What can I use Instead of Chili Garlic Sauce?

In this brief article, we will be answering the question, “what can I use instead of chili garlic sauce?” and provide you with insights on how you can add the chili garlic flavor to your dishes even if you don’t have chili garlic sauce.

What can I use instead of chili garlic sauce?

You can use sriracha, hot sauce, and harissa paste as substitutes for chili garlic sauce. All these other sauces are primarily made of chillies. 

That being said, they will add the enhanced flavor that a normal chili garlic sauce adds to your dishes. You might even find some of these to be better than your normal sauce.


If you have any liking for spicy food at all, you might be very familiar with the taste of Sriracha sauce.

It is a popular addition to Thai, Laotian and Vietnamese cooking because it draws from authentic Asian chili flavors. Sriracha is not just a hot sauce, but an American pop culture icon.

The red bottle with a green cap and the rooster on the front is not only the choice condiment but is added to restaurant menu dishes and has inspired chip flavors as well.

Though many copycat hot sauces have hit the market, none are as memorable or as good as Sriracha. It has garlic, spices, and a tinge of sweetness that many spice lovers appreciate.

The key ingredients are vinegar, chili peppers, salt, sugar, and garlic. Sugar is fermented to create the sour tinge of the sauce. If you love the key flavors or chili garlic sauce, you will enjoy the ingredients in Sriracha equally.

While it is similar in essence to the chili garlic sauce, it has a stronger distilled vinegar taste and a different flavor profile.

Harissa sauce

This sauce is made with vinegar, garlic, red chilies, and a manner of other spices. Originating from North African flavors, especially Tunisia, this sauce has a wonderful flavor and aroma.

For a better chew and crunchy bits of chilies that you love in sauces like chili garlic sauce, you can add caraway or sesame seeds, and even dried chilies to your Harissa sauce.

If you can’t find Caraway seeds, you can leave them out. The sauce will be just as delicious.

To make the sauce, roast your cumin and coriander seeds to draw out their flavor, and soak your red chilies in hot water. Combine the ingredients, and add lemon juice and paprika.

There are several recipes for harissa sauce that you can follow online, and store-bought sauce is also very good. You can add it in stews, soups and enjoy it as a marinade or a dip as well.

What is chili garlic sauce made up of?

Chili garlic sauce is made up of, as the name suggests, chili and garlic. It not only adds a very unique taste to a dish but also provides a beautiful chill-garlicky aroma to the dishes.

It is made by blending and cooking chili and garlic with tomato chunks or puree into a fine sauce. Though, there are variations to the actual recipe of the sauce.

Some people prefer the sauce to be sweet so they add sugar to it while reducing the ingredients. Others prefer to toast the chillieschilieslic beforehand and then blend them up and add to the tomato sauce. 

Then they let it cook and blend it into a fine, thick sauce.

What does chili garlic sauce do?

Chilli, as well as garlic, are major ingredients in many cultures like Indian or Mexican cuisines are primarily composed of chili. 

Garlic is a staple in almost all dishes in very high-end restaurants. It has a very unique flavor and aroma that can lift a bland dish instantly. Putting both of them together becomes a powerhouse of flavor.

Chilli garlic sauce can be used as a marinade, it can be used in recipes while cooking chicken, beef stew, and even pasta. It can be chilies to any dish and make it taste amazing.

Chili garlic sauce and its substitutes are something that are powerhouses of flavor and should not be left out of dishes.


In this brief article, we answered the question, “what can I use instead of chili garlic sauce?” and provided you with insights on how you can add the chili garlic flavor to your dishes even if you don’t have chili garlic sauce.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.