Sriracha Vs Frank's Red Hot: What's The Saucy Difference?

It's safe to say that the number of people that love hot sauce grows exponentially each year, with about 21.6% more hot sauce being purchased in 2021 compared to 2019 and 11.7% more hot sauce being purchased in 2021 compared to 2020, according to a study done by Instacart and The Harris Poll. Out of the 2,000 adults from the United States that were surveyed, about 74% said that they regularly eat hot sauce with their meal, and an estimated 444,854 gallons of hot sauce were purchased through Instacart from December 2020 to November 2021. Many companies have caught wind of the rise in hot sauce popularity and have begun releasing different spicy snacks, per Eater. Frito-Lay, for example, introduced a spicy Flamin' Hot version of its cheddar and sour cream Ruffles chips and a Flamin' Hot version of its Doritos Cool Ranch chips.

The survey also revealed that about 45% of those surveyed said that they use hot sauce with their meals at least once a week, if not more. The favorite hot sauce among Instacart shoppers was Huy Fong Sriracha, with Frank's Red Hot coming in second. Other hot sauce brands that are popular according to Instacart's survey include Cholula, Burman's, Tapatio, Tabasco, Texas Pete, Heinz, Louisiana, and Valentina. With sriracha sauce and Frank's Red Hot capturing the top two spots, respectively, it's only natural to wonder what the differences are between the two sauces.

Sriracha has Thai origins and is more heavy on the chili flavor

One of the most popular brands of hot sauce, sriracha was created in the 1930s by Thanom Chakkapak, an entrepreneur and cook from Thailand, per Britannica. She initially made the sauce just for personal use in dishes she made at home but decided to sell it commercially eventually, deciding on the name Sriraja Panich for her unique sauce. The name was inspired by Si Racha, which is Chakkapak's hometown and is also referred to as Sri Raja and Sri Racha. Chakkapak's Sriraja Panich was made with chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt, and it had a rather thin consistency compared to the sriracha most of us are familiar with today in 2023.

The most popular hot sauce, according to the study done by Instacart, is Huy Fong Sriracha and was actually invented by David Tran, an entrepreneur from Vietnam who enjoyed Chakkapak's Sriraja Panich. Tran ended up making a hot sauce that was thicker with a consistency similar to ketchup, and each year, his company sells about $80 million worth of sriracha (via Thrillist). Interestingly, Tran didn't trademark or copyright his recipe or product name, which is why there are so many other sriracha sauces on the market. Sriracha is a super versatile sauce and can be used as a condiment for dipping, mixed into soups, used as a marinade or glaze, or drizzled on top of some avocado toast, per Fine Dining Lovers.

Frank's Red Hot has a thinner consistency and is more vinegar-y

On the other hand, Frank's Red Hot sauce was created by Jacob Frank and Adam Estilette in 1918 in Louisiana, according to Frank's Red Hot. The revolutionary sauce was first bottled in 1920 and became extremely popular when it was used to create buffalo wings in 1964. Per Frank's Red Hot, the company's original hot sauce is made with aged cayenne red peppers, water, salt, distilled vinegar, and garlic powder, which seems pretty similar to the ingredients of sriracha sauce. About 20 countries now sell Frank's Red Hot sauce, and as seen in the Instacart survey, Frank's Red Hot is the second most popular hot sauce among Instacart shoppers.

Frank's Red Hot sauce tends to lean a bit more on the vinegar side in terms of flavor and has a thinner consistency, whereas the sriracha we are familiar with today is thicker and the flavor of the chili peppers is more pronounced (via Food Champs). However, Frank's Red Hot sauce probably closely resembles Chakkapak's original Sriraja Panich sauce, per Britannica. Of course, Frank's Red Hot sauce is perfect for making buffalo wings or buffalo chicken dip, but it's also great with fries, chicken tenders, burgers, and even quesadillas, tacos, and ramen. Sriracha and Frank's Red Hot could be used interchangeably if you don't mind the slight variation in taste between the two.