6 Best Liquid Smoke Substitutes You Can Try

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Are you here looking for a good liquid smoke substitute? If you are, you are at the right place. Because just like you love the smoky flavor in my food, especially in meat items.

Liquid Smoke

The smoky flavor just elevated the taste of the dish to the next level. Liquid smoke is also very convenient to use as well. But what if we run out of it? Don’t think twice; use a good liquid smoke substitute.

Are there any good replacements for liquid smoke? I had the same doubt. So I did some research and found out that smoked guns, smoked paprika, charcoal, chipotle powder, and smoked tea are some of the best liquid smoke substitutes.

I hope all of you are familiar with the smoky flavor of our food. But I don’t expect all of you to know everything about liquid smoke. So the next session is dedicated to that.

Quick Peek: Liquid Smoke 

Liquid Smoke

Liquid smoke indeed has a fascinating name. But what exactly is it? This section covers all of the details about liquid smoke. We will talk about its taste, health benefits, and much more.

What Is Liquid Smoke? 

Liquid smoke is a natural substance made by cooling down the smoke from burning wood. It has a light yellow to red color and is often used as a flavoring substance. Earnest H. Wright was the one who invented the liquid smoke. He then commercialized it in 1895, and since then, it has been an ingredient in culinary uses.

Liquid smoke is obtained from the burning wood using the pyrolysis process. When compared to natural smoke, liquid smoke is safer to consume as it is a purified form and does not contain any harmful ingredients. Moreover, liquid smoke is more environmentally friendly than normal smoke. Also, it is very user-friendly. 

Describing Liquid Smoke: Flavor And Texture

Liquid smoke, as its name suggests, has a liquid consistency and is water-soluble. It has a color red and yellow. Since it is derived by condensing the smoke, it has an extreme smoky taste.

Usually, we get an unflavored version of liquid smoke in the market, but nowadays, since people are into experimenting now, we have some flavored liquid smoke.

Uses Of Liquid Smoke

Liquid smoke is often used as a flavoring agent. It can be poured over vegetables or meat dishes to get that smoky barbecue flavor. If you are someone who lives in a city, then this is a holy grain for you.

Liquid smoke is also used as a flavoring agent in most of our store-bought barbeque sauces. Some hot dogs, smoked meats, and even cheese carry a little portion of liquid smoke. Whenever you see a food label that says “smoky,” then it might probably have used liquid smoke in it rather than actually smoking it.

Liquid smoke also has antimicrobial properties. Thus we can say that it is a natural form of preservative that helps to keep the freshness of the food for a good amount of time. Whether light yellow or red, liquid smoke can be used as a food color. Thus it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Liquid Smoke On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

Liquid smoke is a by-product of smoke; thus, it contains some amount of PAHS in it. Intake of a huge quantity of PAH is harmful to the human body as they are carcinogenic.

However, when compared to natural smoke, liquid smoke is less harmful to the human body as it contains a very less quantity of PAH. However, using liquid smoke in a very high quantity can be harmful.

Most people are doubtful about using liquid smoke as there are multiple rumors about the side effects of liquid smoke. Most research says that a little liquid smoke will do you no harm, and it is safe to consume.

Why Use A Substitute For Liquid Smoke

I am aware because I have gushed over liquid smoke so much. So many people would think this question is superfluous. Why would you need to replace an ingredient that is so fantastic in so many ways?

While there are numerous reasons to utilize liquid smoke in a recipe, there are still some situations where you may want to use a different ingredient instead.

Utilizing liquid smoke is still a relatively novel idea. Therefore, there is a good probability that you won’t be able to locate it as readily at supermarkets close to you. In these circumstances, you can employ a more accessible option for the same.

Some people prefer to have a smoky flavor naturally in their food. However, if you are someone who is a little bit lazy like me, you could easily use liquid smoke, which imparts the same flavor.

 Most of the substitutes given in the article are easy to find and will impart the same flavor as that of liquid smoke. I believe I have given you enough information about liquid smoke. Now let’s look into the crux of the article, which is liquid smoke substitutes.

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

6 Best Liquid Smoke Substitutes

This section contains some of the best alternatives for liquid smoke. Give it a read to find out. 

1. Smoke Gun

Smoke Gun

A smoke gun is an excellent machine that helps you to add smoky flavor to your food. If you are someone who specifically loves the natural smoke taste, then a smoke gun is the best liquid smoke substitute.

A smoke gun contains a barrel where we can drop firewood. Then one has to turn on the fan and ignite the chip. After doing this, one can see smoke coming out. Using a smoke gun is a fun thing to do. However, the smoke gun just provides a smoky flavor in the outer part of the dish.

