Skip to Content

9 Best Shichimi Togarashi Substitutes You Can Try

In Japanese cuisine, some ingredients are a staple for many dishes. One of such ingredients is shichimi togarashi.

This Japanese spice blend is a common item you’ll often find listed as a requirement whenever you’re whipping up a Japanese dish.

However, you may not always have it on hand. So, we’ve put together the best shichimi togarashi substitutes you can use whenever you need a replacement.

Nutrition Table

Homemade spice Togarashi spice blend88
Nanami togarashi2000
Harissa paste261
Chili powder and sesame seeds180
Sansho pepper and dried nori40

What Is Shichimi Togarashi?

Shichimi togarashi, also known as seven spice powder, is a Japanese spice blend used in many different dishes.

The ingredients used for this spice blend can vary based on the maker, but it usually consists of a standard mix of dried orange peels, seaweed, chilis, Sichuan peppercorns, sesame seeds, and ginger.

 These ingredients give togarashi a unique flavor profile with a bold, spicy taste and toasty nuttiness. It also has a layer of umami to balance the heat and a subtle citrus aroma that brings life to any dish. 

Shichimi togarashi is built to be a very versatile spice and is traditionally used for grilled meats, noodles, soups, rice, and fish.

However, as it gains more popularity in the west, it is now being added to a wide variety of dishes like salad dressing, marinades, vegetables, french fries, and even popcorn.

Now let’s get into substitutes you can use when you don’t have togarashi. 

1. Homemade Spice Togarashi Spice Blend

One of the best ways to replicate the taste of shichimi togarashi is to make your own spice blend with similar ingredients.

That way, you can store it and have it readily on hand whenever you need it. 

 All you’ll need is a combination of sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, dried chili pepper, dried ginger, dried orange zest, and dried seaweed.

Add everything into a spice grinder, and you have your very own togarashi spice blend. 

You can use it for pretty much any recipe that calls for the original thing, as it will impart the same flavor.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing the spice blend with shichimi togarashi.

2. Ichimi Togarashi

If you want a spice blend you can easily buy and have in stock, then ichimi togarashi is a great option to try. Like shichimi togarashi, it is a Japanese seasoning made from chili peppers. 

 This spice blend differs slightly from shichimi because it majorly contains chili pepper hence the name ‘Ichimi togarashi,” which means one taste pepper.

Ichimi will impart a similar spicy flavor profile to your dish, and you can add it to soups, sauces, and any other hot cooked dish. 

However, since it contains only chili peppers, ichimi togarashi tends to be spicier than shichimi togarashi. So, you’ll need to use a much smaller quantity to avoid overpowering your dish.

How To Substitute

Use half a tablespoon of ichimi togarashi for each tablespoon of shichimi togarashi required.

3. Harissa Paste

Harissa is a common staple in North African cooking. It is a paste made from a blend of dried chilis, olive oil, and a host of different spices, all of which give it a smoky and spicy flavor.

It makes a great substitute for shichimi togarashi as it will impart a bold, smoky, and spicy taste. 

Using harissa might not give you the unique umami taste of togarashi, but it will certainly deliver on the toasty spiciness and also bring its own unique taste.

It is also very versatile, so you can add it to dishes like vegetables, salad, dressing, pasta, and noodles, or even use it as a rub for grilled meats.

Although harissa paste is commonly sold in many stores, you can make it from scratch to save yourself the shopping trip.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing shichimi togarashi with harissa paste.

4. Dukkah

Dukkah is a middle eastern spice blend often used for many different things. It is made from a blend of toasted nuts, sesame seeds, coriander, cumin, and other herbs.

That mixture gives it a warm toasty and nutty flavor with a rich citrus aroma.

 It is another great substitute to use in place of shichimi togarashi. You can add it to sauces and soups or even sprinkle it as a garnish on noodles and bread. 

Although it replicates the taste of shichimi togarashi really well, with dukkah, you will not get the spicy chili taste. So you can add a bit of chili powder to the dish to give it a spicy kick, or simply use the dukkah alone if you’re not a fan of spicy food. 

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing shichimi togarashi with dukkah.

5. Za’atar

Za’atar is another Middle Eastern staple you can use in place of shichimi togarashi. It is a spice blend commonly used for different dishes. 

The ingredients used in za’atar can vary depending on the region, but the typical components include savory spices like oregano, thyme, cumin, sumac, and sesame seeds. 

This rich blend of spices gives za’atar a truly exotic flavor with a pronounced earthy and herby taste and notes of toasty nuttiness and citrus. 

Its unique flavor profile makes it a great substitute to use for any recipe that calls for shichimi togarashi.

However, as with dukkah, this spice blend does not contain any peppers, so it will not really deliver on the spiciness. You’ll need to combine it with some chili peppers to get a similar level of heat.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing shichimi togarashi with za’atar.

6. Furikake

If you’re an avid consumer of Japanese food, then you’re likely very familiar with furikake. This condiment is usually sprinkled on rice, vegetables, and many fish dishes to add flavor, but it is a great substitute for shichimi togarashi.

It is made from a blend of dried seaweed, sesame, seeds, salt, and sugar. Furikake has a tasty nutty flavor with a layer of salty umami similar to shichimi togarashi.

