11 Best Sriracha Substitutes

Sriracha is a uniquely tangy hot sauce that is best with grilled meat and vegetables. But what happens when you run out? Here are 11 quick and easy sriracha substitutes to get you out of trouble.

sriracha sauce in serving bowl

Sriracha is a type of hot sauce that originated in Southeast Asia before exploding in popularity in the West a few years ago. It gets its distinctive acidity and mild kick from its blend of chili paste and vinegar. Sriracha is usually used as a dipping sauce for spring rolls and other foods.

The complex flavors have helped make sriracha one of the most popular hot sauces in the world. You can even find sriracha-flavored chips and candy. However, that particular blend of acidity and heat is hard to replicate with another sauce. If you try to skip out on hot sauce altogether, you might wind up with a bland meal.

Sriracha can be hard to find unless your local grocery store has a well-stocked international food aisle. Luckily, you can use similar sauces as substitutes.

One of the best sriracha substitutes is chili garlic sauce. It is also a popular Thai condiment, and you may recognize it from Thai restaurants. It has similar ingredients to sriracha, including the two main ones, chili and garlic, so it provides a similar kick of flavor. The main difference is that the texture of chili garlic sauce is chunkier.

best sriracha substitutes

Sambal Oelek

This is a hot sauce paste that can also be used in the same way as sriracha. Sambal means sauce in Indonesia. It is a great substitute for sriracha, as it is made of similar ingredients: ground chilies, vinegar, garlic, and salt. It enhances flavors in the same way and, as such, can be used interchangeably. It differs from sriracha in that it doesn’t have sugar. So if you’re looking for sweetness, this won’t be a suitable substitute for you. 

Tapatio

This is a popular Mexican hot sauce made using red chili peppers that are too hot. This, therefore, makes it a good substitution for sriracha since it is not too hot. The chili peppers used are mild and red. So you get the same flavor and same heat intensity as when you use sriracha. To substitute it for sriracha, use a ratio of 1 is to 1.

Tabasco

This is a typical hot sauce that you will find as a condiment in a lot of restaurants. Its made with tabasco peppers, vinegar, and salt. It is pretty hot, so you need to use it sparingly. A few drops will do the trick. It tends to be hotter than sriracha, so don’t be shy to taste and make sure that you are not adding more than you can handle. 

Wasabi

Wasabi is a spicy green paste taken from a green root vegetable often used with dishes such as Boston roll sushi. The root of the wasabi plant is grated to come up with the paste often used as a condiment. It’s a Japanese horseradish that needs to be used in moderation, or it can turn a dish bitter. 

To use it as a spice, you would grate the dry root. It has a spicy, aromatic yet sweet taste. This makes it a good substitute for sriracha. However, if you want the sriracha bright red color, this will not substitute for you. It also enhances the flavors in the same way sriracha does. You can not use equal amounts when you substitute. You would instead use the taste test to see how much heat you will need. It’s best to start with less, then add. 

Gochujang

This is another good substitute for sriracha (in fact we often recommend sriracha as a good alternative to gochujang). However, this Korean paste is stronger than sriracha, so ensure you less of it when cooking. It is made of red chili pepper flakes, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It takes months to make, and the result is a thick sweet sauce, thicker than sriracha. 

It is tangy, and the fermented taste comes through. Just like sriracha, you can use it in stews and add it to other sauces, whose flavors could do with a boost. This may not work in your favor if you want something very close to sriracha since sriracha doesn’t have the same fermented taste. You also cannot use it as a dip or finishing sauce like sriracha because the taste may be too strong. Use a taste test to know just how much you need. 

Mustard

Mustard is a common condiment made from the seeds of the mustard plant. It can be used on top of food and as a dip, in the same way, you use sriracha. It has a spicy flavor, and it is used as a flavor enhancer and can even be used as a basting sauce, just like you can use sriracha sauce. The main difference will be in color. Mustard is yellow while sriracha is red.  There are different types of mustard, and they each have a certain amount of spiciness. Taste to see if the amount that you have put is what you need. 

Jerk Sauce

Jerk Sauce is a Jamaican sauce that is sometimes used as a spicy spread on bread. It is used as a similar flavoring to sriracha sauce. It has a spicy, tangy, sweet taste that works well on top of meat dishes like chicken. It comes in different flavors and levels of heat, so you will need to taste it to know how much of it you will need. 

Ketchup

This is an everyday condiment most people have on their tables. It’s a sauce made of tomatoes and has a sweetness and bright red color, just like sriracha. While it may not have the same levels of spiciness as sriracha, it is often used because of its versatility as a condiment that won’t change food taste. As such, you can use equal amounts when you make the substitution.  

Fish Sauce

This sauce is made by fermenting fish for about two years with salt. Fish sauce is a staple in a lot of Asian cooking. 

It works well as a marinade but also as a condiment. It has a light golden brown color and can be used in place of sriracha. To give it some spiciness, you will need to add some chilies and add some lemon to get a tangy taste. You can use an equal amount when substituting.

Marmite

This dark sauce is made from extracted yeast, which often comes from the process of brewing beer. The salt in this sauce can be overwhelming, so consider this when you substitute one for the other. It is made by boiling and brewing for days and incorporating salt and vegetables. The result is an aromatic tasting paste that can be used to spread in equal amounts as you would use sriracha. Simply make sure that the taste is not overpowering. 

Balsamic Vinegar

This is an Italian type of vinegar, made traditionally from reducing Trebbiano and then infusing with different spices, which is used to enhance flavors. It’s brown, so it will not give you the same visuals that sriracha will provide you, but more viscous. It has a slight sweetness to it, making it a close substitute for sriracha sauce. True to the vinegar profile, it is a tad acidic, bringing it close to the mild spiciness of sriracha sauce. It can be used to cook with or as a condiment. And this is what makes it a good substitute for sriracha.