9 Best Substitutes for Chili Garlic Sauce

An all-time favorite- chili garlic sauce has rightfully taken its place as one of the most used condiments in the world. You can find it in almost every cuisine, from Asian to Mexican. If you’re one of those people who cannot get enough of the zing that comes with this sauce, we can get how troublesome it would be when you run out of stock at the last moment.

But before you get disheartened, hear us out! Here are some substitutes for chili garlic sauce that you can find around your area or even in your house and use instead- without compromising on either taste or quality.


9 Best Substitutes for Chili Garlic Sauce

1. DIY Chili Garlic Sauce

DIY Chili Garlic Sauce

The best substitute when you’ve run out of chili garlic sauce at home is to make some more. This DIY chili garlic sauce is not only easy to make but also uses up pantry staples that you probably already have.

All you need is some chopped garlic, vinegar, sugar, chili flakes, and salt- and voila! You have a delicious batch of chili garlic sauce ready in no time. What’s even better is that you can just bottle it up and store it for future use so that you have plenty of sauce when need be. The recipe also gives you the power to make it in the consistency you wish by simply altering the amount of water!

How to substitute: Since this is just a homemade substitution, simply follow the recipe and use this sauce in place of chili garlic sauce whenever required.

2. Sriracha

sriracha Sauce

Originating in Thailand, this sauce is made using chili peppers, garlic, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Sound familiar, right? Yes- the key ingredients used to make chili garlic sauce are all there, which is what makes sriracha such a great alternative.

The only difference lies in the fact that sriracha is more of a paste while chili garlic sauce has a somewhat thinner consistency. If you’re used to the spice factor of chili garlic sauce, this might be fine for you, but do be cautious because siracha is known to be spicier, thanks to dried red jalapeno peppers in it!

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How to substitute: You can use sriracha as is- no need to make any changes. Simply take it out of the bottle and use it like you would chili garlic sauce.

3. Gochujang


This Korean sauce is another great option when you’re out of chili garlic sauce. It is made using chili peppers, glutinous rice, meju powder, barley malt powder, and salt- all ingredients that are pretty much similar to what goes into making chili garlic sauce.

K-dramas have rightfully made us love this spicy condiment, but they fail to show how spicy it is! It is usually cooked with pork, which is seasoned with this Korean red pepper and soybean paste condiment to give a delicious kick. Gochujang tastes great with ginger and garlic, as well as wine and sake.

How to substitute: You can use gochujang as is or thin it out with a bit of water or soy sauce to make it more like chili garlic sauce.

4. Chili Powder And Garlic Paste

If you don’t have the time to run to the market to get the alternatives mentioned on this list and want a quick fix, then chili powder and garlic paste will come to the rescue. Simply take 2 teaspoons of chili powder and mix it well with 1 teaspoon of garlic paste.

You can also add a little vinegar, sugar, and salt to make it closer to the taste of chili garlic sauce. You can also use any other red pepper powder or spices like cayenne, paprika, or red chili flakes if either of these isn’t available. All in all, this is a great way to use up pantry staples and create a fantastic dipping sauce or marinade for your next meal!

How to substitute: You can customize this substitution to your liking and use it as is or follow the recipe for a more authentic taste. It may give off a slightly sour flavor because of the garlic paste.

5. Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek

This sauce is extremely popular in Indonesia and Malaysia, and for good reason. It is a delicious blend of chili peppers, vinegar, and salt, some of the vital ingredients that you can find in chili garlic sauce. Sambal Oelek is usually made with fresh chili peppers, while most chili garlic sauces use dried chili flakes, so keep that in mind if you’re expecting an exact duplicate.

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It also has a chunkier texture because of the fresh chili peppers used. If you want to amp up the garlicky taste, then simply mince a few cloves of garlic and mix it in.

How to substitute: You can use the sambal oelek as it is or add a little water to it to make it thinner, like sauce consistency. Do check the bottle to know what other ingredients are there and if they add up to your recipe.

6. Harissa Sauce

Harissa Sauce

Famous in the north African region, Harissa is a fiery hot chili pepper paste that is made using a variety of chili peppers like serrano, cayenne, and bell peppers. These are then blended with garlic, olive oil, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, lemon juice, and vinegar.

This might not sound like an exact alternative to chili garlic sauce because of all the other ingredients involved, but it has a very similar taste and can be used as an excellent replacement. If you don’t have any, store-bought harissa sauce will work well, or you may try your hand at making it yourself.

How to substitute: You can use harissa straight out of the bottle or jar, or thin it down with some water if you want. It might change the flavor profile of your dish because of all the other spices involved.

7. Regular Hot Sauce

Regular Hot Sauce

One of the most common things that you can find in any kitchen is a bottle of hot sauce. It is one of those condiments that can be used in a variety of dishes to add some spice and heat. So why not put it to use when you run out of chili garlic sauce?

Hot sauce is made using chili peppers, vinegar, water, and salt and has a very similar consistency to chili garlic sauce. The only difference is that it is not as thick and has a runnier consistency.

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How to substitute: You can use any store-bought hot sauce or make your own at home. If you want a more authentic taste, then look for Sriracha or Sambal sauces.

8. Sweet Chili Sauce

Sweet Chili Sauce

What you won’t find in regular hot sauce is sweetness, and that is where sweet chili sauce comes in. As the name suggests, it is a combination of sweet and spicy and is made using red chili peppers, sugar, vinegar, and garlic.

The sweetness in the sauce can be adjusted according to your liking, so if you want it to be on the sweeter side, then add more sugar. This is an excellent alternative to the chili garlic sauce and can be used in various dishes like stir-fries, noodles, and even as a dipping sauce.

How to substitute: You can either use sweet chili sauce as it is or dilute it with some water to get the desired consistency. Customize it by adding more or less spice.

9. Black Bean Sauce

Black Bean Sauce

Even though the black bean sauce is not as famous as the other sauces on this list, it is no less of a delicious alternative to chili garlic sauce. It is made using fermented black beans, chili peppers, ginger, and garlic.

The fermentation process gives the sauce a distinct umami flavor that is very hard to find in other sauces. This sauce is usually used in Chinese and Thai cuisines, especially in Sichuan meals.

How to substitute: The taste of this sauce will be different because of the fermentation process, but it will still give your dish a flavorful punch. Add it to the dish gradually and keep on tasting as you go.

These were some of the best substitutes for chili garlic sauce that you can use whenever you find yourself in a saucy situation. Be it a quick fix or spicy kick, every sauce on this has something different to offer!

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