If you are a fan of hot and spicy food and if you are familiar with Tex-Mex cuisine, then you must surely know what Tex-Mex paste is.
And if you know what Tex-Mex paste is, then you know that it is a truly amazing flavor. Tex-Mex paste is a very flavorful and strong ingredient in any type of dish.
It is made from several flavorful ingredients including chili peppers, onions, and tomatoes and that makes it a great addition to some specific dishes like enchiladas, burritos, and tacos.
However, there can be times when you don’t have any, but you truly want to make those spicy burritos or tacos.
In that case, there are a few Tex-Mex paste substitutes that might help you in your culinary journey.
Let’s see what the diverse world of ingredients has to offer.
9 Best Tex-Mex Paste Substitutes To Consider
If you are worried because you don’t have any Tex-Mex paste in your fridge and you want to make some hot and spicy dishes for you and your friends, worry no more. Here are the 9 best substitutes for Tex-Mex paste that will spice up your dish in no time!
1. Achiote Paste
Although nothing can perfectly replace a spicy and delicious Tex-Mex paste, another one known as Achiote paste comes close to that if you know how to use it in your recipe.
This paste, which is commonly used in Latin America, is made from ingredients like annatto seeds, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, clove, oregano, and vinegar.
These spices and herbs give their flavor profile a combination of earthy and nutty flavors. However, Achiote paste lacks the sweetness that is characteristic of a Tex-Mex paste.
Because of that, it often needs a bit of sugar to adjust the level of sweetness.
Also, Achiote paste has a slightly grainy texture, so it is not a bad idea to add a bit of water to thin it out. Aside from that, water will release the flavor of the spices.
When you do that, you can freely use Achiote paste in your dish in the same amount as Tex-Mex paste.
2. Canned Chipotle
These canned chipotles are actually canned smoked jalapenos. If you’ve ever tried jalapeno, you will know what flavor profile I am talking about.
Canned chipotle can provide you with a combination of sweet and smoky flavors and that is exactly why it can be used as a great alternative to Tex-Mex paste.
However, when you are dealing with canned chipotle that you want to use as a replacement for Tex-Mex paste, the sauce is actually the most interesting part.
That sauce doesn’t have the same consistency as Tex-Mex paste, but you almost can not find a more similar flavor profile, especially if you add some other ingredients like cumin, sugar, and oregano.
Also, if the texture or consistency bothers you, you can solve that too by just adding a little bit of tomato sauce to thicken up the canned chipotle sauce.
3. Adobo Sauce
Adobo sauce is one of the most popular ingredients in Tex-Mex cuisine. There are many reasons for that, but the most important reason is the fact that it has a very similar flavor profile to Tex-Mex paste.
That is quite logical since adobo sauce has similar ingredients as Tex-Mex paste and those include chile pepper, garlic, and some other seasonings.
To make it more similar to Tex-Mex paste in terms of flavor, you can add some additional spices like oregano, cumin, and smoked paprika.
When it comes to texture and consistency, adobe sauce is a bit thicker than Tex-Mex paste. But, you can solve that as well by simply adding a little bit of water to thin the paste.
Finally, I have to emphasize that adobo sauce has a higher level of spiciness, so you shouldn’t add it too much into your dish if you don’t want to burn your mouth.
4. Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
The combination of these two spicy ingredients can be a perfect Tex-Mex substitute. Namely, chipotle chiles have a naturally sweet flavor combined with smoky undertones.
On the other hand, adobo sauce has a similar flavor profile that is a bit more complex and rich. It is a combination of sweet, savory, and smoky tones and undertones.
When you combine these two ingredients, you get similar flavors to those of Tex-Mex paste with one exception. Tex-Mex paste is a bit spicier while this combo is sweeter.
Nonetheless, if you decide that this is a good blend of flavors for your dish, all you have to do is finely chop or puree your chipotle peppers, add them to adobo sauce, and mix the two ingredients.
The texture of the new condiment will be similar to the texture of Tex-Mex paste and you will be able to use it for different culinary purposes, including marinades for different meats, added to soups and stews, as well as a base for other spicy sauces.
5. Chili Powder
Although the texture and consistency of chili powder are not the same as Tex-Mex paste, chili powder can be a great substitute because it has a similar flavor profile that is just as complex.
Chili powder is not the same as powdered chiles, also known as ancho chili powder. The difference lies in the fact that chili powder contains various ingredients like paprika, oregano, cumin, and dried chiles.
On the other hand, ancho chili powder is made only from dried and grounded chilies.
I am emphasizing this because it is always better to use ordinary chili powder because of its complex flavor profile that is similar to that of Tex-Mex paste.
