What’s The Best Sweet Chili Sauce Substitute? Our List!

Imagine this: you’re biting into an egg roll.

Your teeth sunk into the perfectly crunchy wrapper and went straight to the savory and juicy ground meat, and there are a few hints of refreshing and crisp carrots and cabbage.

That’s perfect, right?

Well, almost. Try biting into it again. Yep, something is missing—the Thai sweet and spicy sauce that makes the egg roll complete.

The worst part is, you don’t have a bottle of it at home!

Before your perfect dinner gets ruined, we will step in and share with you the best sweet chili substitutes you might already have at home.

To know what these are, keep on reading!

What is Sweet Chili Sauce made of?

Sweet Chili sauce is a thick sauce made with fish sauce, garlic, rice vinegar, red chili peppers, and sugar or honey.

It’s most commonly used in Asian dishes like chicken wings, spring rolls, lettuce wraps, and egg rolls.

Why Replace It?

There are plenty of reasons why you’ll have to look for an alternative to sweet chili sauce.

Here are some of the common ones:

1. Unavailability

Even though this Asian condiment is already fast becoming a staple in Western cuisines, it’s still difficult to find in some grocery stores.

2.  Allergy

If you have an allergy to cayenne peppers or other chili peppers, this sauce is not recommended. Luckily, there are plenty of sweet chili substitutes that are safe for you to consume.

3.   Animal Byproducts

The sauce may not suit vegans and vegetarians since it contains animal byproducts like fish sauce.

4. Heat Intolerance

If you don’t like spicy foods, it may be difficult to tolerate the spice level of sweet chili sauce.

Top 11 Fiery Condiments To Substitute For Sweet Chili Sauce You Can Do

Whatever reasons you may have for replacing sweet chili sauce, one fact remains: there’s a sweet chili sauce substitute that will fit your needs.

With that said, check out our list of the top 11 sweet chili sauce substitutes that you can use:

1. Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce

image of Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce

Wait, don’t get intimidated! Making homemade sweet chili sauce substitute is easier than you think if you have all the right ingredients at home.

Here’s the best part: You can skip the unhealthy preservatives and spices found in most store-bought sweet chili sauces when you make your own.

 For this, you would need some essential ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, and sugar. You’ll also need to have a few specialized ingredients like rice vinegar, Sambal Oelek, and rice wine. 

 All you need to do is mix everything well, and you’re good to go.   

Pro Tip: For a spicier sauce, you can add more Sambal Oelek, while adding more rice wine can help you achieve a sweeter sauce.

2.  Sriracha Sauce

This is probably the best sweet chili substitute that you can use. That’s because this Thai sweet chili sauce is similar to the original in many ways.

Since it’s made with garlic, vinegar, sugar, and jalapeño pepper, it has the same sweet, spicy, and tangy taste. Not only that, its thick consistency resembles that of the original.

Fact: Is Sriracha the same as sweet chili sauce?

Sriracha and sweet chili sauce may look similar, but they actually have quite different flavor profiles. Sriracha is made from a blend of chili peppers, garlic, sugar, and vinegar, while sweet chili sauce typically contains red chili peppers, sugar, vinegar, and some sort of fruit (often pineapple or plum). As a result, sriracha is usually much hotter than sweet chili sauce. So if you’re looking for something to add a little spice to your dish, sriracha is the way to go!

But be warned: Sriracha sauce is much spicier, so you should use this with caution.

3.  Regular Hot Sauce

You may run out of Thai sweet chili sauce, but you surely have lots of stocks of hot sauce if you love all things spicy.

And if you do have a bottle, you’re just in luck since it’s an excellent Thai sweet chili sauce substitute. All you need to do is add honey to it. Start adding a tablespoon, then continue adding until you achieve the desired sweetness.

When choosing a hot sauce to use, go for a thicker and tomato-based hot sauce and avoid ones that have a thin consistency.

Additionally, make sure to use a hot sauce with minimal vinegar content. With that said, Louisiana and Tabasco hot sauce might not be the best options for this purpose.

Pro Tip: You can also replace honey with plum sauce. The dark burgundy color of the syrup will give your sauce a darker color,  but it will undoubtedly boost the sauce’s flavors.

To prepare this, mix a tablespoon of plum sauce for every teaspoon of hot sauce.

This mix is perfect for coconut shrimp, salmon, wings, and noodles.        

4.  Chili Garlic Paste

This is the best sweet chili alternative if you love infusing your dishes with a savory garlic flavor.

