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13 Perfect Alternatives Of Red Curry Paste To Use In Kitchen

For many Asian recipes you will find red curry paste being listed as one of the most important ingredients for a recipe.

It is especially popular in Thai food and Thai recipes, so if you want to make many dishes from this culture, there is a high chance that you will need to use this ingredient.

Luckily red curry paste is not one of the rarest ingredients and you should be able to find it in most supermarkets, especially if they have a dedicated area for Asian ingredients.

10 Best Red Curry Paste Substitutes

In spite of this, it is not an ingredient which everyone will keep in stock, and because of this people often do not want to have to go out and buy a new ingredient to make the recipe work.

Also, while red curry paste is accessible for some people, if you do not live close enough to a big store, you may not be able to get red curry paste anywhere local to you.

It is good to know then what the best substitutions you can use to replace red curry paste are so your recipes will not suffer from a lack of flavor due to its absence.

So, if you want to cook more recipes which use red curry paste, but you can not get your hands on this ingredient, keep reading to find out what the best alternatives available are!

Quick Table: Red Curry Paste Substitutes

SubstitutesCalories (Per 100 Grams)
Curry Paste312
Green Curry Paste140
Chili Powder282
Chili Paste300
Tomato Paste And Chili Flakes100
Turmeric And Chili Paste354
Yellow Curry Paste333
Garlic And Chili Sauce74
Garlic And Tomato Paste61
Curry Powder325
Massaman Curry Paste96

The Best Red Curry Paste Substitutions

Keep in mind when choosing a substitute for red curry paste, that none of these substitutions will be perfect and there can still be some noticeable differences with the final results.

However, all of these options will work well as a substitute for red curry paste, in spite of this, some will work better than others in different situations, so make sure to keep your eye out and work out which will work best for the recipe you are using the substitute for.

1. Curry Paste

Curry Paste

As mentioned in the introduction, red curry paste is easily substituted by curry paste for their close similarity in taste.

The main difference you will find is that curry paste will not be as pungent as red curry paste when it comes to the final result of the dish.

Your food will also not have its color altered as it would when using red curry paste.

However, you will still get delicious final results that will make making the recipe from scratch well worth it!

Curry paste tends to be a lot more common than red curry paste, and this is why it is such a good substitute.

It is also an ingredient which you may already have in stock, so you do not have to worry about buying a new ingredient like you may have to for red curry paste.

It also tends to be priced quite well so you do not have to worry about it being too expensive.

If you do not know how else to use your curry paste after you are done with your recipe, curry paste is most commonly used in Indian dishes and if you look to that culture you will find plenty of ways to use it.

It is also common in marinades, stews, and stir fries.

You can replace red curry paste with curry paste at a 1:1 ratio.

How To Substitute

Curry paste is a blend of spices and herbs that can be used to create your curry recipes. To use curry paste instead of red curry paste, substitute it for the red curry paste recipe.

2. Green Curry Paste

Green Curry Paste

As well as normal curry paste, green curry paste is also one of the best substitutes available for red curry paste.

They are both curry pastes so they have a similar flavor profile, and while of course, their flavor is by no means identical, a recipe substituting red curry paste for green curry paste will be delicious, but may have a noticeably different flavor.

The difference between red curry paste and green curry paste is that red is made from red peppers, while green is made from green peppers.

Generally speaking, green curry paste will have a slightly more mild flavor than that red curry paste, and of course, it will not give your food the red tinge that red curry paste would.

Similarly to using a standard curry paste, you can also substitute green curry paste for red curry paste at a 1:1 ratio.

How To Substitute

When cooking with curry paste, make sure to use it sparingly. For example, you can usually substitute one tablespoon of green curry paste for one tablespoon of red curry paste. It’s a great way to save on ingredients and still have a flavor-packed dish.

3. Chili Powder

Chili Powder

One of the main ingredients which is used in a red curry paste is chili powder, so by using this instead of red curry paste, or by mixing some in with another curry paste, you will be able to more closely replicate the flavor of red curry paste more.

By using a good chili powder you will be able to get the spiciness you would get from a red curry paste, however you will not get much else from its flavor similar to curry paste.

Chili powder is also a good substitute, or part of a substitute, for the color it lends which is similar to that you would get from a red curry paste.

Unlike the previous two options, you do not want to substitute chili powder at a 1:1 ratio like the curry pastes, and instead onto use a pinch.

If your recipe wants a tablespoon of red curry paste, only use a quarter or even less when substituting.

How To Substitute

Many people prefer to make their curry paste, which can be tailored to suit their tastes. However, if you want to avoid taking the time to make your own, you can use chili powder instead. It can be used in any dish that requires red curry paste.

