If you’re a fan of spicy and flavorful dishes, then you’re probably familiar with chili garlic sauce, a staple in many Asian cuisines.
But what do you do when you’re out of chili garlic sauce or you’re looking for a different flavor profile?
In this article, I’m going to share with you 8 delicious alternatives to chili garlic sauce that you can use in your cooking.
Whether you’re looking for a milder or a spicier option, these substitutes will take your dishes to the next level.
So, let’s get started!
What is Chili Garlic Sauce?
Chili Garlic Sauce is a popular condiment that is commonly used in Asian cuisine.
It is made by blending chili peppers, garlic, and other ingredients such as vinegar, sugar, salt, and oil.
The result is a thick, flavorful paste that is a staple in many Asian dishes.
The exact ingredients and recipe for chili garlic sauce can vary depending on the brand or region, but generally, it is made from a blend of chili peppers, garlic, and other seasonings.
The chili peppers used can range from mild to extremely hot, depending on the desired level of spiciness.
Some popular chili peppers used in chili garlic sauce include red chili peppers, jalapeños, and Thai chili peppers.
In addition to chili peppers and garlic, vinegar and sugar are often added to chili garlic sauce to balance out the heat and provide a slightly sweet and sour flavor.
Salt is also added to enhance the overall flavor.
Some recipes also include ingredients such as ginger, onion, or sesame oil to add depth and complexity to the flavor.
Chili garlic sauce is a versatile condiment that can be used in a variety of dishes such as stir-fries, marinades, soups, and sauces.
It can be added to meat, seafood, vegetables, and noodles to give them a spicy and flavorful kick.
Some popular Asian dishes that use chili garlic sauce include Kung Pao chicken, Pad Thai, and hot and sour soup.
It’s a common condiment in Chinese, Thai and Korean cuisine, and can be found in most Asian supermarkets, and some grocery stores.
The 8 Best Substitutes For Chili Garlic Sauce
Chili garlic sauce adds a delicious kick to dishes, but it can be hard to find in some areas.
If you’re looking for an alternative, here are eight substitutes that will still give your dish the same great flavor:
1 – Harissa Sauce
Harissa is a spicy, flavorful sauce that originated in Tunisia and is commonly used in North African and Mediterranean cuisine.
It is typically made from a blend of chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices such as cumin and coriander.
Harissa can be used as a marinade, a condiment, or an ingredient in stews and soups.
It would be ideal to use harissa in dishes where you want a bold and spicy flavor, such as meat and vegetable stews, soups, or as a marinade for grilled meats or vegetables.
You may want to use chili garlic sauce in dishes where you want a milder and sweeter flavor, such as stir-fries, soups, and as a dipping sauce.
2 – Sriracha
Sriracha is a type of hot sauce made from chili peppers, garlic, sugar, and vinegar.
It originated in Thailand and is named after the coastal city of Si Racha, where it was first produced.
It is commonly used as a condiment and is known for its tangy, spicy flavor.
Many people consider Sriracha to be a good alternative to chili garlic sauce because it is less salty and has a more complex flavor profile.
Additionally, Sriracha has a thinner consistency than chili garlic sauce, which makes it easier to incorporate into a variety of dishes.
Some people also find that Sriracha has a less intense heat than chili garlic sauce, making it more versatile in terms of the types of dishes it can be used in.
3 – Chili Paste
Chili paste is a thick, spicy condiment made from a variety of chili peppers, vinegar, and other ingredients.
It has a strong, pungent flavor that can range from mild to very hot depending on the chili peppers used.
Chili paste is often used in Asian cooking, as well as in Mexican, Latin American, and Indian dishes.
It can be used as a condiment, marinade, or as an ingredient in soups, stews, and curries.
Chili paste is a good substitute for chili garlic sauce because it has a more concentrated flavor.
It is also a great way to give dishes a boost of heat without adding too much liquid.
The paste is typically much thicker than chili garlic sauce, so it won’t thin out the dish like the sauce can.
Plus, it’s easy to control the heat level by adjusting the amount of chili paste used.
4 – Chili-Garlic Paste
Chili-Garlic Paste is a mixture of chili peppers, garlic, oil, vinegar, and other spices.
The paste has a thick texture and a robust flavor profile, which makes it a popular condiment in many cuisines.
It can be used as a condiment, a finishing sauce, or an ingredient in cooking.
Chili-Garlic Paste is a great alternative to chili garlic sauce, as it has a more intense flavor and more concentrated heat.
It’s also more versatile, as it can be used in a variety of dishes, including stews, stir-fries, marinades, and more.
The paste is also great for adding a bit of heat to dishes that don’t traditionally require it, such as pasta dishes, salads, and sandwiches.
Chili-Garlic Paste is a great way to add a bit of heat and flavor to dishes without overpowering them. It’s also a great option for those who don’t like the flavor of chili garlic sauce.
The paste is also a great way to add a bit of heat without making the dish too spicy.
The paste can also be used to add a bit of heat to dishes without changing their flavor profile too drastically.
5 – Sambal Oelek
Sambal Oelek is a type of Indonesian chili paste, made with fresh red chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, salt, and sometimes other ingredients like sugar, onion, and shrimp paste.
It has a thick, spicy, and chunky texture, and can range in heat from mild to very hot.
