I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of togarashi substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.
The best substitutes for togarashi are the homemade version and nanami togarashi. For a simpler mixture, combine red pepper flakes, orange zest, sesame seeds and salt. In a pinch, you can use hot sauce. Other similar seasoning powders include furikake, dukkah, or yuzu kosho.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I made a pot of steamed rice to try out loads of togarashi substitutes.
Togarashi, also known as Shichimi Togarashi, is a Japanese condiment made of seven different spices.
It has a fiery, nutty flavor with a citrus kick that’ll make your taste buds tingle.
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Homemade Togarashi||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Nanami Togarashi||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Red Pepper Flakes + Orange Zest + Sesame Seeds + Salt||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Hot Sauce||Use half the amount called for||9/10|
|Furikake||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
|Dukkah||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||7/10|
|Yuzu Kosho||Replace in a 1:2 ratio||7/10|
Common uses for togarashi and the substitutes
- Toppings/seasoning: Try using homemade togarashi, nanami togarashi, hot sauce, or furikake.
- Marinades, sauces, and vinaigrettes: Try using homemade togarashi, nanami togarashi, or red pepper flakes + orange zest + salt.
- Spice rub for grilled meats and vegetables: Try using homemade togarashi, nanami togarashi, or hot sauce.
Making togarashi from scratch is easier than you think!
It’s a fun endeavor and allows you to customize this beloved Japanese spice blend to suit your tastes.
My go-to recipe is from Wandercooks. It takes less than five minutes to make and you only need seven ingredients:
- Red chili flakes
- Sichuan peppercorns
- White sesame seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Dried ground ginger
- Citrus powder
- Seaweed flakes
Once you’ve crafted your perfect blend, keep it in an airtight jar and use it within a few weeks to maximize its flavor.
Pro-tip: toast the sesame seeds for a tastier spice blend.
How to substitute: Replace togarashi in a 1:1 ratio with homemade togarashi.
Next time you browse the grocery store aisles and spot a bottle of Nanami Togarashi, don’t hesitate to grab it!
It’s the same as Shichimi Togarashi, with just a tiny tweak in the orange peel ratio.
So it’ll still deliver all the fantastic flavors you crave: fiery heat, umami richness, and a bright, nutty finish.
Most people won’t even notice the difference, especially you’re using it in robust dishes like ramen.
How to substitute: Replace togarashi in a 1:1 ratio with nanami togarashi.
Red pepper flakes + orange zest + sesame seeds + salt
Not got all the seven spices? You can make this complex version.
These four ingredients bring the main elements of togarashi and create a tasty mix of heat, umami, and citrus zestiness.
And if you want to take the mixture up a notch… swap that salt for MSG seasoning to replicate the umami goodness of togarashi.
Pro tip: if you happen to stumble upon ichimi togarashi, don’t hesitate to use it in place of the red pepper flakes.
How to substitute: Replace togarashi in a 1:1 ratio with a mixture of red pepper flakes + orange zest + sesame seeds + salt
Hot sauce might not be the most authentic togarashi substitute, but it’s a handy, heat-packed option when you need a quick fix.
And there so so many different ones to choose from.
There’s trusty Tabasco if you prefer a classic tangy heat. Or everyone’s beloved garlicky Sriracha if you want to play it safe.
Or why not go the unconventional route with peri-peri sauce if you want to try something new?
How to substitute: Use half the amount called for at first and then add more to taste.
This classic Japanese condiment is a fantastic substitute choice if you’re looking for a milder seasoning than togarashi.
With ingredients like nori and sesame seeds, it delivers that nutty, umami kick but without any of the heat.
And just like togarashi, you can sprinkle this seasoning blend on anything – from plain rice to sushi and even your morning eggs.
Pssst… if you want just a touch of heat, try mixing in some chili powder or red pepper flakes.
How to substitute: Replace togarashi in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Furikake.
Dukkah is an Egyptian spice blend that offers earthy, nutty flavors and a lovely crunch reminiscent of togarashi.
It’s got a different type of heat togarashi because it uses cumin and cayenne instead of straight chili, which brings some smokiness.
You can find Dukkah at Middle Eastern grocery stores, but you can also make it from scratch – check out The Mediterranean Dish for the recipe!
How to substitute: Swap togarashi in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with Dukkah.
Yuzu kosho is a chili paste made from Thai or bird’s eye chilis that’s fermented with salt and yuzu lemons.
It doesn’t have togarashi’s nutty flavors, but it has lots of umami and refreshing citrus twist.
And you can always mix some crushed sesame seeds to achieve that nuttiness.
You can use yuzu kosho as you would with togarashi, but I especially love pairing it with fried dishes like tempura to cut through the grease.
How to substitute: Replace togarashi in your recipe in a 1:2 ratio with yuzu kosho.
Other substitutes to consider
The options listed above are my top substitutes for togarashi, but here are other alternatives you can use if you happen to have them on hand:
- Harissa paste – it’s not an exact flavor match for togarashi, but this North African chili paste shares similar spicy notes with a hint of citrus. You can use it in rubs, marinades, soups, and dressings.
- Chili lime seasoning – this Tex-Mex blend has a similar spicy, citrusy kick to togarashi but without the nuttiness from the sesame seeds.
Substitutes to Avoid
These were suggestions I frequently came across while researching so I had to include them in the test. But I didn’t think they were a good match.
- Doubanjiang – this Chinese spicy chili bean paste packs a hot, salty punch, but it has a funky flavor that I found very overwhelming compared to togarashi.
- Za’atar – this Middle Eastern spice blend has a bright, herby flavor, but I though it strayed too far from togarashis main essence.
9 BEST Togarashi Substitutes + 2 To Avoid
- 2 tbsp red chili flakes
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1 tsp Sichuan pepper
- 1 tsp seaweed flakes, or 1 piece nori sheet
- 1 tsp citrus powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until combined.
- Store in an airtight jar.