2. Smoked Paprika

Smoked Paprika Powder

Smoked paprika has a spicy and smoky flavor and can be a good liquid smoke substitute. If you are planning to cook a meat dish and do not have liquid smoke, then smoked paprika can be a good choice.

Smoke paprika is also known as Spanish paprika or pimenton. The paprika in the smoked paprika is dried by exposure to the smoke. Thus, it carries an authentic smoky flavor.

3. Chipotle Powder

Chipotle Powder

The chipotle powder has a spicy and smoky flavor. It is because the jalapenos are smoked before making them into chipotle powder. Hence chipotle powder can be a good liquid smoke substitute.

Chipotle powder is a Mexican condiment. Due to its flavor-enhancing property nowadays, it is being used all around the world. The chipotle powder can be used in most dishes that demand liquid smoke. 

The chipotle powder will be an ideal replacement in meat and salsa dishes. While replacing, you can use half a teaspoon of chipotle powder for one teaspoon of liquid smoke.

4. Charcoal


Charcoal is the easiest way to lend food a smoky flavor. Take a piece of charcoal and burn it. Place them in a nonplastic container and place them over the food.

Add some oil to the charcoal and cover the dish. Wait for the smoke to work its magic. This way, we can easily achieve the smoky taste that liquid smoke provides to the food. Therefore charcoal is an ideal liquid smoke substitute.

Charcoal is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to add smoky flavor to your food. Using charcoal, you can easily give a smoky flavor both to sweet as well as savory dishes.

5. Smoked Salt

Black Salt

Smoked salt is the salt that has been smoked slowly over the burning wood. The resulting salt will have a smoky flavor and, when added to the dishes, lends an overall smoky taste. Hence smoked salt is a good liquid smoke substitute.

Smoked salt comes in different flavors, and the flavor depends upon the wood that is used to smoke it. Smoked salt can be sprinkled over salad or can be used to rub over the meat.

6. Smoked Tea

Smoked Tea

Smoked tea is a Chinese black tea that is made by smoking tea leaves over pine wood. Hence smoked tea has a strong smoky aroma and smoky taste and can be regarded as a liquid smoke substitute.

Also known as lapsang souchong, smoked tea doesn’t carry any bitterness. Therefore, it acts as a perfect addition to meat as well as vegetarian dishes. It provides a smoky aroma along with a smoky taste to the dishes.

While adding smoked tea to your soup, you can boil these leaves in water for some time before adding them to soups or sauces. While using it as a marinade for your meat dishes, grind the leaves and rub them over the meat.

Short Recap Of Liquid Smoke Substitutes

Not a very long list of substitutes for liquid smoke, but still a decent enough list that will work in all recipes. So, I am sure you must have gone through them all by now. But, I will break it down for you to make it easier to pick your substitute. 

Best Easily Available Liquid Smoke Substitutes:

  1. Chipotle Powder
  2. Charcoal

Most Suitable Liquid Smoke Substitutes:

  1. Smoke Gun

Substitute Options To Consider Last:

  1. Smoked Tea

How To Use Liquid Smoke Substitutes In Recipes

Liquid Smoke

Liquid Smoke Substitutes

Smoky flavored food is smoothing we all love. Most of the time, we avoid cooking it, thinking about the work we have to do behind it. However, Liquid smoke makes it so easy. Liquid smoke is a perfect way to add smoky flavor to your food. If you do not have any liquid flavor, try some of our liquid smoke substitute.
5 from 1 vote


  • Smoke Gun
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Chipotle Powder
  • Charcoal
  • Smoked Salt
  • Smoked Tea


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Thoughts

Smoky flavored food is smoothing we all love. Most of the time, we avoid cooking it, thinking about the work we have to do behind it. However, Liquid smoke makes it so easy. Liquid smoke is a perfect way to add smoky flavor to your food. 

But if you do not have liquid smoke at your home, you can always rely on its substitutes. All of the substitutes given above are carefully chosen and will give you a similar flavor as that of liquid smoke. If you are cooking with any of these substitutes, please let us know how it turned up in the comment section below. Happy cooking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you substitute smoked paprika for liquid smoke?

Yes. If you are preparing a spicy dish, then you can include smoked paprika in place of liquid smoke.

Can you omit liquid smoke?

If you do not have liquid smoke or any of its substitutes, then you can avoid liquid smoke. However, there will be a significant flavor change due to its absence. 

How do you get a smoky flavor without liquid smoke?

If you do not have liquid smoke, you can always rely on its substitutes.t smoke guns, smoked paprika, charcoal, chipotle powder, and smoked tea are some of the best liquid smoke substitutes.

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