15 Thai Chilies Substitute – Pro Food Recipes

Last Updated on June 27, 2023 by Amanda P. Brown

Usually, Thai chili is a great spice used in Thai cuisine that you can use to add more heat to your food. But many people prefer their food with less spice. However, if you want less spicy food or are looking for a Thai chilies substitute, you can read this article.

This article lists many other chilies, such as cyané pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, chili garlic sauce, serrano pepper, etc., that you can use instead of Thai chilies. Moreover, here is a list of 15 chilies that can be used as alternatives to Thai chili. Let’s take a look at it below.

How Spicy Are Thai Chilies?

Thai chilies are renowned for their extreme spiciness. Their heat range is between 50,000-100,000 in Scoville units, which is much spicier compared to jalapeño peppers. Thai chili’s spiciness level may differ based on ripeness, preparation method, and individual heat tolerance. 

Thai chili is excellent if you want to include spice in your dish. Moreover, Thai chili is also a popular ingredient in Thai cuisine, often used in stir-fries, sauces, and curries. 

15 Thai Chilies Substitute

Thai chili substitute

1. Cayenne Peppers

Cayenne Peppers

Usually, dried or fresh cayenne pepper is an excellent substitute for Thai chilies. Although cayenne peppers have the same flavor as Thai chilies, they’re less spicy.

The Cayenne pepper Scoville scale ranges from 30,000 to 50,000. That makes a minimum of half a heat of Thai chili. So, you need to adjust the amount as per your taste in using it.

 Moreover, it is crucial to note that adding cayenne pepper as an alternative may somewhat alter the flavor of your food, but it can still include an excellent kick of heat to your food. You can also use this cayenne pepper in sauces, soups, stews, stir-fries, marinades, and dressings. 

2. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Crushed red chili flakes are an excellent substitute if you do not have Thai chilies. They have a moderate heat level and impart a mildly sweet and smoky flavor to foods. You can use crushed red pepper on everything from pizza, Chinese, curries, soups, stir-fries, and even morning omelets. 

Moreover, it is also crucial to note that the heat level of crushed red pepper flakes may vary based on the freshness and brand of the chilies. So, you need to adjust the amount as per your taste in using it.

3. Chili Garlic Sauce

Chili Garlic Sauce

This Chili Garlic Sauce is a great sauce you can easily make with red chilies, salt, and garlic. Its garlic flavor makes your sauce a great alternative to Thai chilies. Also, this chili garlic sauce has some heat and a lot of fresh chili flavor, which makes your sauce more vibrant. 

Moreover, you can store or freeze this great sauce for long periods. It’s also a versatile spice that you can use to include a spicy kick to dipping sauces, stir-fries, and marinades. 

4. Serrano Pepper

Serrano Pepper

Typically, a substitute for Thai chili is the famous Mexican serrano pepper, which comes in various colors, including red, yellow, green, and orange. However, serrano peppers aren’t as hot as Thai peppers. Their range in Scoville heat units is from 10,000-23,000,000.

However, you can add other ingredients to maintain the heat balance. Also, they are still great for adding a punch and lots of flavor to your food. 

Moreover, you can also eat these serrano peppers raw and roasted or grilled in sandwiches and salads. You can also eat it as a pickle or medium-hot sauce or add guacamole or salsa. 

5. Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapeño peppers are a great option if you just want to enjoy a heat that isn’t too intense and takes over your entire dish. Jalapeno peppers generally have a lower heat level than Serrano pepper.

But they are much larger compared to Thai chili peppers. Jalapeno peppers typically have a Scoville heat unit (SHU) range of 2,500 to 5,000. They also have the same flavor as Thai chilies, which can give an excellent kick to your dish.

 Moreover, you need to remove the veins and seeds from the jalapeno peppers before using them because the heat can condense. Also, you can use this pepper in stew sauces, salsas, soups, salads, and many other great dishes.

6. Habanero Peppers

Habanero Peppers

Generally, habanero peppers are hotter than Thai chili peppers. So, it is a great alternative for those people who wish to add spice to their food.

The heat level of habanero peppers ranges from 100,000 to 350,000 SHU, one of the spiciest chili peppers available. They also have a fruity, hot, sweet, smoky flavor, commonly used in salsas, sauces, dressings, dry rubs, and marinades. 

Moreover, since habanero peppers are hotter than Thai peppers, you need to use them in moderation when using them in your food. Also, make sure to wear safety gloves when you are cooking with habanero peppers.

Additionally, you need to make sure that you don’t touch your eyes and skin without washing your hands, knife, and cutting board thoroughly.

7. Hot Paprika Powder

Hot Paprika Powder

The hot paprika powder can be used as a substitute for Thai chilies. However, the taste and spice of paprika are different from Thai chili. They have a sweet, smoky, and mildly spicy flavor.

Also, you can use this paprika powder in various dishes like marinades, soups, rubs for meats, and stews. You can also sprinkle it over food for extra heat. 

8. Chile De Arbol

Chile De Arbol

In Mexican cooking, chile de árbol is among the chiles that are utilized the most frequently. They are quite small and bright red, like Thai chilies. They also have a smoky, spicy, and nutty flavor, which you can use in various sauces, stews, marinades, soups, salsas, and other dishes. Also, Chili de Arbol peppers have a heat range of 15,000-30,000 SHU since they’re less spicy compared to Thai chilies. So you can use Chile de Arbolas as an alternative. 

