Best Chili Garlic Sauce Substitutes to Keep your Food Spicy

Chili Garlic Sauce Substitute

Have you ever run out of chili garlic sauce and don’t know what to do? Well, I have the perfect solution for you! In this article, I will be sharing with you the best chili garlic sauce that will give your dish a distinctive and strong flavor. 

The best replacements are sriracha, chili paste, harissa sauce, gochujang, sambal oelek, chiu chow sauce, hot sauce and homemade chili garlic sauce. 

So without further ado, let’s get started! 

8 Chili Garlic Sauce Substitutes To Try

1. Sriracha


Many people think that sriracha is the same as chili garlic sauce but it is not. Sriracha is a Thai style sauce made of red jalapeno-hybrid chili peppers,  garlic, salt, sugar and vinegar.

Compared to chili garlic sauce, sriracha has a thinner consistency and is not as chunky as garlic sauce. It also contains less garlic than chili garlic sauce and has a brighter color.  

Overall, sriracha contains the same ingredients as chili garlic sauce and it is a great substitute for this hot sauce. 

2. Chili Paste

Chili paste is made of chili peppers, garlic, vinegar and salt and has a very similar flavor to chili garlic sauce. 

It is thicker in texture than chili garlic but you can use it as a good alternative in soups, stir-fries, marinades, burgers and sandwiches. 

3. Harissa Sauce

Harissa sauce has a North African origin but it is another popular hot sauce used with many dishes including stews, roasted chicken wings and veggies, pastas, burgers and salads. 

It is made of hot peppers, oil and various spices and offers similar heat as chili garlic sauce. Depending on which type of peppers or chilies are used in it, harissa can come with different levels of heat. It has a tangy and smoky notes which make it taste unique. 

4. Gochujang

If you are not familiar with gochujang then give it a try once. This Korean hot sauce is made of crushed Korean red peppers and fermented soybeans. 

It is basically used with meats as marinade including fried chicken. You can choose it instead of chili garlic sauce as a dipping sauce and pair with soups to add extra heat. 

5. Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek

Sambal oelek is a hot sauce made of chillies and is natve to Indonesia. It contains many more spices and ingredients which provide it with rich and super hot flavor. 

Sambal oelek contains ground red chilies, garlic, salt, lime juice, scallions, shallots, shrimp paste, and palm sugar. They are mixed into a smooth paste which is used with grilled meat, fish, pizzas, tofu and burgers. 

You can use sambal oelek to replace chili garlic sauce, but check whether all the ingredients and flavors meet your preferences. In fact, it is spicier than chili garlic sauce. 

6. Chiu Chow Sauce

Chiu chow sauce comes from Chinese cuisine and is considered as chili oil. Although it is not as spicy as chili garlic sauce, you can still use it as a condiment or dipping sauce for many dishes as well as a hot oil for stir frying. 

It is made of soybean oil, dried garlic, chili pepper powder, salted chili pepper, water, salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar. There is also disodium 5-inosinate and disodium 5-guanylate on the ingredient list to enhance the flavor. 

7. Hot Sauce

If the above mentioned substitutes are not available in your stores then you may refer to regular hot sauce which is easier to find.

It is made of chili peppers, salt and vinegar or any other matching liquid such as citrus juice or water. If you decide to make this at home you may add other ingredients too such as chili flakes and garlic. 

The usage of hot sauce is so versatile that you can safely choose it as a chili garlic substitute for a number of dishes. Store-bought hot sauces come in different levels of heat, so make sure you read the label before buying, in order to choose the most suitable level of spiciness for your dishes. 

8. Homemade Chili Garlic Sauce: How to Make Chili Garlic Sauce

There is an effortless and quick way to make homemade chili garlic sauce and if you are with us then let’s see how it’s made. 


  • Fresh chili peppers (red jalapeno peppers are a good choice, but you can pick your preferred ones)
  • Garlic (two heads)
  • Salt (one teaspoon, or to taste)
  • Sugar (half or one teaspoon)
  • Cornstarch (one teaspoon) – optional


Put all ingredients in a food processor and let it run until the mix is slightly chunky. At this point, remove one quarter of the sauce from the blender and place it in a cup or bowl. Continue running the blender until the sauce reaches a desirable and thin consistency.

At this point, remove the sauce from the blender and strain it. If there are some chunks, you may press them with a ladle, but it’s not important to force them through the strainer.

Add these strained juices to a pot. Mix it with the quarter-volume of the sauce you had previously removed from the blender and placed in a bowl. Put the bowl on a stove with medium-high heat.

In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch with a few tablespoons of water. This should be cool water, otherwise the starch will clump and not perform well. Once the slurry is ready, add it to the bowl of sauce placed on the heat.

Let the sauce boil, but don’t keep it on the heat for too long. Prolonged heating or boiling will cause the sauce to lose its color and it may also affect the cornstarch. At this point, you can remove the sauce from heat and allow it to cool.

Once cool, put the sauce in an airtight jar. At this point, it is ready to serve. It will be good for about a month when stored properly in a refrigerator. 


What is chili garlic sauce?

Chili garlic sauce is a type of chili sauce that contains both chili peppers and garlic. It is often used as a dipping sauce, or as a condiment for noodles or rice.

Chili garlic sauce can be made with either fresh or dried chili peppers, and the level of spiciness can vary depending on the type of chili pepper used. 

Garlic is also a key ingredient in this sauce, and it can be either fresh or powdered. Some recipes also call for the addition of sugar, vinegar, and oil to create a more complex flavor profile. 

Does chili garlic sauce need to be refrigerated?

No, chili garlic sauce does not need to be refrigerated. It can be stored at room temperature.

How to use chili garlic sauce?

Chili garlic sauce is a type of chili sauce that is made with fresh chili peppers, garlic, and other spices. It is commonly used in Asian cuisine, and can be used as a condiment, dipping sauce, or marinade. 

Is chili garlic sauce the same as sriracha?

Chili garlic sauce and sriracha are very different items. Sriracha is a type of hot sauce that is made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. 

Chili garlic sauce is a paste that is made from chili peppers, garlic, oil, and vinegar. Sriracha is typically used as a condiment, while chili garlic sauce is used as an ingredient in cooking. 


So there you have it! These substitutes for chili garlic sauce that will help amp up the flavor of your favorite recipes. Keep this list in mind the next time you run out of chili garlic sauce and need to make a quick substitution.

Have we missed one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to give them a try!

You cannot copy content of this page