 However, furikake is missing the heating element since it doesn’t contain any peppers, so it won’t produce the same spicy kick.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing shichimi togarashi with furikake. If you want to make it spicy, combine it with 1-2 teaspoons of chili flakes or chili powder.

7. Doubanjiang

Douhanjiang is a Chinese chili paste commonly used in Sichuan cuisine. It is made from a mixture of fermented beans, chili peppers, salt, and soybeans. 

This chili paste has a savory and spicy taste and is most cherished for its rich, umami flavor. It is a fantastic substitute to use in place of shichimi togarashi as it imparts a similar level of heat while also bringing a much-needed umami taste.  

Doubanjiang is traditionally used to flavor meats and stir-fries, but you can use it for many different things. Add it to marinades, sauces, or soups.

However, because of its thick texture and strong flavor, doubanjiang can’t really be used as a garnishing seasoning for cold dishes like you normally would shichimi togarashi. It is best suited to hot cooked dishes.

How To Substitute

Use one teaspoon of doubanjiang for each tablespoon of shichimi togarashi required in a dish.

8. Sansho Pepper And Dried Seaweed

Sansho pepper is a spice used in Japanese cuisine. It is obtained from the peppercorns of the Japanese pepper plant. When combined with dried seaweed, It makes a fantastic substitute for shichimi togarashi.  

The sansho peppers impart a pronounced spicy taste with a citrus flavor, while the dried seaweed brings the umami to complement the heat. 

You can use either sansho pepper powder or whole peppercorns and then combine them with blended dried seaweed.  

This mixture can be added to soups, sauces, and meats or even used as a garnish. You can even take it up a notch and combine it with sesame seeds to give it the nutty undertone of flavor common with shichimi togarashi.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing shichimi togarashi with this sansho and dried seaweed mixture.

9. Chili Powder And Sesame Seeds

As great as all the other substitutes are, sometimes they are not things you would typically have ready on hand.

So, if you want an easy last-minute substitute you likely already have and can easily get your hands on, then a combination of chili flakes and sesame seeds is a great option to try. 

 The two ingredients combined will deliver a nutty taste and a touch of heat, very similar to shichimi togarashi.  You can add some salt to give it a savory taste and enhance the flavor.

This mixture can be added to anything from chicken to roasted vegetables.

How To Substitute

Use a 1:1 ratio when replacing shichimi togarashi with the chili powder and sesame seeds mixture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shichimi Togarashi The Same As Seven Spice?

Shichimi togarashi is the same thing as seven spice. The word is simply the original name of seven spice in Japanese. 

How Spicy Is Shichimi Togarashi?

Shichimi togarashi contains chili peppers which give a medium dose of heat. However, it is not overly spicy since chili peppers don’t have an extremely high level of Hotness.

What Is Similar To Shichimi Togarashi?

Nanami togarashi is the most similar ingredient to shichimi togarashi. It is made from similar ingredients and has almost the same taste.

However, if you don’t have that, the next best options that are very similar to togarashi are dukkah, za’atar, or a combination of chili powder and sesame seeds.

What Is Shichimi Togarashi Made Of?

The ingredients used for shichimi togarashi varies based on region and who is making it, but the usual components include a mix of chilis, seaweed, sesame seeds, Sichuan peppers, dried ginger, and dried orange peels.

What Is Shichimi Togarashi Used For?

Shichimi togarashi is a very versatile ingredient, so it is used in a wide variety of dishes. You can use it as a dry rub for meats, add it to grilled fish, or sprinkle it over noodles, rice, vegetables, or even soups.

You can even use it as a season for popcorn or add it to salad dressing.

Can I Use Chinese Five Spice Instead Of Shichimi Togarashi?

Chinese five spice is not a very good substitute for shichimi togarashi. They both have very little in common beyond being spice blends of Asian origin. 

Chinese five spice is typically made from a blend of cinnamon, star anise, fennel, and cloves, while togarashi is made from seaweed, chili peppers, sesame seeds, and ginger.

Hence, they have different flavor profiles and are often used for different purposes.

What Does Shichimi Togarashi Taste Like?

Shichimi togarashi has a warm spicy taste with subtle notes of sweet citrus and umami.

Where Do I Buy Shichimi Togarashi?

You can find shichimi togarashi in the spice aisle or international section of most grocery stores. However, if you can get it there, then the best place to buy it is specialty spice stores or Japanese stores.

Is Shichimi Togarashi Vegan?

Shichimi togarashi is made from a blend of spices and herbs and doesn’t contain any meat or dairy products, so it is vegan and dairy free.

How Do You Store Shichimi Togarashi?

Store shichimi togarashi in a tightly sealed container away from direct sunlight. You can store it in your spice cabinet just like you would any other spice.

9 Best Shichimi Togarashi Substitutes You Can Try

Prep Time


Cooking Time


Total Time



A new twist on an old favorite! Our shichimi togarashi substitutes is often served as a sprinkle on sushi and sashimi. Try out now!


  • Homemade spice Togarashi spice blend

  • Nanami togarashi

  • Harissa paste

  • Dukkah

  • Za’atar

  • Chili powder and sesame seeds

  • Furikake

  • Doubanjiang

  • Sansho pepper and dried nori


  • 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