I'm interested in trying out a few Turkish recipes that call for red pepper paste (biber salçası). This is the only ingredient I can't seem to find at any local stores.

Are there any good substitutes for this? I would imagine gochujang is probably not a good fit (it's too sweet) and that other pepper sauces (sriracha, tabasco, etc.) probably have the wrong flavor profiles.

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    Are you able to access capsicum and bullhorn peppers, or any sweet red pepper? That, along with paprika (sweet or hot), lemon juice, olive oil and salt, are the ingredients to make your own paste.
    – Giorgio
    Dec 15, 2016 at 1:55

2 Answers 2


If you're wanting to make some different Turkish foods, I'd hazard a guess you enjoy cooking, so why not make your own? I found a recipe classed as 'Easy', taking 1 hour to prepare and 50 minutes to cook. I read it has the consistency of tomato paste (contains no tomatoes) and looks to be from the photo.

Among the list of ingredients is bullhorn peppers. Perhaps a local name but when I looked up what they were, they looked exactly like Hungarian sweet peppers. The name 'bullhorn' comes from their shape as they curve and taper to a point like horns. Here's a photo: Ripe Red Bullhorn Pepper

Give it a try! If you really enjoy the Turkish recipes you make, you'll likely want to make them again so having some biber salçası around will come in handy. http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/pepper-paste-biber-salcasi


As a substitute, you could use red pepper flakes and soy sauce. This is basically gochujang without adding the sugar. The flavor profile will be a bit different but you'll still get some of that heat + umami.

You can also pick up some of what you are looking for on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tamek-Pepper-Paste-Biber-Salcasi/dp/B005WKG4JY

Lastly, you could make some yourself!

  • De-stem and de-seed peppers
  • Use a mortar and pestle to turn them into a paste, and add some salt during that process

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