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10 Best Substitutes for Bird’s Eye Chili

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David Larsen
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Looking for a substitute for Bird’s Eye Chili? You’re in luck! In this blog post, we will discuss 10 different substitutes that you can use in order to create the same flavor profile.

Bird’s Eye Chili is a popular spice used in Thai and Malaysian cuisine. It has a spicy, smoky flavor that is perfect for adding heat to dishes.

If you are unable to find Bird’s Eye Chili or if you are looking for something a little different, check out these substitutes!

What is Bird’s Eye Chili?

Bird’s Eye Chili, or Thai chili, is a small, slender chili pepper that packs a punch! It has a heat level between 100,000 and 225,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). This makes them about four times hotter than jalapenos. The unique flavor of Bird’s Eye Chili peppers can be described as a combination of sweet and spicy, with hints of citrus and smokiness.

The hottest parts of the chili are the seeds and the white ribs which contain most of the heat-bearing compounds known as capsaicinoids. The flavor is concentrated in these areas, so removing them can help reduce the heat level while still leaving you with the unique flavor of these peppers.

Bird’s Eye Chili peppers are used in many Thai dishes including curries, salads, and stir-fries. They can also be used to make chili pastes for added heat and spice. For those who cannot handle extreme heat levels, the chili’s milder varieties may still provide enough kick to add flavor without the burn.

What does Bird’s Eye Chili look like?

Bird’s Eye Chili, also known as Thai Chili or Finger Hot Chili, is a small chili pepper that is red in color and has a pointed shape. The chili typically measures 1-2 inches long and about 1/4 inch in diameter at its thickest point, tapering toward the end.

Bird’s Eye Chilis are considered to be one of the spiciest chili peppers available, with a Scoville rating between 50,000 and 100,000 units. They have a bright flavor that is both sweet and spicy, making them popular in many dishes throughout Southeast Asia.

The small size of Bird’s Eye Chilis results in their use as an accent rather than as the main ingredient in many dishes.

They are often used to add flavor and spice to curries, soups, stews and stir-fries. Because of their spiciness, they should be handled with care when preparing them.

When cooked, Bird’s Eye Chilis will soften slightly but still retain some of their texture and heat. The bright flavor and intense heat of Bird’s Eye Chilis make them a popular choice for adding bold flavor to many dishes.

What does Bird’s Eye Chili taste like?

Bird’s Eye chili, also known as Thai chili or Prik Kee Noo, is characterized by its small size and intense heat. It has a slightly fruity flavor that is sweet with hints of citrus and smoke. The texture is crunchy and firm with thin walls and seeds that are not as spicy as other peppers.

Best Substitutes for Bird’s Eye Chili.

If you’re looking for a substitute for Bird’s Eye Chili, there are several options available. Here is a list of some of the most popular substitutes:

1. African Bird’s Eye Chilis

African Bird’s Eye Chilis, also known as Piri-piri or African Devil Chilis, are a variety of small and extremely spicy chilis native to Africa. These chilis have a unique flavor and heat level that is hard to replicate with other chili varieties.

2. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper that has been dried and ground into a powder. It is usually mild-to-medium in heat intensity, but can range from very mild to extremely hot depending on the type of cayenne used. This spice is commonly used to add flavor and heat to dishes around the world.

Cayenne pepper is a great substitute for Bird’s Eye chili when you want to add heat to a dish without too much flavor. It has a moderate level of spiciness and can be adjusted depending on the intensity that you prefer. Additionally, it can help enhance the flavor of dishes without overpowering them.

3. Chile De Arbol

What is Chile De Arbol?

Chile De Arbol is a type of dried, thin-walled chile pepper that has a sharp and smoky flavor. Chile de árbol peppers are usually red in color and measure about 1 to 2 inches in length. They are one of the most commonly used types of dried chiles, and they have a long shelf life.

What Does Chile De Arbol Taste Like?

Chile de árbol peppers have a sharp, smoky flavor that has hints of nuttiness and sweetness. They are quite hot, measuring between 15,000 to 30,000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville scale. This makes them slightly hotter than jalapeño peppers, but not as hot as habanero peppers.

How Can I Substitute Chile De Arbol for Bird’s Eye Chili?

Chile de árbol peppers can be used to substitute for bird’s eye chilis in most dishes. When substituting them, use slightly more of the Chile de árbol peppers than the amount of bird’s eye chilis called for in the recipe.

This is because they are slightly less hot and having more will give you a similar level of heat without overpowering the dish. Additionally, you might need to adjust your cooking time as Chile de árbol peppers take longer to cook than bird’s eye chilis.

4. Fresno Chili Peppers

Fresno Chili Peppers are a variety of chili pepper native to the Fresno, California area. They are widely used as a substitute for Bird’s Eye Chili and have similar heat levels ranging from mild to moderate.

Like other chilis, Fresno Chilis can be prepared in various dishes or used to spice up sauces and salsas. Fresno Chilis can be cooked, pickled, or used fresh. When cooked or pickled, the heat and flavor of the chili mellows out a bit, bringing out its unique sweet notes.

