Chili Flakes Vs Crushed Red Pepper: Understanding the Differences & Uses

Last Updated on June 11, 2023 by Amanda P. Brown

Generally, the key difference between chili flakes and crushed red pepper is that chili flakes are made from just one type of chili, and crushed red pepper is made from a mixture of multiple chilies. Even they are different in smell, color, and taste. 

Chili flakes and crushed red chilies play important roles in the kitchen as they are essential for amazing recipes. Many, especially beginners, may need clarification about their features or using purpose as they both are chilies. 

If you are in such a situation, this article will clear you to an extent by providing information about Chili Flakes vs Crushed Red Pepper comparing, including individually their definition and uses, how to buy and store, and which is best and cheaper. Let’s scroll now and learn.

What are Chili Flakes?

Chili flakes are usually made from one type of chili. It is also known as red pepper flakes. They originated in Central America and the South. These flakes are brilliant household spices, which you can see widely used in Mexican and Italian cuisine.

Also, they are a perfect addition to pizza, pasta, stir-fries, or many other dishes. Moreover, many types of chili flakes are available, such as Chipotle Morita Chili Flakes, Aleppo Chili Flakes, Bell Pepper Flakes, Jalapeno Chili Flakes, and Ancho Grande Chili Flakes. 

  • Composition: Chili flakes consist of the seed flakes, the dry outer skin of the chili, and the veins. Also, they are coarse in texture and rich in vitamins A, C, B6, K1, copper, and potassium. Thus, it helps to reduce appetite, increase metabolism, reduce pain, improve digestion and metabolism, fight flu and cold, lose weight, etc.
  • Color: Usually, the color of chili flakes is red. However, the type of pepper used will affect the color.
  • Taste: Typically, chili flakes are full of flavor. They are pungent in flavor and aroma. Offer to dish a mild spicy flavor.
  • Uses: You can use chili flakes in almost everything, like salad dressings, as toppings on sauces, pizzas, and pasta, and also as a kick in many delicious dishes.

Read More: 51 Popular Fancy Finger Food Ideas

What is Crushed Red Pepper?

Crushed Red Pepper is a spice or condiment made from a mixture of chilies. To make crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper is the most common ingredient. Moreover, other chilies in the mixture are Anaheim peppers, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and Fresno peppers. They first originated in the village of Bukovo in northern Macedonia

We usually add this crushed red pepper to dishes like- spicy shrimp, jerk shrimp pasta dish, and honey ginger tofu. Since they are dried, they are excellent for seasoning and dry rubs. Moreover, you can add this crushed red pepper to any food and sauces you like. 

  • Composition: Crushed red chili is a mixture of multiple chili flakes. They are made with dried, hot, and red peppers. Their texture is usually smooth. Even crushed red pepper comprises fiber, vitamins (A, C, and B6), antioxidants, and capsaicin. Which helps prevent heart disease, cancer, digestive problems, inflammation, and ulcers.
  • Color: They are yellow, burgundy, and colored red. 
  • Taste: They are hot, flavorful, pungent, and spicy. 
  • Uses: You can use it in any dish, such as soup, pizza sauce, pasta, sausage, stew, giouvetsi, spaghetti sauce, goulash, pickling blend, and chowder.

Read More: 20 Popular Ground Beef Dishes

What Are the Differences Between Chili Flakes and Red Pepper Flakes?

Depending on some crucial factors, below are some differences between chili flakes and red pepper flakes:

Differences between Chili Flakes and Red Pepper Flakes

SpecificationChili FlakesRed Pepper Flakes
AppearanceChili flakes are made from one type of pepper, and their seeds are discarded. So, they remain the same by look.Red pepper flakes are multi-colored because they contain a mixture of different chilies and some light-colored seeds.
SpicinessLess spicy than red pepper flakes.Spicier than chili flakes.
OriginThey originated in Central America and the South.They originated in the village of Bukovo in northern Macedonia.
CookingWhen cooking burgers, you can add chili flakes to cooking foods such as quiches or frittatas, stews, and soups for an additional kick, salad dressings, and ground lamb or beef.If you add red pepper flakes to a dish at the start of cooking, it will add some heat to the whole dish, and if you add it at the finale, it will give a subtle spicy edge.   Also, if you want extra spicy food, add red pepper flakes to anything from pasta to salads, Asian soups, shrimp, etc.
TasteMild pungent, spicy, and flavorful.Not very flavorful, slightly sharp, and earthy.
Culinary UsesYou can use it in any culinary recipe, such as pickles, pizza sauce, chowder, sausage, spaghetti sauce, stir-fry, salad, soup, and pasta dishes.Depending on your spicy taste demand, you can use it in any culinary procedure.
Heat LevelThese flakes are milder than red pepper flakes.Red pepper flakes are significantly more strong than chili flakes.

Which One is the Best – Chili Flakes Vs Crushed Red Pepper?

Chili Flakes vs Crushed Red Pepper
Chili Flakes vs Crushed Red Pepper

Chili flakes and crushed red pepper are each great in their way. It depends on your needs which one you want to take. You can choose chili flakes if you like to eat less spicy food and cannot tolerate much heat. It adds a little kick to your dish taste. 

Also, if you are a fan of very spicy food, then you can go with crushed red pepper. Moreover, Chili flakes are great if you want to go with something mild savory, and flavorful. On the other hand, if you want to go with something a little sharp, earthy, and less flavorful, then crushed chili pepper is perfect.

