This Gardener
Сayenne pepper

Is Cayenne Pepper the Same as Paprika?

Cayenne pepper and paprika are two red peppers that can add a unique flavor to any dish. Simply adding these pepper flakes to your meal is enough to make you cry. So, is Cayenne Pepper the same as Paprika? Although they look similar, they have some distinct differences. 

In this article, you’ll learn about their similarities and differences and how easy it is to substitute one for another. On that note, let’s dig right in.


What is Cayenne Pepper?

Cayenne Pepper

 If you’re looking for hot peppers to add to your meal, Cayenne pepper is a great option. This variety of peppers comes from Capsicum annum, related to jalapeno peppers and bell peppers. 

Cayenne peppers are hot peppers you can use to make hot sauce. Its spiciness comes from capsaicin which is its most active ingredient. Its heat levels are high as it fluctuates between 30,000 – 50,000 Scoville Heat Units. Going by the Scoville scale, it’s clear that cayenne pepper is hotter than jalapenos.

The cayenne chili peppers are dried and ground to create the cayenne powder. That’s why you can easily find the Cayenne powder in the market today. This doesn’t mean there are no fresh cayenne peppers; they’re long, skinny, and just as hot as the ground pepper. 

These hot peppers originate from the city of Cayenne in French Guinea. This ground spice is popular and is common in Mexican and Creole dishes. However, if you also check out Asian, Indian and Korean countries, you’re sure to recognize this flavor profile in their cuisines too.

What is Paprika?


This ground spice comes from dried red peppers but isn’t as spicy as the cayenne pepper. Paprika spice is derived from different peppers, one of which is the Hungarian paprika pepper. 

This doesn’t mean Hungary is the only country that makes these pepper flakes; you can also find them grown in Spain and USA. 

These ground chili peppers can be used as a garnish or spice. However, if you’re looking for sweet peppers, look no further than the sweet paprika. This pepper comes from the sweeter variety of the capsicum plant, so it is sweeter than hot. There are different types of paprika, and it all depends on what you’re looking for.

If you want hot paprika, you should choose the darker, brownish color. However, if you’re looking for sweet paprika with a fruity flavor, you should go for the red-colored paprika. The Hungarian paprika comes in eight grades. While the Kulonleges offer the mildest, you should go for Eros if you’re looking for hot paprika.

Is Cayenne Pepper the Same as Paprika? What’s the Difference Between Paprika and Cayenne?

Is Cayenne Pepper the Same as Paprika?

Cooking entails diversity and the willingness to try a wide range of peppers. For example, cayenne and paprika are two powdered red peppers used for making spicy dishes. Despite their similarities, their spicy flavors are quite different. 

One of the differences between cayenne pepper and paprika is that cayenne pepper spice comes from fresh pepper. On the other hand, paprika doesn’t come from a single fresh pepper but features different types of pepper, amongst which is the tomato peppers.

Another difference between cayenne pepper and paprika is the hotness of both peppers. Cayenne pepper is ten times hotter than paprika. The prominent flavor of paprika is its sweetness which the cayenne pepper doesn’t possess.

A distinction we can’t ignore is their consistency. Paprika is made into a fine ground pepper, like cinnamon. On the other hand, cayenne is pepper flakes that are gritty and coarse. Because of the texture difference, you can easily hide paprika in Mexican cuisines than cayenne.

The color is also a significant difference between cayenne pepper and paprika. Although the color of spice shouldn’t matter when considering chili powders, most chefs eat with their eyes. Therefore, you should opt for the cayenne ground powder if you want a black pepper. However, the cayenne color doesn’t stand out the way paprika does.

Can I Use Cayenne Pepper in Place of Paprika Or Vice Versa?

This is something you should consider about these chili flakes. Cooking is a skill that you improve with time and practice. To improve your cooking skill, you need to know if paprika is a suitable replacement for cayenne pepper. 

When making spicy foods, we can’t say that you should replace paprika with cayenne pepper and vice versa. The reason is that while paprika has a sweet, earthy flavor and qualifies as mild peppers, cayenne has a hot flavor profile. 

Therefore, using paprika as a substitute for cayenne pepper isn’t a good idea if your recipe includes hot chili pepper. The same goes if you’re going for a smoky flavor which the paprika varieties can offer you, and you use cayenne pepper instead.

Although substituting one spice powder for the other could give you the color you want, you should expect a different taste. For example, if the recipe calls for sweet, mild peppers, cayenne chili flakes can never give you that. However, you can opt for hot paprika if you run out of ground cayenne pepper in your spice rack.

Although it isn’t going to offer you the same level of spiciness, it is a good alternative. Conclusive, the best choice is to always opt for the exact peppery flavor that the recipe asks for if you want your spicy sauce to provide the taste you’re looking for.


According to Scoville heat units, cayenne pepper powder is hotter than paprika. Their other differences lie in their color, texture, and active ingredient. So, although they come from the same family and are spicy flavors for your Asian cuisines, they would give you different tastes when added to your dish.

If you want spicier chilies, you should go for cayenne pepper. However, you should pepper with paprika if you want a sweet, fruity, and mild flavor. Although you can add the two varieties of chili peppers to the same meal, you shouldn’t substitute them for each other. Overall, these two peppers are unique in their ways and will add a peculiar taste to your meals.

Jessica Zander

Add comment