12 Spicy Substitutes for Thai Chili You Should Try

The first time I ever tasted Thai chili. It was love at first bite. The heat and flavor were unlike anything I had ever tasted before. But, as with all good things, it eventually came to an end.

How? You may ask. I ran out of Thai chili.

I was devastated when I learned that my local grocery store had discontinued my favorite Thai chili sauce.

It was a tragedy. I didn’t know what to do. I thought my life was over.

But my research skills and tenacity in the kitchen saved me. I found substitutes for Thai chili that were just as good, if not better.

In this blog post, I will share with you the substitutes for Thai chili that I have found and love.

So, if you find yourself in a pinch and need an alternative to Thai chili, never fear! This guide will help you find the perfect one.

Substitutes for Thai Chili:

Here are some of the best Thai chili replacements that I’ve discovered:

  1. Cayenne peppers.
  2. Bird’s eye chilies.
  3. Serrano peppers.
  4. Tabasco peppers
  5. Habanero peppers.
  6. Guntur Sannam chili pepper
  7. Chiles de Arbol
  8. Indian finger hot peppers
  9. Pequin peppers.
  10. Jalapeno peppers.
  11. Fresno chile
  12. Malagueta

Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers have a similar color, shape, size, and flavor to Thai chili peppers, but they are not as spicy. With a 30,000 to 50,000 SHU heat level, this substitute is in the mid-range heat category.

They have a similar texture to Thai chili peppers. So, when used as a substitute, they can add the same flavor and texture to food without making it too spicy.

Cayenne peppers also have health benefits. They are rich in vitamins A and C, and they also contain capsaicin. Capsaicin is an anti-inflammatory compound that can help to relieve pain.

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When substituting Cayenne pepper for Thai chili pepper, use a 1:1 ratio. For example, if a recipe calls for one Thai chili pepper, use one Cayenne pepper.

You can use it in any dish that calls for Thai chili pepper, including stir-fries, soups, and curries. And you can use it either in its ground or raw form. If you’re looking for more heat, try the fresh cayenne peppers.

African Bird’s eye chili

The African bird’s eye chili is a small chili pepper that packs a lot of heat. With a heat level of 50,000 to 100,000 SHU, it is one of the hotter substitutes on this list.

It is also called the Piri Piri pepper or the peri peri pepper. This chili pepper is native to Africa and is used in many African dishes.

The African bird’s eye chili has a similar flavor to the Thai chili pepper. It is also a bit fruity with a hint of citrus. It comes in different colors like green, purple, red and pale orange. Green is the least hot because it’s unripe and red is the hottest because it’s ripe.

So if you don’t want that overpowering spicy taste, remove the seeds in the pepper to reduce the heat.

The African bird’s eye has a smoky flavor and a lightly sweet taste. It can be used as a seasoning in many dishes.

Serrano peppers

Serrano peppers are a popular type of chili pepper that originated in Mexico. They are named after the mountain range in which they were first grown.

These peppers are available in many different colors, including green, red, yellow, and orange. They are typically smaller and more slender than other types of chili peppers, with a sharp, fiery flavor.

Serrano peppers often have a rating of 10,000-25,000 on the Scoville heat scale. This makes them one of the hotter types of chili peppers available.

They are delicious when grilled or used in salsa. And can be used as a substitute for Thai chili peppers.

Serrano peppers have a similar level of heat and offer a fruity flavor that can enhance the taste of many dishes. When substituting Serrano peppers for Thai chili peppers, it is important to increase the amount used to account for the difference in size.

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It’s great in salads and as a sandwich filling. It has a grassy taste that is comparable to Thai chili, which is why it’s delicious when grilled or used in guacamole and spicy sauces.

Tabasco peppers

Tabasco peppers are small, very hot peppers that are traditionally used to make Tabasco sauce. These peppers can be used in place of Thai chili peppers in many dishes.

They have a mid-range heat, and they are very tiny – not more than 2 inches long. They can be quite bitter when unripe, so it is best to wait until they are fully ripened before using them in a dish.

Tabasco peppers can be used in any dish that calls for Thai chili peppers, and they will provide a similar level of heat. However, because they are so small, they may not provide the same level of flavor as Thai chili peppers.

Tabasco peppers also have the benefit of being very easy to grow, so they can be a good choice for those who do not have access to Thai chili peppers.

Habanero peppers

Habanero peppers are one of the hottest chili peppers available. They are even hotter than the hottest Thai chili. If the reason you’re looking for a substitute is that its not hot enough for you, then my friend you just found the perfect substitute.

Ranging from green to orange to red, habaneros have a fruity, floral flavor that is similar to the Thai chili pepper. However, they are much hotter, with a Scoville rating of 100,000-350,000.

Habaneros should be used sparingly, as a little goes a long way. They can be used in place of Thai chili peppers in any dish, but it is important to start with less and add more if needed.

These peppers can also be used to make hot sauces, salsa, stews, soups, hot dips, and marinades.

