Where Ingredients Find The Best Alternatives

Liquid Smoke Substitute – Here’s 8 Healthy & Mild Smoky Ideas

Liquid Smoke Substitute
Liquid Smoke Substitute

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Reduce the hassle of making food recipes over a campfire using liquid smoke or any other closest substitute.

Here’s we make finding the best liquid smoke alternatives pretty much easier and time saving. Interestingly, you’ll probably have one or two substitutes in the pantry which you can use to infuse smoky flavor into meat dishes.

Liquid smoke is real wood smoke, condensed to make a concentrated seasoning perfect for boosting the flavor of stews, soups, sautéed vegetables, and grilled meat.

A dash of liquid smoke is enough to give a deep smoky kick to your palate because it’s a potent liquid that can easily overpower each bite of the recipe.

At the same time, it’s not a healthy choice for many people. That’s a reason they prefer to use healthy substitutes for liquid smoke to enjoy the natural smokiness.

Liquid Smoke Substitute

Liquid smoke is a flavor enhancer recently introduced to home cooking, and comes in a variety of flavors. It’s a great way of getting a grilled barbecue flavor without actually grilling over a campfire.

All the commercial barbecue-flavored food items get their smoky kick from liquid smoke.

However, using liquid smoke to flavor food items is a controversial issue. So, if it seems unhealthy to you or you find an emptied liquid smoke bottle in the pantry, try the following substitutes instead.

Wait for a second! Carry Lazy Kettle Liquid Smoke with you if you are a fine dine lover and don’t want to sacrifice that smoky oomph in your recipes. It’s sugar-free, vegan friendly, and real wood smoke perfect for dining alfresco.

1. Smoke powder


Smoke powder is the easiest liquid smoke substitute to carry and use to diversify the flavor of sauces, rubs, and dips.

The measurement and handling of the recipe smokiness are convenient with smoke powder as only a pinch works far amazingly.

This is a quick way to add desired smoky flavor to your food as it requires no special preparation. Its stronger yet delicate flavor pairs well with marinades, gravy, barbecue, salad dressings, green bean casserole, and sauces.

Smoke powder is also great for adding a bold rich flavor to meats like pork, lamb, duck, and cuts of beef. You can even add a mild smoky kick to the brine of your beloved pickle using a bit of smoke powder.

Which One You Should Buy? Hickory Smoke Powder BBQ Smoke adds a natural smoky and woody taste notes to BBQ, grilled pork, roasted meat, and stir-fries. It’s a gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO, and a potent seasoning, a bit goes a long way.

2. Smoke Infuser

A smoke infuser or smoke gun is another smart way to replace liquid smoke.

For usual indoor practices, portable smoke infusers are good to use. They are small, easy to carry and handle, inexpensive, and perfectly deliver a smoky hint to your creative recipes.

Wet or moist foods readily absorb the smoke as compared to dry foods. Besides, smoke infusers are also great to smoke alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages and many other ready-to-serve drinks.

Consider this substitute as a finishing ingredient and apply to completely cooked food to make every single bite finely glazed with a smoky hint.

Which One You Should Buy? Get the Homia Birner Smoke Gun with handy accessories to infuse a flavor blast into your cooked items and ironic cocktails. It’s portable, convenient to use and assemble flavor blaster for your outdoor dining plans.

3. Smoked Salt

Smoked salt would probably be your best bet as it can smoke a variety of wet and dry foods. It’s an aromatic spice infused with a wood smoke and used to transform the milder recipes into deliciously rich treats.

Sprinkle it over grilled vegetables, desserts, great northern beans, or dips to substitute liquid smoke easily.

Smoked salt is preferred intensively thanks to its variety of smoke flavors depending on which type of wood is used for infusing. Most often, hickory, apple wood, and oak-flavored salt are used.

Smoked salt is also a staple constituent of rubs used as flavor enhancers for steaks, thick cuts of beef, and fish.

Which One You Should Buy? Maldon Smoked Sea Salt is a natural flavor enhancer with subtle underlying smoky hints. It’s great for sprinkling over salads, steaks, desserts, roasted meat, and stir-fry vegetables.

