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11 Best Chili Sauce Substitutes You Can Use

11 Best Chili Sauce Substitutes You Can Use

You must be an ardent lover of sauces, and no wonder you are looking for the best chili sauce substitutes. Chili sauce is undoubtedly a personal favorite of those who are done with bland, regular sauces and look up to spicy treats to spice things up. 

But what can you do if you are out of chili sauce? Substitutes, of course! Some of the best chili sauce substitutes are sriracha sauce, harissa sauce, hot sauce, sweet chili sauce, spicy tomato sauce, and spicy ketchup. In today’s article, we will discuss all the best chili sauce substitutes. 

Chili sauce is a spicy sauce made using chili peppers, vinegar, sugar, and salt. There are wide varieties of chili sauce, known by many epithets – Sriracha, harissa, shito, nali sauce, piri piri, sambal oelek, and aji, to name a few. 

Chili sauce finds many uses in the culinary world and thus is a versatile condiment. It must be hard to replace chili sauce, but that shouldn’t let our spirits down to seek its best substitutes. Some substitutes are easily available for you to try in your recipes. But let us explore chili sauce before we talk about its best substitutes. 

What’s In The Post

Chili Sauce In The Culinary World

Chili Sauce

Chili sauce is a hot sauce made using tomatoes, chilies, and spices. Chilies of any choice can be used. The chilies are chopped and pureed with ingredients such as salt, olive oil, and vinegar. It is optional to add sugar while making chili sauce.

The spiciness of the sauce is dependent on the type of chilies used. For a mild flavor, bell peppers can be used. Poblano peppers and guajillo give you medium heat. For an increased spicy flavor, you will have to use jalapeno, chipotle, serrano, cayenne peppers, Thai chili, Scotch Bonnet, habanero, ghost pepper, and scorpion pepper.

Chili sauce has a sweet, spicy, tangy flavor and thus has a complex yet distinctive flavor profile. It has a liquid consistency due to the presence of vinegar. Reducing the consistency of chili sauce makes them great substitutes for chili paste.

Uses of Chili Sauce

Chili sauce renders a tasty spicy kick to anything from Asian cuisine to Western cuisines. Adding salt and pepper falls short when it comes to the effect of chili sauce in recipes. 

Chili sauce finds its major prominence as a dipping sauce. It can be used for cooking glazes and marinades. It is a tasty addition to wraps, dressings, pasta, fillings, sandwiches, and burgers. Using chili sauce can be a delightful accompaniment to various starters as well. American Chop suey, Schezwan noodle, Tostadas, and Burmese Khowsuey are some of the many famous chili sauce recipes. 

Chili Sauce on The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope

A tablespoon of chili sauce has around 11 calories. Chili sauce is not disappointing when it comes to the health radar. It contains antioxidants and vitamins significant for our health. It can even help in mitigating the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. It is also instrumental in helping with weight loss. A Harvard study found that consumption of spicy food also reduces cancer risk. It can treat inflammation and boost digestion. 

Why Should We Substitute Chili Sauce?

Chili sauce is a versatile ingredient that finds applications in many recipes. It is easily available but can run out easily. In that case, the absence of chili sauce might give you a hard time, and thus it is important to find the best substitutes. Also, the substitutes which we are going to talk about are closely related to chili sauce. This makes them the best chili sauce substitutes in any recipe. Shall we talk about them now?

11 Best Chili Sauce Substitutes 

Now that you know everything you need to know about chili sauce, let us discuss the eleven best substitutes for chili sauce.

1. Sriracha Sauce

Sriracha Sauce

Sriracha is a chili sauce made using jalapeno peppers, distilled vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic. It has a thick, oily consistency which offers a spicy kick with a pinch of sweetness. It is a prominent ingredient in Asian cuisine but is now used all around the globe.

Sriracha sauce is the best chili sauce substitute due to its comparable flavor profiles. It can be a wonderful accompaniment to noodles, chips, fried foods, etc. Consumption of chili sauce boosts the absorption of blood clots, enhances circulation, and helps fight against inflammation. 

