Sweet chili sauce is a popular Thai sauce that plays a key role in many different recipes. It consists of red chili peppers, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, sweetener (sugar or honey), and fish sauce which is used optionally.
This versatile sauce has a spicy, sweet, and sour flavor and gives a unique flavor to dips, stir-fries, stews, soups, and marinades.
Sweet chili sauce pairs well with egg rolls, spring rolls, wontons, chicken wings, veggies, grilled chicken, and shrimp. If you have run out of sweet chili sauce, do not worry as other ingredients can provide a similar flavor in your recipes.
Some of the ingredients you can use instead of sweet chili sauce include sriracha sauce, hot sauce and honey, spicy ketchup, chili-garlic sauce and honey, tomato chili sauce, chili powder-flakes rice wine vinegar and honey, or some of the following options.
Let’s learn more about each substitute below!
Best Sweet Chili Sauce Substitutes
There is a wide range of substitutes for sweet chili sauce you can use in your recipes. Here are some of them that will give you a similar flavor to sweet chili sauce.
1. Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha is a hot sauce made from red chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It has a spicy, tangy, slightly sweet, flavor and thick texture.
Sriracha is a versatile sauce. You can use it as a dip, in sauces, meat marinades, stews, soups, and drinks. It has a similar but spicier flavor than sweet chili sauce, so you can use it instead of sweet chili sauce but in smaller amounts. Or you can mix it with honey to get a sweeter flavor.
Substitute 1 teaspoon of sweet chili sauce with ½ teaspoon of sriracha sauce. You can add more to the taste!
2. Hot Sauce And Honey
You can mix hot sauce and honey and use the mix as a substitute for sweet chili sauce.
You can mix one teaspoon of the hot sauce you like the most with a tablespoon of honey and use it in your recipes as a substitute for sweet chili sauce. Use 1 teaspoon of this mix instead of one teaspoon of sweet chili sauce.
3. Spicy Ketchup
Spicy ketchup is a product made from tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, red chili powder or chili pepper puree, seasonings, and spices. It has a spicy, tangy, salty, slightly sweet flavor and smooth, thick texture.
Spicy ketchup is a good substitute for sweet chili sauce because it has a similar flavor. You can use it as a dip, or add it to sauces, marinades, stews, soups, and many other dishes. If you have regular ketchup only, you can add red chili pepper flakes or chili powder and make it spicy!
Add 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes or ½ teaspoon chili powder to 1 cup of ketchup and mix. Substitute sweet chili sauce with spicy ketchup in a 1:1 ratio.
4. Chili-Garlic Sauce And Honey
Chili garlic sauce is a mixture of chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and salt. It is not as sweet as sweet chili sauce. Therefore, you can add some honey to get a similar sweet flavor.
Chili garlic sauce and honey is a mix you can use in sauces, stir-fries, soups, stews, marinades, or as a dipping sauce.
Add one tablespoon of honey to a teaspoon of chili-garlic sauce and mix. Adjust the sauce to your taste and use it as a substitute for sweet chili sauce in a 1:1 ratio.
5. Tomato Chili Sauce
Tomato chili sauce is a tomato-based sauce with added herbs, seasonings, and spices including oregano, basil, garlic, onion, parsley, black pepper, chili peppers, and salt.
It has a similar flavor and texture to spicy ketchup but most people usually use it as a base for dishes than as a condiment.
Tomato chili sauce doesn’t have the same flavor as sweet chili sauce but it will add a nice, spicy flavor to your recipes.
Use tomato chili sauce as a substitute for sweet chili sauce in a 1:1 ratio as a base for your sauce, marinade, soup, or dip.
6. Chili Powder-Flakes, Rice Wine Vinegar, And Honey
Chili powder flakes, rice wine vinegar, and honey will provide a similar flavor to sweet chili sauce. You only have to adjust the quantities to your taste.
Mix ½ teaspoon of chili powder or chili flakes with 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar and ½ tablespoon honey.
You can adjust the mix to your taste and add more of the ingredients if needed. Just make sure to buy the chili powder or chili flakes according to your heat preferences.
Substitute sweet chili sauce with this mixture in a 1:1 ratio.
7. Plum Sauce And Hot Sauce
Plum sauce is a condiment with sweet-sour flavor, thick texture, and light–brown color. It is often made from plums, sugar, ginger, vinegar, chili peppers, and salt. However, it can be also made from peach, apricot, or pineapple.