Fresno Chili Peppers can also be enjoyed raw in salads and sandwiches. The chilis are small enough to be minced finely, providing a subtle kick and flavor to dishes.

Fresno Chili Peppers are an excellent substitute for Bird’s Eye Chili, offering similar heat levels and flavor profiles. The smaller size makes them easier to prepare in various dishes, while still providing the same level of spice and deliciousness.

5. Habanero Pepper

habanero peppers

Habanero pepper is a small, spicy chili pepper found in tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. It typically measures between 100,000–350,000 on the Scoville scale and has a distinctively fruity, smoky flavor.

When substituting for Bird’s Eye Chili, Habanero Pepper is often used as it has an intense heat that can add a bit of kick to dishes. Since the Habanero is much spicier than Bird’s Eye Chili, only a small amount should be used when hoping to achieve a similar level of heat. Additionally, when substituting with Habanero Peppers, cooking oil and other ingredients may need to be adjusted to offset the additional heat.

Habanero Peppers can be found fresh or dried in Mexican, Latin American and Caribbean grocery stores, as well as online. If using dried Habanero Peppers, they should be soaked overnight in hot water before using. Toasting them briefly in a dry skillet will also help bring out their flavor.

When substituting with Habanero Pepper, recipes may need to be adjusted to offset the additional heat as well as use smaller amounts than what is called for by Bird’s Eye Chili. By doing so, recipes can retain their level of desired spiciness while enjoying the unique flavor of Habanero Pepper.

6. Jalapeno Pepper

Jalapeno Pepper is a chili pepper that belongs to the Capsicum annuum species. It is a medium-sized chili pepper, measuring up to 2.5 inches long and about 1 inch in diameter.

It ranges in color from green to red when fully ripe but can also be eaten while still green. The jalapeño has a distinctively warm, burning sensation when eaten and is often used to give dishes a spicy kick.

As a substitute for Bird’s Eye Chili, Jalapeno Pepper provides an enjoyable amount of heat without the sharpness that Bird’s Eye Chili can have. It can be used to add some kick to dishes without overpowering them.

Jalapeno Pepper can be diced and used in salsas and sauces, or sliced and served raw on sandwiches or salads. It is also commonly pickled and eaten as a condiment.

7. Pequin Chili Pepper

pequin chili peppers

The pequin chili pepper (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum) is a very small, bird’s-eye type of chili pepper that comes from the south and southwestern parts of the United States as well as Mexico. It has a unique flavor along with a good amount of heat, making it an excellent substitute for the bird’s eye chili.

Coming from a smaller variety of pepper, the pequin chili has a much higher Scoville Heat Unit rating compared to other types of peppers, giving it its spicy kick. It is usually dried and used as an ingredient in various dishes such as salsas, sauces, and marinades.

8. Scotch Bonnet (Bonney pepper)

Scotch Bonnet, also known as the bonney pepper, is a variety of chili pepper found mostly in Caribbean cuisine. It is called “scotch” because of its resemblance to a tam o’ shanter hat and “bonnet” because it is related to the bell pepper family.

Scotch Bonnets have a very high level of heat and are usually used in small amounts, either diced or ground. When used as a substitute for Bird’s Eye Chili, it is important to use them sparingly. The flavor profile is similar but the level of heat is significantly higher so it should be treated with caution.

9. Serrano Pepper

This pepper is a medium-hot chili native to the mountain regions of Mexico. It has a sharp, biting flavor with slightly fruity undertones.

Serrano Pepper makes an excellent substitute for Bird’s Eye Chili because it has a similar level of heat and its flavor profile is also quite similar. While Serrano Pepper does not offer the same exact flavor as Bird’s Eye Chili, it is a great substitute and can be used in many of the same dishes.

Serrano Pepper can be used to make sauces, salsas, marinades, and anything else that calls for Bird’s Eye Chili. It is also a great addition to soups, stews, chili con carne, and other dishes that need a little extra spice.

In terms of heat, Serrano Pepper is slightly spicier than Bird’s Eye Chili. This means that when substituting Serrano Pepper for Bird’s Eye Chili, you may want to use a bit less than the recipe calls for. Start with a smaller amount and then adjust according to your taste.

10. Tabasco Peppers

It is a variety of Capsicum frutescens, one of the sources of chili peppers. Tabasco peppers are grown in their namesake region along the Gulf Coast of Mexico and in parts of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Tabasco peppers come in various shapes and sizes depending on when they are harvested but they are generally 2-5 cm long and have a red or green color. When ripe, they are typically deep red in color with a smoky flavor and medium heat.

Tabasco peppers rate between 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville Heat Unit scale (SHU). This makes them slightly hotter than jalapeño peppers but much milder than habanero peppers.