2. Harissa Sauce

Harissa Sauce

Harissa sauce is a North African hot chili sauce prepared using red chilies, garlic, vinegar, and other spices. It is extremely popular as a sauce used for dips and marinades. It has an intense peppery flavor with a garlicky finish. 

Harissa sauce is one of the best chili sauce substitutes since its flavor and consistency are close to chili sauce. Harissa sauce is a good source of minerals and vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, manganese, copper, and vitamin K. It is also helpful in lowering blood pressure.

3. Hot Sauce

Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is a popular spicy condiment made using chili pepper, vinegar, and salt. Most hot sauces use chili peppers as the base. Other varieties of hot sauce use fruits and vegetables as the base. It has a spicy, smoky flavor and a thick texture. 

Hot sauce is an excellent chili sauce substitute due to its spicy flavor. The only thing with this substitute is that this sauce has varying heat levels. While choosing hot sauce as a chili sauce substitute, consider the ingredients and the spicy level. 

4. Sweet Chili Sauce

Sweet Chili Sauce

Sweet chili sauce is also known as Asian Sweet Chili Sauce, Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, or nam chim kai in Thailand. It is an extremely well-known sauce condiment used in Thai, Afghan, Malaysian, and Western cuisines. It has a sweet, sour, spicy flavor. 

Sweet chili sauce is a common substitute for chili sauce due to its spicy, savory flavor. It helps boost your digestive system, balance liver function, and lose fat around the abdomen. Since garlic is a primary ingredient in this sauce, it also works as a great antioxidant.

5. Spicy Tomato Sauce

Spicy Tomato Sauce

Spicy tomato sauce must be something the spicy community people savor. It is made of tomatoes, red chile peppers, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Some versions also make use of basil, mint, and onions. 

Spicy tomato sauce has a spicy flavor supported by the sweetness of tomatoes, and this flavor profile makes it a fantastic substitute for chili sauce. You might have to add chili powder or chili flakes for a complete spicy kick. Mixing tomato sauce with chili powder or flakes is a technique used by chefs to make pasta sauces more spicy and flavorful.

6. Spicy Ketchup

Spicy Ketchup

Ketchup is a table condiment made of tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, seasonings, and spices. To make spicy ketchup, all you have to do is add some pepper to ketchup, and all the spice keeps coming to you!

Spicy ketchup is a considerable substitute for chili sauce due to its sweet, spicy flavor and liquid-like consistency. Adding chili powder or chili flakes to your regular ketchup will also work as spicy ketchup and would be great in replacing chili sauce. This substitute is suitable for dishes and soups and will match your preference for having a spicy condiment in the form of a paste.

7. Chili Garlic Sauce

Chili garlic sauce is a saucy condiment that comprises chili peppers (of your choice), sugar, garlic, vinegar, and salt. Its moderate heat level makes its flavor quite spicy with a garlicky finish. It has a syrupy consistency similar to other sauces. Chili garlic sauce is a good substitute for chili sauce in terms of its flavor and consistency. You might have to add more chili flakes or powder if you want to increase the spicy flavor. 

8. Chili Powder or Flakes

Chili Powder or Flakes

Chili powder, as you can easily surmise, is the powdered version of dried and ground chilies. Spices such as cayenne pepper, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, and paprika are also added. Chili powder has a moderate spicy level with a powdered texture.

Chili flakes are ground or crushed dried peppers. These flakes are usually made with a single type of pepper. These spicy agents are sprinkled on top or mixed with food products. They instantly heighten the spicy flavor.

Chili powder can be a substitute for chili sauce in terms of flavor since chili powder is spice. It may not be a considerable substitute texturally. Chili flakes are also considerable substitutes for chili sauce, rendering your overall recipe a spicy flavor.

9. Black Bean Sauce

Black Bean Sauce

Black bean sauce is a cooking condiment made of fermented and salted soybeans. It is a major ingredient in Sichuan cuisine. It is not a table sauce or condiment to be used that way. It has a sharp, salty, spicy flavor with a subtle sweetness. It is dark brown.

Although black bean sauce is not an exact match to chili sauce in terms of flavor, it can be a considerable substitute due to its savory flavor. It can add a wonderful depth to the overall flavor of your recipe. It is suitable for cooking and marinating purposes.  

