Substitute for Chili Garlic Sauce: 10 Best Substitute

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Are you a fan of the fiery kick that chili garlic sauce adds to your favorite dishes? But what if you find yourself out of this beloved condiment?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll explore the perfect substitutes for chili garlic sauce that will satisfy your taste buds and elevate your meals.

Whether you’re looking for a milder alternative or a bold and flavorful twist, we’ve gathered a range of options to suit every palate.

So, let’s dive into the world of delicious alternatives and discover how to spice up your dishes when chili garlic sauce is not on hand.

What is chili Garlic Sauce?

substitute for chili garlic sauce

Chili garlic sauce is a versatile and flavorful condiment widely used in Asian cuisine. It is a thick and spicy sauce that packs a punch with its combination of fiery chili peppers and aromatic garlic.

The sauce is typically made by blending or crushing fresh or dried chili peppers and garlic, along with other ingredients such as vinegar, salt, and sometimes sugar or spices.

The result is a rich, vibrant red sauce that adds heat, depth, and complexity to a variety of dishes.

Whether you want to spice up stir-fries, noodles, marinades, or even sandwiches, chili garlic sauce is a fantastic way to add a kick of flavor to your culinary creations.

Substitute for Chili Garlic Sauce

When looking for an alternative to chili garlic sauce, there are options available to add a similar level of flavor and heat to your dishes.

Consider choosing a condiment that offers a combination of spiciness and garlicky notes. You can explore sauces that contain chili peppers and garlic as primary ingredients, along with other complementary flavors.

However, if you find yourself without chili garlic sauce in your pantry or simply prefer a different flavor profile, there are several excellent substitutes that can complement your recipes just as well.

Sriracha Sauce and Sambhal Oelek is the best substitute for chili garlic sauce as they have very similar taste and texture.

These substitutes offer a range of options to suit your preference and culinary needs. Let’s dive in and discover the perfect substitute for your next flavorful creation.

1. Sriracha Sauce

Sriracha sauce, with its vibrant red color and tangy-spicy taste, makes a fantastic substitute for chili garlic sauce. It adds a zesty kick to dishes and complements the replacement well.

Made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, and a touch of sweetness, Sriracha brings a harmonious blend of flavors to your recipes.

The texture is slightly thicker than chili garlic sauce, and the heat level can be adjusted by using more or less of it.

One teaspoon of Sriracha can be used as an equivalent substitute for one teaspoon of chili garlic sauce, providing a similar punch of flavor and spice.

2. Sambal Oelek

For those who crave the pure heat and simplicity of chili peppers, Sambal Oelek is an ideal substitute. Originating from Southeast Asia, this chili paste consists of ground red chili peppers, vinegar, and salt.

Its vibrant color and chunky texture lend a distinct touch to dishes, elevating the flavors. Sambal Oelek offers a robust and fiery taste, similar to chili garlic sauce, with a more pronounced chili flavor.

but it lacks the garlic component. You can add minced garlic separately if desired. Use it in equal amounts as you would chili garlic sauce to infuse your dishes with its bold spiciness.

3. Tabasco Sauce

Tabasco sauce, a classic American hot sauce, can be an excellent alternative to chili garlic sauce, especially if you enjoy a tangy and vinegar-forward flavor.

Made from Tabasco peppers, vinegar, and salt, this sauce delivers a balanced blend of heat and acidity.

Its thin consistency and bright flavor make it an ideal complement to various dishes, from wings to seafood.

Use Tabasco sauce as a substitute in equal amounts to achieve a tangy and mildly spicy kick.

4. Red Pepper Flakes

When it comes to simplicity and versatility, red pepper flakes are a pantry staple that can easily replace chili garlic sauce.

These dried crushed peppers offer a concentrated burst of heat and a hint of smoky flavor. Sprinkle red pepper flakes into your recipes to add a fiery touch, or infuse them in oil to create a flavorful chili oil substitute.

Due to their intense heat, use red pepper flakes sparingly, starting with half a teaspoon to substitute for one teaspoon of chili garlic sauce.

5. Hot Sauce

Hot sauce, available in various brands and flavor profiles, is another viable substitute for chili garlic sauce.

From classic Louisiana-style hot sauce to Mexican varieties, there are endless options to explore.

Hot sauce typically consists of chili peppers, vinegar, salt, and spices, offering a tangy and spicy kick. The heat levels may vary, so choose a hot sauce that suits your tolerance.

As a general guideline, use an equal amount of hot sauce to replace chili garlic sauce in your recipes.

6. Harissa Paste

substitute for chili garlic sauce

Harissa paste, a staple in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine, presents a unique and flavorful alternative to chili garlic sauce.

This aromatic paste is traditionally made from chili peppers, garlic, spices like cumin and coriander, and olive oil. It boasts a smoky and complex flavor profile, with a moderate level of heat.

Harissa paste adds depth and richness to dishes, making it a delightful substitute for chili garlic sauce.

Use one teaspoon of harissa paste to replace one teaspoon of chili garlic sauce, adjusting the quantity to suit your preference.

7. Gochujang

Gochujang, a Korean chili paste, offers a distinct and slightly sweet substitute for chili garlic sauce.

Made from fermented soybeans, red chili peppers, rice, and salt, gochujang delivers a rich umami flavor with a moderate level of heat.

It adds depth and complexity to dishes, harmonizing well with other ingredients. The texture is thick and smooth, providing a velvety mouthfeel.

Substitute one teaspoon of gochujang for one teaspoon of chili garlic sauce to enhance your recipes with its unique taste.

8. Chili Sauce

Chili sauce, often used as a condiment, can serve as a simple substitute for chili garlic sauce. It combines chili peppers, vinegar, sugar, and garlic to create a well-rounded flavor profile.

Chili sauce offers a milder heat compared to chili garlic sauce, making it suitable for those who prefer a gentler spice level.

Its smooth texture and sweet tang make it a versatile option that pairs well with various dishes.

Use an equal amount of chili sauce as a substitute for chili garlic sauce, adjusting to taste.

9. Chili Powder

Chili powder, a staple spice blend in many cuisines, can add a burst of heat and flavor as a substitute for chili garlic sauce.

Typically made from ground dried chili peppers, cumin, garlic powder, and other spices, chili powder offers a complex and smoky taste.

It can be used in various dishes, from soups and stews to marinades and rubs.

The intensity of chili powder varies, so start with half a teaspoon as a substitute for one teaspoon of chili garlic sauce, adjusting based on your desired heat level.

10. Homemade Chili Garlic Paste

If you have the time and inclination, creating your own homemade chili garlic paste can be a rewarding substitute for chili garlic sauce.

Blend together fresh chili peppers, garlic cloves, vinegar, salt, and any additional spices you desire.

This allows you to customize the flavor profile and heat level to your liking.

Homemade chili garlic paste can be used in equal amounts as chili garlic sauce, adding a personal touch and vibrant flavors to your dishes.


While chili garlic sauce is a beloved condiment, there are numerous substitutes available that can complement your recipes just as effectively.

Experiment with these options, adjusting quantities and flavors to match your personal preference and desired level of heat.

With these versatile substitutes, you’ll never be short on ways to add a fiery kick to your culinary creations.

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substitute for chili garlic sauce

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