What Are The Best Garlic Chili Paste Substitutes?

Imagine you are making your favorite Vietnamese egg rolls and they come out perfectly. All they need is a bit of extra spice so you reach for your favorite chili garlic sauce but then you make a horrifying discovery, you are all out. Desperate for a solution, you begin to search for the best chili garlic sauce substitutes. 

The best chili garlic sauce substitutes are harissa sauce, sriracha, red pepper flakes, spicy tomato sauce, and hot sauce. All of these have a wonderful spicy flavor that will bring out all of the flavors in your next meal.

What Is Chili Garlic Sauce?

Chili garlic sauce is a popular chili sauce of Vietnamese origin. However, it is now used all around the world to give foods from all different cuisines a spicy kick with a fantastic garlic flavor. 

Chili garlic sauce is made from a combination of chili peppers, garlic, and vinegar all of which are blended together to give the sauce its signature taste. 

The sauce is commonly used as a dipping sauce, marinade, and to give any dish an extra kick of flavor. Although it is spicy, it also gives the food plenty of extra flavor through the garlic and vinegar that are included in the sauce. 

One of the main benefits of chili garlic sauce is that is a versatile ingredient and can be used in many different dishes. It is a key ingredient in many traditional Vietnamese dishes however, that is not the only way it can be used. It can also be used as a marinade or dipping sauce for meats to give them some extra spice and garlic flavor.

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Describing Chili Garlic Sauce: Flavor and Texture

Chili garlic sauce has a spicy flavor that comes from the red chili flakes that are typically used as one of its primary ingredients. It also has a kick from the garlic and a tang from the vinegar used as the base of the sauce.

The texture of chili garlic sauce can be smooth or chunky depending on whether or not the sauce is blended. If the sauce is blended the texture of the sauce will be thick and syrupy without chunks. 

If the sauce is not blended it will have a liquid base that is a mixture of vinegar and oil. The chunks in the base will consist of the minced garlic and chili flakes that are used to flavor the sauce. 

Sometimes the texture of the sauce will be slightly oily. This is due to the chili oil that is occasionally used to flavor the sauce and create a thicker base.

Direction: Remember that the whole article is not against chili garlic sauce. Chilli Garlic Sauce is good stuff but sometimes people want something different from the regular taste. That’s where you need to explain its substitute. Here’s the link for better content ideas. 

6 Best Substitutes For Chili Garlic Sauce

Sometimes it is difficult to find chili garlic sauce or maybe you’re just looking for a slightly different flavor. Either way, the good news is that there are several sauces that make great chili garlic sauce substitutes.

In this section, you will find six of the best substitutes for chili garlic sauce that you can find on the market or prepare yourself.

1. Harissa Sauce

Harissa sauce is one of the best substitutes out there for chili garlic sauce. It is a hot sauce that originated in North Africa and is made with similar ingredients to chili garlic sauce. 

The most common ingredients used in harissa sauce are red chili, garlic, vinegar, and a mixture of other spices. The sauce is usually blended which makes it a thicker consistency similar to that of garlic chili sauces that are also blended.

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Since it is so similar in flavor and texture to chili garlic sauce you can use it in all the same dishes that you use chili garlic sauce.

2. Sriracha

Another popular sauce that is also of Vietnamese origin and even more popular than chili garlic sauce is sriracha. 

This sauce is made from jalapeno peppers, vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic. It has a thick texture with an oily feel to it. 

Traditionally, sriracha is used as a sauce to mix into Pho, a traditional Vietnamese breakfast of broth and noodles, and to top friend noodles. Nowadays, the sauce is used as a dipping sauce and to top many different dishes.

You can use sriracha as a garlic chili sauce substitute in small quantities. If you use too much of it the vinegar and jalapeno flavor can become overpowering.

To learn about the best substitutes for sriracha, click here.

3. Red Pepper Flakes

If the spice of garlic chili sauce is what you’re after, red pepper flakes can be a great substitute.

Red pepper flakes are one of the traditional ingredients of chili garlic sauce that gives it the classic spicy flavor. To use red pepper flakes you can simply sprinkle them on top of any meal to give it an extra kick.

If you want to more closely mimic the flavor of chili garlic sauce you can add some garlic powder to your food along with the red pepper flakes. 

4. Spicy Tomato Sauce

Another great option, which is particularly good if you want to add some heat to your next pizza, is spicy tomato sauce. This sauce is made with red peppers blended into the sauce which gives it extra heat. 

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To more closely imitate the flavor of chili garlic sauce you can add some minced garlic or garlic powder to your tomato sauce. 

5. Hot Sauce

One of the most popular chili-based sauces in the world is hot sauce. Hot sauce comes in many different recipes and flavors but is typically made from some combination of chili and other seasonings blended up in an oil or vinegar base. 

To find a sauce that closely matches the flavor of chili garlic sauce you should look for a hot sauce that includes garlic as one of its main ingredients.

6. Black Bean Sauce

One last substitute for chili garlic sauce is black bean sauce. This sauce is of Chinese origin and is made using fermented soybeans. It is a spicy sauce that has a strong salty flavor and slight sweetness to it. 

This is the substitute with the most differences in flavor and texture. However, it is still a good option especially if you’re planning on using the sauce in Asian dishes.


Chili garlic sauce is a popular sauce that is traditionally used in Vietnamese dishes. However, it is now popular all around the world and is used as both a dipping sauce and a marinade.

Some of the best sauces that can be used as a substitute for chili garlic sauce are harissa sauce, sriracha, red pepper flakes, spicy tomato sauce, hot sauce, and black bean sauce. All of these sauces will provide a similar spicy kick to all of your favorite dishes.