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Chili Garlic Sauce Substitute (Here’s How To Choose The Best One)

Chili Garlic Sauce Substitute
Chili Garlic Sauce Substitute

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Upgrade your sauce collection with our top-picked substitute for chili garlic sauce. Chili garlic sauce is a staple workhorse in home kitchens to turn ordinary foods into heavenly delicious treats.

Its bright tangy bite packs an incredibly hot chili punch with subtle sweet taste notes that stimulate the palate refreshingly.

It works great as a dipping sauce for sandwiches, burgers, and savory rolls. It also takes the central stage when comes to stir fry noodles, pasta, or macaroni. In short, it’s worth a primary spot in your pantry. But if you find an emptied jar of chili garlic sauce at the time of prepping a hearty meal, an alternative to this magical sauce can save you on the spot.

If you’re not in hurry, it’s a great time to make your own chili garlic sauce substitute and it will not go wrong anywhere.

Here is a collection of the best go-to chili garlic sauce substitutes you can check if have any on hand. Otherwise, make a satisfying purchase while ending up with a palatable treat.

The Best Chili Garlic Sauce To Buy

Huy Fong Fresh Chili Garlic Sauce – Best Overall

Huy Fong Fresh Chili Garlic Sauce
Huy Fong Fresh Chili Garlic Sauce

Huy Fong Fresh Chili Garlic Sauce is a savory blend of coarse chili flakes, garlic chunks, a pinch of sugar, and distilled vinegar to compliment the vegetarian diet. Savor your treats with this full-bodied garlicky-flavored sauce and delight.

Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce – Mildly Spicy

Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce
Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce

Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce uses salted chili peppers, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and sugar. It’s GMO-free, healthy, and straightforward condiment that lends an incredible taste complexity to soups, dips, stir-fries, and marinades without kicking off the recipe flavor.

Pick Up The Best Chili Garlic Sauce Substitute!

If you are a star chef of your home and love to add a spicy punch to your recipes together with a chunky garlicky crisp, chili garlic sauce will be your best bet. It’s versatile, flavorful, handy, and a real game changer.

With this in mind, it’s quite obvious that no one can actually replace chili garlic sauce in your recipes yet can bring a closer flavor. So, you have to play around the flavors or modify the ingredients a bit to get a similar spice level with comparable tangy sweet bites.

Glance over the following factors you must consider before picking up the best substitute for chili garlic sauce.

Consistency And Texture: The consistency of the sauce matters a lot when you are going to use it as a recipe ingredient and its texture counts when served as a dipping sauce.

Chili garlic sauce is similarly thick as tomato ketchup loaded with chili flakes and garlic chunks.

So, you need to pick up the one that is averagely viscous. However, if the alternative sauce is smooth, don’t fear. You can set it using chili flakes and coarsely ground garlic.

Spice Level: Not all chili garlic sauces are equally hot or spicy. Some are more on the neutral or sweet side than others. So, here you can decide which substitute will work for you in terms of heat.

It may be hotter like Harissa sauce or mildly spicy like sweet chili sauce or whatever you want your recipe to be like.

Garlic Flavor: Different varieties of chilli garlic sauce employ a varying quantity of garlic to the sauce. To more, it may be coarsely ground or powdered. So, it depends on your taste preferences whether you want to get a garlic-based or garlic-free substitute for chili garlic sauce.

Chili Garlic Sauce Substitute

Chili garlic paste
Chili garlic paste

No matter whether you are going to switch the recipe flavor or want to add a slurping dollop to your generous food dishes, the following go-to substitutes for chili garlic sauce will work you the same way as intended.

1. Chili garlic paste – Similar Flavor

Chili garlic paste is simply another culinary version of chili garlic sauce that offers a great similar flavor. Both share a comparable ingredient profile to make every cooking creation into a masterpiece.

So, if they both are similarly prepared, what’s the difference? Well, it’s the consistency that comes here to tell them apart.

Chili garlic paste through its runnier consistency makes remarkable pairings with a variety of recipe ingredients. On the other hand, the thicker or viscous nature of chili garlic paste restrains it to be used in the recipes like soups, marinades, and salsas.

