Sriracha is a staple in most households these days. It has become incredibly popular to drench foods in this spicy sauce. Yet, some of us find it too spicy, and some can’t seem to find it at times.
With demand for sriracha so high, you may want to be aware of other good condiments and ingredients to use in its place. If you have a high threshold for heat, this list is for you. If you prefer things on the less spicy side, then some of these may work for you as well.
What Is Sriracha?
The story goes that sriracha was invented around 80 years ago in Si Racha, a town in Thailand. However, the condiment you know and love, came from California when David Tran decided to bottle this sauce and sell it in baby jars.
By 1980 he had founded his company Huy Fong Foods, which remains the sole producer of the original sriracha. This sauce contains red jalapeno peppers, salt, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and xanthan gum for thickening.
This sauce is rated at a 2,200 in the Scoville scale, which makes it less spicy than Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper.
Sriracha is often added to pad thai, eggs, pho, ramen, or fried rice. You can use it in virtually any food, but make sure you refrigerate this sauce. You can probably find sriracha at any grocery store nowadays, but an Asian food market will have it.
What Can I Replace Sriracha With?
No matter what the reason is, if you need to replace it, these sriracha substitutes will work great in plenty of dishes:
For Cooking, Sauces, and Marinades
#1. Sambal Oelek + Garlic
If you have never heard of sambal oelek, it may soon become a favorite at home. This is an Indonesian chili sauce that is also very thick and contains a variety of chili peppers. However, unlike sriracha, this sauce doesn’t contain garlic, so you can add a bit for a closer flavor.
You can find sambal oelek in many Asian food markets or specialty stores, as it is not as popular as sriracha. Use the same amount, but consider adding a bit of water to dilute it when cooking, preparing sauces, or marinades.
Some people also like to add sugar, as this sauce doesn’t have much sweetness.
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If you live in Southern California, then you have seen and probably had Tapatio sauce. This hot sauce can be found in many grocery stores and Latin American food markets. Tapatio is also made of red peppers, garlic, spices, and sugar, so it has a somewhat similar flavor to sriracha.
Use the same amount of Tapatio, but taste it first to make sure it is not overpowering to the rest of your ingredients. You can add Tapatio when you cook and when you prepare sauces and marinades.
Some people like to add a bit of sugar as well, as this sauce has less sweetness than sriracha.
#3. Peri Peri
This choice is originally from Portugal, but peri peri has made its way across the globe, thanks to the famous food chain restaurant Nandos. It comes from the African bird’s eye pepper mixed with herbs like basil, and spices like garlic and salt.
You can buy peri peri in any Nandos restaurant, but also in many grocery stores and food markets.
These days you can find many variations of peri peri sauce, including garlic flavor, lime, pepper, and more. Use this sauce when you cook seafood, marinades, and sauces. You can add a little bit of water and sugar to dilute the flavor.
For Buffalo Wings, Ramen, and Pho
Many of us have a bottle of tabasco in our fridges at all times, but if you don’t, you can find it in any grocery store.
This is a Cajun-style hot sauce, but it doesn’t contain garlic or sugar and the spice is much more concentrated. Consider using about half the amount that the dish indicates, as this may be a bit too spicy compared to sriracha.
Use tabasco when preparing Buffalo wings, on top of ramen and pho, and in marinades. You can add a bit of water, sugar, and garlic to dilute the flavor and to mimic sriracha’s texture and taste.
#5. Sweet Chili Sauce
Though much sweeter, this choice is still a good replacement for sriracha in preparing Asian dishes and flavors.
You can find sweet chili sauce by the Asian aisle of any grocery store or in Asian food markets. Consider adding a bit of hot sauce to make it spicier if necessary, but this choice will work well on its own.
Sweet chili sauce contains garlic and sugar, so the flavor is a bit milder and sweeter. Use it when preparing hot wings, marinades, on top of ramen, or in pho. If you want it to be spicier without changing the texture too much, add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes while you cook.
#6. El Yucateco
This hot sauce is not widely known for everyone, but it is a great substitute for sriracha. El Yucateco sauces come from habanero green and red peppers, which makes them much spicier than sriracha.
Use about ⅓ teaspoon of El Yucatero for every one teaspoon of sriracha, otherwise, you may overpower the dish.
You can find El Yucateco sauces in most grocery stores but try the Latin American food markets as well. Use this sauce when preparing wings, sauces, and on top of ramen or pho for an extra kick. You can add a bit of water and sugar to reduce the heat of this sauce.
Yes, you can use tabasco in place of sriracha and vice-versa. Tabasco sauce is a bit more concentrated, as it doesn’t contain sugar or garlic. Sriracha will be a good substitute for tabasco particularly for those that want less heat.
No, these two sauces are different. Frank’s Red Hot has a lower level of spice and contains more acid. Sriracha is spicier, has more garlic, and is thicker. You can use one or the other, but the flavors will be different.
Not everyone loves sriracha, but for some people, the capsaicin in the sauce helps the production of proteins that make us feel good and want more of the flavor. While not everyone feels this way, those that do begin to crave the heat of this sauce and can become “addicted” to the flavor.
Using sriracha is such a common thing for some of us that thinking of replacing it seems impossible. Still, when you need to, these 6 substitutes work great and add heat and flavor to your meals. Make sure you taste them before you add them, as some are hotter than others.
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