I was looking to substitute chilli for some non capsaicin containing spices.

The best items I can up with was paprika, cumin, black pepper, ancho chillies and oregano.

Initially I tried black pepper and realised it loses its tang when cooking and so it must be used at the end as a raw ingredient which is not what I want.

What other items in this list would lose their spice potency like black pepper when cooked. I’m trying to remove those items so I can use one for cooking as would be the case with chilli.

  • 1) What are you making? Link to a recipe would be ideal, but at least a description of the dish, cooking times, and methods would help a lot 2) Are you avoiding capsaicin because of an allergy or you just don't want the dish too hot? 3) What do you mean by "tang"?
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 23:38
  • As bob1 has pointed out -- two of those will have capsaicin. And as for 'tang', I generally go with sour things. (sumac, tamarind, a splash of vinegar, etc.)
    – Joe
    Commented Oct 31, 2019 at 23:45
  • Lose is spelled l-o-s-e. Chili is spelled C-h-i-l-i.
    – Rob
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 11:45
  • Paprika and Ancho contain capsacin, just not very much Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 18:40
  • @Rob UK and US English are equally acceptable. If you edit, leave the author's choice intact.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 3:54

2 Answers 2


I'm not exactly clear about what you are asking. Technically speaking, they are not all spices. Paprika and ancho are dried and ground peppers (though you can certainly get whole ancho). When cooked they will rehydrate somewhat and the flavor will become more integrated into the dish. Oregano is an herb. It will not fade, or go bitter, as much as black pepper when cooked, but there is certainly a difference between dried and fresh herbs. Cumin seed is the only "spice" on your list. It's flavor will certainly persist in cooked food.


Paprika and ancho chillies are both from the same family as the hotter peppers and often contain capsaicin, though this depends exactly on which paprika you have.

Cumin and oregano (and black pepper) are all from other families. I would not rate cumin or oregano as spicy in terms of heat, although cumin can enhance heat when consumed with it. Oregano is the main herb flavour you will find in pasta sauces like bolognese. Cumin is the predominant flavor in many dishes from Mexican/central American and Indian cuisines - if you are making "chili con carne" this is likely a spice you use already. Both of these retain flavour when cooked.

For some non-capsaicin containing alternatives see answers in this thread


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