Plum sauce is usually used as a dip for spring rolls, roasted duck, noodles, deep-fried chicken, and other dishes. Mix 1 tablespoon of plum sauce with 1 teaspoon of hot sauce and adjust it to your taste. You will get a sauce with a nice sweet-spicy flavor.
Use the plum sauce as a substitute for sweet chili sauce in a 1:1 ratio.
8. BBQ Sauce
People use BBQ sauce as a marinade, condiment, topping, or dipping sauce for barbecued food. There are various types of BBQ sauce depending on the main ingredient like tomato, vinegar, mayonnaise, and mustard.
Other ingredients used in BBQ sauce include chili peppers or chili powder, onion powder, liquid smoke, black pepper, molasses, or sugar.
Depending on the ingredients used, BBQ sauce can have a sweet, spicy, tangy, smoky, or sour flavor. You can use a BBQ sauce as a substitute for sweet chili sauce in a 1:1 ratio in sauces, marinades, dips, stews, soups, and stir-fries.
9. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce has a savory, tangy, sweet, salty, and spicy umami flavor and dark brown color.
Some of the main ingredients of this sauce include vinegar, garlic, molasses, onions, anchovies, salt, sugar, chili pepper extract, tamarind extract, and differen tflavorings. You can use it in many different marinades, stews, soups, sauces, and salad dressings.
Substitute sweet chili sauce with Worcestershire sauce in a 1:1 ratio but have in mind that it is not vegan and vegetarian friendly because it contains anchovies.
10. Hoisin Sauce
Hoisin sauce is made of fermented soybeans, garlic, vinegar, chili peppers, sesame oil, sugar, and spices. It has a salty, spicy, sweet umami flavor. And is usually used as a dipping sauce, meat glaze, marinades, stir-fries, and soups.
You can use it as a substitute for sweet chili sauce in a 1:1 ratio.
11. Harissa Sauce
Harissa sauce is used in many different recipes to give them a spicy flavor. It is made from roasted red peppers, chili peppers, garlic paste, olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, cumin, caraway, and coriander seeds.
Harissa sauce has a spicy, tangy, smoky flavor and people usually use it as a marinade and dip. But it is also added to stews, sauces, soups, and salad dressings. Substitute sweet chili sauce with harissa sauce in a 1: 1 ratio.
12. DIY Sweet Chili Sauce
The best substitute for store-bought sweet chili sauce is to make it by yourself. It is easy to make so you will only need a few ingredients and little time. The recipe for sweet chili sauce is below.
Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe
Just gather the following few ingredients, mix everything together, and you will have your own sweet chili sauce in no time!
- ½ cup of water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- ½ cup of rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon chili flakes (or less depending on how hot they are)
- ½ cup of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of cornflour
- 4 tablespoons water
Mix all the ingredients and boil for 5 minutes. In a small bowl mix the cornflour with the water and add it to the boiling mixture. Boil all together until you get the desired texture. Your sweet chili sauce is ready to use!
Sweet Chili Sauce Substitute Using Ketchup
You can use ketchup as a substitute for sweet chili sauce if you add some other ingredients like red chili pepper flakes or chili powder. Mix 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes or ½ teaspoon of chili powder with 1 cup of ketchup.
You can also use spicy ketchup as a substitute for sweet chili sauce in your recipes.
What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Sweet Chili Sauce?
If you don’t have sweet chili sauce, you can use sriracha sauce, a combo of hot sauce and honey, spicy ketchup, a mix of chili garlic sauce and honey, tomato chili sauce, or some of the products mentioned in this article!
Is Sriracha The Same As Sweet Chili Sauce?
Sriracha is not the same as sweet chili sauce. It has a spicier flavor than sweet chili sauce. But they can be used as each other’s substitutes in many different recipes.
What Is Sweet Chili Sauce Made Of?
Sweet chili sauce consists of red chili peppers, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, sweetener as sugar or honey, and fish sauce (optional).
Can I Use Chili Garlic Sauce Instead Of Sweet Chili Sauce?
You can use chili garlic sauce instead of sweet chili sauce if you add a sweetener like honey to get a similar flavor to the flavor that sweet chili sauce has. Mix 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 teaspoon of chili garlic sauce and use it as a substitute for sweet chili sauce in a 1:1 ratio.
Hopefully, you will try some of the substitutes for sweet chili sauce and enjoy a similar flavor to sweet chili sauce in your recipes. You can adjust the amounts to your preferences and taste and make a tasty dish even if you don’t have sweet chili sauce on hand.
What is your favorite substitute for sweet chili sauce? Share your answer in the comment section down below!