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Which One Is Better: Red Pepper Flakes vs Chili Flakes?

If you like spice in your food or enjoy cooking with spices, then I’m sure you have come across both of these ingredients at some point. There are so many varieties of chilis and peppers that it can be hard to know what is the best one to use for your dish.

Which One Is Better: Red Pepper Flakes vs Chili Flakes?

However, in this we’ll be clearing up the differences between Red Pepper Flakes and Chili Flakes. We’ll look into what makes these two ingredients so different from each other and when you should use either in your own cooking.

Where Do Red Pepper And Chili Flakes Come From?

Red pepper flakes are a little more complex than chili flakes. This is because red pepper flakes are a mixture of different peppers. Also the peppers that are used can affect the taste and spice that these flakes can give you.

Some of the most popular peppers used include bell peppers, fresno peppers, cayenne red peppers and jalapeno peppers. Hence with all these peppers being used, they have a very complex and deeper taste profile.

However it also means we can’t actually say where they come from, because they are made up of so many different peppers.

Where Do Chili Flakes Come From?

Unlike Red Pepper Flakes, Chili Flakes are made from one type of paper. Some of the most popular types of chili peppers that are used to make chili flakes include aleppo chili peppers and chipotle chili peppers.

With only one type of pepper being used, you can appreciate the chilli taste more without it fighting against other flavors.

What Do Red Pepper Flakes Look Like?

Red pepper flakes are a ray of color. They are a mixture of different hues of red and white.

As these flakes are made from a range of different peppers, then the color of these flakes will have elements of all the colors of the peppers used to make these flakes.

Red pepper however flakes keep hold of their seeds after the dying process. Compared to chili flakes that throw their seeds away.

What Do Chili Flakes Look Like?

Chili flakes are mainly just a sea of redness. However depending on the type of chili used, this will alter the shade of red that the chili flakes have. However as said above, chili flakes don’t have any seeds as these are removed during the drying process.

What Do Red Pepper Flakes Taste Like?

As the pepper seeds are present in red pepper flakes, this can alter the heat of the flakes. The more seeds the spicer and hotter the red pepper flakes will be. The heat and flavor can be quite intense thanks to the seeds.

Therefore, you should always check the packaging on the spice level of the red pepper flakes you are buying

What Do Chili Flakes Taste Like?

It may be surprising that chili flakes aren’t as spicy as red pepper flakes and this is due to the seeds. There are no seeds in chili flakes so the spiciness is more on the milder side and the taste can actually be a bit sweeter.

Chili flakes are more suited to people who aren’t used to spice and heat yet.

When To Use Red Pepper And Chili Flakes

When Should You Use Red Pepper Flakes?

If it is your first time using red pepper flakes, you need to be quite careful, because only a little can be quite powerful and make your food spicy. If you want to add spice to any dish then you can use red pepper flakes but just be aware not to add too much.

Red pepper flakes are perfect for sauces or to add as a topping on a pizza. They can be used in glazes or in dips. It is also great to use red pepper flakes in chili con carne, to add a little extra spice to the dish.

When Should You Use Chili Flakes?

As chili flakes aren’t as hot and you don’t need to be as cautious about how much and where you use them. Chili flakes can be used in a wide range of dishes. Like red pepper flakes, you can add chili flakes in sauces or as a pizza topping.

They can offer a mellow and sometimes sweet kick. Some people also add chili flakes to salad dressing to give it a bit of a kick. The possibilities are endless with chili flakes, they are great when you just want that little kick in your food.


Red pepper flakes and chili flakes both add some extra heat to your food. The main difference between these flakes is that red pepper flakes are made from a range of different peppers and the seeds remain.

This causes red pepper flakes to pack more of a punch and are a lot spicier than chili flakes. While chili flakes still offer some heat but are much milder and offer a sweeter taste to your food.

Chili flakes can be used a bit more freely as they aren’t as spicy, you can build more spice more easily. Both are great to use in sauces and dishes to add some heat.

However, red pepper flakes should be used more sparingly, especially if you aren’t used to really spicy food. Chili flakes are better for anyone who is new to adding spice to their food or doesn’t like partially spicy food.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Substitute Red Pepper Flakes And Chili Flakes For One Another?

You can swap either one in for the other, however you just need to alter how much you use depending on which one you are using.

If you swap chili flakes out for red pepper flakes, then you will need less red pepper flakes than you needed chili flakes. This is because red pepper flakes are much stronger and spicier than chili flakes.

Hence you don’t need to add as many red pepper flakes than you would have needed to add if you were using chili flakes. Always start with a teaspoon and build up, otherwise you may over spice your dish.

You can always add more but you can’t take away once they have been added and mixed in.

However, it is the other way around for chili flakes. If you swap red pepper flakes out for chili flakes, you will need much more chili flakes than the recipe recommends. You need to double or even triple the amount of flakes you add.

This is because chili flakes aren’t as spicy as red pepper flakes. However you can also swap red pepper flakes out for chili flakes, if you don’t want the dish as spicy as it was intended to be.

With chili flakes you will need to add more to get any serious heat than you would with red pepper flakes. Although with both, it’s a good idea to add a teaspoon of either flakes at a time to the dish.

This way you can get the dish to the spice level that you want more easily. Also building up spice is easier to do and you don’t have to worry about over spicing your dish.

Can I Use Chili Flakes Instead Of Fresh Chilis?

Chili flakes are just chilis that have been dried out. Half a teaspoon of chili flakes is equal to one chopped fresh chili. Both have similar taste and heat, you just need less flakes to give you that taste compared to fresh chopped chilis.

Are Red Pepper Flakes Spicier Than Cayenne Pepper?

Red pepper flakes are made from a range of different peppers, which can include cayenne peppers. However, cayenne pepper is just made with cayenne peppers.

Therefore red pepper flakes are just slightly less spicy than cayenne pepper, and that’s only because the other peppers used don’t add as much heat as if the flakes were just made from cayenne peppers.

Are Red Pepper Flakes And Chili Flakes Good For You?

Chilis are a good source of antioxidants. They also have traces of vitamin C, however you’d have to consume a large amount for you to have any real benefit. Chili flakes are also high in vitamin A and iron and potassium.

If your red pepper flakes contain cayenne peppers then this can help boost your metabolism. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps increase the heat your body produces, which then helps you burn more calories.

Therefore both have different benefits, but like anything they should be consumed in moderation. Eating too much of either can have harmful effects. Also by eating too much spice too often cna cause you to have stomach problems.

Jess Smith