10. Gochujang


Coming from Korean cuisine, Gochujang is a type of red chili paste. It is a spicy paste made of red chile pepper flakes, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It is used to flavor stews, marinate meat, and as a condiment in noodles and rice dishes. Gochujang has a sweet and salty flavor, spicy kick, and thick consistency. Gochujang can be a substitute for chili sauce because it can promise the spicy kick that you aspire for. 

11. Spicy Mayo

Spicy Mayo

Spicy mayo is a flavorsome combination of both mayonnaise and sriracha sauce. Hot sauce can also be used instead of sriracha sauce. Lime juice and Cajun seasoning are additional ingredients used to make spicy mayo.

Spicy mayo has a spicy, tangy flavor with subtle hints of spiciness and has a dense consistency, and can be the least considerable substitute for chili sauce. It can be used instead of chili sauce in dips and spreads. It might not suit cooking recipes since a lot of heat can alter the texture profile of mayonnaise. 

Short Recap Of Best Chili Sauce Substitutes

That must have been an exhaustive read on the best chili sauce substitutes, right? Let me make it easy for you to remember the details with the help of some points.

Best Chili Sauce Substitutes In Terms of Flavor And Texture-

  1. Sriracha Sauce
  2. Harissa Sauce
  3. Hot Sauce
  4. Sweet Chili Sauce

Best Chili Sauce Substitutes That Are Not Sauces-

  1. Spicy Ketchup
  2. Chili Powder or Flakes
  3. Gochujang
  4. Spicy Mayo

Final Musings

That was all about chili sauce and the best substitutes for chili sauce. Most of the substitutes in the list are all easily available sauces and that too in various types. It would be easy for you to choose one among them depending on the preferences of spiciness in your recipes. Let me know if you were successful in emulating the flavor of chili sauce with the help of these substitutes. See you soon with another article on substitutes!

How To Use Best Chili Sauce Substitutes In A Recipe

Chili Sauce Substitutes

If you are looking for a spicy kick to your dishes, chili sauce is unmissable. But what can you do if you are out of it? You have to use some substitutes. Some of the best chili sauce substitutes are sriracha sauce, harissa sauce, hot sauce, sweet chili sauce, spicy tomato sauce, and spicy ketchup.

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  • Sriracha Sauce
  • Harissa Sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • Spicy Tomato Sauce
  • Spicy Ketchup
  • Chili Garlic Sauce
  • Chili Powder or Flakes
  • Black Bean Sauce
  • Gochujang
  • Spicy Mayo
  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is chili sauce the same as hot sauce?

Chili sauce and hot sauce are closely related. Chili sauce can be considered a type of hot sauce. However, it differs from hot sauce in the case of thickness. Hot sauce is thicker than chili sauce and chili sauce is liquid-like due to the addition of vinegar.

Can I substitute salsa for chili sauce?

Salsa can be used to substitute for chili sauce in terms of nutritional values.

What can I substitute for chili sauce in meatballs?

Ketchup mixed with chili powder or tomato-based barbecue sauce are good substitutes for chili sauce in meatballs.

Is chili sauce similar to cocktail sauce?

Chili sauce and cocktail sauce are both different from each other although they have similar spice levels. Chili sauce is made of tomatoes, chilies, vinegar, olive oil and spices. Cocktail sauce is made of hot sauce, horseradish and lemon juice. 

What is the difference between Ketchup and Chili Sauce?

Chili sauce is a condiment prepared using tomatoes, chilies and spices. Ketchup is made using tomatoes and spices and has a high content of tomatoes. 

Can I use chili paste instead of chili sauce?

Chili paste can be used instead of chili sauce if you choose the right paste form with the desired spice level.

Can I use Sriracha instead of chili sauce?

Sriracha can be used instead of chili sauce.

What is the difference between sweet chili sauce and chili sauce?

Sweet chili sauce is made of chili peppers and sugar while chili sauce is made of chili peppers, vinegar and salt. 

What is Heinz chili sauce made of?

Heinz chili sauce is made of tomato puree, water, vinegar, corn syrup, onion, garlic powder and spices. 

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