It would be more convenient to buy a ready-made chili. You just need to add your choice of sweetener to it. This simple add-on can make the sauce sweeter and, at the same time, thin out its extra thick consistency.

But if you want more control over the sauce’s taste, you can go for a homemade version.

To make this, roast or dry fresh chili to give it that smoky flavor. Chop it well and place it in a mortar. After that, add lots of garlic cloves and pound the ingredients to form a paste.

A more convenient option is to throw all of it in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Pro Tip: This sweet chili substitute would work best for rice bowl toppings and hot chicken wing glaze.

Fact:

Can I use chili garlic sauce instead of sweet chili sauce?

Yes, chili garlic sauce can be substituted for sweet chili sauce in many recipes. The two sauces have a similar flavor profile, with the chili garlic sauce being a bit spicier and more intense.

Is chili sauce and sweet chili sauce the same?

Yes and no. Chili sauce typically contains more vinegar and fewer sweeteners than sweet chili sauce. However, the two sauces share many of the same ingredients, so they are quite similar. Both sauces are made from red chili peppers, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and salt. They may also contain other spices depending on the recipe.

5.  Harissa Sauce

Here’s an exotic chili sauce that you would surely love to take advantage of. Originated from Tunisia, the sauce contains a combination of red chilies, vinegar, garlic, and other spices.

Pro Tip: This sweet chili substitute is recommended for making dips, marinades, stews, and soups.

6. Gochujang

Koreans have their candidate too! Gochujang is a paste made from fermented soybeans and crushed Korean red peppers. The gochugaru gives the paste some fire, while the fermented soybeans are responsible for its slightly sweet taste.

The sauce also comes with garlic, ginger, sake, and wine, giving it a unique flavor.

Pro Tip: Use this in marinades for steak, chicken, meat, or pork.

7. Chili Powder or Chili Flakes

Chili flakes or chili powder are readily available in local supermarkets. You can get these either in a jar or a bag.

But here’s the good news: you can easily make one at home!

You can do this by drying or roasting your choice of chili pepper, then grind it to create chili powder or chop it finely to make chili flakes. Since this is already dehydrated, it can last long—up to one year.

There’s no difference if you choose either powder or flakes—both forms work well. What matters is the type of chili pepper that you’d use because it can affect the dish’s overall spiciness.

Pro Tip: For a subtle spice, go for Poblano and Anaheim peppers, while Korean chili peppers, ghost peppers, and jalapeño peppers will give your dishes a spicy punch.

8. Spicy Soy Sauce

If you’re in a bind and the only available ingredient in your pantry is soy sauce, you’ll be happy to know that you can use it. Since it will not be extra sweet, it may not be the best among the sweet chili substitutes on the list, but it would be enough to add a fiery kick to your dishes.

You’ll need soy sauce, sugar/ honey, and chili sauce. Mix everything, and you can already use it to spice up your meals! You can also add sesame oil and garnish the sauce with scallions for a flavor boost.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have chili sauce, you can mix soy sauce with apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, and honey. This mixture would be perfect for stir-fries and dips for egg and spring rolls.

9. Black Bean Sauce

We can also borrow a sweet chili substitute from the Chinese. The black bean sauce or doubanjiang is the Chinese’s secret weapon in making delicious Sichuan dishes.

The main ingredients of this sauce are water, soybean, salt, and chili. These ingredients give off an earthy, spicy, and fermented taste when combined.

10. Spicy Ketchup

Yes, you can substitute sweet chili sauce with something as familiar as ketchup. You can turn regular ketchup into a spicy condiment by mixing it with chopped fresh chilies, chili powder, or chili flakes. It’s that simple.

When using ketchup, you should follow this ratio: 1 tablespoon of chili for every cup of ketchup.

Pro Tip: Cook the ketchup and spices to bring out the chilies’ heat.

11. Tomato Sauce

Another convenient alternative is to spice up tomato sauce.

You can simply follow the steps we’ve shared in preparing spicy ketchup.

Pro Tip: This is an excellent base if you want to cook spicy pasta sauces.

Learn more:

Wrapping It Up

Many meals won’t be complete without the authentic sweet and chili sauce – wantons, crab rangoons, fried chicken, grilled chicken, beef, and many more!

Unfortunately, this crave-worthy sauce isn’t widely available in grocery stores. Luckily, you can make one at home using all the sweet chili substitutes we’ve shared!

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