How Much Dried Chili Equals Fresh?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Figure out how much dried chili equals fresh & take your cooking to the next level!

how much dried chili equals fresh

When we think of cooking essentials, what comes to mind the most is salt. Of course, without proper seasoning with salt, any dish can be bland and tasteless.

However, it isn’t just the salt you should pay attention to. Just as important as salt are the chilies. Chili is what gives any dish the heat and the oomph that’s so important.

Without chili, your food can be even worse than bland – it can be boring. When we eat, we don’t just eat to satisfy our hunger. Rather, it’s to satisfy our appetite.

And this is something that’s done best with a kick of chili to keep things fun and exciting.

Of course, when using chili, it’s essential not to go overboard. This can be a huge problem when using different sorts of chilies. Here at Cooked Best we’ve overshot on chili portions more than we’d care to admit!

Additionally, if you’re substituting dried chili for fresh, you need to know the exact measurements.

Here is a handy guide to help you get the perfect amount of chili kick to each of your dishes.

With this guide, you can use the heat of every chili in the world to your advantage. Interested? Keep reading below!

Key Takeaways

Key Takeaway Arrow

We recommend using slightly less dried chili than fresh because dried retains its heat, especially in chili powder form.

Key Takeaway Arrow

Fresh chili adds a burst of heat without overwhelming dishes; use a bit more fresh than dried for a balanced kick.

Key Takeaway Arrow

For converting dried to fresh, consider a teaspoon of dried chili paste or two whole dried chilies for one fresh chopped chili.

What are chillies?

Chillies are a part of the capsicum family, and there is a vast variety of them out there.

You can pick between varying shapes, sizes, colors, and aromas. However, all these chillies also differ in the amount of spice they have.

chili peppers

What makes chillies hot?

Capsaicin is the chemical that makes these chilis so fiery hot. It’s found in the seeds as well as the membrane of the chilis. So, a quick tip to reduce the heat can be to remove the seeds and membrane.

Another tip can be to consider the size of the chili. Usually, the smaller the chili, the more heat it carries.

What’s the difference between fresh and dried chili?

Many people think that dried chili should be less spicy as compared to fresh versions. However, that isn’t the case.

Capsaicin is a resin, which means that it doesn’t evaporate when dried.

This helps preserve the spiciness, heat, and aroma of the chili. The only difference that fresh and dried chillies have is the presence of water. However, this can make a difference in the flavor profile of the two.

This difference is more pronounced if you eat a fresh chili raw, as the water can make the chili feel much hotter. However, when cooked, both fresh and dried chillies can give the same sort of taste.

What’s the difference between fresh and dried chili​

How to use chili – what to consider when using dried and fresh

There are several things you need to be mindful of when buying chili. Every form of chili can taste different, and how much dried chili equals fresh depends on the sort of chili you use.

Some chilies are spicier while some are milder. The type of chili you use also depends on the dish you are making.

You can pick from jalapenos, green chillies, red chillies, Mexican chillies, and so many other varieties based on what you want to make and how much heat you can take.

Chili flakes

These are a bit of a wildcard in terms of heat. Fresh, young chili flakes can be fiery, and adding too much can overpower your dish and make you sweat.

Older chili flakes tend to be on the milder side, but even then, how much dried chili equals fresh depends on when you add the chili flakes.

Adding chili flakes as you start cooking can give heat to your whole dish. However, adding chili flakes towards the end can create little pockets of heat.

These chili flakes can let you control how much heat your dish has, but only if you know how old the chilis are.

Chili flakes​

Chili powder

This is one of the most popular chili choices out there, and it can pack quite a punch.

Its also a type of dried chili, but chili powder often contains other spices as well.

If you want the most robust heat profile, you need to check the labels to see if the chili powder is mixed with any spices.

The question of how much dried chili equals fresh depends on the composition of the chili powder. If undiluted, you can use a slightly less amount of chili compared to fresh.

Chili powder can bring a more profound, slower heat than fresh chili. Half a teaspoon can be used for one chopped fresh chili.

Chili powder​

Fresh chili

Fresh chili is perfect if you want your food to have a slight heat without overpowering the whole dish.

The pieces of a fresh chili can give little pops of heat through your food; when it comes to substituting dried chili for fresh, always use a bit more fresh chili as compared to dried.

Fresh chili​

Dried chili

If you want to add another dimension of taste to your dish, dried chilis are the best option. These can add a smokiness that is much needed.

Dried chillies need to be soaked in hot water before using and blended into a paste or used as they are.

Overall, dried chilis are milder than fresh chillies, and so you can add more of them.

When it comes to how much dried chili equals fresh, you can add a teaspoon of dried chili paste or two wholes of dried chillies for one chopped fresh chili.

Dried chili​

Chili Peppers - The Bottom Line

When substituting dried chilies for fresh ones, you need to keep in mind the chili’s flavor profile.

Additionally, you also need to keep in mind the sort of heat you want your dish to have.

All these questions can help you decide how much dried chili equals fresh. Cooking is all about knowing the products you are working with and getting the most out of them.

We hope that this quick guide helps you better understand all the chilis out there.

From mild, smoky, and sweet ones to the red-hot fiery chilis, you can pick whichever is your favorite – that is, if you can handle it.

Andy Canter


Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.

This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!