12 Aji Paste Substitute | Never Change the Texture or Flavor

Ají Amarillo chili is a type of chili pepper that is native to the Andes region of South America. It is a bright yellow color and has a fruity, sweet flavor.

Ají Amarillo chili is often used in Peruvian cuisine, where it is known as ají Amarillo sauce.

Ají Amarillo sauce or paste is made by blending ají Amarillo chilies with onion, garlic, and other spices. The sauce can be served as a condiment or used in cooking. It is trendy in dishes such as ceviche and lomo saltado.

The paste has a bright orange color and a spicy flavor. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find outside of South America. Here we cover some pepper that can easily fit for Aji Paste Substitute.

12 Best Aji Paste Substitute for your kitchen

If you’re peeking for a substitute for ají Amarillo paste, here are several options.


Bishop’s crown pepper, also known as Christmas pepper, is a type of chili pepper with a unique shape, resembling a bishop’s crown. 

It is deep red in color and has a slightly fruity flavor. This pepper can go as a substitute for Ají Amarillo paste in recipes.


best sustitute for aji pepper is frenso peppers.

Another substitution you can try is using red Fresno peppers. These peppers have a sweet and spicy flavor and are available year-round. They’re also highly versatile, working well in savory and sweet dishes.


Serrano pepper is the closest substitute to Ají Amarillo paste. You can try using dried Serrano peppers, but please keep in mind their flavor is very different than fresh Serranos. 

The drying process brings out sweet tones and reduces spiciness significantly. If you are using dried peppers, reconstitute them in hot water before using them.


Manzano Chile is a popular substitute for Ají Amarillo Paste. Manzano Chile is a sweet and fruity pepper that has a similar flavor to the Ají Amarillo Paste. 

Manzano pepper is cultivated in Peru and has a similar heat level to the Ají Amarillo (10,000 – 16,000 Scoville units).

The substitution is used for cooking and flavoring all types of Peruvian dishes. The Manzano chile can use either dried or grounded into powder, giving it a more intense flavor with acidic notes.

Ají amarillo paste (aji molido o rocoto molido) consists of fresh or frozen yellow chili peppers. 

Ají Amarillo paste may contain parts of the seeds and membranes but no veins or other plant material that tend to carry most capsaicin – the chemical responsible for its pungency.

This is a typical condiment in Peruvian cuisine, mainly in the northern regions.


Habanero pepper is the most commonly used substitute in case of lack in Ají Amarillo in Peru and Bolivia.

habanero pepper is the most commonly used substitute in case of lack in ají amarillo in peru and bolivia.

Another common substitution is to use yellow aji pepper from the Caribbean, which is easily seen outside Latin America.

In some recipes, the heat of habanero or even serrano pepper may not fit because it is too high, so one may need to reduce the amount used depending on the recipe. 

In that case, it recommends using one-third part of habanero pepper inside of the indicated quantity of ají Amarillo paste. 

Also, you can add a small amount of guindilla pepper or cayenne powder if needed. Those ingredients will give a similar color and heat level as well as the flavor to ají Amarillo paste.


Aleppo pepper is the closest to the taste of dried ají Amarillo paste. Aleppo pepper contains almost no capsaicin, so it is not spicy at all. 

Aleppo Pepper has a great flavor and can be found at Middle Eastern or Mexican markets.

Another alternative seems to mix red pepper flakes with ground cumin, oregano, turmeric, onion powder, and garlic powder. -The total mixture for an approximation of the aromatic flavors, that are associated with Ají Amarillo.


Guntur chili is a common substitute for Ají Amarillo paste. It has a fruity, earthy flavor, and is available in most Asian markets. Another option is to use Sambal Oelek, a ground chili paste made from red chilies, vinegar, and salt. 

It has a spicy, tangy flavor, simmer in sauces, stews, and marinades.


Chengyang chili is the most common and closest substitute for Ají Amarillo as it has all the flavors and heat of the real thing. It’s also known as Korean red chili pepper. This product can be found in Asian grocery stores or ordered online.

Read MoreDo you like Korean Food and can not find Gochujang Paste, Try 10 substitution for Gochujang Paste.


Scotch Bonnet Pepper is the best substitution for Ají Amarillo paste. The heat index is 60,000 to 100,000 SHU or above. You can use 1 tbsp of Scotch Bonnet pepper instead of 1 tsp of Ají Amarillo paste. 

10. LEMON DROP, Ají limón

Lemon drop, ají limón, or green Tabasco sauce are all substitutes for ají amarillo paste.

A lemon drop is a sweet and sour yellow condiment made from lemon juice, sugar, and spices. You used it as a sauce, marinade, or dressing.

Ají limón is a spicy South American pepper sauce made with lemon juice, vinegar, and lots of fresh Ají lemon peppers.

Green Tabasco sauce is a classic hot pepper sauce made with tabasco peppers, vinegar, salt, and garlic. It’s perfect for spicing up any dish!


Criolla Sella is a good substitute for aji amarillo paste. It is a milder pepper. Paprika can be used for yellow dishes in northern Brazil instead of aji Amarillo.

Aji Amarillo Sauce Recipe Ingredients:

· 1/4 cup olive oil, 

· 2 tablespoons aji Amarillo paste (can substitute with orange habanero), 

· 1 onion chopped, 

· 4 garlic cloves chopped, salt and pepper to taste, 

· 1 tablespoon cumin powder, 

· 2 bay leaves, 

· 3 tomatoes peeled and chopped, or 

· 1 cup tomato sauce or juice from one large ripe tomato, 

· 10 cups water or chicken broth.

Heat the oil in a pot over medium to high heat, add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Mix in the cumin powder and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. 

Add all other ingredients and wait for a boil. Reduce flame and simmer for at least one hour or until reduced by half.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, then puree in a blender or food processor. 

Serve with: roasted chicken, beef or pork, poached fish, rice and lentils, enchiladas de jaiba (crab enchiladas).


Piquante pepper is a good substitute for Ají Amarillo paste. Piquante pepper is a type of chili pepper that is usually red or orange in color. 

It has a fruity, tart, and spicy flavor;- that is similar to the flavor of Ají Amarillo paste. You can find Piquante peppers at most grocery stores. 

If you can’t locate Piquante peppers, you can also use other types of chili peppers such as jalapeño peppers or serrano peppers.

Read More 7 Green curry paste substitutions for make a dish unforgetable.

What is aji Amarillo paste made of?

Aji Amarillo paste is a thick and spicy yellow pepper sauce used on hot dogs, ceviches, seafood pasta dishes, and other Peruvian recipes. The recipe is simple: puree some aji Amarillo peppers with oil and salt. 

Wrap Up On- Substitute for Aji Paste

I hope you found this article helpful! So, what do you assume, which is your favored substitute for aji paste from the above list? 

FAQs Related to Aji Paste & its Alternative 

Q1.What is the difference between aji Amarillo and aji mirasol?

Aji Amarillo is chili pepper;- that has a fruity, sweet taste and is often used in sauces. 

Aji Mirasol is chili pepper;- that has a smoky, earthy flavor and is often used in stews.

Q2.How spicy is aji Amarillo?

This mouth-scorching Peruvian yellow pepper ranks up there as one of the world’s spiciest. How spicy is it? See for yourself if you dare.

Aji Amarillo Scoville Heat Units (SHU) range from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. 

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