Home > Comparison > Chili Flakes Vs. Red Pepper Flakes: What’s the Difference?

Chili Flakes Vs. Red Pepper Flakes: What’s the Difference?

“If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen”. Those words must have been referring to a kitchen steaming with the heat from everything spicy!

When you hear the words “heat” or “spicy” as regards food, what ingredient or spice comes to your mind? Peppers? You are correct!

In this article, we’ll talk about Chill flakes vs. Red Pepper flakes, two spicy peppers that can make your meal a hot delight!

Chili Flakes Vs. Red Pepper Flakes: 1-minute Summary

Are chili flakes the same as red pepper flakes? No!

With chili and red pepper flakes, you get both Variety and spice. Take note that:

  • Chili flakes are made from only one pepper type- chilies, while red pepper flakes are made from a mixture of peppers.
  • Chili flakes are hot, but in comparison, red pepper flakes are hotter.
  • Chili flakes are best for meals that require a bit of spice and are beginner-friendly while Red pepper flakes are best for meals where the flavor is everything spicy and hot. Each of them has a unique taste and flavor added to your meals.

What Are Chili flakes?

Chili flakes are grounded or crushed dried peppers. They are made from chili peppers, the popular types of chili peppers used are Chipotle, Aleppo and Urfa Biber chili peppers.

A characteristic feature of chili flakes is its use of only chili peppers, it preserves the flavor and gives a uniform heat.

chili flake


During the processing of chili peppers to chili flakes, they are dried and their seeds removed, this process gives chili flakes a uniform red color.

Additionally, chili flakes are made from just chili peppers, it’s color is expectedly red, it could range from dark red to bright red, depending on the chili type used.


Regarding taste, each chili pepper has a unique taste so aside from the mellow heat from the pepper, your taste buds can also pick up something sweet and savory in your meal.

Chili flakes are hot but in comparison with red pepper flakes, it’s mildly hot, yet flavourful which makes it an amazing starting point for people who are just starting to eat spicy foods. They get to enjoy a great combination of spice and flavor.


Regarding its use, chili peppers are versatile spices! They can be used while cooking meals or spread on them after preparation like in salads and pizzas.

Now, let’s discuss a bit about Red pepper flakes and what makes them unique.

What Are Red Pepper Flakes?

Like Chili flakes, red pepper flakes (crushed red pepper) are also grounded dried peppers used as a spice in dishes. They give a whole dimension to spice and heat, this is due to their characteristic combination of peppers.

Red pepper flakes are compound grounded peppers, as they include a mixture of more than one pepper type. This complexity and variation influence the taste and heat of red pepper flakes. The peppers combined are cayenne red peppers, Fresno peppers, bell peppers, Anaheim peppers and Jalapeno peppers.

red pepper flakes


Depending on the quantity and type of pepper mixture the heat and spice from red peppers can range from mild to explosively hot! With red peppers, it is best to remember that “a little goes a long way and too much is a disaster”!.

To determine the heat level of your red pepper flakes without eating them, check the label for a description of the constituent peppers or a heat level indicator.

The number of seeds in red pepper flakes also determines the heat level, as more seeds equal greater heat.


Red pepper flakes as the name implies are usually red but due to the mixture of peppers, they could have hues of white and other shades of red.

If you are a lover of hot meals, then red pepper flakes would be great for your meals. They can be used in pasta, sauces, soups and other dishes. Just make sure you give the participants of the meal a heads up.

Further Reading: [Review] 6 Best Rated Red Pepper Flakes

Similarities & Differences between Chili and Red Pepper Flakes


The similarities between these flakes are:

  • They are both made from ground peppers.l
  • They are both hot and spicy.
  • They are both versatile and can be used in any meal


The differences between chili and red pepper flakes can be divided into color, taste, constituents and use.


Chili flakes have a more uniform red color due to the removal of seeds from the dried pepper before they are turned to flakes. The red could vary from light to deep shades of red, depending on the chili used.

Red pepper flakes vary in color from light to dark reds even white depending on the peppers used.


Chili flakes are hot depending on the chili type used to produce them, they also have a mild, sweet undertone which blends well with food flavors.

Red pepper flakes are hotter than chili flakes due to the assorted mixture of pepper types.


This is the biggest difference between both flakes. Chili pepper flakes are made up of only chili peppers. So whatever flavor you get from the pepper in your food is from one type of pepper.

Red pepper flakes, on the other hand, are made up of a mixture of different peppers.


Chili flakes are great for any meal, they are spicy but enough to keep you hooked to a savory meal and they are a great start for new spicy food eaters.

Red peppers are a lot spicier, they are for the “bold and daring” spice eaters. They tend to give heat to your meal so be mindful when you use them.


Crushed red pepper vs red pepper flakes: are they the same?

Yes, there is no difference between crushed red pepper and red pepper flakes. They are the same thing but with a different name.

Is crushed red pepper the same as chili flakes?

They are different. As discussed above, crushed red pepper is another name for red pepper flakes. It has more ingredients and is hotter than chili flakes.

Can I substitute chili flakes with red pepper flakes?

Well, they can be substituted for each other but it is important to remember that red pepper flakes are spicier so they may not give you a mild heat.

So in a recipe that you want to substitute red pepper flakes for chili flakes, you could add half the quantity specified.

Korean chili flakes vs red pepper flakes: what’s the difference?


Korean chili flakes, also known as “gochugaru” in Korean, are finely ground red pepper (have no seeds) with a moist texture. It has an intense heat level and sweet flavor.

On the other hand, red pepper flakes are dried chilies that have been coarsely ground with seeds. The heat level varies depending on the type of chili used in making it. But they usually have a spicier and drier flavor to Korean chili flakes.

More about Gochugaru: 17 Amazing Gochugaru (Korean Chili Flakes) Substitutes

Sichuan chili flakes vs red pepper flakes: any difference?

One of the main differences is that Sichuan chili flakes are milder and more aromatic than red pepper flakes.

Except that, red pepper flakes are made by mixing directly ripe red chili peppers of any variety, while Sichuan chili flakes are made by dry frying larger reddish dried chilies briefly then crushing them into smaller flakes or powder.

Final Words

Chili flakes and red pepper flakes are both spices that can be used in a variety of dishes. Which one is better? It’s tough to say, but they do have some differences. We hope this post has helped guide your decision.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

2 thoughts on “Chili Flakes Vs. Red Pepper Flakes: What’s the Difference?”
  1. Excellent information. It is always a good thing to expand knowledge of food. I love to cook and love to expand my repertoire both of dishes and more so ingredients both in types and uses. Now I have new ingredients to add to my spice cabinet.


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