Tabasco peppers are commonly used to make hot sauces, as well as other ingredients for spicy dishes and salsas. They can also be dried, ground into powder and added to soups, stews and chili. In addition to their culinary uses, Tabasco peppers have some medicinal benefits. For example, they contain capsaicin which is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Is bird’s eye chili the same as Thai chili?

The answer is no. Bird’s eye chili and Thai chili are two different types of chilies. They both have a fiery heat, but the similarities end there. Bird’s eye chili is smaller, rounder and thinner than Thai chili, and has a more intense flavor.

It also has a higher Scoville rating which measures the hotness level of chilies. Thai chili has a milder flavor and is more often used for cooking than Bird’s eye chili.

Which is hotter habanero or bird’s eye chili?

While both are extremely hot chilies, the habanero is generally considered to be the hotter of the two. Habaneros have a Scoville heat unit rating of 100,000 to 350,000 while bird’s eye chilies have a range of 50,000 to 100,000 SHU.

In comparison, jalapeños have a range of 2,500 to 8,000. The higher the SHU rating, the hotter the chili pepper will be. Thus habanero peppers are significantly hotter than bird’s eye chilies and much hotter than jalapeños.

In addition to having a high SHU rating, habanero peppers also have a distinct flavor that sets them apart from other chili peppers. They are generally fruity and citrusy with a smoky, spicy kick. Bird’s eye chilies provide more of a sharp and intense heat than habaneros but lack the complex flavor notes found in habaneros.

Is bird’s eye chili the same as Cayenne?

The answer is not exactly. Bird’s eye chili and Cayenne pepper are both members of the same species, Capsicum annuum, but they have distinct differences that set them apart.

Bird’s eye chili, also known as Thai or bird chili, is a small, thin-skinned pepper that packs a powerful punch of heat and flavor. It ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 on the Scoville scale and is commonly used in Thai and Southeast Asian cuisine.

Cayenne pepper, on the other hand, is a large, long-fruited pepper that falls between 30,000 – 50,000 on the Scoville scale. Its heat is more moderate than bird’s eye chili, and it is commonly used in Cajun, Creole and Southwestern cuisine.

Both peppers are often found dried and powdered, as well as fresh. While they offer a similar flavor profile, the heat level of each pepper will vary greatly depending on how it has been prepared and processed.

Is bird’s eye chili the same as chili padi?

No, they are not. Bird’s eye chili, also known as cayenne pepper or Thai chili, is a type of hot pepper found in Southeast Asia that has small and slender red-colored fruits. Chili paid, on the other hand, is a popular spicy chili used mainly in Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines.

Although both have a similar level of spiciness, the texture and flavor are quite different. Chili paid is typically used as a condiment or garnish, while bird’s eye chili is often added to dishes for intense heat and flavor.

How spicy is a bird’s eye chili?

This chili, also known as cili padi in Malaysia and Thailand, is considered one of the hottest peppers in the world. It measures up to 100,000–225,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) on the Scoville scale, making it about 20-40 times hotter than a jalapeno pepper. To put it into perspective, a bell pepper registers at zero SHU, while a habanero can reach up to 350,000 SHU. So if you’re looking for some serious heat in your food, the bird’s eye chili is sure to deliver.

10 Best Substitutes for Bird's Eye Chili

10 Best Substitutes for Bird's Eye Chili

If you're looking for a substitution for Bird's Eye Chili in your recipe, there are several options available. You can use Cayenne or Thai chili peppers, which both provide a similar flavor and heat level to the Bird's Eye Chilis. These peppers also have a similar shape, making them perfect substitutes when cooking.


  • African Bird’s Eye Chilis
  • Cayenne Peppers
  • Chile De Arbol
  • Fresno Chili Peppers
  • Habanero Peppers
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Pequin Chili Peppers
  • Scotch Bonnet
  • Serrano Peppers
  • Tabasco Peppers


    1. When substituting for any type of chili pepper, always adjust the quantity to your taste. Depending on how hot you want your dish to be, you may need to add more or less. Start by adding half of what is called for in the recipe and gradually increase until you reach the desired heat level.
    2. When using fresh peppers as a substitution, you may need to add some additional liquid such as water or oil. This is because fresh peppers typically contain more moisture than dried peppers, which can affect the overall texture of your dish. Always adjust the liquids in your recipe accordingly when making substitutions.
    3. If you're looking for a milder alternative to Bird's Eye Chilis, you can substitute bell peppers. Bell peppers are much milder in flavor and have a sweeter taste than Bird's Eye Chilis. Be sure to adjust the amount of bell pepper used when substituting for other chili peppers as they will not provide the same heat and flavor intensity.

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best substitutes for birds eye chili

While Bird’s Eye Chili may be a popular choice for adding spice to dishes, there are plenty of substitutes available that offer the same level of heat and flavor. Habanero peppers, Thai chilies, cayenne pepper, jalapeño peppers, and serrano peppers can all be used as replacements for Bird’s Eye Chili. These peppers also have their own distinct flavor profiles, so they can be used to create new and exciting dishes as well. For a milder version of the heat, paprika or chili powder can be used instead.

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