Chili sauce is a popular condiment that can be used in different cuisines. However, sometimes you just run out of it or are keen to test a different substitute.
Here are some alternatives you can try to find in your kitchen right off the bat.
- Regular hot sauce
- African Hot Sauce
- Pasillas Or Anchos Hot Sauce
- Chili garlic paste
- Sriracha sauce
- Harissa sauce
- Spicy Tomato sauce
- Spicy Ketchup
- Sweet chili sauce
You’ll find a lot of choices available in the market today, including mustard, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, etc. Read on if you are keen to find out the full comprehensive list of the best substitute for chili sauce.
17 Best Chili Sauce Chili Sauce
Regular Hot Sauce
The most commonly used substitute for chili sauce is regular hot sauce. You’ll find many different options for ready-made hot sauces in grocery stores. They usually vary in heat levels, ranging from mild to extreme.
Read the labels before choosing one that fits your preference.
There are actually different types of hot sauce. One of the most popular is the Louisiana style, which is made with fermented or fresh peppers with vinegar and salt.
The Caribbean-style hot sauce is made with Scotch Bonnet peppers or fiery habanero peppers. The Hawaiian-style hot sauce has a mixture of chili peppers native to the island, garlic, ginger, water, and vinegar.
The American Southwest type is known for its earthy ingredients made with New Mexican peppers and vinegar.
African Hot Sauce
The African hot sauce, which is more popularly known as the peri-peri sauce, is made with African Bird’s eye chili peppers.
It is usually thick in consistency and has a tamed level of heat. The superhot style is made from chili peppers registering 1 million Scoville Heat Units and above.
These include scorpion peppers, ghost pepper, and Carolina Reaper (the hottest chili pepper in the world).
The basic hot sauce ingredients are chili peppers and liquid (like citrus juice, vinegar, or water). There are different kinds of chili peppers, like jalapeños, cayenne, habaneros, scorpions, and Thai peppers.
Considered extremely hot peppers are 7 pots, scorpions, and Carolina Reapers. You can use any dried chili pepper, chopped or powdered.
Pasillas Or Anchos Hot Sauce
The Mexican varieties like pasillas and anchos have big bold flavors. Vinegar is a good addition to the hot sauce because it provides a contrast to the spiciness of peppers.
Other common ingredients used are fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes for their versatility, and carrots for their sweetness.
Citrus fruits like pineapple can also be added. But you can always experiment and try out other combinations.
Chili Garlic Paste
If you have garlic and extra red chilis, you can make your chili garlic paste. All you need is a mortar and pestle to make the paste.
You can use fresh chilis but if you want a better-tasting chili garlic paste, you can roast or dry the chilis. Chop those roasted chilis and place them in a mortar and pestle.
Then, add a generous amount of garlic cloves and pound the mixture until it thickens and becomes a paste. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use a food processor or blender. Store in a sealed container.
If you want, you may add olive oil, salt, and pepper for additional flavor. Shelf life is about a week.
Chili garlic paste is ideal for rice bowl toppings or used as a glaze for fried chicken wings.
Sriracha is a common stand-in for chili sauce. This rich and creamy spicy sauce originated in Thailand in the 1930s. Sriracha was once used by ancient Chinese physicians and Buddhist monks for its healing properties.
The ingredients used in making sriracha are red jalapeños, garlic, sugar, and vinegar. It has a distinctly sweet, spicy, and tangy taste.
You can use sriracha in just about anything, dipping sauce for chips, additional flavor to soups, or a replacement to hot sauce in pizza or sandwiches.
You can easily get sriracha sauce from the grocery store.
Harissa sauce, known for its aroma and flavor, originated from the North African region.
To make harissa sauce, roast coriander, and cumin seeds. Soak red chilis in hot water. Combine the roasted coriander and cumin seeds with the red chilis in a bowl.
Then add paprika and lemon juice. You can also add roasted sesame or caraway seeds for added flavor and crunch. Drying the red chilis after being soaked in water may add flavor and spiciness.
You add harissa sauce in stews and soups or use it as marinade or dipping sauce for chips.
Spicy Tomato Sauce
It’s easy to make spicy tomato sauce. You can buy a can of tomato sauce (any brand) and put it in a mixing bowl. Then add freshly chopped chilis or chili powder.
Mix thoroughly and you get your spicy tomato sauce. Using tomato sauce gives you the freedom to make a spicy sauce according to your preference.
Most chefs use this to add heat to pasta dishes.
Spicy ketchup has a similar principle to how you make your tomato sauce spicy. if you cannot tolerate extremely spicy hot sauces or chili sauces, you can use store-bought regular ketchup then add chopped chilis peppers.
This way, you can control the level of spiciness. You may also use chili flakes or chili powder – one tablespoon to one cup of ketchup.