Sambal Oelek has a similar flavor and heat level.
The key difference is that it has a chunkier texture and does not contain any added sugar or preservatives.
Sambal Oelek also has a more balanced flavor, with the sweetness of the chili peppers and the tanginess of the vinegar working together to create a complex flavor profile.
In addition, the garlic in Sambal Oelek adds a unique depth and richness to dishes.
Sambal Oelek is often used as a condiment or marinade for chicken, pork, or seafood dishes, and can also be used as a dipping sauce for vegetables or noodles.
It is also a popular ingredient in Indonesian and Southeast Asian cuisine, adding a kick of heat and flavor to curries, stir-fries, and other dishes.
6 – Spicy Tomato Sauce
Spicy Tomato Sauce is a condiment made from tomato puree, vinegar, garlic, and a variety of spices such as cayenne pepper, chili powder, oregano, and cumin.
It is commonly used as a substitute for chili garlic sauce and is great for adding a kick of flavor to dishes.
The tomato adds a sweetness to the sauce and helps to balance out the heat from the other spices.
The garlic adds an extra layer of flavor and the vinegar helps to round out the flavors.
Spicy Tomato Sauce is much more versatile. It can be used in a variety of dishes, from pasta sauces and stir-fries to marinades and dressings.
It also has a milder flavor than chili garlic sauce, so it won’t overpower other flavors in the dish.
The tomato and vinegar also help to cut down on the heat, making it a good choice for those who don’t like things too spicy.
7 – Hot Sauce
Hot sauce is a condiment made from a variety of chili peppers and other ingredients. It is usually spicy and can range from mild to very hot.
It is typically used as a condiment for foods such as tacos, eggs, burgers, and pizza.
It can also be used as an ingredient in recipes, such as in sauces, marinades, and dressings.
To use hot sauce instead of chili garlic sauce, simply replace the chili garlic sauce in a recipe with hot sauce.
The amount of hot sauce to use depends on the level of spiciness desired. Start with a small amount and then adjust to taste.
8 – Black Bean Sauce
Black bean sauce is a savory and slightly sweet sauce made from fermented black beans, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and other seasonings.
It is commonly used in Chinese cuisine, especially in dishes like tofu, stir-fries, and noodle dishes.
To use it instead of chili garlic sauce, you can add it to stir-fries to give them a more complex flavor, or use it as a marinade for vegetables or proteins.
You can also use it to make a spicy dipping sauce by combining it with some chili paste or chili oil.
Describing Chili Garlic Sauce: Flavor and Texture
The flavor of chili garlic sauce is spicy, tangy, and garlicky. The heat level of the sauce can vary depending on the type of chile peppers used, with hotter peppers producing a spicier sauce.
The vinegar adds a tartness to the sauce, and the sugar helps to balance out the heat of the peppers.
The texture of chili garlic sauce is thick and slightly chunky. It has a slightly grainy texture from the garlic, and the peppers add a bit of crunch.
The sauce is usually served at room temperature and can vary in consistency depending on the amount of liquid used in the recipe.
Overall, chili garlic sauce is a flavorful and versatile condiment. It can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries and noodle dishes to marinades and sauces.
Its flavor and texture make it an ideal choice for adding a spicy kick to any meal.
Uses of Chili Garlic Sauce
Chili garlic sauce can be used as a marinade for meats and fish. It is often used as a topping for salads, soups, and noodles. It can also be used as a flavoring for rice dishes, stir-fry dishes, and other cooked dishes.
The sauce can be added to soups, curries, and other savory dishes to add some extra flavor and heat.
Chili garlic sauce is also a great addition to sandwiches, tacos, and burritos. The sauce adds a nice kick to these dishes and pairs particularly well with beef and chicken.
Chili garlic sauce is also a great condiment for pizza. The sauce adds a nice spicy note to the pizza and can be used as a topping or as a dipping sauce.
Another great use for chili garlic sauce is as a dipping sauce for fried foods. The sauce adds a nice kick and flavor to fried foods such as chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings.
The sauce can also be used as a topping for hot dogs and burgers. The sauce adds a nice spicy flavor to these dishes and can be used as a condiment instead of mustard or ketchup.
Finally, chili garlic sauce is also great for making dips and sauces. The sauce can be blended with other ingredients to make a delicious dip or sauce for chips, vegetables, and other snacks. The sauce can also be blended with mayonnaise or sour cream to make a delicious dip for chips and vegetables.
In conclusion, chili garlic sauce is a delicious and spicy condiment that can really bring a dish to life.
However, if you don’t have any on hand, there are plenty of other delicious substitutes that can be used to add the same level of heat and flavor.
Some of the best substitutes for chili garlic sauce are harissa sauce, sriracha, chili paste, chili-garlic paste, sambal oelek, spicy tomato sauce, hot sauce, and black bean sauce. All of these options have their own unique flavor and can be used to add spice and flavor to a variety of dishes.
So, the next time you’re in a pinch, reach for one of these substitutes and give it a try.
Your taste buds will thank you!
The 8 Best Substitutes For Chili Garlic Sauce
- Harissa Sauce
- Chili Paste
- Chili-Garlic Paste
- Sambal Oelek
- Spicy Tomato Sauce
- Hot Sauce
- Black Bean Sauce
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.