For a fresh and more flavorful substitute for chili garlic sauce, take some dry chiles and garlic cloves. Pound them in a mortar and crush them to get a chunky thick paste on hand.

Remember that chili garlic paste can bring extra heat to the recipe so you need to modify it a little bit.

For instance, you can add a tablespoon of rice vinegar to make the paste thinner and tangier like sauce. However, a splash of olive oil can also round off the spice level per your liking.

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Which One Is Best To Buy? Thai Chili Garlic Paste is the best condiment to get as it’s great for a variety of savory treats and hearty meals. It’s completely vegetarian, hot, and uses high-quality ingredients to spice up your soups, stews, and stir-fry sauces.

2. Harissa Sauce – Garlic-Based

Mina Harissa Hot Sauce
Mina Harissa Hot Sauce

Harissa sauce is another good way to add a garlicky flavor following the spicy-sour taste notes to the foods.

Although harissa sauce is available in a variety of flavor variations, the primary ingredients are red chili, garlic, distilled vinegar, and spices that are comparable to chili garlic sauce.

Go for harissa sauce if craving a garlicky flavor packed with tangier sour notes. It can stir-fry noodles, swirl a savory soup, make a spicy pasta sauce, or incredibly hotter spread.

Harissa paste can also substitute chili garlic sauce yet it’s full of flavor and thicker than the original thing. So, dilute it a little bit using olive oil or any other sauce to prevent your dish from going extremely hot.

Which One Is Best To Buy? Mina Harissa spicy sauce is the best harissa sauce for your meat dishes, Omelettes, sandwiches, pastas, and seafood. It’s vegan-friendly, gluten-free, soy-free, and kosher.

Go for its milder version, Mina Mild Harissa Sauce, if extra heat is not welcomed to your foods. Drizzle it over stir-fried veggies, eggs, salads, pasta dishes, and sandwiches to make them evenly delicious.

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3. Sriracha Sauce – Super Spicy

Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha Sauce

If you are not looking for textured sauce, sriracha paste or sriracha sauce can be your best bet.

The piquant spicy and a bit tangy-sweet sriracha taste comes from jalapenos, distilled vinegar, and sugar.

Sriracha sauce is the best substitute for chili garlic sauce because it’s available in a variety of flavors. Some flavors are garlic-based while others are completely garlic-free so you can easily customize the recipe flavor.

The overall consistency is runnier and smooth which can be really great for adding a spicy touch to soups, dips, side sauces, and several Asian-fusion foods.

Add a spicy dollop to your iconic sandwiches, burgers, burritos, and savory wraps using sriracha sauce. To more, top up your pizza slices, omelette, stir-fried veggies, and noodles.

You can make a one-to-one substitution with sriracha sauce if extra heat doesn’t pose any problem for you. Otherwise, cut the amount of sriracha in a recipe to get a closer flavor to chili garlic sauce.

You can also round off the sriracha sauce heat by adding a bit of sugar or honey to it to get a palatable flavor complexity.

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Which One Is The Best? Huy Fong Sriracha Sauce is a great replacement for chili garlic sauce as it can easily transform your regular foods into satisfying hearty meals.

4. Homemade Chili Garlic Sauce Substitute

Making a homemade version of chili garlic sauce sounds crazy to me. And for you? If yes, the following classic recipe would be your outclass alternative for chili garlic sauce.

The primary ingredients are olive oil, onion powder, dried minced garlic, chili flakes, dried minced red chiles, salt, and paprika.

Prepping your own homemade chili garlic sauce is as easy as combining all the ingredients together and that’s it.

If you are using fresh red chiles or garlic, make sure you sauté them a bit using olive oil.

5. Chili sauce – Non-Garlic Substitute

Chili sauce
Chili sauce

Chili sauce is another versatile substitute for chili garlic sauce and is also readily available out there. Its comparable consistency and texture make chili sauce a one-to-one alternative for chicken, noodles, shrimp, and pasta.

Don’t confuse chili sauce with chili paste as they are pretty different condiments.

Chili paste is a thicker condiment made of red chiles and brings a fiery kick to the palate. On the other hand, chili sauce is more complex and flavorful made from tomato paste, vinegar, red chiles, and sugar.

