Home › Articles › 9 Chili Sauce Substitutes (+ Best Alternatives to Use)

9 Chili Sauce Substitutes (+ Best Alternatives to Use)

Out of chili sauce? No problem, as you can still add spice to your life with these chili sauce substitutes

Chili sauce is a globally popular, delicious, sweet-and-spicy, tomato-based condiment.

It has varying levels of sweetness and spiciness, depending on the brand you use. 

Bowl of Chili Tomato Sauce

If you want a versatile condiment, chili sauce is it! It’s great on burgers, sandwiches, ramen, and soups, or for dipping.

I personally love it on peanut chicken satay and rice. 

It even makes a great flavor addition to minced meat dishes, like tacos or meatloaf.

Whatever you use it for, it’s delicious and hard to replace if you don’t have it.

Enter these 9 fantastic chili sauce substitutes! They won’t taste exactly the same, but they do give your dishes fantastic flavor.

They’re sweet and spicy and ready for you to try.

Harissa Sauce in a Bowl

1. Harissa Sauce 

This list starts off strong with harissa, a North African condiment that packs a fiery punch. 

Like chili sauce, harissa features red chilis and numerous other spices.

It also contains vinegar, garlic, cumin, and caraway seeds. It’s delicious but spicy.

If you love spicy dips, dressings, or marinades, harissa has your back!

It’s delicious on chicken, with a bit of honey. I’d also add a yogurt sauce to balance the spice. 

You can substitute an equal amount of harissa for chili sauce. Use half the amount if the full amount is too hot to handle. 

Sriracha Sauce

2. Sriracha Sauce

Sriracha sauce has become wildly popular in the last few years. You could say that it’s a cultural foody revolution of sorts. 

And honestly, it makes total sense because Sriracha is delicious! 

That’s why it makes a fantastic replacement for chili sauce. It’s spicy, a little sweet, and sort of tangy. 

Sriracha is made with red jalapeños, garlic, sugar, and vinegar. It actually has very similar ingredients to that of chili sauce.

But it is spicier. It’s not quite harissa spicy but it still packs a punch.

In my opinion, Sriracha is great on everything. However, I really like it on ramen or mixed with mayo to make a dip. 

You can substitute an equal amount of Sriracha for chili sauce.

If you’re worried about spice, start with less and work your way to equal amounts.

Ketchup in a Small Brown Pot Surrounded by Cayenne

3. Ketchup and Cayenne

If you like things a bit sweeter, try ketchup and cayenne. It will still have a fantastic kick, but it’s totally customizable to your preferences. 

Ketchup with cayenne is best as a spicy dip. I’m thinking it would be great with mayo as a shrimp cocktail sauce.

However, it would be delicious in a meatloaf as well. 

You can substitute an equal amount of ketchup and cayenne for chili sauce. Simply use an equal amount of ketchup and add cayenne to taste. 

Fresh Red Peppers

4. Fresh Peppers

This isn’t your average switcheroo, but it is a great one, especially if you’re health-conscious.

Making your own pepper sauce allows you to control every ingredient. 

That means it’s also super customizable. Simply chop and puree your favorite peppers, and season as you like.

You might need to add a little vinegar or water to smooth it out. 

You can substitute an equal amount of pureed and seasoned peppers for chili sauce. This is best for adding to dishes or as a dip. 

Spicy Tomato Sauce in a Small Clear Bowl

5. Spicy Tomato Sauce

Spicy tomato sauce is yet another delicious substitute for chili sauce. It’s also great because you can customize it as you please. 

Some brands, like Prego, do make a spicy version of their pasta sauces. However, it’s so easy to make with whatever brand of sauce you have on hand. 

Simply add cayenne pepper, dried chilis, or fresh chilis to taste. 

This is great for pizzas, pasta, chicken, beef, and dipping breadsticks. The pasta sauce has strong Italian flavors.

Therefore, your dish will taste better if you stay in that Italian lane. 

You can substitute an equal amount of spicy tomato sauce for chili sauce. If you’re DIY-ing this option, feel free to adjust the heat as needed.

Spicy Ketchup

6. Spicy Ketchup

This is the exact same concept as the ketchup and cayenne from earlier.

You take the flavor of ketchup and mix it with some spice! 

However, you do not necessarily need to use cayenne. Red chili flakes or fresh chilis work really well, too.

Heinz even has a spicy version, so you can just buy it at the store. 

You can substitute an equal amount of spicy ketchup for chili sauce. 

Chili Garlic Paste with Fresh Chili on Top

7. Chili Garlic Paste

I personally think you can never have enough garlic. That’s why I think this chili garlic paste is a fantastic option for chili sauce.

It’s fresh and spicy but has lots more garlic flavor! 

You can use fresh or roasted ingredients to make this paste. It’s super easy.

Simply add some chilis and garlic to a mortar and pound until you make a paste. 

If you have a food processor, you can make it even faster! You can thin it out with a bit of vinegar or olive oil. 

This sauce is great to use as a cooking oil. People have used this option on chicken or rice bowls, as well. I really like it on eggs. 

You can substitute an equal amount of chili garlic paste for chili sauce. 

Hot Sauce in a Bottle

8. Regular Hot Sauce

I suspect you may already have some types of hot sauce in your fridge. After all, hot sauce is super popular in a variety of cuisines.

I know people that always add it to their eggs. 

The best part about using regular hot sauce is that there are so many varieties. Simply choose one that fits your preferred tastes and heat levels.  

Honestly, you can use regular hot sauce for any dish. Wings are an obvious choice, as there’s a whole chain restaurant dedicated to them.

But it’s great for ramen, tacos, dips, you name it! 

You can substitute an equal amount of hot sauce for chili sauce. 

Black Beans

9. Black Bean Sauce

Made from chili, salt, soybean oil, and water, this sauce is simple but so flavorful.

It also has a fantastic kick, which is why it’s a great substitute for chili sauce. 

If you like Sichuan cuisine, there’s a good chance you’ve had black bean sauce. Its slightly fermented taste adds so much depth to every dish. 

Black bean sauce is best for cooking and marinating. It’s really yummy with meat, vegetables, and rice, especially stir-fried. 

You can substitute an equal amount of black bean sauce for chili sauce. 

9 Best Chili Sauce Substitutes

Try these chili sauce substitutes when you don’t have a jar in your pantry! From Sriracha to spicy ketchup to hot sauce, these 9 alternatives all work well.


  • Harissa Sauce

  • Sriracha Sauce

  • Ketchup and Cayenne

  • Fresh Peppers

  • Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • Spicy Ketchup

  • Chili Garlic Paste

  • Regular Hot Sauce

  • Black Bean Sauce


  • Choose your favorite chili sauce substitute.
  • Use in all your favorite recipes.
Chili Sauce Substitutes

Did you like the recipe?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 3

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Share on social media:

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

author avatar
Haley van der Ploeg
Haley van der Ploeg is a food writer and content creator for Insanely Good Recipes, where she authors blog posts, creates recipes, and crafts tantalizing photos.

Haley is passionate about food and its ability to gather people across cultures, languages, and generations. She believes everyone can learn to cook.

Most days, you can find Haley reading, baking elaborate cakes, and hosting get-togethers for friends and family. If Haley isn't home, she’s probably on a plane jetting off to exciting adventures and new cuisines.

She lives with her husband in the Netherlands and has taught him that vegetables *can* taste good.

Leave a Comment