10 Best Substitutes For Sriracha

Over the past decade or so, Sriracha sauce has become a culinary sensation, cultivating a network of fans around the world. Spice lovers drizzle the concoction over everything from avocado toast to eggs, and there are even accessories and other clever inventions that allow people to show off their fanfare and take a mini bottle with them anywhere they go. 

The familiar bottle with the vibrant red sauce, delicate rooster illustration, and signature green cap has become synonymous with adding flavor and heat to many dishes. The producer of the popular condiment, Huy Fong Foods, sells the product in a variety of sizes, from a 9-ounce squeeze bottle for the fridge up to an 8.5-pound container for the true Sriracha fans that can't get enough of it and go through regular-sized bottles in a week's time.

However, Sriracha is far from the only spicy sauce available that can add a dollop of heat and a bit of extra flavor. If you've run out of it and are panicking, or simply want to mix up your condiment game and add a different twist, you're in luck. There are plenty of substitutes for Sriracha that deliver a tasty end result. As with any substitute, it just matters which elements of Sriracha you're looking to mimic, and knowing the right ratios for the recipe.

1. Sambal Oelek

If you're looking for something very similar to Sriracha in both taste and consistency, a paste of ground fresh chilis called Sambal Oelek just might be the perfect solution. In fact, if you want to get particular about the brand, the same company that creates Sriracha also has a Sambal Oelek available for purchase (via Huy Fong Foods). 

This condiment is Indonesian in origin, and it has a similar heat level as well as that same chili flavor that Sriracha does. It also has a thicker, paste-like consistency, making it ideal for situations where Sriracha is being used as a dipping condiment or in some type of marinade or sauce. The one thing you'll need to be aware of is that Sambal Oelek has a more simple flavor profile — it doesn't pack those garlic flavor notes that Sriracha does, so you may need to incorporate some minced garlic or even garlic powder into your recipe if you want a closer approximation.

For the best results, you can swap out equal amounts — so, a recipe that calls for a tablespoon of Sriracha would use a tablespoon of Sambal Oelek instead.

2. Gochujang

While this substitute may not be familiar to everyone, if you're a fan of Korean cuisine and love to whip up homemade bibimbap, you just might have a container of gochujang in your fridge. It's a mixture of fermented soybeans and red chili powder that together creates a thick paste which is absolutely packed with flavor. Sriracha and gochujang have a similar heat level — both add some spice to the dish without making it unbearably hot. And, the fermentation within gochujang is a nice swap for the slightly vinegar-y tang in Sriracha. 

The one thing you'll need to be aware of is the consistency. While Sriracha has a somewhat thick texture, gochujang is a paste, so in certain dishes, you may need to thin out the gochujang with a bit of water to use it in the same way. However, if the Sriracha is just one ingredient in a sauce or stew of some sort, then gochujang should dissolve just fine.

For the best results, start with about half the amount of gochujang as a suitable swap — so, if that spicy stew requires three tablespoons of Sriracha, only add a tablespoon and a half of gochujang. This is because the paste can have a more concentrated flavor, so you'll want to start small and add a bit more if you feel the dish needs it. This particular substitute may also be tough to find in many grocery stores, and might be something you need to pick up at a specialty market.

3. Tabasco

Any fan of spicy cocktails will likely already have a bottle of Tabasco firmly rooted in their kitchen. It can also be a decent substitute for Sriracha in certain cases. The good thing about Tabasco is that it's very readily available, and is an ingredient that you can find at most grocery stores. 

The primary thing to consider when swapping in Tabasco is simply the heat level. While Sriracha has a bit of a kick, Tabasco packs a lot more of a punch on the Scoville Scale, so you'll want to be careful about adding in too much — the best rule of thumb is to only add a few drops of Tabasco for every tablespoon you would have used of Sriracha. 

You'll also want to be mindful of the consistency, as Tabasco is a lot thinner than Sriracha, so this might not be the best swap for a simple sauce or dip. If you just need a bit of heat added to a dish like a stir fry though, it could be a good substitute. Also note that you may need to add in some of those garlic or vinegar flavor notes here too, if you're looking to mimic the overall flavor of Sriracha more closely in your dish.

4. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is another substitution that works best when it's just the heat of Sriracha that you're looking to mimic in your dish. Apart from its spice factor, cayenne pepper has a very neutral flavor that won't change the overall taste of your dish too much. This substitute is best used when the Sriracha is incorporated as an ingredient where the texture doesn't matter, as the powdery form of ground cayenne pepper is quite different in terms of consistency. You also won't get any of those tangy or garlicky flavor notes with this swap, so you may need to incorporate a few additional ingredients to achieve the same profile.

Since cayenne pepper really brings in the heat, you'll want to be careful not to overpower the other flavors in your dish. The best guideline is to start small and use about half the amount the recipe calls for, and adjust according to taste. For example, if your sauce requires a tablespoon of Sriracha, begin by using a half-tablespoon of cayenne pepper and go from there.

