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16 BEST Substitutes For Sriracha Sauce [Tried And Tested]

I’ve personally tried and tested a range of different sriracha sauce substitutes to find the best one, whatever your reason for avoiding sriracha is and whatever dish you’re cooking.

Here’s the quick answer.

The best substitutes for sriracha are chili garlic sauce and sambal oelek. Tabasco is a popular option that also works well. If you want to try something spicy but with extra flavor notes, go with harissa or a peri-peri sauce. You can use spices like crushed chili flakes or cayenne pepper.

The Experiment

I whipped up a basic spicy mayo dip and tried out eight different sriracha substitutes to find the best one. 

Sriracha is a Thai chili sauce famous for its spicy kick with sour, sweet, and garlicky notes. 

It’s mainly used as a condiment, but it can also be mixed with other condiments or added to dishes to give them some background heat.

Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts: 

SubstituteSub 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce forVerdict
Chili garlic sauce1 teaspoon 10/10
Sambal oelek¾  teaspoon 10/10
Ketchup mixed with hot sauce1/2 teaspoon ketchup + 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce9/10
Tabasco1 teaspoon 9/10
Harissa paste½ teaspoon 9/10
Peri peri sauce½ teaspoon8/10
Gochujang½ teaspoon 8/10
Spices (chili flakes, cayenne pepper)1 teaspoon 7/10
Chipotle sauce1 teaspoon 6/10

When it comes to hot sauces, everyone has their preferences so the best substitute for you will depend on what flavors you like best.

If you’re looking for something clean and bright, try sambal oelek or tabasco.

If you’re looking for something with a more complex flavor, try peri peri sauce or harissa paste.

Sambal oelek

Sambal oelek is my personal favorite sriracha substitute.

The flavors are definitely different, but I found it gave my dip exactly the same background heat.

Sambal oelek is purer in nature and doesn’t have any added sugar or garlic. This means it’s spicier, but has a cleaner flavor and is super versatile.

The added garlic and sugar in sriracha give it more of a ketchupy vibe.

Taste and texture
Sambal oelek is thicker, chunkier, and spicier than sriracha.
1 teaspoon sriracha = ¾  teaspoon sambal oelek

Chili garlic sauce

Chili garlic sauce was also a great substitute for sriracha sauce both heat and flavor-wise.

It’s generally thought of as more of an ingredient, while sriracha is a condiment.

But you can use them interchangeably. 

In terms of flavor, chili garlic sauce is more straightforward with a stronger garlic flavor. While sriracha has more of a tangy taste with sweet undertones.

The two sauces also differ in texture. Sriracha is totally smooth while chili garlic sauce is thick and chunky.

Read next: best substitutes for chili garlic sauce

Taste and texture
Chili garlic sauce is a great substitute for sriracha, and some people might even prefer it!
1 teaspoon sriracha = 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

Ketchup Mixed With Hot Sauce

You can use any hot sauce here, but I went with a red Mexican one because it’s what I had in my cupboard.

Most hot sauces are more on the vinegary side compared to sriracha, so mixing them with ketchup adds the sweet notes that they’re missing!

I was really surprised with how well this substitute worked, and you can tailor the flavor to your liking by using more or less ketchup.

Taste and texture
I mixed the ketchup and hot sauce in a 1:1 ratio and thought that gave me the perfect balance between sweet and spicy.
1 teaspoon sriracha = 1/2 teaspoon ketchup + 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce


Tabasco is a popular American hot sauce made from similarly-named peppers. 

It’s slightly spicier than sriracha, but not much making it a good substitute.

Like sambal oelek, the original tabasco doesn’t have any added sugar or garlic. So the vinegar notes are prominent.

A huge plus for tabasco is that it’s really easy to find – it will be stocked in almost every grocery store. And there are loads of different varieties to suit everyone’s tastes.

Taste and texture
It has a thinner consistency and a simpler flavor profile than sriracha.
1 teaspoon sriracha = 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce

Harissa paste

According to Bowls Are The New Plates, harissa has been dubbed the “Middle Eastern sriracha” because it’s made with garlic and spicy chili peppers.

Harissa doesn’t have any sweet background notes like sriracha though, instead it has more of a tart citrusy twist to it.

And because of the lack of sugar, you could feel the heat more from the harissa.

Depending on what you’re planning to use the substitute for, harissa could be more convenient because it comes in different forms: a paste, sauce, or spice blend.

