What is Substitute for Liquid Smoke? – 5 Liquid Smoke Substitutes to Add Smoky Flavor to Dish

Substitute for Liquid Smoke: Liquid smoke is a water-soluble flavoring agent. It is a natural product made from condensing the smoke from burning wood. It is a kind of seasoning that can be used to give a smoky flavor to meat, vegetables, and desserts. It is the best way to replace the traditional wood smoking technique in the kitchen when we need a smokehouse.

Few people love the smoky flavor while cooking meat, and grilling. What if your recipe needs liquid smoke and you don’t have stock? Here we are giving a great substitute for liquid smoke. You can use these best liquid smoke substitutes to achieve the authentic, smoky, and campfire flavor of your dish without having a campfire.

substititute for liquid smoke

What is Liquid Smoke?

Liquid smoke is a flavoring agent that adds a smoky flavor to your dishes. It is a natural byproduct of burning wood. It is mainly used for adding smoky taste, and smoky aroma to foods without having a smoker. The different varieties of liquid smoke available are pecan, hickory, mesquite, and applewood. It will stay good for 2 years in the pantry.

Liquid smoke is prepared naturally by burning wood. The exhaust of a wood fire is smoke and steam, fire even gives water in the form of vapor, and this vapor is condensed through a cooled tubing and grabs the smoke. The obtained vapor liquid is distilled into a concentrate and removed impurities to collect the yellowish-brown substance called liquid smoke. This liquid smoke is used as an additive in smoking or grilling, but you can even use it for making meat, poultry, or fish recipes.

Best Substitutes for Liquid Smoke You Can Try

Here we are giving a few liquid smoke substitutes that can you can try while making meat dishes. You can use any of these liquid smoke alternatives to add smoky flavor to your favourite foods.

  1. Smoked Paprika
  2. Chipotle Powder
  3. Smoked Tea
  4. Smoked Salt
  5. Hickory Smoke Powder
  6. Smoked Meat
  7. Charcoal
  8. Smoked Gun

Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika or Spanish paprika is prepared by smoking dried, and crushed peppers with oak wood. The outcome is a spice which is in dark red color and has a rich and smokey flavor. It can go best with all foods, especially savory dishes.

Smoked paprika is a perfect liquid smoke substitute. You can manage the heat level of the smoked paprika by selecting the required heat level of peppers i.e mild, moderate or high. Adjust the small amount of Spanish smoked paprika as a replacement for liquid smoke. Usually, add half a teaspoon of smoked paprika instead of 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke.

Smoked Meats

Smoked Meat is not the best substitute for liquid smoke for a few recipes. For example, is homemade baked beans required a liquid smoke alternative, then you can choose smoked bacon or ham hock.

Smoked Meat

When you select common smoked meats like smoked turkey, fish, and chicken from the near supermarket, they will increase the fat content in your dish and also give unnecessary flavors that may not be recommended for the meal.

Canned Chipotle Peppers

Canned chipotle peppers are smoked jalapeno peppers. They have a strong, smoky flavor and heat range from mild to extremely hot. These chipotle peppers are used in Mexican and southwest cooking such as marinades, stews, soups, and sauces.

Pick the dark-colored chipotle peppers from the store to make a colorful sauce. Use 1 tablespoon of smoked chipotle peppers as a substitute for liquid smoke.

Smoked Tea

Smoked tea is a kind of Chinese black tea which is made by smoke-drying the tea leaves on a pinewood fire. The obtained ingredient has a strong smoky flavor with a smoky pine taste. Smoke tea is different from others because of its lack of bitterness and is good for rubbing on meat or adding to dishes like soups or stews.

Smoked Tea

For using smoke tea as a liquid smoke substitute, steep the tea leaves in boiling water for a few minutes and allow flavors to infuse. Now, add the obtained liquid to the other ingredients. For adding to the meat, grind the dried leaves into a fine powder and mix it with other spices and apply it to the meat.

Also, Know

Smoked Salt

Smoked salt can be prepared by exposing salt to the smoke from burning wood. It gives salt a smoky flavor that helps to improve the flavor of food.

You can make smoked salt at home by keeping salt in the smoking chamber and leaving for few hours. This smoking process allows for controlling the salt’s smokiness level.

You can also buy smoked salt from the store. Both store-bought salt and homemade smoked salt are suitable liquid smoke substitutes for foods like root vegetables, grilled meats, and even chocolate desserts.


Charcoal is another recommended alternative for liquid smoke. It imparts a smoky flavor to the food without disturbing its overall flavor. This versatile ingredient will work best with savory dishes, and sweet desserts. For using charcoal as a liquid smoke substitute, follow these guidelines.

  • Burn charcoal on the stove flame.
  • When it reaches the smoking point, transfer it into a small bowl.
  • Place this small bowl in the food container on which you want to smoke.
  • Seal the container with a lid to allow the smoky aroma and flavor to develop inside the food.


Chipotle Powder

Chipotle powder is obtained by smoking the fine jalapeno peppers slowly on a wood fire. It is popular for its ability to add a delicious, earthy, smoky taste to meat, chili, salsa, and eggs.

To use chipotle powder as a liquid smoke substitute, add 1/2 spoon of it to your dish. Always remember that chipotle powder is spicer than liquid smoke, so be careful while adding it.

Smoke Powder

The hickory smoke powder is a mix of liquid smoke and a few spices like chili powder, onion powder, black pepper, and garlic powder. It can be used during barbecuing and grilling as a meat tenderizer or marinade. You can buy this smoke powder from the store.

While using it as a liquid smoke substitute, smoke powder tastes similar to chipotle and herbs so that flavor has bitterness. You have to place the powder in a bowl and pass your meat over it so that it grasps the flavor while cooking.

How to Make Liquid Smoke at Home?

You can make your own liquid smoke easily at your home with just yeast-risen bread slices. Follow this simple smoking process to prepare smoky dust that you can add to spice mixes, meat, and sweets.

  • Place the bread slices onto a lined baking tray, grill, and turn occasionally.
  • Cook the bread for 5 minutes or until it is burnt evenly.
  • Allow the bread to cool overnight until it has dried out completely.
  • Smash the bread slices into small pieces and add them to a spice grinder in batches. Process until a fine powder forms.

FAQs on Liquid Smoke Substitutes

1. Can I substitute smoked paprika for liquid smoke?

Yes, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika for half a teaspoon of liquid smoke in your dishes.

2. How do you replicate liquid smoke?

To replicate the liquid smoke, heat the wood to a temperature high enough for the wood to burn, and pipe the resulting smoke through water without oxygen. Then you can collect vapor which is liquid smoke.

3. Can you make homemade liquid smoke?

Yes, you can make liquid smoke at your home with a charcoal smoker and heating duct.

4. What does liquid smoke do in cooking?

Liquid smoke is used to impart a smoky aroma to the food without the actual campfire.

5. What flavor is liquid smoke?

Liquid smoke has a smoky flavor without using wood smoke.


As we have read the complete information about the best liquid smoke substitutes, hope that you got some idea of what to use as a liquid smoke substitute in an emergency. Even if you don’t like to use alternatives we have also shared you with the making of your own liquid smoke at home.

Still, if you have any doubts about the substitutes for liquid smoke, you can comment to us in the comment section below. For more interesting spice food articles like Flank Steak Substitute, Curry Powder Substitute, Ricotta Substitute and many more, check out the canfoodgobad.com website.

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