13 Flavorful Sweet Chili Sauce Substitutes
Sweet chili sauce is a famous ingredient that is used in a variety of Asian dishes. Some people even call it sweet Thai chili sauce as this sweet and spicy sauce is known to originate there. It plays an important role in many different Asian dishes but now has spread all around the world.
The simple recipe contains red chili peppers, rice wine, garlic, vinegar, ginger, sweetener, and fish sauce (optional). All the ingredients give this sauce its signature spicy, sweet, and sour flavor that goes great with dips, stir-fries, stews, soups, and marinades.
However, you need to find sweet chili sauce substitutes if it gets finished way too often. That is why we have some excellent substitutes for you to try.
1. Honey and Hot Sauce
It is sometimes hard to find a substitute for chili sauce that is also sweet. Original sweet chili sauce has the right sweetness and spiciness, which is hard to balance. But the harder part is to nail the consistency, making it the ideal condiment for spring rolls.
However, the smart idea is to use honey and hot sauce to make honey chili sauce. It has the same flavors with the same consistency.
You can easily make this sauce by mixing a tablespoon of honey with two teaspoons of tomato-based hot sauce. You can tweak the sweetness ratio according to your liking, but this mixture quantity gives the best possible results.
2. Spicy Tomato Ketchup
Spicy tomato ketchup is one of the best substitutes for sweet chili sauce because it already consists of almost all of the flavors of the sweet chili sauce. This sauce is made with tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, seasonings, chili pepper or chili powder, and various spices. Mixing all the ingredients gives the sauce a tangy, sweet, and spicy combination of flavors similar to a sweet chili sauce. The consistency is also close as the sauce is thick but lacks stickiness. You don’t have to add anything more to it.
However, you have the standard ketchup. You need to make some alterations to make it suitable for dips, stews, marinades, soups, etc. All you need is red chili powder or red pepper flakes because the ketchup is already sweet. Add only a teaspoon of red pepper flakes or a half teaspoon of chili powder to one cup of ketchup. Mix everything and enjoy!
3. Hoisin Sauce
If you want a suitable substitute that complements meat, Hoisin sauce is perfect. It has a spicy, sweet, umami, and salty taste from the ingredients used. Garlic, fermented soybeans, chili pepper, vinegar, sugar, spices, and sesame oil are the ingredients for Hoisin sauce. The sauce is a great substitute for sweet chili sauce and goes perfectly with meat glaze, stir fry, soup, and more.
4. Hot Sauce with Plum Sauce
Plum sauce, as you can guess, is made from plums but with the addition of ginger, chili peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar. This light brown sauce has a thick consistency and a nice balance of sweet and sour. You can also make such a sauce with pineapple, apricot, and peach because they almost have the same flavor profile as plum.
To make the plum sauce a good substitute, add a teaspoon of hot sauce to a tablespoon of plum sauce. Mix it well and adjust the spice level accordion to your tastebuds. You can enjoy it with roasted duck, deep-fried chicken, spring rolls, etc.
5. Harissa Sauce
Harissa sauce is more of a spicy sauce for people who love adding spiciness to their stews, soups, salad dressings, etc. The sauce is made with chili peppers and roasted red peppers to give that extra spice and then mixed with garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, caraway, cumin, coriander seeds, and olive oil. The overall flavor profile of the sauce is spicy, smoky, and tangy, making it an excellent choice for marinating, dipping, and adding to other food. You can add two teaspoons of honey to one tablespoon of Harissa to make yourself a good substitute for sweet chili sauce.
6. Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha is a fan-favorite hot sauce because it technically goes with anything. It is relatively hotter than any hot sauce but is a close substitute for sweet chili sauce. You can easily make it suitable by adding half a teaspoon of honey to three teaspoons of Sriracha. Mix everything and enjoy it on your tacos, soups, meats, etc.
7. Barbecue Sauce
Barbecue parties are only complete with BBQ sauce on every meat dish. Usually, the sauce is used to marinate or top the meat, giving the dish a sweet, tangy, sour, sweet, and smoky flavor. However, many of these flavors depend on the ingredients the BBQ sauce is made of.
The main ingredients (tomato, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar) stay the same. At the same time, the additional components for flavor may vary from production to production. The other ingredients include chili peppers, liquid smoke, onion powder, molasses, sugar, and black pepper. You can enjoy this condiment with stir fry, meat dishes, spring rolls, etc.
8. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce goes great with soups, stews, and salad dressings as a substitute for Thai sweet chili sauce. The sauce lacks a bit of spice because it is made of garlic, vinegar, anchovies, tamarind and red chili pepper extract, salt, sugar, and soy sauce. However, you can easily add some hot sauce like Sriracha to increase the spice level.
9. Tomato and Honey Chili Sauce
Tomato chili sauce is as close as you can get to sweet chili sauce without making any alterations. It has the same sour aftertaste because it contains oregano, basil, onion, garlic, black pepper, red bell pepper, and salt. These are almost the same ingredients as the regular sweet chili sauce. If you miss sweet chili sauce’s sweetness, you need to add a bit of honey.
10. Honey, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Chili Flakes
Have you always wanted to try a healthy sweet chili sauce? Well, now you can make it home with a handful of ingredients. It is a great alternative to regular sweet chili sauce and can be customized.
All you need is rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar (2 tbsp.), soy sauce (1 tbsp.), red chili pepper flakes (1 tsp.), garlic and ginger (1 tsp.), and good-quality honey (1 tbsp.). Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and add additional spices according to your taste. You can also mix a bit of hot sauce to increase the spice level and enjoy it with eggs, fish, and stir-fries.
11. Honey and Chili Garlic Sauce
Honey and chili garlic sauce is another combination that is a good substitute for Thai sweet chili sauce. It contains red chilies, garlic, salt, and vinegar, but the only thing missing is the sweetness you can easily add by mixing honey.
Take one teaspoon of honey and mix it with one tablespoon of garlic chili sauce, then you can enjoy it as a substitute for your soup, deep-fried chicken, meat, etc.
12. Sambal Oelek
Sambal Oelek is an excellent alternative to sweet chili sauce, and you can use it in noodles, soups, stews, stir-fries, etc. This Indonesian chili paste is made with onions, lemon juice, spicy red chili peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar. You do not have to add extra ingredients as this sauce is already very delicious.
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13. DIY Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce
If you need more than 12 substitutes, here is an easy recipe to make your own DIY sweet chili sauce at home. You only need a handful of ingredients, and your homemade sweet chili sauce will be ready in minutes.
1. Red Chili Flakes – 1 Tablespoon
2. Chopped Garlic – 1 Tablespoon
3. Cornflour – 2 Tablespoons
4. Rice Wine Vinegar – ½ Cup
5. Sugar or Molasses – ½ Cup
6. Salt – 1 Teaspoon
7. Water – ½ Cup
How To Make
On medium-low heat, pour all your ingredients except the cornflour into a pot and mix them. Let everything boil for five minutes or so while stirring the mixture.
Mix the cornflour with four tablespoons of water to make a slurry. Add the slurry mixture to the pot and let everything infuse. You will start to notice the mixture becoming thicker and when it reaches your desired consistency, take the pot off the stove.
Let the sauce cool down and pour it into an air-tight jar. Now, you can enjoy your homemade sweet chili sauce whenever you want.