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Replacement for Calabrian Chili Paste

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Spiciness is essential in every warm-flavored food, which is why peppers are the top competitors in such dishes. When it comes to highly regarded condiments, many people will say Calabrian chili paste. Many food fans are beginning to recognize it for more than just spicy Italian sausages at grocery shops. As a result, it is often used to enhance the taste of a variety of cuisines.


If you can’t get Calabrian chili paste, other pepper replacements will suffice. And we’ll identify a few key competitors that may readily substitute Calabrian chili paste in any dish. So what exactly is in this condiment? And why is it such a popular ingredient in so many dishes?

What’s in Calabrian Chili Paste?

Calabrian chili paste is predominantly created from Calabrian chilies, which are peppers endemic to Calabria, Italy. These peppers are connected with Italian culinary heritage and are mostly dried and crushed. But, the paste is also created by mashing dried Calabrian peppers with olive oil. In rare situations, vinegar and salt may be added to the paste to enhance the taste.

Calabrian peppers, commonly known as Peperoncino, give their rich red color to the paste’s coloring. The fruit is also considered spicy, with Scoville values ranging from 25,000 to 40,000. This characteristic is even more astounding when you realize that the paste is a staple meal in the area. And the peppers are so important in Calabrian history that the city has an annual festival in their honor.

Calabrian Chili Paste in Recipes

Because of its taste character, Calabrian chili paste is quite flexible. The dried peppers offer a delicious, smoky taste, while the oil and vinegar or salt base adds umami. When paired with its spiciness, the outcome is a superb combination of taste effects that elevates the presence of any meal.

This is why Calabrian chili paste complements practically any dish, from meat to seafood to veggies. They’re also excellent for spicy pastries and go well with grains. The paste’s spice blends nicely with the mildness of tomatoes, making it a staple in Italian tomato-based stews. It’s also why the paste is often used in spaghetti, pizza, and casserole dishes. And these are only a few of the various applications for the condiment; others include:

  • Chicken Calabrian
  • Meatloaf
  • Pizza
  • Soups
  • Vindaloo with pork
  • Casseroles
  • Steaks with a kick
  • Lettuce rolls
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Scallops and shrimp from Calabria
  • Sauces
  • Salads and sauces
  • Stews
  • Calabrese Bomba
  • Puttanesca Spagetti
  • Relleno Chiles
  • Bolognese
  • Ragu de Boeuf
  • grilled broccoli
  • Pasta
  • Hummus
  • fried chicken wings
  • Sandwiches with eggs
  • Chili
  • Fettuccine
  • Tomato preserves
  • Carnitas
  • Strata with pork roast

Substitutes for Calabrian Chili Paste

Calabrian chili paste may be difficult to get in supermarkets. Moreover, in most cases, you may not have the luxury of searching for it when you need it for your meal. Also, not everyone can tolerate the heat level of this spicy sauce. In any of these scenarios, you may experiment with these recipe options.

Red Pepper Flakes

As a replacement for Calabrian chili paste, this condiment adds a lot to the table. For starters, it’s created using dried peppers, which gives it a delicious flavor. You’ll also notice that red pepper flakes are rather fiery, making them ideal for such applications. They also work in almost any dish that calls for Calabrian chili. The main difference is that red pepper flakes aren’t as smokey as Calabrian chili paste. Yet, the dish will have a good burst of salty and spiciness.

Red pepper flakes may be used in lieu of Calabrian chili paste in any recipe. If you’re concerned about the dryness, make it into a paste first. Measure out equal quantities of red pepper flakes and sprinkle with olive oil. Finally, blend with a bit of salt until it forms a paste identical to the original.

Sriracha Hot Sauce

For individuals who aren’t disturbed by the heat of Calabrian chili paste, Sriracha hot sauce is a good substitute. This condiment has been a staple in many savory meals because to its thick consistency and powerful heat. As a result, Sriracha hot sauce works well in place of Calabrian chili paste in sauces, soups, and casseroles. It also works great in stews, ragu, hummus, and as a spicy coating for chicken and fish.

Sriracha hot sauce has a similar thickness to Calabrian chili paste and, as such, will have no effect on consistency. Additionally, it’s simple to locate, and you can get a bottle of it at any grocery shop. While Sriracha hot sauce lacks the smokey flavor of Calabrian chili paste, their pepper bases taste similar. As a result, replace the paste with equal parts of it in all recipes.

Serrano Pepper

This Mexican pepper is a common ingredient in salsa, chili, pesto, and spicy spice mixes. And it’s almost as spicy as Calabrianchilis, so you won’t miss out on much spice. Serrano peppers resemble jalapenos but are somewhat shorter. Yet they’re a widely available fruit, available in almost every grocery shop and farmers market.

Processed Serrano has a moderate smokiness and fruitiness that tastes similar to Calabrian chilis. Moreover, the heat mixes with these characteristics to make them a convincing alternative. As a result, you may use crushed dried Serrano peppers or combine equal portions of them with olive oil. Next, add a touch of salt to the mix, and you’ve got a great Calabrian chili paste substitute for any cuisine.

