If you are a chili sauce fanatic, then you will agree that nothing is better than adding some of your favorite sauce to just about any dish or snack.
Even though there is a huge assortment of different hot chili sauces on the market, if you happen to run out at home, you can easily replace it and add some spiciness to your meal with sriracha, spicy ketchup, chili garlic paste, spicy tomato sauce, chili powder or any other hot sauce of your choice.
Here are the best chili sauce substitutes you can use to spice up your food
1. Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha is a type of chili or hot sauce made of chili pepper paste, distilled vinegar, sugar, garlic, and salt.
The now-famous hot sauce was first invented by Thanom Chakkapak in the town of Si Racha in Thailand in the 1930s. Since then, sriracha sauce has been gaining popularity among Thai food fans and hot sauce appreciators alike.
It is a common choice for making spicy dips, for seasoning seafood, burgers, eggs, soups, and even cocktails.
It is an excellent alternative to chili sauce because it is made of hot chilies itself, and has hotness ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 Scoville units, so you may want to add it to your food with caution if you prefer milder condiments.
2. Chili-Garlic Paste
While there are some ready-made chili-garlic pastes on the market, you can make sure that you have your homemade paste by creating your own chili sauce substitute.
The chili-garlic paste is made by blending dry chilies, seeds, oil, garlic, and salt until they turn into a paste-like substance. This chili sauce alternative can be stored in an airtight jar in the fridge for months.
You can make a Mexican-style chili garlic paste by adding some oregano, cumin, and epazote to the mixture.
If you prefer Indian-style chili garlic paste, then use garam masala or curry powder to spice up the sauce instead.
With some cumin and coriander, you can make homemade harissa-style chili garlic paste.
For a fresher flavor, you can add some fresh herbs and aromatics to the paste.
It is an excellent condiment to use as a topping for rice or for cooking something like glazing for hot chicken wings and other spicy dishes and snacks.
3. Any Hot Sauce
As mentioned earlier, there is a wide variety of different hot sauces available on the market. They vary by type and hotness, so you can find the one which suits your taste best.
Hot sauce can be chili sauce and usually includes some chilis but can vary by ingredients and the types of hot peppers used.
Still, you can always substitute regular chili sauce with the hot sauce of your choice when cooking or seasoning your food.
There are some milder hot sauces such as the Taco Bell Mild Sauce, and some extremely spicy ones such as the Old Texas Ghost Peppers BBQ sauce, and hundreds of other hot sauces in between for any taste and preference.
3. Chili Powder or Chili Flakes
You can choose from the different ready-made chili powders and chili flakes on the market, or you can mix up your own homemade chili powder at home.
You can easily make your own chili blend by mixing some paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, cumin, and any other spice you like. The blend can be stored in an airtight jar for months, so you will always have the chili powder mix of your choice when you are cooking or seasoning your food.
Chili powder and chili flakes can easily substitute chili sauce for any recipe or need. But once again, keep in mind that the spiciness of the blend will vary hugely depending on the types of hot peppers used for the mix. Some of the hottest chili peppers to use for making a truly spicy chili powder mix include Carolina reaper, ghost pepper, Trinidad Scorpion, Naga Viper, 7 Pot Douglah, Korean chili pepper, or others.
If you are not a fan of extremely spicy food, then you may want to opt for milder chili peppers like banana peppers or pepperoncini, Anaheim, or poblano peppers instead.
Make sure you dry them before making your chili powder or chili flake blend.
4. Spicy Ketchup
If you don’t have any chili sauce and need an easy substitute, you can use some spicy ketchup instead. You can make your own spicy ketchup by adding some chopped fresh chilies or chili powder, or flakes to regular ketchup.
Our recommendation is to mix a cup of ketchup with a tablespoon of chili powder or flakes. After mixing and tasting it, you can adjust the heat by adding more of the chili powder or more ketchup.
Here is another easy recipe for making homemade spicy ketchup:
Mix a cup of regular ketchup with a tablespoon of Worcestershire cause, a tablespoon of spicy horseradish, one and a half teaspoons of cayenne pepper, half a teaspoon of salt, and two teaspoons of brown sugar. You can use this mix as a dip, a condiment, and an ingredient for cooking.
It is a great condiment to use for hotdogs and other dishes, and you can store your spicy ketchup in a jar in the fridge for a long time as well.
5. Spicy Tomato Sauce
Yes, you can make your own spicy tomato sauce to use instead of chili sauce when you are cooking or when you want to add some heat to a snack or beverage.
To make spicy tomato sauce, simply mix a can of tomato sauce with chili powder or chopped fresh chilies of your choice. You can adjust the quantity of the added hot peppers to match your preference for spiciness.
Spicy tomato sauce is perfect for making pasta and pizzas, as well as for use as a condiment or cooking.
If you prefer, you can buy some ready-made spicy tomato sauce instead. If you find that the sauce tastes a tad too tomatoey, you can spice it up with some added chili powder or flakes and some garlic.
6. Make Your Own Chili Sauce
If you are fresh out of chili sauce but really need some, you can easily make your own homemade chili sauce as well.
Here is our top recommended recipe for homemade chili sauce.
Red chili peppers – 1 cup
Jalapeno peppers – 1 cup
Garlic cloves – 3
Tomato – 1 large
Vinegar – ¼ cup
Pepper – 1 teaspoon
Salt – 1 teaspoon
Brown sugar – 2 tablespoons
Oregano – 1 teaspoon
Instructions for making your own chili sauce:
Firstly, make sure that you wear protective goggles if you are using extremely hot chilies for your homemade chili sauce. You may want to wear protective gloves when handling hot peppers and make sure that you wash your hands with soap after touching them. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when handling or cooking with hot peppers.
In case the peppers are fresh – dry or roast them in the oven or on the grill. First, wash the peppers and remove their stems. Slit them or pull them open. If you are a fan of milder flavors, you may want to remove the seeds before drying or roasting the hot peppers. If you like more spice, then leave the seeds in.
To make the sauce, heat up a pan and sauté the garlic cloves and the chilies.
Add the chopped tomato and the rest of the ingredients and mix them well.
Cover the pan and let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the stovetop and let the sauce cool down for about 20 minutes.
When it is cool enough, use a blender or a food processor to mix the chili sauce and puree it. Blend it until it gains the consistency that you prefer.
Pour the homemade chili sauce in an airtight jar or container, and you can store your sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.