4. Chili Paste

Chili Paste

As you can imagine, chili paste has a quite similar taste to chili powder, but it is slightly closer to red curry paste as it is a paste as well.

This has a slightly milder taste than that you would get from a chili powder, and it will also work well to give your food a more red color like you would from using a red curry paste.

Of course, you should not use this as liberally as you would for a red curry paste since it is significantly more spicy and will impact the heat of the dish.

This has the spiciness of a red curry paste, but not the curry flavor, so you may want to compensate for this by adding extra seasoning.

How To Substitute

Chili paste is a spice paste made from chili peppers, garlic, ginger, onions, and other spices, often found in Southeast Asian dishes. Chili paste can be used in place of red curry paste. The flavor becomes slightly different, but if you’re craving the taste of red curry, use more chili paste than red curry paste.

RELATED: 8 Options To Substitute Tamarind Paste

5. Tomato Paste And Chili Flakes

Tomato Paste And Chili Flakes

Tomato paste is something you likely already have in, and it will have a relatively similar taste to red curry paste, if not less complex and spiced, but by mixing this paste with some chili flakes you will be able to get a much more similar spiciness.

You can make this mix by adding about half a tablespoon of some chili flakes into about 4 tablespoons of some tomato paste, and you will want to mix this well.

This mix is not just limited to curries, and will work well to give your tomato based dishes a bit more of a spicy kick and make them a little more interesting.

How To Substitute

Thai red curry pastecan be used in various ways. It is possible to substitute tomato paste and chili flakes for the paste, making a tomato-based red curry. Tomato paste and chili flakes are perfect for a quick, easy, and flavorful Thai red curry dish. This dish is ideal for a busy weeknight meal.

6. Turmeric And Chili Paste

Turmeric And Chili Paste

Turmeric is one of the more important ingredients in a red curry paste, so by combining it with a chili paste which has a more similar texture and spiciness to red curry paste, you will be able to get quite close to the flavor and look of a red curry paste.

To get this mix you do not have to use much effort, all you have to do is mix about 2 tablespoons of your turmeric to just a quarter of a tablespoon of chili paste, and if this is too thick, you can loosen it with some water.

This will make a nice thick paste which is perfect for using in curried and stews.

How To Substitute

Turmeric and Chili Paste can be used as a substitute for red curry paste. It is a paste that contains turmeric and ground chilies and can be used to add a kick of spice to many dishes.

7. Yellow Curry Paste

Yellow Curry Paste

Yellow curry paste is not as popular as its red and green counterparts, and as you can imagine, it is made from yellow peppers instead of red or green.

Since it is unlikely that you will be able to find this curry paste instead of red curry paste, it is not the best substitute, but if you somehow find it, it will work.

Like green curry paste, it is not as spicy as red, but you can compensate for this by adding other seasonings or sauces like tomato paste to add color or turmeric to add spice.

You can use this at a 1:1 ratio for red curry paste.

How To Substitute

The red curry paste has a robust flavor that distinguishes it from other curry pastes. The flavor of the paste is typically milder and sweeter than red curry paste, which makes it an excellent replacement for red curry paste.

RELATED: The 10 Best Substitutes For Miso Paste

8. Garlic And Chili Sauce

Garlic And Chili Sauce

If you want to make a paste yourself which will be similar to red curry paste, you can try mixing some garlic you have minced with chili paste or chili sauce to make a similar alternative.

This is an easy mix to make and all you have to do is mix in the two parts with equal quantities, and then adjust to match your taste.

You can also substitute this mix at a 1:1 ratio, but be prepared for your dish to have a much stronger garlic flavor.

How To Substitute

Garlic and Chili Paste is a quick, easy-to-make versatile paste that can substitute for red curry. It is a simple paste that can be used as a substitute for a red curry paste or as an excellent seasoning in its own right.

9. Garlic And Tomato Paste

Garlic And Tomato Paste

Similarly to the previous choice, you can mix minced garlic with tomato paste to get the same red color of red curry paste, it will just be a little less spicy than using chili sauce, but you can compensate for this by adding spices.

This homemade paste is useful to know how to make since it is very versatile and will add plenty of flavor to any dish.

How To Substitute

Garlic and tomato paste can replace red curry paste in any dish that traditionally calls for red curry paste. The garlic and tomato paste is made with chopped tomatoes and spices, giving it a rich, earthy flavor. The garlic and tomato paste is also naturally low in fat, which is perfect for any diet.

10. Curry Powder

Curry Powder

Finally, if you do not have any of the pastes or sauces we have recommended, you can simply use curry powder as it will give you the curry flavor you are looking for, it will just be a little less intense and will not give you the same red color.