Cayenne Pepper and Ketchup

Sometimes you just need a fast cure, and in this situation, the combination of these substances works well. They combine their individual features to produce a product that may be used in lieu of Calabrian chili paste. Ketchup is thick and acts in most recipes like Calabrian chili paste. And cayenne pepper offers a moderate degree of heat, which complements the ketchup’s spiciness. Although this alternative does not provide the same level of heat as Calabrian chili paste, it is ideal for those who do not want as much.

When in doubt, mix two teaspoons ground cayenne pepper with one cup ketchup. This mixture should be enough to replace a cup of Calabrian chili paste, and you may measure it anyway you choose from now on. Nevertheless, since ketchup includes sugar, this replacement may be a little too sweet. Yet, its taste resemblance works well in a variety of meals, including pizzas, sauces, pasta, and stews.

Spicy Tomato Paste

In certain recipes, the pasty consistency and spiciness of Calabrian chili paste are desired. When you don’t have it, tomato paste is the next best thing in terms of thickness. But, you will need to adjust the taste to make it hotter, so chili powder would suffice. And you may use whichever kind you like, however red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper are excellent options.

Combine a can of tomato paste with as much ground pepper or flakes as you want. Of course, the spiciness of this Calabrian chili paste replacement is up to you. With this proposal, spicy tomato paste becomes a very adaptable option for a wide range of dishes. When finished, anticipate a tinge of sweetness from the tomato paste basis in the mix.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I substitute sambaloelek for Calabrian chili paste?

You certainly can. Certain dishes depend on the strong heat that this condiment provides. Nonetheless, sambaloelek works best when the quantity of paste required for is kept to a minimum.

How long does Calabrian chili paste last?

The paste may be stored in the pantry for up to a month. Nonetheless, it is best stored in the refrigerator, where it will last longer between applications. Calabrian chili paste may be stored in this manner for six to nine months.

What can I substitute for Calabrian chili paste?

Although the substitutions listed above are good for Calabrian chili paste, Red Anaheim peppers are another useful addition. You may eat them alone or mix the crushed version with olive oil to make a paste. And you’ll need almost three times as much since Anaheim peppers are considerably milder. Yet, they are ideal for people who cannot tolerate the sweltering heat of Calabrian chili sauce.


Calabrian chili paste has long been praised for its consistency and adaptability in Italian cuisine. Its incorporation has also improved dishes from a variety of other areas. But, if you are unable to get some for your cuisine, having these replacements on hand is beneficial. And you can use them to either spice up or cool down the heat in your different dishes.


What does Calabrian chili paste taste like?

Their taste has been characterized as smokey, salty, and spicy. Dried Calabrian peppers (peperoncino) are mashed with olive oil, salt, and vinegar to produce a paste. As a consequence, a spicy condiment is created that may be used to add spice to everything from pasta meals to sandwiches and much more.

Can I substitute sambal oelek for Calabrian chili paste?

Oek Sambal

Chili peppers, vinegar, and salt are used to make it. In Asian cuisine, sambal oelek is widely used as a condiment or flavor enhancer. It has a spicy flavor that may enhance the depth and spice of any cuisine. If you need an alternative for chile paste, sambal Oelek is an excellent choice.

Can I use Sriracha instead of chili paste?

Sriracha sauce is an excellent substitute for chili paste. It’s thicker and more flavorful than other spicy sauces. You may also add paprika to the Sriracha sauce to thicken it even more.

Is Calabrian chili hotter than jalapeno?

This pepper has the taste and intensity of a fresh cayenne pepper, with 25,000 to 40,000 Scoville heat units, making it about ten times hotter than a jalapeo.

What Calabrian chili paste does Giada use?

We happen to stock the crushed Calabrian Chili Paste from Tutto Calabria, which Giada has always used and liked. Click here to purchase a jar!

Why is sambal oelek discontinued?

Huy Fong Foods Inc., the creator of one of the most popular condiments in the United States, has been forced to halt manufacturing of its signature hot sauces — Sriracha, Chili Garlic, and Sambal Oelek — owing to a shortage of chili peppers.

What is Calabrian chili paste called?

This unusual condiment hails from the Italian province of Calabria, which is famous for its fiery Calabrian peppers. Bomba di Calabria is a spicy condiment made with hot Calabrian peppers, olive oil, vinegar, and salt. After opening, keep refrigerated.

Is sambal oelek the same as chili paste?

Although Sriracha is uniquely Thai, Sambal Oelek is Indonesian, and it is simply powdered raw chili paste. It is usually made with red chili peppers, vinegar, and salt.

What is a mild substitute for chili paste?

While searching for a replacement for chili paste, keep the heat and taste of the meal in mind. If you want something less hot, try spicy tomato sauce or salsa. If you like something spicier, try hot sauce or sriracha sauce.

Which is hotter sriracha or chili paste?

Both sauces are quite hot, although sriracha is normally a little hotter. If you want your cuisine hot, sriracha is definitely the best option. If you like a little heat with a lot of garlic taste, though, chili garlic sauce is the way to go.

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