With a great balance of sweet and spicy flavors, sweet chili sauce is a popular condiment used in a variety of Asian dishes. But if you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you might need to come up with a quick sweet chili sauce substitute.
In this post, we’ll offer the best sweet chili sauce substitute options, including homemade versions and alternatives to use in its place. If you’re looking for an authentic taste, your best bet is to make your own sweet chili sauce, assuming that you can’t buy it anywhere. But if that’s out of the question, we’ll also share some similar recipes that you can try to replace this deliciously sweet and spicy sauce.
Homemade sweet chili sauce
If you can round up all of the ingredients, making your own sweet chili sauce isn’t difficult. You’ll also skip some of the preservatives and additives used in a store-bought sauce. In addition to basic ingredients such as sugar, garlic, and soy sauce, you’ll also need some more specialized items, including:
- Rice vinegar
- Sambal oelek
- Rice wine
The measurements will vary depending on the specific recipe that you use, but you can check out this cheap and easy sweet chili sauce for inspiration. You can always adjust the quantities to suit your preference for spice or sweetness as well.
Hot sauce and honey
As we mentioned earlier, striking the right balance between spicy and sweet isn’t always easy. Plus, sweet chili sauce has a distinctive thick and sticky consistency, which makes it excellent for dipping spring rolls and similar foods.
To achieve a similar taste without making your own sweet chili sauce substitute from scratch, grab two basic ingredients from your pantry: hot sauce and honey. Simply mix a teaspoon of hot sauce with a tablespoon of good-quality honey to get something that’s close enough to sweet chili sauce.
According to hot sauce website PepperScale, you should opt for a tomato-based hot sauce (like Sriracha) as opposed to a vinegar-based one (like Tapatio) when whipping up your own sweet chili sauce.
Spicy soy sauce
If you’re looking for a fiery kick but can’t find sweet chili sauce, you can make a spicy version of soy sauce instead. It won’t have the same super-sweet flavor, but it’s a good alternative when you’re in a bind.
You can find a number of recipes to make spicy soy sauce, but to generalize, you’ll need a few key ingredients, including:
- Soy sauce
- Sugar or honey
- Chili sauce
- Sesame oil (optional)
- Scallions for garnish (optional)
As you’ll notice, it’s pretty similar to the hot sauce and honey recipe, but with the addition of soy sauce (which changes the entire taste). Check out this recipe if you’d like to make your own version.
With such a unique flavor and consistency, sweet chili sauce is truly a one-of-a-kind food experience. But if you need another condiment to replace it, any of these sweet chili sauce substitute options should do the trick.
For more recipe suggestions and substitute ideas, check out the Tastessence blog.