Moreover, you can also choose between 2 types of chiles de arbol, hot and medium hot, based on how spicy you prefer your chilies. For example, Medium hot chiles de arbol have a heat range of 15,000 to 30,000 SHU, and hot chiles de arbol have a heat range of 50,000 to 65,000 SHU.

9. Fresno Chili Peppers

Fresno Chili Peppers

Fresno Chili Peppers can be a good option if you want your food a little less spicy but not very much. Fresno chili peppers are similar to jalapeño peppers in both taste and aroma. They have a smoky, fruity, and a little sweet taste. Also, on the Scoville scale, their heat ranges from 2,500- 10,000 SHU.

You will need to customize the level of spice allowed to suit your preferences. Additionally, you can use these Fresno chili peppers in stews, soups, chutneys, sauces, dips, and casseroles.

10. Gochugaru or La Jiao Mian


Usually, gochugaru or la Jiao Mian is a Korean chili flake or chili powder, an excellent alternative to Thai chili. They have their distinct taste and characteristics. Gochugaru is mild and la Jiao Mian is quite hot and fragrant.

Also, they have a smoky and sweet taste. These peppers can be found in Asian supermarkets or online. Moreover, these Gochugaru or la Jiao Mian peppers are often used in Korean cuisines, such as stews, cold salads, kimchi, and many other dishes.

11. Bird’s Eye Chilies

Bird’s Eye Chili

If you’re looking for a hot chili pepper alternative to Thai chili, Bird’s Eye Chili is a great option. They are small, intensely hot, sharp, and slightly peppery and have a fruity flavor that can add punch to your dishes.

Also, their heat ranges from 50,000-100,000 SHU. These peppers are also available in various colors, including red, green, purple, and pale orange, similar to Thai peppers, which you can use in stews, soups, salsas, chili pastes, and sauces. 

12. Tabasco Peppers

Tabasco Peppers

Tabasco peppers are one such kind of pepper, which has a distinct smoky flavor. The heat range of these peppers is between 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. Also, you can use them as a powder, fresh, and dried in various dishes, such as making sauces, stews, soups, salsas, or chili powder.

Moreover, they are available while green and not fully ripe. But it is recommended not to grab them till they turn orange or yellow because they are tasteless and bitter when immature. 

13. Pequin Chili Peppers

Pequin Chili Peppers

You can use pequin chili pepper as a substitute for Thai pepper. They are hot, citrusy, fruity, and slightly nutty. Also, they have a heat range of 30,000-60,000 SHU. You can adjust the heat to your liking. Moreover, you can also use these pequin chili peppers in pickles and stews, sauces, dressings, salsas, marinades, and soups.

14. Anaheim Pepper

Anaheim Pepper

Anaheim pepper is a less spicy type of chili. They are usually low heat and have a sharp taste, which you can use in any food. Also, on the Scoville scale, their heat ranges from 500-2,500 units. However, Anaheim pepper is an excellent option for a milder hot meal. 

15. Indian Finger Hot Peppers

Indian Finger Hot Peppers

Indian Finger hot pepper is a thin, curved chili type that is red and entirely ripe. Also, they’re known as jwala chilies, which you can use dried and fresh in various recipes like curries, salads, dips, sauces, and salsas. Moreover, Indian finger hot peppers range in heat from 20,000 to 30,000SHU. You can also adjust this chili’s heat according to your taste, which is an excellent option for you to use. 

Read More:


Is Thai Chili the Same as Green Chili?

Thai chilies are not the same as green chilies because Thai chilies are spicier and smaller than green chilies. Whereas green chilies are bigger and milder in taste.

What Chili is Similar to Thai Chili?

Bird’s eye chilies are usually the most similar chili to Thai chilies, which is also referred to as Thai chili. This pepper is thin, tiny, and bright red, with a lot of heat, which is often used in Thai cooking to include spiciness in dishes such as soups, curries, and stir-fries. 

Is Thai Chili the Same as Cayenne Pepper?

No, cayenne pepper isn’t similar to Thai chili. Because on the Scoville scale, it has a heat range from 30,000 to 50,000. Which produces about half the heat level of Thai chili. 

Is Thai Chili the Same as Indian Chili?

No, Thai chili is not the same as Indian chili. Because they both have differences in spices, flavors, and uses in cuisine. Generally, Thai chilies are hotter and smaller compared to Indian chilies. Whereas Indian chilies come in different heat levels and sizes.

Is Thai Chili Sweet or Spicy?

Thai chilies are typically well-known for their spiciness. But they have a sweet and fruity taste. Also, Thai chili’s heat level varies based on the kind and how they are prepared. So, Thai chilies are actually both spicy and sweet.

What Does Sweet Thai Chili Taste Like?

Sweet Thai chilies are a famous sauce that is used in Thai cooking. They have a sweet and spicy flavor with a garlicky and tangy taste, which you can usually use as a glaze for spring rolls, chicken wings, grilled meats, or other appetizers.

Final Verdict

From this article, you already know about chilies used as Thai chilies substitute. This article lists 15 chilies you can use as Thai chili substitutes for your requirements, allowing you to add an excellent spice to your food to make a great meal. I hope reading this article will be useful to you.

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