Taste and texture
Harissa paste’s heat is comparable to sriracha, but it has a brighter flavor profile.
1 teaspoon sriracha = ½ teaspoon harissa paste

Peri peri sauce

Also known as piri piri, Epicurious says this sauce is an “alternative that can do even more” than sriracha. 

It’s got the heat you expect from a chili sauce, but it also has sour, slightly sweet, and salty notes that give it real depth of flavor.

Like sriracha, you can add peri peri sauce directly to your food or use it as an ingredient for cooking.

Taste and texture
It has a thicker consistency and a more complex aromatic flavor than sriracha.
1 teaspoon sriracha = 1 teaspoon peri peri sauce


If you have gochujang it can work as a sriracha substitute in a pinch.

It has a sweet-sour flavor like sriracha, but the fermentation adds a savory, umami twist to this Korean condiment that can be overpowering if you use too much. 

It worked okay in my mayo dip and would be good if you were cooking something, but I think it’s too strong to use on its own as a condiment.

It’s also a paste, so it doesn’t have a saucy consistency (although you could always mix in a bit of water to thin it out).

Taste and texture
It has a very different flavor profile to sriracha and it’s a paste instead of a sauce.
1 teaspoon sriracha = ½ teaspoon gochujang

Spices (chili flakes, cayenne pepper)

If all you want is to add heat to your food, spices like crushed red peppers, red pepper flakes, or cayenne pepper should do the trick. 

You probably already have them on hand, making them a convenient substitute. 

But these spices have a one-dimensional flavor, so don’t expect them to add any depth to your food!

Pro tip: if you’re cooking with the spices, add them earlier on in the process rather than later so allow the heat to spread throughout the food evenly.

Taste and texture
Spices like cayenne pepper will add heat to your dishes but little to no flavor.
1 teaspoon sriracha = 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper

Chipotle ketchup

This spicy ketchup has a sweet-sour taste with a hint of smokiness but packs much less heat than sriracha.

It’s less of a perfect substitute and more of a different way to add flavor to your meal if you don’t have sriracha (or any other hot sauce) on hand.

Pro tip: you can mix in some extra hot sauce like tabasco if you want this condiment to be spicier.

Taste and texture
Chipotle ketchup lacks the garlicky notes of sriracha and it’s less spicy. But it’s still super tasty!
1 teaspoon sriracha = 1 teaspoon chipotle ketchup

Homemade sriracha sauce 

If you have some time to spare, you can always try and make your own sriracha sauce from scratch. 

Serious Eats has an excellent recipe that discusses all the ingredients in depth and gives a step-by-step process. 

Most of the ingredients you need are easily accessible, except for the red jalapenos.

Serious Eats recommends using Fresno chilies as an alternative, although they’ll yield a spicier sauce.

The process is also mostly hand-off, but you’ll need to let the chili mixture ferment, which can take about 2-3 days.

Other options to explore

There are LOADS of options when it comes to sriracha substitutes, and I didn’t test them all – but that doesn’t mean they’re wont work.

Here are a few more ideas:

  1. Thai sweet chili sauce – this Asian condiment is spicy but has a prominent sweetness that really mellows out the spice. It works wonerfully as a dipping sauce.
  2. Ready-made buffalo sauce – buffalo sauce is sour and sweet at the same time with a spicy aftertaste. It’s amazing with chicken!
  3. Tapatío / Mexican style hot sauce – Mexican hot sauces are more vinegary than sriracha, but there’s no denying they’ll add flavor to your meal.
  4. Chili oil / crispy chili – crispy chili sauces won’t have the sweetness the sriracha has, but they definitely have the spice. And you can always sweeten your chili oil up by adding in a few drops of honey.
  5. Fly By Jing Zhong Sauce – if you haven’t tried this sauce, you’re missing out. It’s a chili oil jam packed with other flavors like mushroom powder, soy sauce, and sesame oil. YUM is all I have to say.
  6. Fresh chilis – like chili flakes, this option will just add straight fire to your food! Srircha sauce is made using red jalapeños, but these can be hard to find and any chili will do the job.

16 Best Substitutes For Sriracha

We test out 16 different sriracha substitutes to find the best one.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Ingredient
Cuisine: American, Asian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes
Servings: 1 person
Calories: 6kcal


  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 3/4 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tsp tabasco
  • 1/2 tsp harissa paste
  • 1/2 tsp peri peri sauce
  • 1/2 tsp gochujang
  • 1 tsp spices chili flakes, cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp chipotle ketchup


  • Cook your meal according to the recipe.
  • Add your chosen sriracha substitute at the appropriate cooking time.
  • Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe.


Serving: 1tsp | Calories: 6kcal

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