Substitute for Chili Oil: 11 Best Alternatives

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Are you a fan of that fiery kick that chili oil adds to your dishes? Well, sometimes you run out of this flavorful condiment or simply want to explore other options.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! we’ll introduce you to a variety of substitutes for a chili oil that will add a similar level of heat and flavor to your meals.

Whether you’re looking for a tangy twist or a smoky touch, we’ve got something for everyone. So, let’s dive in and discover these fantastic alternatives to chili oil!

What is Chili Oil

substitute for chili oil

Chili oil is a popular condiment that adds a fiery kick to various dishes. It is typically made by infusing oil with dried chili peppers and other aromatic ingredients.

The process involves heating the oil with chili flakes or whole chilies, allowing the flavors to meld together. The result is a vibrant, spicy oil with a rich, smoky flavor.

Chili oil is commonly used in Asian cuisines, such as Chinese, Korean, and Thai, to enhance the heat and depth of dishes.

It can be drizzled over noodles, soups, stir-fries, dumplings, or even used as a dipping sauce. Its intense spiciness and unique flavor profile make chili oil a beloved and versatile condiment.

Substitute for Chili Oil

If you find yourself in need of a substitute for chili oil, there’s no need to worry. While chili oil brings a unique spicy kick and rich flavor to dishes, there are alternatives that can still add a delightful touch to your culinary creations.

Whether you’re looking to add a bit of heat or enhance the overall flavor profile of your soup or dish, there are a few options you can explore.

1. Sriracha Sauce

One popular substitute for chili oil is Sriracha sauce. This Thai hot sauce is made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, and a touch of sugar.

With its vibrant red color and spicy-sweet flavor, Sriracha adds a delightful kick to your favorite dishes.

Drizzle it over noodles, stir it into soups, or use it as a dipping sauce for spring rolls. Its versatility and bold taste make Sriracha a fantastic choice for those seeking a chili oil alternative.

2. Hot Sauce

Another excellent substitute for chili oil is hot sauce. Whether you prefer the classic Tabasco or a more unique variety, hot sauce brings the heat and flavor to your meals.

Made from chili peppers, vinegar, and various spices, hot sauce offers a tangy and fiery punch. Splash it onto tacos, marinate your meats, or even mix it into cocktails for a zesty twist.

Hot sauce is a staple condiment for heat enthusiasts and a worthy replacement for chili oil.

3. Cayenne Pepper

If you’re in search of a dry substitute for chili oil, look no further than cayenne pepper. This ground spice comes from dried and ground cayenne chili peppers, delivering a concentrated burst of heat.

Sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper onto your dishes to infuse them with a fiery kick. Use it in marinades, sauces, or even sprinkle it on popcorn for a spicy snack.

Just remember, a little goes a long way, so use cayenne pepper sparingly to avoid overwhelming your taste buds.

4. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

For a versatile and readily available substitute, crushed red pepper flakes are an excellent choice. These flakes are made from dried and crushed red chili peppers, delivering a moderate level of heat.

Sprinkle them over pizzas, pasta dishes, or roasted vegetables to add a touch of spice. The flakes also add a vibrant visual appeal to your meals.

Experiment with the amount to find your desired level of heat, and enjoy the robust flavor they bring to your dishes.

5. Sambal Oelek

Originating from Southeast Asia, sambal oelek is a spicy chili paste that can be used as a substitute for chili oil.

Made from ground red chili peppers, vinegar, and salt, this paste boasts a bold and fiery flavor profile. Add sambal oelek to stir-fries, soups, or even mix it into marinades for a deliciously spicy twist.

With its thick consistency and intense heat, sambal oelek is a fantastic alternative for chili oil enthusiasts.

6. Harissa Paste

If you’re craving a smoky and aromatic substitute for chili oil, look no further than harissa paste. This North African condiment is made from roasted red peppers, chili peppers, garlic, and a blend of spices.

Harissa paste adds a complex and fiery flavor to your dishes, with a hint of smokiness that enhances the overall experience.

Incorporate it into stews, tagines, or even use it as a marinade for grilled meats. Harissa paste is a versatile ingredient that will elevate your culinary creations.

7. Gochujang

Hailing from Korea, gochujang is a fermented chili paste that offers a unique substitute for chili oil.

Made from red chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt, gochujang has a rich, savory, and moderately spicy flavor.

Use gochujang as a marinade for meats, stir it into stews, or add it to dipping sauces for a deliciously spicy kick. Its umami undertones make gochujang an exciting alternative to chili oil.

8. Chili Flakes in Oil

For those seeking a close resemblance to chili oil, consider chili flakes in oil. This condiment is created by infusing chili flakes in a neutral oil, allowing the spicy heat to infuse into the oil.

The result is a flavorful and versatile substitute that you can drizzle over various dishes. Use it in stir-fries, dressings, or even as a dipping sauce.

The oil helps distribute the heat evenly, while the chili flakes add texture and flavor to your meals.

9. Chili Powder

If you have a well-stocked spice rack, chances are you already have chili powder as a suitable substitute for chili oil.

Made from dried and ground chili peppers, this spice offers a concentrated burst of heat and flavor.

Incorporate chili powder into soups, stews, or sprinkle it over roasted vegetables for a spicy twist. Its versatility and ease of use make chili powder an accessible alternative to chili oil.

10. Red Pepper Paste

Another substitute for chili oil is red pepper paste. Originating from Korea, this paste is made from fermented red chili peppers, glutinous rice, and soybeans.

Red pepper paste boasts a deep, complex flavor with a spicy kick. Use it as a base for marinades, stir it into soups, or add it to your favorite sauces.

The paste adds depth and heat to your dishes, making it an excellent option for chili oil replacements.

11. Fresh Chilies

For those who prefer using fresh ingredients, fresh chilies are a fantastic substitute for chili oil. Whether you choose jalapeños, Thai bird’s eye chilies, or any other variety, fresh chilies offer vibrant heat and flavor.

Chop them up and incorporate them into your dishes for a burst of spiciness. Adjust the amount according to your heat tolerance, and don’t forget to remove the seeds and membranes for a milder flavor.

Fresh chilies provide a natural and authentic alternative to chili oil.


Exploring alternatives to chili oil opens up a world of exciting flavors and heat levels. From the tangy Sriracha sauce to the smoky harissa paste, these substitutes offer a wide range of options to satisfy your spice cravings.

Whether you choose a sauce, spice, or paste, each alternative brings its own unique characteristics to the table.

So, the next time you find yourself without chili oil, reach for one of these fantastic substitutes and elevate your dishes with a deliciously fiery twist.

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