Chili paste is not a 1:1 alternative for chili garlic sauce until you dilute it using apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar with a pinch of brown sugar.

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Which One Is The Best? Thai Kitchen Sweet Red Chili Sauce is a vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and MSG-free sauce that is more on the sweet side with noticeable spicy undernotes.

6. Garlic paste + Chili Paste

Pick up the primary ingredients of chili garlic sauce and combine them to get the best substitute on hand.

Isn’t it a super cool idea?

You are almost there, hire garlic and red chiles to serve you with a tasty sauce.

It’s super easy to make your own substitute or get it from a grocery store. Take fresh garlic cloves and crush them in a mortar or using a garlic crusher. Add chili flakes or red chiles to the mortar and crush until the flavor got mixed.

You can also add crushed garlic to the store-bought chili paste to make a quick substitution for chili garlic sauce.

This way, you can fake the texture as well as flavor of the chili garlic sauce per your liking for a recipe.

7. Hot sauce – High Jump In Heat

Hot sauce
Hot sauce

If you have a hot sauce on hand, adding a garlicky crunch to it is not a big deal. Isn’t it?

Hot sauce is again not a textured sauce like a chili garlic sauce yet offers a similar consistency and a hotter kick.

To me, it’s a great alternative to chili garlic sauce you can play around to meet your taste preferences. For instance, it’s best for people who are not liking the spicy flavor of chili garlic sauce.

Not only this, if you are craving full-bodied garlicky flavor, add freshly minced or crushed garlic to the hot sauce. Add a pinch of sugar to the sauce to round off the heat or enjoy it as-is.

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Which One Is The Best? Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce is the best spicy sauce you can ever get. It’s keto-friendly, vegan-friendly, and kosher and perfectly brings heat to your dips, sauces, salads, and sandwiches.

8. Hot Chili oil – Say No To Garlic

Hot Chili oil
Hot Chili oil

Looking for a garlic-free chili garlic sauce substitute, pick up hot chili oil and say no to garlic. It’s a great way of adding a spicy touch to soups, dips, casseroles, and salsas using chili oil.

Chili oil can be your tasty dipping sauce, sauteing base for chicken or veggies, stir-frying condiment for sea food, and side sauce for dumplings. In fact, you can drizzle it over anything where you want extra spice with a soulful flavor, and it’s the best thing. Isn’t it?

The addition of garlic to chili oil is again your choice otherwise chili oil alone is a great go-to alternative for chili garlic sauce.

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Which One Is The Best? Lee Kum Kee Chili Oil is the best alternative for chili garlic sauce in stir-fried recipes, omelettes, sandwiches, dips, and casseroles.


Is Chili Garlic Sauce The Same As Sriracha Sauce?

No, they are not. However, you can consider them culinary cousins. Glance over the ingredient profile of these two sauces, they are pretty similar. The difference comes when you drizzle them over foods.

Sriracha is a bit runnier and smooth whereas chili garlic sauce carries a lot of chile seeds and garlic chunks to it. And that’s a reason, chili garlic sauce lingers on the palate more than sriracha.

Can You Use Sambal Oelek Instead Of Chili Garlic Sauce?

You can replace chili garlic sauce with Sambal Oelek if you are looking for non-garlicky alternative. Otherwise, the flavor is not so comparable. Sambal Oelek packs a lot of heat with tangier undernotes that can easily overpower the dish. Therefore, it’s not a good one-to-one replacement. Rather than, go for the closest sauce options like harissa sauce or sriracha.

What Is The Best Asian Chili Garlic Sauce Substitute?

Chili garlic paste is the best and closely related alternative for chili garlic sauce. They both share almost all the ingredients and are flavored the same way. Consistency is the only difference they both have. If noticed, it’s not a big deal to dilute the chile paste without compromising on the sauce flavor.


Hey, I’m Ayesha Khalid, the main writer of Substitutesfor.com. I love to write about food ingredients, cooking guides, and helping tips and tricks to upgrade your cooking experience. The aim of writing is to provide you with a collection of substitutions and novel ideas to try so that you can find all the needed information at once. Here, you can get ideas according to your diet restrictions, taste preferences, and health conditions.

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