Sweet Chili Sauce
People who are not into extremely spicy foods and sauces prefer to use sweet chili sauce as an alternative to chili sauce. It has its unique sweet, spicy, savory, and tangy taste.
Ingredients for making sweet chili sauce are red chili peppers, ginger, garlic, sugar, and vinegar. You can find bottled sweet chili sauce in your local grocery stores or online.
Black Bean Sauce
Black bean sauce is a special ingredient in every Sichuan dish because of its fermented flavor and rich earthy taste. Its origins can be traced back to ancient China.
Black bean sauce is also referred to as doubanjiang. It is made from soybean, chili, water, oil, and salt.
Gochujang sauce is a staple in Korean dishes. This popular Korean sauce is known for its intense spicy flavor. it is made from Korean red peppers with soybeans that have been fermented.
You can use them as a marinade for chicken, pork, or steak. It combines well with garlic and ginger, and wine.
You can buy from a Korean supermarket or your local grocery store.
Chili Powder / Flakes
Chili flakes and chili powder are obvious substitutes for chili sauce. You can easily find them in groceries and supermarkets. But you can make your chili flakes by roasting or drying red chili peppers.
There is no difference in flavor whether you use the ready-made chili powder or homemade chili flakes. You can simply adjust according to your preference. They are ideal for sauces, dips, and additional flavor to meat dishes.
A lot of people enjoy sriracha in their food, but it can be quite expensive. If you are looking for a substitute for chili sauce but you don’t like or can’t afford sriracha sauce, you can use a cheaper alternative, which is mustard.
It has its own unique tangy and spicy taste.
Aside from your regular store-bought barbecue sauce, you’ll find hickory barbecue sauce which has the right amount of spice to give your pork or chicken barbecue a little kick.
If you want to make your barbecue sauce, you should do so in small batches to prevent spoilage. You can combine apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, tomato puree, green peppers, onions, garlic cloves, onions, carrots, brown sugar (you can also use muscovado), celery powder or celery salt, and ground nutmeg or ground allspice berries.
You can also get a good barbecue sauce in your local grocery store, but keep in mind that once the bottle is opened, the sauce spoils faster.
If you are considering something tamer for your hot noodles or soup, you may like to consider substituting Chili sauce with Balsamic Vinegar.
Balsamic vinegar can be used to add a spicy and tangy taste to your salad dressing or your favorite pasta dishes without affecting your taste bud
Lemon zest is a good substitute for chili sauce. You can easily add a splash to your marinade or sauce for an instant kick in flavor and finishing sauce for the maximum punch.
Adding a pop of flavor with just the right bit of spice, lemon zest is perfect for any food recipe that needs some zest without too much spice.
Substitute For Chili Sauce Related FAQs
What exactly is chili sauce?
Chili sauce is a popular spicy condiment made from red hot chilis, spices, and vinegar.
It adds flavor to simple dishes, hamburgers, hotdogs, and French fries.
Is chili sauce healthy?
All kinds of chili sauce or hot sauce are healthy if consumed in moderation. Most of them contain limited to zero traces of fat or sugar. It is safe to say that it is one of the healthiest condiments in the market today.
If you compare chili sauce with other products like ketchup, sweet chili sauce, or mayonnaise, you’ll see that chili sauce does not contain saturates or sugar.
What dishes can I eat with hot sauce?
Chili sauce and its alternative, hot sauce, are the most versatile condiments. You can use it for your hamburgers, hotdogs, pasta dishes, curry dishes, and soups.
You can use hot sauce on everything. Try to experiment, you’ll be surprised at what you can discover.
What is the better way to use chili sauce, as a table sauce or in cooking?
Most store-bought chili sauces are intended for table use, meaning you can add it to your meal to add more flavor and for those who’d like to make their food spicier.
Chili sauces are usually placed on the dinner table because not everyone likes their food spicy. Hence, you’ll have to use it in moderation when cooking.
Should chili sauce be refrigerated?
In general, chili sauces should be stored in a cool, dry place. But you’ll have to ensure the sauce is not constantly heated or exposed to direct sunlight a lot of times.
If using products like tomato sauce, make sure you check the label. If it is indicated “refrigerate after opening,” then always store it in the refrigerator after use.
Is Sriracha the same as hot sauce?
Hot sauce has a stronger flavor compared to Sriracha which is milder.
Sriracha is normally used in Thailand, Laos, and parts of India to enhance the flavor of their noodles.
How is ketchup different from chili sauce?
Ketchup, which is traditionally red, and primarily made from tomatoes, tastes sweet, while chili sauce is made from peppers and spices.
Chili sauce has a thinner consistency than ketchup and is spicy in taste.