5 Chili Garlic Sauce Substitutes

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Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Share My Kitchen

Spice lovers are always looking for ways to enhance every dish with their favorite chili garlic sauce.

It is not only sweet-toothed people who have a passion for the taste of their food. Capsaicin lovers also pour an abundance of hot chili garlic sauce on every savory dish.

How To Use Chili Garlic Sauce

These people will always choose their favourite condiment as the number one condiment. Since it can be used as a condiment on eggs, pasta, French fries, meat dishes, pastries, vegetables, burgers, bread, noodle dishes, and sandwiches. It can also serve as a dip for fried chicken.

Additionally, chili garlic sauce adds a tasty kick to soups and marinades.

Chili garlic sauce is not only a condiment used as a dip or a spread but also used in sauce bases or as a marinade. It is common in a lot of street-style Asian cuisines. They add the chilli garlic sauce while cooking the food, rather than use it just as a condiment.

Chili garlic sauce is the most popular condiment for spicy food lovers. It can be used on any meal since it compliments any dish wonderfully, meat or vegetable.

Now, this article presents some alternatives to your favorite chili garlic sauce if you have run out of it. These sauces can be used with almost any type of food to add some spice to your meal. In addition, these substitutes can be kept in your fridge or pantry for a long period of time.

Chili Garlic Sauce Substitutes

1. Chili Paste

Chili paste is a better option rather than adding pre-made and processed chili garlic sauce to your dishes as a base or condiment.

It is also an effective substitute if you want to feel like your tongue is on fire, or you are interested in having a subtle tingle to coat your tongue.

However, chili paste does not refer to your typical Texas hot sauce, Tabasco, or any other generic over-the-counter product. Although, those can work well, too.

The chili paste in this article is used as a condiment, with crushed chilies, sugar, vinegar and other spices blended to create a delicious paste.

Chili paste allows you to cook with the spice already added to the dish, rather than adding heat on top of savory dishes to make them more spicy.

There are many chili pastes available in Asia. They come in a variety of flavors, including sweet, salty and sour, and spicy.

You will find the chili paste that suits your taste, whether you prefer umami or warm, earthy flavors. Chili pastes are also a common ingredient in pantries of those who love cooking, so they can enhance any dish.

2. Harissa Sauces

Vinegar, garlic, red chilies and other spices are used to make this sauce. This sauce originates from North African flavors, particularly Tunisia. It has a fantastic flavor and aroma.

You can also add sesame or caraway seeds to your Harissa sauce for a more chewy texture and crispy bits of chilies that you get from chili garlic sauce.

However, you can leave out the Caraway seeds if you don’t have them. The sauce will still be delicious.

How to make harissa sauce as chili sauce substitute?

In order to make the sauce, start by roasting cumin and coriander to draw out their flavor. Then, soak the red chilies in hot water. Mix the ingredients, and add lemon juice and paprika.

You can find a lot of recipes online for harissa sauce. However, store-bought sauces also work well. This sauce can be used in soups, stews, as a marinade, or as a dip.

3. Sriracha

Huy Foing Sriracha sauce is a popular spicy food option, thus you might be familiar with its taste if you like spicy food.

This sauce is a popular condiment added in Vietnamese, Thai and Laotian cuisines since it uses authentic Asian chili flavors. However, sriracha is more than a hot sauce. It’s also a symbol of American pop culture.

Red bottles with a green cap and a rooster on their front are not only the chosen condiment, but they also make great additions to restaurant menus and have inspired many chip flavors.

Sriracha remains the most memorable despite having a lot of copycat hot sauces made. It is rich in garlic, spices, as well as a touch of sweetness that spice lovers love.

Vinegar, garlic, salt, sugar and chili peppers are its key ingredients. The fermented sugar provides the sauce a sour taste. Sriracha is equally delicious and enjoyable if you like the key flavors for chili garlic sauce.

Although it is very similar to chili garlic sauce in essence, it has a stronger taste of distilled vinegar, and a distinct flavor profile.

4. Regular Hot Sauce

Regular store-bought hot sauce is the simplest substitute to chili garlic sauce. However, it can be difficult to find a good hot sauce, especially with so many options.

There is a wide range of hot sauces, from mild sauces to ones with a high level of spiciness which can burn your tongue. Therefore, you need to make sure you have read the labels prior to adding them into your shopping cart.

5. Black Bean Sauce

This Chinese delight is the secret to Sichuan cuisine. This is due to its rich, earthy flavor and fermented taste. It is also known as doubanjiang, and it is made from soybean oil, water, chili, and salt.

Black bean sauce is an essential ingredient if you want to make Sichuan dishes at home.

Simple Chili Garlic Sauce Substitutes that You Can Easily Find

You can use condiments you already have in your kitchen if you need to quickly find an alternative.

Ketchup with Garlic

Combining tomato sauces, especially sweet and tangy ketchup, with garlic makes this a classic combination. So, you can make your own garlic sauce without chili.

However, that’s not as exciting. You can use fresh garlic paste with a good bottle of ketchup to redeem the sauce.

Sprinkle on the Red Pepper Flakes

Although this isn’t a sauce, it is definitely on the spice lovers’ list. You can easily find chili powders or flakes in any supermarket.

Both have similar flavor profiles, although powders dissolve in the sauce and flakes pack a punch. Therefore, it is important to understand their flavor profiles before purchasing chilies.

Korean chilies, Thai chilies, and ghost pepper are extremely spicy. However, there are milder flavors such as citrusy peppers, Anaheim, poblano, and banana peppers that you can choose from.

Additionally, you can roast your favorite fresh chilies, then grind them to make homemade chili flakes or powders.

Homemade Chili Garlic Sauce

You only need to crush fresh peppers, add some garlic, and a couple of tablespoons of vinegar. Then, season the peppers with salt, sugar, and pepper.

After you have mixed and matched the delicious concoction, you can use it as a condiment, an ingredient, topping, or any other way you like.

Sauces as Substitutes for Chili Garlic Sauce

These different sauces can amplify your palate, and bring a touch of tangy spiciness to your dishes.

Sambal Oelek

This traditional Indonesian condiment is somewhere in the middle of a sauce and a paste. It has a brawling red color, and thick consistency.

This sauce is also made from fresh chilies with no artificial ingredients. Additionally, Sambal can be used on almost any dish, including pizza, pasta, eggs, to vegetable or meat dishes.


This Korean paste is treasured worldwide. It is made from fermented soybeans, then mixed with crushed Korean red peppers. This paste has a unique, somewhat funky, and very spicy flavor that you won’t find anywhere else.

Gochujang is best used as a marinade on brisket, steak, pork, or chicken. It also pairs well with garlic, ginger, wine, and sake.


These are all great alternatives to chili sauce, and can easily be enjoyed by anyone. These mixtures can also be used to enhance the flavor of any meal, and are suitable for people with different preferences and palates.


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