The 4 Best Substitutes for Liquid Smoke

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Introducing liquid smokea concentrated, HDR (Highly Destructive Radiation)-treated, water-soluble solution made by condensing wood smoketo your home cooking repertoire is like adding a secret ingredient.

Thats because a few drops of this intensely flavored product can infuse foods with the smoky taste and aroma of meats that have been slow-cooked over an open flame without any of the hours-long hassles.

You dont have to wait all day (or all night) for ribs, brisket, or pulled pork when youve got liquid smoke in your pantry.

But how does one cook with and use liquid smoke?

What are the finest liquid smoke substitutes? Heres everything you need to know about this powerful cooking ingredient.

What is Liquid Smoke?

The 4 Best Substitutes for Liquid Smoke

Liquid smoke is a water-soluble mixture of pyridine with other pyrolytic products that condense on the surface of cold water.

It is used to flavor food, mainly meat, and is produced during the process of smoking.

The liquid smoke is collected and used as a seasoning.

It imparts a smoky flavor to food without the need for smoking tobacco.

Some safety matches and pyrotechnics are also made using liquid smoke.

It can be found in barbecue sauces, cheese, and other foods. Cigarettes also contain it.

Heating wood in an enclosed chamber produces liquid smoke.

The wood breaks down into cellulose and lignin, which vaporize and condense on the surface of cold water in the chamber.

After that, the condensate is collected and utilized as a seasoning.

Liquid smoke typically contains about 30% pyridine, which imparts a distinct flavor to food.

When using liquid smoke, it is important to use it sparingly, as the smoky flavor can be quite strong.

A little bit of liquid smoke can go a long way in flavoring food.

The 4 Best Substitutes for Liquid Smoke

The 4 Best Substitutes for Liquid Smoke

If you dont have any liquid smoke on hand or if youre just looking for a healthier alternative, there are several ingredients that can be used as substitutes.

Here are the four finest liquid smoking substitutes:

1 – Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika is a type of paprika that is made by smoking dried peppers over a fire.

This gives the paprika a smoky flavor that can be used to enhance the flavor of many dishes.

Paprika is a spice that originated in Central America, and it was introduced to Europe in the 16th century.

Since then, it has become a staple ingredient in many cuisines, including Spanish, Hungarian, and Turkish.

Smoked paprika is typically made from smoked chili peppers, but it can also be made from smoked bell peppers or smoked tomatoes.

It is available in powder and paste form and can be used to add flavor to meats, vegetables, soups, and stews.

2 – Chipotle Powder

Chipotle powder is created by smoking and drying jalapeo peppers.

The peppers are first smoke-dried, then ground into a fine powder.

The chipotle powder has a deep, smoky flavor with moderate heat.

It is commonly used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine but can also be used to add flavor to other dishes such as chili, soups, and stews.

When using chipotle powder, start with a small amount and add more to taste.

Too much chipotle powder can make a dish very spicy.

Most stores and internet retailers carry chipotle powder.

3 – Smoked Salt

Smoked salt is salt that has been exposed to smoke, most often from burning wood.

This gives the salt a distinct smoky flavor that can be used to enhance the flavor of food.

Smoked salt can be made at home by placing salt in a smoking chamber and exposing it to smoke for several hours.

This method allows you to control the salts smokiness level, which can be adjusted to suit your taste.

Store-bought smoked salt is also available, although it may not be as fresh as homemade.

Either way, smoked salt is a great way to add a smoky depth of flavor to foods like grilled meats, root vegetables, and even chocolate desserts.

4 – Canned Chipotle Peppers

Canned chipotle peppers are smoked jalapeo peppers that have been canned in an adobo sauce.

They have a strong, smoky flavor and can range in heat from mild to extremely hot, depending on the peppers used.

Chipotle peppers are commonly used in Mexican and Southwest cooking and can be added to various dishes, including soups, stews, sauces, and marinades.

When shopping for canned chipotle peppers, look for ones that are packed in a dark-colored sauce and have a deep red color.

Avoid any peppers floating in the sauce or white spots, as these may be signs of spoilage.

When stored properly, canned chipotle peppers will last up to one year.


In conclusion, there are many substitutes for liquid smoke that can provide the same flavor without the use of a smoker.

By using smoked paprika, chipotle powder, smoked salt, or canned chipotle peppers, you can create a dish with the same smoky taste and smell as liquid smoke.

Each of these substitutes has its own unique flavor that can add an extra layer of depth to your dish.

When substituting, be sure to start with a small amount and add more to taste.


What can I use to replace liquid smoke?

Substitute for Liquid Smoke
Smoked paprika, a spice made by drying peppers over oak burning fires for several weeks, is a great alternative.
Smoke tea (or lapsang souchong) can be used as a dry rub on meats or to flavor soups or stews in need of a smoky kick.
Chipotle powder is famous for its smoky flavor.

What can I use instead of liquid hickory smoke?

Smoked paprika, also known as Spanish paprika, is the most commonly used replacement for liquid smoke. It is a vibrant red spice made by smoking and drying peppers for weeks over an oak wood fire. This is why it imparts a rich smoky flavor to the food.

Is Worcestershire sauce like liquid smoke?

It will lend a lot of earthy, complex flavors to your recipe in the same way that Worcestershire sauce would, but liquid smoke doesn’t have any of the added sweetness or saltiness, and can be very intense if used in excess.

How do you recreate liquid smoke?

Place a few frozen ice packs on top of the upside-down metal bowl. The difference in temperature between the hot smoke and the cold bowl will cause a smoky condensation to form on the top of the bowl. This will then drip down into the Bundt pan as liquid smoke that you can collect.

Is there a natural liquid smoke?

Liquid smoke is used to provide certain foods with a smoky flavor without having to use actual wood smoke. Also known as wood vinegar and smoke flavor, liquid smoke is a natural product that people have been making for hundreds of years.

Why is liquid smoke bad?

Is Liquid Smoke Harmless? Smoke means a byproduct of combustion, whether it comes from actual smoking or in liquid forms, it will always contain some amount of the organic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs. Intake of a large amount of PAHs can have harmful effects on health or can be carcinogenic.

What is the best smoke fluid?

For the most basic train smoke fluid, there’s only one thing you need: mineral oil. If this doesn’t sound familiar to you, it’s commonly called paraffin oil in the US. This is easily found at any drugstore or most supermarkets as it is commonly marketed as a laxative.

What spice gives a smoky flavor?

Paprika that has been smoked. There’s a whole slew of paprika varieties out there, from the standard, sweet kind you sprinkle over deviled eggs to the hot stuff that adds a punch to any dish.
Smoked Olive Oil.
Cardamom, black.
Chipotle Peppers.
Smoked Cheese.
Lapsang Souchong.
Smoked Salt.
Liquid Smoke.

How do you make smoky flavor without smoking?

How to add smoky flavour to food without charcoal
Chili peppers. These dried and smoked jalapeño peppers are spicy, smoky and a lot of fun to use in recipes! …
Smoked cheese.
Smoked olive oil.
Hellmann’s Smoked Chilli Dressing.
Hellmann’s Charred Tomato and Capers Dressing.
Red chilli, dried.

How much smoked paprika to substitute for liquid smoke?

Liquid smoke is very strong and if you use too much it can be overpowering. So, use caution! What is the equivalent: 1 teaspoon smoked paprika = ½ teaspoon liquid smoke. You could also add another ½ teaspoon regular paprika for color.

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