Which One is Cheaper -Chili Flakes Vs Crushed Red Pepper?

Both chili flakes and crushed red pepper have inexpensive and expensive alternatives. Their price ranges are similar. The price of chili flakes and crushed red chilies can vary depending on the brand and their quality.

However, when you go shopping, you can choose cheaper brands of chili flakes or crushed red chilies as per your needs and affordability. Also, you can choose expensive brands of chili flakes or crushed red pepper as per your requirement and affordability. 

They are both excellent in their ways. So, choosing one according to your needs and affordability depends on you. 

How Do I Substitute Red Pepper Flakes and Chili Flakes?

Chili flakes and red pepper flakes are acceptable substitutes for each other. For example, you need to duple or treble the amount when using chili flakes instead of red pepper flakes, as chili flakes are less spicy compared to red pepper flakes. If you want to make Buffalo Chicken Wings Sauce, add 5 tbsps of chili flakes instead of 3 tablespoons of red pepper flakes.

On the contrary, you can substitute chili flakes with fewer red pepper flakes, as red pepper is the most potent hot spice. However, add 1- tablespoon of red pepper flakes for salad dressing instead of 2 tablespoons of chili flakes. 

How to Make Crushed Red Pepper Flakes at Home?

You can follow the below steps to make crushed red pepper flakes at home:

  • First, heat the oven to 170 degrees or a minor setting. 
  • Then use a knife and carefully cut off the stalks of the chilies.
  • Line the ungreased cookie sheet with chili.
  • Bake them in the oven for about 6 hours.
  • Then when done baking, turn the oven off and leave the dried chilies in the oven the whole night to dehydrate and dry out. 
  • Put the dried chilies in the food processor the next day or grind them by hand. 

Finally, when thoroughly crushed the dried chilies, you carefully pour them into an airtight container. 

How to Use Chili Flakes and Crushed Red Pepper?

Chili flakes and crushed red pepper go well with almost all savory recipes and cooking ideas. By following the below tips, you can get the idea to use them:

Chili FlakesCrushed Red Pepper
You can add chili flakes to stews and soups for more kick to the meals. Also, you can add it while making quiche or frittata. Even you can add these chili flakes to your homemade salad dressings. Use them to spice up dishes like simple pasta and add them to ground lamb or beef to make burgers.   You can use crushed red pepper in almost everything if you love spicy food.   You can sprinkle crushed red pepper over spaghetti or pizza and mix it into sauces, casseroles, or soups.   Also, you can use this crushed red pepper in other recipes like Salmon Dry Rub, Creamy Jamaican Jerk Shrimp Pasta, Crispy Lemon Pepper Panko Chicken, Shrimp Piccata with Artichoke, Golden Fried Honey Ginger Sesame Tofu, etc.  

Guideline for Buying and Storing Chili Flakes and Crushed Red Pepper

For BuyingIf you want to purchase chili flakes and crushed red pepper, you have many options to buy them. You can get them at grocery shops, super shops/markets, or online.   You must select a high-quality product when purchasing chili flakes or crushed red pepper. It would help to remember that they have a strong smell and fresh look.
For StoringYou can freeze chili flakes or crushed red pepper if you want to store them. But it may be inconvenient to freeze them in small portions because we rarely want to go to the freezer whenever we need our spices.   Moreover, you can store chili flakes or crushed red pepper in a mason jar or air-tight container in a dry, cool place for up to 6 months. Even if stored properly, they retain a good taste for up to one year.
Recommendation: If you see that while buying or using, or storing chili flakes or crushed red pepper, their color has changed, or mold has developed on the peppers. Then check and smell them; if they are sour or off-smelling, you must throw them away immediately.


What is Another Name for Crushed Red Pepper Flakes?

Crushed red pepper flakes are a common ingredient to add garnish to any dish. These flakes have several names. They are:
-Red Pepper Flakes
-Red Pepper Chili Flakes
-Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
-Hot Pepper Flakes
-Capsicum Annum

Is Crushed Red Pepper the Same as Cayenne Pepper?

As cayenne and crushed red pepper come from the same chili source, you can use cayenne instead of crushed red pepper as an exclusive alternative. Moreover, expert cooks recommend starting it with a small amount and adjusting it to flavor.

Can I Substitute Paprika for Red Pepper Flakes?

Yes, you can take paprika as a substitute for red pepper flakes. Typically, paprika is a great alternative to the flavor of red pepper flakes. You can use it in marinades, paprikash and goulash. Paprika is also great if you like to add flavor and color to a food. It lacks the spiciness and texture of chili powder.

What Can I Use in Place of Chili Flakes?

Here are some alternatives that you can pick instead of chili flakes:
-Dried Peppers
-Chile de Arbol Powder
-Ground Cayenne Pepper
-Ground Habanero Pepper

Read More: 8 Salads with Meat Recipes

Final Verdict

Both chili flakes and crushed red chilies are essential ingredients in every cooking, but they have some differences and specific uses. So, knowing them individually and their differences is vital to get the best result in cooking. In addition, you must ensure the quantity, whether you pick chili flakes or crushed red chilies, according to your requirements.  

You will find the above write-up helpful in understanding Chili Flakes vs Crushed Red Pepper from their features, use, appearance, and taste. 

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