Do you love adding a pop of garlicky, tangy heat to your dishes with sriracha, but find yourself out of that iconic rooster sauce? Not to worry, you have options! While no substitute can perfectly mimic the unique flavor of sriracha, other hot sauces can fill in for it when used wisely.
The key is considering the differences in taste and spiciness so you achieve the desired outcome in your recipe. We’ll compare some readily available hot sauces that work well in place of sriracha and offer guidance on getting the right combo of heat, acidity, and flavor.
Certain varieties mimic elements of sriracha’s flavor and heat profile quite nicely. With a few tweaks, you can transform your dish to highlight the best qualities of your chosen hot sauce. Read on as we explore suitable stand-ins and how to use them wisely.
What Makes Sriracha so Special?
Before finding alternatives, let’s look at why sriracha has such a coveted, signature taste:
- Made from a paste of red chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt
- Has a moderately thick, smooth consistency unlike thinner hot sauces
- Balance of sweet and tangy flavors pairs well with many foods
- Distinctive garlicky aroma and flavor
- Mild to moderate heat level, around 2,000 Scoville units
No single hot sauce can match all of these qualities perfectly. But some come closer than others.
Best Sriracha Substitutes to Consider
This Indonesian chili sauce is perhaps the closest match:
- Made from a paste of red chilies, vinegar, salt, and garlic
- Has a thicker consistency similar to sriracha
- Boasts a hearty, garlic-forward flavor
- Heat level is comparable, around 1,500 Scoville units
Swap in an equal amount of sambal oelek in any recipe for best results. Its flavor profile mimics sriracha the closest.
Mexican-Style Hot Sauce
Easy to find and access, Mexican hot sauces like Cholula, Tapatío, or Valentina work nicely:
- Made from red chili peppers, spices, vinegar, and salt
- Has a thinner consistency than sriracha
- Tangy, vinegar-forward taste
- Heat level is similar or slightly higher
Use a bit more Mexican hot sauce than sriracha to account for the thinner texture. Expect more of a bright, vinegar bite.
Louisiana-Style Hot Sauce
Tabasco and Louisiana-style sauces make readily available substitutes:
- Made from aged red chili peppers, vinegar, and salt
- Very thin, watery consistency
- Very tangy, acidic, and vinegar-forward taste
- Heat level varies but is often higher than sriracha
Use Louisiana-style hot sauces sparingly due to their thinner texture and extra kick. Their super acidic bite also won’t mimic sriracha perfectly.
For an umami, full-bodied flavor:
- Korean fermented chili paste, made from chilies, rice, soybeans
- Thick, rich texture
- Sweet, savory, and earthy taste
- Milder heat around 1,500 Scoville units
Gochujang makes a nice substitute in Asian recipes. But expect a very different, sweeter and umami flavor profile.
Tips for Subbing In Hot Sauces
While no hot sauce replicates sriracha exactly, follow these tips to get the best results:
- Start with less: Use a smaller amount of the hot sauce at first, as many pack more heat than sriracha. Then add more to taste.
- Consider the texture: Thinner hot sauces may need to be used more sparingly than sriracha to avoid thinning out a dish.
- Mind the flavor: Hot sauces with a more vinegar-forward or acidic taste won’t mimic sriracha’s balance of sweet and garlic flavors.
- Adjust other seasonings: You may need to tweak spices, salt, sugar, vinegar, or garlic powder to fine-tune the overall flavor.
- Mix and match: Combining a small amount of different hot sauces together can yield a closer match to sriracha’s complexity.
- Make your own: Blending red chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and a touch of sugar and salt allows full customization.
Sample Sriracha Substitutions in Recipes
Here are a few recipe examples with how to effectively sub in a backup hot sauce:
Stir fry sauce
- Sriracha: 2 tbsp
- Substitute: 2 tbsp sambal oelek
Since sambal oelek mimics sriracha’s texture and flavor so closely, you can use an equal amount for the perfect heat and garlic punch.
- Sriracha: 1/4 cup
- Substitute: 1/3 cup Mexican hot sauce + 1/4 tsp garlic powder
The thinner Mexican hot sauce needs to be used more generously. Garlic powder compensates for the lack of garlic flavor.
- Sriracha: 3 tbsp
- Substitute: 1 tbsp Louisiana hot sauce + 1 tsp sugar + 1 tsp garlic powder + 1 tbsp water
Here the thinner, super tangy Louisiana-style hot sauce is cut with sugar, garlic powder, and water to balance out the flavor.
Ready to Heat Things Up with a Sriracha Sub?
Armed with the know-how to pick the right replacement and tweak recipes accordingly, you can now confidently cook without sriracha. Each hot sauce brings its own special flavor.
While sriracha can never be perfectly replicated, combinations of vinegar, garlic, sugar, and chili heat get you surprisingly close. Now you can keep enjoying your favorite spicy dishes even when the rooster sauce runs dry.
The next time your sriracha supply dwindles, grab one of these handy stand-in sauces. Then turn up the heat in the kitchen once more!
Does hot sauce provide the same flavor as sriracha?
No, hot sauce will taste different from sriracha. Sriracha has a unique blend of sweetness, garlic, vinegar, and heat that no single hot sauce can mimic exactly. The flavor will vary based on the ingredients.
Which hot sauce makes the best sriracha substitute?
Sambal oelek comes closest to sriracha in texture and balanced flavor. Other good options are Mexican hot sauces like Cholula and Tapatío or Louisiana-style sauces like Tabasco. Gochujang also works well in Asian dishes.
How should I adjust recipes when using hot sauce instead of sriracha?
Use less hot sauce at first, as many are spicier than sriracha. Consider the texture and thin with water if needed. You may also need to tweak spices, salt, sugar, vinegar, or garlic powder to get the right flavor.
Should I use the same amount of hot sauce as I would sriracha?
Not necessarily. Start with less hot sauce first, then adjust to taste. Thinner hot sauces like Tabasco need more volume than sriracha to account for texture. For closer matches like sambal oelek, the amount can substitute 1:1.
What’s the best way to replicate sriracha’s flavor with hot sauce?
Mixing two hot sauces together can mimic sriracha’s complexity better. Combine a garlic-based sauce with a more acidic, vinegar-forward sauce. Adjusting other seasonings in the recipe also helps achieve the right balance of sweet, garlic, and heat.