Chili sauce is a hot sauce created from chili peppers. Chili sauce is a thickened purée of chili peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best chili sauce substitute picks for any dish or recipe.
When it comes to creating a perfect chili sauce, other ingredients like garlic, corn syrup, and spices can be added to suit your taste. It has different variations, which can be either hot or sweet or a combination of both. Chili sauce can be used to marinate meats and vegetables, glaze various foods, and even as a dip.
Read on to find out some of the best substitutions you can make for chili sauce in any situation.
What Is Chili Sauce?
Chili sauce, sometimes known as chili paste, is a condiment prepared with one or more types of chili pepper, water, and sometimes other ingredients such as sugar and salt.
There are many variations of chili sauce by cuisine and by type. The two main types of chili sauce are hot and sweet. In terms of variations it’s more complicated as there are East Asian, Southeast Asian, European, Middle Eastern, and even more varieties.
Sometimes chili sauce isn’t just prepared from hot peppers like hot sauces. Certain varieties include sugar in their preparation or red tomatoes as the main ingredients.
Best Chili Sauce Substitutes
1. Chili-Garlic Paste
Chili-garlic paste is a flavorful substitution for when you run out of chili sauce. And it’s incredibly easy to make, especially if you have spare garlic and chili on hand. You can make the paste by grinding dry or fresh chilis with garlic cloves with a pestle in a mortar. This process releases the fragrant aroma from the ingredients. A blender or food processor will suffice if you don’t have a mortar and pestle.
This spice paste is an excellent substitute for chili sauce as it mirrors its hot and spicy taste. It adds depth to a meal with the garlic aroma and the delicious punch of spice. It is simple to use in dishes and can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. You can also add herbs and spices, olive oil, and salt to taste. It is perfect as a glaze or topping.
2. Hot Sauce
Hot sauce is also produced using chili peppers. It has many similarities to chili sauce and can easily be substituted for it. Hot sauce is usually store-bought and very common in grocery stores. There’s a wide variety of hot sauces to choose from, depending on your level of heat preferred.
This fiery sauce is the easiest substitute for chili sauce because of the availability and ease of procurement. It is also very similar in taste and has a long shelf-life. Be careful to look at the ingredients and select one that fits your spice levels before putting it in your shopping cart. Also, do a taste test first before pouring it all over your food.
3. Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha sauce is a variety of chili sauce. But it’s specifically produced using red chili peppers, vinegar, salt, garlic, and sugar. Sriracha sauce is originally from Thailand but has become incredibly popular in Western fusion-style cuisines. It has been used as a condiment in Asian cuisine, a topping for spring rolls, and a dipping sauce.
This Asian favorite is a spicy sauce with aromatic garlic notes. Its flavor is sweet and tangy, making it very versatile in cuisine. This sauce is spicier than most, so you should start with small quantities and work your way up to more.
4. Tomato Sauce
Another easy alternative for chili sauce is spicing up regular tomato sauce. You can add fresh chili, chili powder, or chili flakes to a can of tomato sauce. You can decide to puree fresh tomatoes with fresh chili if you don’t want processed or canned tomatoes.
This alternative is easy and quick. You can also tailor the spice level to your preference, unlike buying ready-made chili sauces. You can decide to heat the sauce so that the tomato sauce can absorb the heat from the peppers better. This technique is excellent for spicy pasta sauces.
5. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is typically manufactured using brine, roasted grain, and fermented soybeans. It originates from China and features heavily in Asian cuisine. This sauce is very versatile as it can be eaten with rice, noodles, or sushi. It can also be used as a dip or added directly in cooking.
This rich, salty sauce has an umami taste with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The combination of the different taste components balances out each other beautifully. It does not have a strong aroma but has a robust taste.
Soy sauce is the perfect substitute if you need an option low in sodium and sugar, unlike most packaged hot sauces. It is not a spicy sauce, and it is a bit runny, unlike regular chili sauces that are thick, so you may want to consider that.
6. Chili Flakes Or Powder
Chili flakes are a handy condiment to have in the pantry. They are easy to make and an effective way to preserve leftover or surplus peppers. You can simply dry them in a dehydrator or oven and grind them in a food processor. They come out ready to use in any recipe. They are also available in stores and come in a variety based on what sort of peppers you want.
These flavorful flakes are an excellent substitute for chili sauce as it brings spice and heat to your cooking. It can only be used directly onto food, unlike chili sauce which can double as a dipping sauce. They can be used as toppings for stir-fries, pizzas, and many other dishes.
These are some great substitutes that you could use whenever you run out of chili sauce. If you see fit, these alternatives can also be adjusted by adding spice or pepper. So, try them today. You may even like them more than chili sauce.