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The 5 Best Substitutes for Chili Garlic Sauce

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Have you ever wondered what gives Chinese food that unique kick? It might be chili garlic sauce.

This fiery condiment is made with fresh chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and salt.

And it’s not just for stir-fries.

You can use it to flavor all dishes, from soups to noodle bowls.

If you’re interested in trying chili garlic sauce, you should know a few things:

  • It’s very versatile. You can use it as a cooking ingredient or as a table condiment.
  • It’s very spicy, so start with a small amount and increase to taste.
  • If you can’t find chili garlic sauce at your local grocery store, don’t worry.

There are plenty of substitutes that will give your food a similar flavor profile.

In this article, we’ll share 5 of the best substitutes for chili garlic sauce.

What is Chili Garlic Sauce?

what is chili garlic sauce

Chili garlic sauce is a popular condiment made from a blend of chili peppers, garlic, and vinegar.

It can be used as a dipping sauce, a marinade, or added to foods to give them an extra kick of flavor.

The exact ingredients and proportions vary depending on the brand, but most chili garlic sauces contain a mix of chili pepper flakes, garlic cloves, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Some also contain oil, which helps balance the vinegar’s acidity and gives the sauce a richer texture.

While it is often used in Asian cuisine, chili garlic sauce can be added to just about any dish to add a bit of heat and flavor.

Whether you like it spicy or mild, a chili garlic sauce is sure to be perfect for you.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Chili Garlic Sauce

Never fear if you’re in a pinch and need a chili garlic sauce substitute.

There are plenty of options that will work in a pinch.

Here are five of the best substitutes for chili garlic sauce:

1 – Harissa Sauce

harissa sauce

If you’re a fan of spicy food, then you’ll love harissa sauce.

This North African condiment is made from chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices.

It’s traditionally used to flavor stews and couscous, but it can also be used as a dipping sauce or a marinade.

And because it’s so versatile, it’s become popular in various cuisines.

Whether you add it to a dish for extra heat or use it to create an entirely new flavor profile, harissa sauce is sure to add some zest to your cooking.

2 – Sriracha


Sriracha, also known as rooster sauce, is a popular chili sauce that was first created in Thailand.

The sauce is made from a blend of chili peppers, garlic, sugar, and vinegar, and it has a unique and addictive flavor that can be used to add a spicy kick to any dish.

Sriracha is often used as a condiment but can also be used as an ingredient in recipes.

For instance, Sriracha can be added to stir-fries or used as a dipping sauce for spring rolls.

It can also be used to spice up soups or noodles.

No matter how you use it, Sriracha will add some heat to your meal.

3 – Chili Paste

chili paste

Chili paste is a condiment made from chili peppers, spices, and other ingredients.

It is commonly used in Asian cuisine and can add a flavorful kick to stir-fries, soups, and marinades.

Chili paste is typically made by grinding or chopping chili peppers, then mixing them with vinegar, salt, sugar, and other spices.

The resulting paste can be either thick or thin in consistency and range in heat from mild to fiery hot.

Chili paste is available in many Asian markets and is also becoming increasingly popular in supermarkets worldwide.

So if you’re looking for a way to add some extra flavor to your cooking, don’t hesitate to try chili paste.

4 – Chili-Garlic Paste

chiligarlic paste

The chili-garlic paste is a popular condiment in many Asian cuisines.

It is made by grinding chili peppers and garlic into a smooth paste.

The paste can be used to add flavor and heat to stir-fries, soups, and marinades.

It is also a common ingredient in dipping sauces.

The chili-garlic paste is typically made with fresh ingredients, but it can also be found in jars or tubes at most Asian markets.

When using jarred or canned chili-garlic paste, be sure to taste it before adding it to your dish, as the intensity of the flavors can vary widely.

5 – Sambal Oelek

sambal oelek

For those who love spicy food, sambal oelek is a must-have condiment.

This Indonesian chili paste is traditionally made with fresh chili peppers, shallots, garlic, and ginger, giving it a complex, fiery, and aromatic flavor.

Sambal oelek can be used in various dishes, from stir-fries to noodle bowls.

It is also a popular ingredient in Indonesian sambal, a spicy sauce served alongside grilled meats or rice.

While sambal oelek is typically made with fresh chili peppers, it can also be made with dried chili flakes for more intense heat.

Regardless of how it is made, sambal oelek will surely add a kick of flavor to any dish.


In conclusion, a few different substitutes for chili garlic sauce can be used in a pinch.

These substitutes include sriracha sauce, Sambal Oelek sauce, chili paste, harissa paste, and chili-garlic paste.

While each of these substitutes will provide a different flavor profile, they will all add some heat and depth of flavor to a dish.

So, try one of these substitutes next time you’re in a bind and don’t have chili garlic sauce on hand.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Chili Garlic Sauce

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Harissa Sauce

  • Sriracha

  • Chili Paste

  • Chili-Garlic Paste

  • Sambal Oelek


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.

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