However, if you only have ancho chili powder, you can use it as well but you have to add some other spices like oregano, cumin, garlic, and onion powder, as well as salt.
Although it will be a dry rub, you can successfully use this powder instead of Tex-Mex paste as a seasoning for meat.
And you can also add it to soups and stews for some extra flavor.
6. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is actually one of the main ingredients of Tex-Mex paste itself. It is therefore not difficult to conclude that it can serve as a great Tex-Mex substitute as well.
However, you can not just randomly add tomato paste to your dish instead of Tex-Mex paste. You will have to make some adjustments.
More precisely, you will have to add a few spices and seasonings in order to achieve a similar flavor profile. The texture and consistency are not the problems because they are virtually the same.
In order to achieve a similar flavor profile, you will need to add 1 teaspoon of cumin powder, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, and a little bit of black pepper and salt.
When you do this, you will practically have the same paste in terms of flavor and texture. And, you will be able to use it in almost every Tex-Mex style dish.
Aside from that, you will also be able to use it to season your meat and for building the base of the sauce.
Sriracha is a well-known ingredient among all hot and spicy food folks because it can bring your dish the desired level of spiciness with some sweet undertones that enrich the overall flavor profile.
When it comes to its role in substituting Tex-Mex paste, it can be a quite decent alternative. However, you have to know these two pastes have a different consistency.
Typically, sriracha is a kind of thin, liquid sauce contrary to Tex-Mex paste which is much thicker.
However, you can solve that by just adding it to your dish during the cooking process and the consistency won’t be relevant that much.
There are also some differences between these two ingredients in terms of flavor profile. Namely, sriracha has a lighter, fruitier flavor when compared with Tex-Mex paste which has more earthy and smoky flavors.
Nevertheless, it can still be a great alternative to Tex-Mex paste if you use it to season grilled meats, tacos, seafood, etc.
However, if you really want to bring the flavors of these two ingredients closer together, you can add some other herbs and spices to the sriracha. Those include tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder.
One more note. Do not use sriracha in high quantities in your dishes because it is really hot and spicy.
8. Taco Seasoning
If you have ever eaten tacos, enchiladas, burritos or foods in that line, you surely know how important it is to have a cup of taco seasoning to enrich the flavor of those spicy yummies.
Besides that, having a bit of taco seasoning is also very important if you don’t have any Tex-Mex paste on your hand because it can serve you well in recipes that require Tex-Mex paste.
This substitute is quite obvious when you know that its main ingredients include chili powder, paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and onion powder. All these ingredients are incorporated into Tex-Mex paste as well.
However, you have to know that you won’t achieve the same texture and consistency when using taco seasoning in your dish as a Tex-Mex paste substitute.
But, here is the trick. You can add a little bit of tomato sauce to taco seasoning and you will solve that problem to some extent. If you don’t have any tomato sauce, you can also use water or broth.
One last thing. Taco seasoning has a much lower level of spiciness than Tex-Mex paste, so it is not a bad idea to add a bit more chili powder or even cayenne pepper to heat it up to your desired level.
9. Homemade Tex-Mex Paste
Finally, if you weren’t able to find any Tex-Mex paste at your local grocery store or supermarket, you can make your own homemade Tex-Mex paste if you have all the necessary ingredients on your kitchen shelf.
Below are the ingredients and instructions you need to follow.
• 2 Tbsp chili powder
• 2 Tsp smoked paprika
• 1 Tbsp cumin
• 1 Tsp onion powder
• 1 Tsp garlic powder
• 1 Tsp oregano
• ¼ Cup tomato sauce
• ¼ Cup water
• ¼ Black pepper
• ½ salt
STEP 1: First mix all the ingredients except the water and tomato sauce in one bowl.
STEP 2: Add the tomato paste and water into a saucepan.
STEP 3: Heat it over medium heat and stir for about 1 minute.
STEP 4: After that time frame, you can add a mixture of spices and stir it a little more.
STEP 5: Cook the mixture for a few minutes.
STEP 6: After that, you can remove it from the heat and let it cool down.
STEP 7: Blend it until it’s smooth. After that, you can use it or store it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
What Is Your Ideal Tex-Mex Paste Substitute?
It is not always easy to find a good substitute for the original ingredient in any type of recipe.
However, I am sure that this ultimate list of the 9 best Tex-Mex substitutes was very helpful on your journey to finding a way to provide your spicy Tex-Mex dish flavors and texture that it deserves.
Aside from that, you were also able to learn how to make your own homemade Tex-Mex paste with the right ingredients that surely won’t disappoint your taste buds.