delicious flavor and pronounced aftertaste. It can bring a burst of flavor to your dishes. So, if you can’t stand the spiciness, prepare some dessert with chili to reduce the extra heat in your mouth.

How Can You Use Calabrian Chili Substitute

Using these ingredients is also very simple.

All you have to do is replace the Calabrian chili in your recipes with these exact above-mentioned ingredients. Depending on the dish, the ratio may not change. However, to be sure, you should add a small amount first and then slowly season to taste. Trust us when we say you definitely don’t want to taste a dish full of spiciness.

Once successful, take a note of the amount of seasoning to use for the next time.


Calabrian is a type of chili with a distinctive flavor that is rare to find. Although Calabrian chili substitute cannot achieve the same great taste as the original, it is worth a try.

Experiment and create dishes with these above ingredients, and you will be amazed by brand new flavors. Thank you for reading, and hope to see you soon.

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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