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Spice Up Meals: 5 BEST Chili Sauce Substitutes

Oh, snap! You’ve just realized your chili sauce stash is empty. Guess what? We’ve all been there.

Now’s not the time to hit the panic button. Instead, we’ve got a secret weapon for you.

Substituting chili sauce isn’t just about slapping on some random spicy concoction and hoping for the best.

Nah, it’s about keeping those taste explosions coming without missing a beat.

We’re here to walk you through the top 5 chili sauce swaps that’ll keep your dishes firing on all cylinders.

Think of it as your flavor lifeline. Ready to dive in? You’re gonna love these game-changers.

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.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Chili Sauce

Searching for the ideal chili sauce substitute? Your quest ends here! Explore our curated list of the 5 best alternatives that flawlessly replace chili sauce in your recipes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • 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.
Keyword Substitutes for Chili Sauce
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