Guntur Sannam

The Guntur Sannam is a chili pepper that is native to the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the most commonly used peppers in Indian cuisine.

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Guntur Sannam peppers are small, round, and red. They have a Scoville rating of 35,000-40,000, making them one of the mid-range (in heat) types of chili peppers.

Guntur Sannam peppers can be used in any dish that calls for Thai chili peppers, especially where you want the heat but not in overwhelming measure.

However, because they are not as widely available, they may be more difficult to find. If you’re able to find them, they are usually a great addition in curry dishes, pasta sauces and soups.

Chiles de Arbol

The Chiles de Arbol is a chili pepper that is native to Mexico. It is long and thin, with a bright red color – just like Thai chili.

Chiles de Arbol has a Scoville rating of 15,000 – 30,000, making them one of the milder types of chili peppers. Nevertheless, there is another type of Chiles de Arbol that is on the hotter side with 50000 – 65000 SHU

They can be used in any dish that calls for Thai chili peppers, but their flavor is not as complex. They have this nutty and smoky flavor that you would like.

When using Chiles de Arbol as a substitute for Thai chili, it is important to use more than you ordinarily would, since they are less spicy. They can be eaten raw or dried and in all kinds of soups and sauces.

Chiles de Arbol are a good choice for those who want the heat without the intense flavor of some of the other chili peppers on this list.

They can be found in most Mexican grocery stores, and they are often used in salsa, mole, and adobo sauce.

Indian finger hot peppers

Indian finger hot peppers, also known as jwala peppers, are a type of chili pepper that is native to India. They are small, curved, and narrow, with a bright red color.

Indian finger hot peppers have a Scoville rating of 50,000 – 75,000, making them one of the hotter types of chili peppers.

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They can be used in either fresh or dried form. Add it to your salad, sauces, dips, and curries. You can use it as a replacement for Thai chili in any dish.

Pequin peppers

Pequin peppers are a type of chili pepper that is native to Mexico. They are small, round, and red, with a Scoville rating of 30,000 – 60,000.

Pequin peppers have a very intense flavor, so they should be used sparingly. Even though they are not as hot as the hottest Thai chili, a little goes a long way with these peppers!

They can be used in place of Thai chili peppers in any dish, but it is important to start with less and add more if needed.

They have a slightly nutty flavor that resembles that of Thai chili. Pequin peppers can also be used to make hot sauces, salsa, stews, soups, hot dips, and marinades. You can also add them to your salads as they can be eaten raw. Just bear in mind that they bring a citrusy flavor when they are eaten raw.

Jalapeno peppers

Jalapeno peppers are a type of chili pepper that is native to Mexico. They are small, green, and have a Scoville rating of 2000 – 8000.

When your dish requires just a little heat or where you do not want to have too much intensity of hotness, you should consider using jalapeno peppers. They won’t overwhelm your dish.

They have a slightly sweet flavor with a hint of spiciness. Jalapeno peppers can be eaten raw, pickled, or cooked. They come in a beautiful green body that can add color to any dish.

When you use this substitute, make sure to use more, because it is not as hot as Thai chili.

You can find them in most grocery stores, and they are often used in salsa, stews, guacamole, and sauces.

Fresno chili peppers

Fresno chili peppers are a type of chili pepper that is native to the Fresno area in California. They are small, red, and have a Scoville rating of 2,500 – 10,000.

They resemble jalapeno in flavor and aroma but Fresno is hotter than jalapeno yet sweeter and smokier than Thai chili.

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To further enhance the flavor of a Fresno chili pepper, grill it or roast it and I promise, you’d love it.

Malagueta peppers

Malagueta peppers are a type of chili pepper that is native to Brazil. They are small, green, and have a Scoville rating of 50,000 – 100,000.

This is perfect because that’s the exact heat rating of Thai chili.

Just like other chili peppers on this list, they can be used in any dish where Thai chili is called for, but it is important to start with less and add more if needed.

Malagueta peppers have a slightly fruity flavor with a lot of heat. They can be found in most Brazilian grocery stores.

Substituting Thai chili for Malagueta pepper will give your dish the perfect amount of heat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can I substitute for Thai red chili paste?

If you’re looking for a Thai red chili paste substitute, the best options are Sambal Oelek, Sriracha sauce, or spicy tomato paste.

What can I use in place of Thai green chili?

For a Thai green chili substitute, we recommend using jalapeno peppers, serrano peppers, or Thai basil.

What kind of chili is a Thai chili?

Thai chili is a type of chili pepper that is native to Thailand. It is small, red, and has a Scoville rating of 50,000 – 100,000.

Final Words

Now, you have several substitutes for Thai chili that you can use in your cooking. Be adventurous and experiment with different chili peppers to find the perfect flavor for your dish!

Just remember to start with less and add more if needed. With these substitutes, you’ll never have to worry about not having Thai chili again.

Now, go knock yourself out in the kitchen!