Everyone has that one pantry ingredient that they always forget to pick up at the grocery store. For me, it's red pepper flakes. While I love the hint of spice they add to pizza slices, tacos and pasta (hello pasta carbonara) I never remember to add them to my cart like other spices such as paprika, black pepper, and cumin. Thankfully, there are a few different spices you can substitute in place of red pepper flakes and you probably already have them in your pantry.
What Are Red Pepper Flakes?
Jars of red pepper flakes are usually filled with a mixture of peppers that come from the capsicum annum family. Peppers in this family include favorites like jalapeno peppers and bell pepper, but the most prominent in the mix has to be the cayenne pepper. This is also why there is a difference between cayenne pepper flakes and red pepper flakes. One is purely one pepper while the other is a mixture.
What is a good substitute for Red Pepper Flakes?
If you have a jar of cayenne powder or even chili powder in the pantry, they will be able to stand in as a good substitute. Since the majority of red pepper flake mixes is cayenne pepper, the only thing you'll be missing is the look of the chili flakes and the texture from the seeds.
How To Make Your Own Red Pepper Flakes
Want to make sure you never forget to pick up the spice from the store? Make your own mix (as spicy as you want) by buying dried chili peppers (be creative and purchase anything from ancho, Aleppo pepper, and chipotle to cayenne and habanero) and processing them in a food processor until flakes form. Making your own mix lets you choose the spiciness heat level of your condiment as well as lets you create the perfect mix. It's a win-win.
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