What Can I use instead of tabasco sauce (5 Substitutes)

In the article, we will be discussing what can be used instead of tabasco sauce. We will walk you through the top five replacements. We will also explore which is the best substitute when it comes to tabasco sauce.

Can I use other sauces instead of tabasco sauce? 

Yes, you can use other sauces instead of tabasco sauce. Below, we will be discussing the best possible substitutes for tabasco sauce. Our top picks for the same are:

  • Sriracha Sauce 
  • Cholula Sauce 
  • Worcestershire Sauce 
  • Cayenne Pepper 
  • Ketchup 
  • Chilli garlic sauce
  • Chilli powder or chilli flakes

Currently, Vietnam is by far the world largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world’s pepper crop in 2008. Indonesia is in second position in pepper production followed by India, Brazil, China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other countries which have recorded less production in pepper. Likewise, the major world exporter of pepper is Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil, India, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka, followed by Thailand, China, Madagascar, and other countries (1).

What is Tabasco Sauce?

Much like how photocopying is now known as the company that’s famous for it – Xerox – Tabasco Sauce is the only hot sauce that is asked for by brand name! The main ingredients for it are vinegar, tabasco peppers, and salt. The hot sauce branded as Tabasco sauce was founded in southern Louisiana, and is an American brand. 

With the addition of 2 new flavors, the total flavors of tabasco have now become 12. All of which fall in the category of hot sauces, but contain the spice in a unique concentration that makes the tabasco sauce stand out.

Are tabasco and hot sauce the same? 

Tabasco is a type of hot sauce. It is a brand name while hot sauce is the generic name for such spices or chillies. For a sauce to qualify as hot sauce, it can be any combination of highly spiced and pungent condiments. The rule of thumb is that every tabasco sauce is hot sauce, but not every hot sauce is tabasco sauce. 

Alternatives for Tabasco Sauce 

Sriracha Sauce 

Hot peppers are used very often in Thai cuisine. Sriracha is a commercial brand of Thai hot sauce that is very popular in the United States. Sriracha is made from chilies, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Hot peppers are very important to Thai cuisine (2).

Sriracha sauce is a perfect replacement for tabasco sauce. This is because it has both the spiciness and the vinegary taste that is characteristic to tabasco sauce. Sriracha sauce is also thicker than Tabasco sauce, but if you like the heat and flavor of peppers, this one’s for you. 

Cholula Sauce 

Also subbed as Louisiana Hot Sauce, Cholula is the best substitute for tabasco sauce. It is the closest one to tabasco sauce. Especially because it offers the same mixture of vinegar and peppers. Even though the peppers in the two sauces are different, in the end, the dishes will still taste the same. If you are cooking southern dishes or Cajun recipes, this is the sauce you go with. 

The ingredients of this sauce are Water, Peppers (Arbol and Piquin), Salt, Vinegar, Garlic Powder, Spices and Xanthan Gum. According to studies, these two pepper varieties present very high capsaicin contents (3). Vinegar acts as an acidulant and flavorant, Xanthan gum is obtained by microbial fermentation from the Xanthomonas campestris organism and acts as thickener (4).

Worcestershire Sauce 

Even though the name is a bit of a tongue-twister, this sauce is amazing when used in cooking. Especially as a replacement for tabasco sauce. The additional chili pepper extract, salt, vinegar, molasses, garlic, and anchovies make it more flavorful. While it is less spicier than tabasco sauce, it has significantly higher amounts of salt. Be sure to adjust your recipe accordingly. 

Worcester sauce—a traditional English condiment with an intense flavor and composed of a mixture of ingredients, including soy sauce, garlic, onion, molasses, and anchovies—was invented in Worcester in 1835 by John Lea and William Perrins. According to Bottone, in 1835 Lord Marcus Sandys, an ex-governor of Bengal, approached Worcester chemists/grocers John Lea and William Perrins to replicate his favorite sauce. They made the sauce, but Sandys hated it, and the excess sauce was stored in a basement. After a year, the sauce, when tasted, had mellowed and hate became love and big business (5).

Cayenne Pepper 

One of the main ingredients of Tabasco sauce is cayenne pepper. So, as a substitute, just throwing in a few dashes of pepper flakes or power would be perfect. You can start with just a quarter of a teaspoon and adjust it accordingly. Especially because not much is needed. If you are looking to recreate the exact taste of tabasco sauce, adding a little bit of vinegar is a great idea.

According to studies, the content of carotenoids and vitamin C in cayenne peppers is higher at the ripe stage than at the unripe stage while the antioxidant activity followed an opposite trend (6).


If you can’t run to the grocery store to pick up a bottle of tabasco sauce, you can create your own version by adding a few ingredients to regular ketchup. Just by adding red chili flakes and a bit of oil to ketchup, you can create your homemade tabasco sauce. What’s more – you can make quite a large quantity of this and store it in the fridge for consumption on a later date. 

Ketchup is a vegetable sauce produced from tomato concentrate normally named paste5. Tomato paste is the product resulting from the concentration of tomato pulp, after the removal of skins and seeds. It contains 24% or more natural tomato soluble solids. When producing ketchup, this paste is added sugar, vinegar, salt, and different spices. From a physical point of view, ketchup is a two-phase system in which solid particles of tomato concentrate and added spices are dispersed in a colloidal continuous phase. The continuous phase consists of sugars, salts, organic acids, a fraction of soluble pectins, and other compounds of extract dissolved in water (7).

Chilli garlic sauce 

Chilli garlic sauce can be a very good alternative because it goes well with most dishes. It has a sweet, spicy flavor that can easily be found on most store shelves. Not quite the same, but it adds the necessary spice you are looking for. 

In a study, different amounts of garlic were added to chili sauce. The results showed that the increment in the quantity of garlic has influenced the pH, viscosity, color and antimicrobial effects of chili sauce. Addition of 10% garlic was found to be the most effective in inhibiting the growth of yeast and mold and bacteria of B. cereus. Sensory evaluation indicated that the addition of up to 10% garlic in chili sauce did not affect the overall acceptability of chili sauce except for color (8).

Chilli powder or Chilli flakes

Depending on your heat preferences for your dish, you can either sprinkle some quantity of chilli powder or chilli flakes on top. It is important to note that both chilli powder and chilli flakes are dry ingredients; they do not include the liquid that accompanies heat in other sauces like tabasco sauce. Always account for the amount of liquid that a regular sauce brings when using chilli powder and chilli flakes. 

Chilli flakes are used mostly in pizza joints where they are served along with garlic powder and other sauces. 

Chili peppers belong to Capsicum genus and are vegetables, condiments and spices widely consumed in daily life. There are about 25 species in this genus, and the five known varieties are C. annuum, C. frutescens, C. chinense, C. baccatum and C. pubescens. Capsaicinoids are the main source of the spicy flavors of chili peppers, and capsaicin constitutes approximately 69% of the capsaicinoids, which is considered as the main pungent ingredient (9).


In this brief article, we discussed the five alternatives one can use instead of tabasco sauce. Plus, the best sauces that can be paired with what kind of food, without compromising on the taste. 

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