To more, you can use this smoked salt in place of ordinary salt in your foods for an authentic liquid smoke like flavor.

4. Charcoal

Charcoal is another great alternative for liquid smoke you can use to get a smoky flavor with minimal effort.

It becomes a handy substitution when you can’t use smoky spices in the recipe, especially in desserts like pies and cocktails.

Just you need to burn charcoal in a small bowl and when it begins smoking, place it in a food container and cover it with a lid or foil. Leave it for a while depending on if you crave a rich bold smokiness or milder hints of smoke.

Try it and you’ll notice a deep aromatic sensation like traditional campfire food.

Which One You Should Buy? Kamado Joe Lump Charcoal is made from real trees and burn longer to give you the best grilling experience. These authentic charcoal lumps are durable, reusable, and easy to carry with you.

Read also: Sport Peppers Substitute

Mild Liquid Smoke Substitute

More often, there’s a time when a recipe calls for a slight smoky aroma rather than a concentrated bold flavor of liquid smoke. So, there must be some milder substitutes for liquid smoke to continue chasing your tongue taste.

Below are some milder smoky candidates worthy to be used instead of liquid smoke in your dream recipes.

5. Smoked Meat


Smoked meat chunks are great for nibbling when a recipe calls for a slight smoky flavor rather than a deep or pronounced aroma.

This alternative will work great in savory treats like soups, stews, casseroles, white chilli, and salads. Smoked bacon also works the same way to make your food super luscious.

Using smoked meat, you can get rid of the tedious hassle of smoking food separately. Here’s, simply make a dish with just a minute change of replacing ordinary meat with smoked meat, and that’s it.

6. Chipotle Chili Powder


Chipotle pepper is a spicy substitute for liquid smoke and therefore pairs well with savory dishes and cuisines rather than desserts.

It is a worthy replacement because it’s made from finely ground jalapeno peppers which are then smoked over a wood fire.

Try to cut the spice level when your plan is to use chipotle pepper in place of liquid smoke. Remember, chipotle pepper can easily over-spice your food which seems unappealing to everyone.

Sparingly sprinkle it on grilled veggies, eggs, barbecue, and salads or add it to rubs for a more reminiscent smoky flavor.

Which One You Should Buy? McCormick Chipotle Chili Powder offers a mild smoky hint to chili, salsas, soups, stews, and beans. So, if you are craving mellower smoky flavor and aroma instead of liquid smoke, this alternative option can do things wonderfully.

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7. Wood Chips

Wood Chips
Wood Chips

Want to smoke food in a traditional way to get milder smokiness, carry wood chips on hand. Smoking food using wood chips is as similar as charcoal.

But the difference is their flavor intensity, wood chips impart a light smoky kick to food with an ample aroma unlike the stronger flavor of charcoal and liquid smoke.

Another difference is that you can choose wood chips carrying different flavors just like smoked salt.

So, it’s a great way of smoking your food without overpowering the final flavor of the dish as in case with chipotle peppers, and hence it’s the best milder substitute for liquid smoke.

Which One You Should Buy? Western Premium Hickory BBQ Smoking Chips can be your best milder bet in terms of flavor, smoky hint, and ease to use.

8. Smoked Paprika

Smoked Paprika
Smoked Paprika

Unlike chipotle pepper, smoked paprika is mildly spicy yet significantly infused with a smoky flavor. However, it is also made by crushing peppers which are in turn smoked over a wood fire for a long time. It is widely available and always stays on the pantry.

It works in time when the dark liquid smoke color feels irrelevant for certain dishes.

Smoked paprika is a perfect smoky replacement in baked beans, vegetables, salads, sauces, and tofu instead of liquid smoke.

Which One You Should Buy? Badia Smoked Paprika is a Mexican staple that offers a mild heat and smoky hints to casseroles, dips, sauces, salsas, and salads.

                                                   Liquid Smoke Substitute 


How Much Can Replace 1 tbsp Of Liquid Smoke?


Where To Use?

