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Spice Up Your Meals: 5 Best Chili Sauce Substitutes

Have you ever wondered what gives chili sauce its characteristic heat? Or how to use it in your cooking?

Chili sauce is a popular condiment made from red chili peppers, vinegar, and spices.

It can be used as a dipping sauce, a marinade, or an ingredient in recipes.

While it is most commonly used in Asian cuisine, chili sauce is also popular in Mexican and Indian dishes.

If you’re looking for a substitute for chili sauce, there are several options that can be used in its place.

Read on to learn more about chili sauce and the best substitutes for it.

What’s Chili Sauce?

Chili sauce is a condiment that originates from the Chinese province of Sichuan.

It is made from a variety of chili peppers, garlic, and other spices.

The sauce has a strong, spicy flavor and a thick, viscous texture.

Chili sauce is most commonly used as a dipping sauce for seafood, particularly crab and lobster.

However, it can also be used as a marinade or stir-fry ingredient.

When used as a marinade, it helps to tenderize the meat and add flavor.

When used as a stir-fry ingredient, it adds heat and depth of flavor to the dish.

If you are looking for something new to spice up your cooking, chili sauce is definitely worth trying.

It is versatile and easy to use, and it will give your dishes an extra kick of flavor.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Chili Sauce

If you’re out of chili sauce and in need of a substitute, never fear.

There are several sauces that can be used as a replacement in both cooked dishes and as a condiment.

1 – Sriracha

Sriracha sauce is a chili sauce that originated in Thailand.

It is made from a paste of chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt.

The sauce is often used as a dipping sauce for Vietnamese spring rolls or as a condiment for pho soup.

Sriracha has a distinctively spicy taste and a slightly sweet flavor.

The texture of the sauce is thick and slightly sticky.

When substituting Sriracha for chili sauce, it is important to keep the ratio of vinegar to sugar similar.

Otherwise, the flavors will be thrown off.

Sriracha can also be used in place of hot sauce in BBQ recipes or added to mayonnaise to make a spicy aioli.

With its versatile flavor and unique texture, Sriracha is a delicious addition to many dishes.

2 – Sambal oelek

Sambal oelek is a fresh chili paste that originates from Indonesia.

It is made from red chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and salt.

The taste is spicy, and the texture is thick and chunky.

You can substitute sambal oelek for chili sauce in many recipes.

Just add it to your dish according to your desired level of heat.

Start with a small amount and add more if you want it spicier.

Sambal oelek is a great way to add some heat to your food without resorting to processed sauces.

Give it a try the next time you’re looking for a little bit of spice in your life.

3 – Gochujang

Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that is made from chili peppers, rice, and fermented soybeans.

It has a thick, pungent, and slightly sweet taste, with a slightly spicy kick.

The paste can be used as a condiment or added to soups and stews for extra flavor.

Gochujang can also be used as a substitute for chili sauce in recipes.

When substituting gochujang for chili sauce, use half the amount of gochujang as you would chili sauce.

This will help to balance out the sweetness of the paste.

Additionally, add a small amount of water to thin out the paste if necessary.

With its bold flavor and versatility, gochujang is a great addition to any kitchen pantry.

4 – Harissa

Harissa is a Tunisian chili sauce that is usually made with a blend of hot red peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices such as cumin, coriander, and caraway.

It can be used as a condiment or cooking ingredient, and its fiery flavor pairs well with both meat and vegetables.

The sauce can be either smooth or chunky, and its texture ranges from thick and spreadable to thin and runny.

In terms of taste, harissa is typically quite spicy, although the exact level of heat can vary depending on the type of peppers used.

If you’re looking for a substitute for chili sauce that packs a punch, harissa is a great option.

Just be aware that it is typically much spicier than chili sauce, so use it sparingly at first.

5 – Ketchup and Cayenne

Ketchup is a popular condiment made from tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and spices.

It is thick and sweet with a slightly acidic flavor.

Cayenne pepper is a hot chili pepper that is often used in powder form to add heat to dishes.

It has a sharp, pungent taste with a hint of sweetness.

Both ketchup and cayenne pepper can be used as substitutes for chili sauce.

Ketchup is a good substitute because it has a similar sweetness and thickness.

Cayenne pepper can be used as a substitute if you want to add heat to the dish without changing the flavor too much.

If using cayenne pepper, start with a small amount and add more to taste.


In conclusion, there are many different types of chili sauces available on the market.

However, Sriracha, Sambal Oelek, Gochujang, Harissa, and Ketchup + Cayenne Pepper are five of the best substitutes for chili sauce.

Each one has its own distinct flavor and can be used in a variety of recipes.

When substituting one of these sauces for chili sauce, be sure to adjust the amount used according to your desired level of heat and flavor.

With their bold flavors and versatile uses, these five sauces are sure to add some spice to your life.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Chili Sauce

Recipe by Andrew Gray Course: Substitutes


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  • Sriracha

  • Sambal oelek

  • Gochujang

  • Harissa

  • Ketchup and Cayenne


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

Recipe Video

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