5. Peri Peri Sauce

Mouthwatering peri peri sauce isn't solely found in Nando's restaurants, although if you live in a country where the chain is popular, it may be where you first encountered the tasty condiment. 

Peri peri is a Portuguese hot sauce and is crafted from piri piri chili peppers. It also typically has some lemon or apple cider vinegar added in for a hint of tang, as well as a bit of smoked paprika and roasted red peppers. The addition of the red peppers and the relatively mild heat of the piri piri peppers means this substitute has a bit of a sweeter flavor. However, it can be an ideal substitute for Sriracha in things like sandwiches, or even as a rub or marinade for meats. If you're looking to get the flavor profile a bit closer to Sriracha, the addition of some garlic and hotter chili peppers can do the trick.

Since the heat level in this substitute isn't too out of control, you can do a 1:1 swap, using the same amounts of sauce.

6. Chili Garlic Sauce

Many people find spiciness to be one of the most prominent characteristics of Sriracha, but in fact, the flavor notes of garlic and a slight sweetness are also part of what makes it such an addictive topping. It's for that reason that chili garlic sauce can be a great substitute. The Kitchn even refers to this particular pick as the sibling of classic Sriracha sauce. 

Like Sriracha, this ingredient is packed with flavor and heat. The one primary difference is the texture — whereas Sriracha is smooth, chili garlic sauce has a chunkier consistency thanks to those chopped pieces of pepper within the mix. It also has a bit of tanginess, as well as a ton of garlic flavor. While you can definitely just use it as a condiment, this particular substitute is ideal for cooking, too, and can easily be incorporated into marinades and sauces. Or, if you want to whip up a tasty sauce to accompany your dumplings, combine it with a bit of rice wine vinegar for an irresistibly tangy, spicy concoction.

Given how similar this is to Sriracha, you can do a direct swap — so, if your stir fry recipe calls for a quarter-cup of Sriracha, use a quarter-cup of chili garlic sauce instead.

7. Harissa

If you haven't yet heard of this addictive Tunisian chili paste, trust us, it needs to become a new staple in your pantry — and, luckily, it can be a great swap for when you're out of Sriracha. Harissa packs some serious heat, and has a ton of flavor thanks to the addition of spices such as cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds. When you're using it as a substitute, just be aware that harissa is a thicker paste, and you may need to thin it out a bit if the consistency of the Sriracha is important in your recipe. 

Harissa is best used as a substitute in dishes that have plenty of flavor, where the slightly different spice blend found in the paste won't impact your dish too much. For the best results, you can do a direct swap with this substitute — so, you would use a tablespoon of harissa for every tablespoon of Sriracha called for in your recipe.

8. Tapatío

If you're a big spice fan and always have a variety of hot sauce options available at all times, there's a good chance you might already have a bottle of Tapatío on hand. This particular sauce can be used for all kinds of dishes — you can either add some major heat by incorporating it in a marinade or glaze, or simply sprinkle a bit and spice up something like scrambled eggs

The one thing to be aware of is that Tapatío has a higher heat level than Sriracha, so you'll want to be careful. If you always found Sriracha a bit mild and wouldn't mind more heat, this might be a perfect substitute. But, if you already find Sriracha a bit too spicy, you may want to tread lightly with this swap.

Given the spice levels, you'll want to use this substitute sparingly — for a recipe that calls for a tablespoon of Sriracha, you'd only want to try a few drops of Tapatío to begin with and add on from there.

9. El Yucateco Habanero Hot Sauce

Those of you that aren't afraid of a little heat might find El Yucateco hot sauce to be a great substitute for Sriracha. El Yucateco is crafted from habanero green and red peppers, which any spice lover knows will pack in some serious heat. It has a thin consistency and can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from sauces to dips to spicy soups. You can also get a bit creative if the color of your dish matters — this sauce comes in both a green and red pepper version, so anyone with a strong preference for either salsa roja or salsa verde might like the added flexibility with this substitute.

For best results, given the higher heat level, you'll want to use about a third of the amount when swapping in this ingredient. So, a recipe that calls for a teaspoon of Sriracha would only require a third of a teaspoon of El Yucateco — that will ensure you don't overpower all the other flavors in the dish with sheer habanero heat.

10. Homemade Sriracha

If you're really, really serious about the particular blend of flavors found in Sriracha, you might as well make your own! While this substitute requires the most effort, true Sriracha lovers may even relish in the process. To make the spicy sauce, you'll need a mixture of red chili peppers (many recipes seem to favor jalapeno peppers in particular), garlic cloves, light brown sugar, salt, and distilled white vinegar (via Serious Eats). 

To create the mixture, simply pulse all the ingredients in a food processor to combine. Then, you'll need to allow the mixture to ferment for a few days, before finally straining it to get that smooth consistency. While this isn't a substitute you can whip up in a few minutes, for foodies that are excited by the prospect of crafting their own personal Sriracha blend, it might be a fun option.

Given the similarities between the homemade version and store-bought version, you can do a direct swap. For example, for a marinade that calls for a half-cup of Sriracha, swap the same amount of the homemade sauce instead.