Smoke powder

½ tablespoon

Smoky kick

Soups, stews, sauces, and rubs

Smoke infuser

3-4 minutes smoking

Wood-smoke flavor

cooked foods and desserts

Smoked salt

1 tablespoon

Smoky flavor

Marinades, casseroles, and rubs


10-15 minutes smoking

Smoky aroma and flavor

Cooked foods

Smoked meat

3-4 meat cuts

Smoky flavor

Soups, sauces, and marinades

Chipotle powder

½ tablespoon

Smoky flavor

Casseroles and marinades

Wood chips

15-20 minutes

Wood-smoke flavor

Ready-to-serve food

Smoked paprika

1 tablespoon

Smoky-paprika flavor

Soups, stews, and rubs

Pick Up The Best Liquid Smoke Substitute

Liquid smoke is no doubt a handy, versatile, and easy to use seasoning. It can add a decent smoky oomph to cooked food items either moist or dry, desserts, cocktails, and marinades.

However, when you are getting short on liquid smoke and thinking of any closer alternative, can you pick the best one out of tons?

That’s a thing that makes replacement tricky, right? Believe me, it’s not so challenging. You only need to check out the following attributes within your final pick to make it your better choice.

Flavor: Liquid smoke is a potent, concentrated, and aromatic flavoring used to season meat dishes.

The flavor is purely smoky with underlying palate stimulating hints that comes from the wood used to make that particular liquid smoke.

It depends on your upcoming recipe whether you need to go for a strongly flavored alternative or milder one.

So, pick up an ingredient that can provide similar smoky flavor and aroma as a liquid smoke.

Ease To Use: Liquid smoke is a portable and easy to use flavoring packed with a deep umami flavor. You can add it to your recipes while cooking or after the cooking process.

So, your final pick must be easy to operate and handy to use, similar to liquid smoke.

Availability: Generally, all the local and big grocery stores carry liquid smoke in their condiment section. And the dark-colored bottle of liquid smoke is easy to locate.

Therefore, if you are going to use an alternative to liquid smoke, make sure that it’s all time available to you.


Can you refrigerate liquid smoke?

It is not necessary to refrigerate liquid smoke because it doesn’t go bad readily. However, refrigeration extends the shelf life of liquid smoke. Ensure a tight seal of the liquid smoke bottle before refrigeration to make it last longer. One can also keep liquid smoke at room temperature in dark to prevent it from spoilage.

Can I make homemade liquid smoke substitute?

Making a homemade liquid smoke alternative is a fun experiment. There are two ways you can fake liquid smoke in your foods. Firstly, take a pinch of hickory smoke powder, paprika, cumin seeds, and a bit of smoked salt. Mix them thoroughly and that's it. Use it in soups, stews, sauces, and marinades as a dry rub to get a similar smoky flavor as liquid smoke. Secondly, take old bread pieces and burn them completely in the oven. Then grind this burnt bread and use it as a smoke powder in your beloved recipes.

Is liquid smoke healthy?

Liquid smoke doesn't impose any health risk until it gets consumed too much. It's a potent flavoring that even one or two drops are enough to impart a significant smoky flavor to food. Liquid smoke has some plant-containing compounds such as PLPs or pyrogallol-like polyphenols which are also constituents of tea and coffee. These compounds are potentially harmful when their dose is high. So, liquid smoke is safe until you use it controllably.

Can you substitute worcestershire sauce for liquid smoke?

No, both Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke are different condiments in terms of their flavor and aroma. Worcestershire sauce is used to ample the flavor of savory treats and tastes salty with a bit of acidic flavor. In contrast, liquid smoke is primarily used to give a smoky flavor and wood smoke aroma to the dish. Therefore, you cannot use them interchangeably in your foods but can use them alongside to add a savory depth to a variety of cuisines and casseroles.


Hey, I’m Ayesha Khalid, the main writer of Substitutesfor.com. I love to write about food ingredients, cooking guides, and helping tips and tricks to upgrade your cooking experience. The aim of writing is to provide you with a collection of substitutions and novel ideas to try so that you can find all the needed information at once. Here, you can get ideas according to your diet restrictions, taste preferences, and health conditions.

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