How To Substitute

Curry powder is a spice blend used in many dishes, especially in Indian cuisine. For example, it is often used in place of red curry paste, which can be used to make a Thai red curry dish. To use curry powder, you will need to combine it with some water and oil and heat it in a pan.

11. Harissa

Harissa is a spicy North African red pepper paste, usually made with dried chilies, garlic, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, salt, olive oil and lemon juice. 

It is a popular condiment in Morocco and Tunisia. It is used as a condiment and is typically found in dishes like tagines, couscous, and tajines. 

Harissa can be used in a variety of ways, from adding it to soups to using it as a rub for meats.

It can be used as a spread or sauce, and also as a flavoring for stews, vegetables, meats, and fish. The recipe for Harissa is usually very spicy, but there are also mild versions.

How To Substitute

In a pinch, you can substitute red curry paste with harissa paste, which is a red chili paste made of ground dried red chili peppers, salt, garlic, caraway seeds, cumin, coriander, and olive oil. Harissa paste can be substituted for red curry paste in recipes for dishes like Thai red curry.

12. Sriracha

Sriracha is a hot sauce, made of red jalapeños, vinegar, garlic, salt, and sugar. It is a spicy chili sauce with a pungent, sweet, and savory taste.

It is a versatile sauce that can be used on just about anything from pizza to pasta to eggs to burgers to even cereal. 

Sriracha has a very sweet and pungent taste that is hard to describe, but is loved by many.

It is made from a variety of chili peppers and has a distinctive taste and smell. 

How To Substitute

You can make your own red curry paste by combining 1 tablespoon of red curry paste with 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.

13. Massaman Curry Paste

The massaman curry paste is a rich, deep red sauce with notes of ginger, cumin, and cinnamon that has a spicy heat and earthy, aromatic flavor. 

It’s made with a combination of ground spices, fresh ginger, garlic, shallots, coconut milk, red curry paste, and red curry powder.

It is a perfect blend of spices and ingredients that is perfect for all of your curry recipes. With its mild heat, this curry paste is perfect for your daily meal.

How To Substitute

If you want to make a red curry with red curry paste, you’ll need to substitute the red curry paste with Massaman curry paste. The paste is an alternative that has a deep and rich taste that pairs well with a variety of dishes.

Homemade Red Curry Paste Made Yourself Recipe

Making your own red curry paste is not actually that hard, and knowing how to make it yourself can save yourself the effort of having to go out and buy it.

If you want to make a traditional Thai red curry paste, you will need some ingredients which you may not already have in to get the perfect flavor.

A traditional Thai red curry paste is made mainly from red chili peppers but also has; garlic, lemongrass, shrimp paste, turmeric and sea salt.


Hopefully, this article has given you all the information you need to find the best suited substitute for red curry paste.

Of course nothing will be able to perfectly replicate the original, and if you can find it, you should use it.

But by creating one of these substitutes, you can save yourself the cost of going out to buy a new ingredient!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Red Curry Paste Very Spicy?

Red curry paste is a mix of fresh Thai red chilies, garlic, shallots, salt, and coconut milk in many Asian grocery stores. It is a common ingredient in Thai curries that adds heat and flavor. Red curry paste is typically spicy, with a mild to medium heat level.

Is Red Curry Paste The Same As Garam Masala?

Garam masala is a spice mix used in Indian cuisine. Garam masala can be made from various spices and is usually used to add a warm, earthy flavor to curries and meat dishes. Red curry paste is a spice mix made from herbs and can be used in Thai curries.

Is Red Curry Healthy?

Red curry is an aromatic, spicy, and sweet dish. It’s made from red chiles, coconut milk, garlic, ginger, and other spices. Its red color comes from the addition of red chiles, and its sweetness comes from the addition of brown sugar and the sweetness of coconut milk. Its spiciness comes from the use of red chiles and the combination of spices used.

13 Best Red Curry Paste Substitutes

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Are you wanting to cook a recipe which needs red curry paste but you do not have any? This article will give you 10 of the best alternative choices!


  • Curry Paste

  • Green Curry Paste

  • Chili Powder

  • Chili Paste

  • Tomato Paste And Chili Flakes

  • Turmeric And Chili Paste

  • Yellow Curry Paste

  • Garlic And Chili Sauce

  • Garlic And Tomato Paste

  • Curry Powder

  • Harissa

  • Sriracha

  • Massaman Curry Paste


  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith

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Friday 8th of March 2024

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Tuesday 23rd of May 2023

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Wednesday 17th of May 2023

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