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What Is Sriracha?

Sriracha sauce has become super popular recently but exactly what is sriracha? And how do you use it? Get the answer to these questions and more below, plus 15 easy recipes with sriracha you have to try!

What is Sriracha?

If you’ve ever wondered, what is sriracha?, you’re not alone! It’s become super popular in recent years but many people aren’t sure exactly what it is!

Sriracha is a hot sauce that originated in Southeast Asia. It’s mildly spicy, usually with garlic undertones, and has a thick, dippable consistency.

It’s become popular in recent years in the US, particularly the one made by Huy Fong Foods in California. The red sauce in the bottle with the rooster has become the image most in North America associate with the term “sriracha sauce” but it’s important to note that sriracha is a general term, just like ketchup.

The wonderful thing about sriracha is that it can be added to pretty much anything. Sriracha mayo has become a popular condiment recently but it’s a great way to add some heat and flavor to pretty much any dish, as you’ll see below in the sriracha recipes section.

Is Sriracha Spicy?

Sriracha is spicy but not TOO spicy. Think hotter than Frank’s Redhot but not as hot as Tabasco. The spice level will also depend on the brand, as they all have slightly different recipes and ingredients used.

Huy Fong Foods, for example, tends to be sweeter with a stronger garlic flavor, while other brands that are made in Southeast Asia, such as Polar from Thailand, are hotter.

What’s It Made Of?

Now that you know the answer to what is sriracha, you may be wondering what, exactly, is sriracha made of? Well, it’s impossible to know all of the exact ingredients as each company that produces it keeps their recipe a secret but the general ingredients you can expect to find include:

  • Chiles
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Garlic Vinegar

and a few preservatives to keep it fresh and shelf-stable.

The chiles used are typically red jalapenos, which create the vibrant red color, and unlike other hot sauces, the chiles are not dried but sun-ripened instead.

Is There a Sriracha Shortage?

Sort of! Specifically, there’s a shortage of Huy Fong Foods’ sriracha. The shortage is due to last year’s drought in Mexico, where the peppers used in the sriracha sauce are sourced. They had to shut down production for a short period in 2022 and though production has resumed, they are still facing supply shortages.

Other brands of sriracha, in particular those produced in other countries, have not reported a shortage. And you can still find Huy Fong Foods sriracha sauce on the shelves, just perhaps not all the time.

Sriracha Substitute

If you CAN’T find sriracha sauce on the shelves, here are a few possible substitutes.

  • Tabasco. The classic hot sauce is a bit spicier than sriracha and much thinner but if you’re using it to add flavor to a dish and not as a dip, Tabasco is an easy sriracha substitute.
  • Polar Sriracha Chili Sauce. This is technically a sriracha sauce but not as commonly known as some brands. It’s a good place to start if you can’t find your go-to and can easily be ordered online.
  • Sweet Thai Chili Sauce. Thai chili sauce is a bit sweeter than sriracha and made with different peppers, but it still adds a bit of heat to recipes and has the same dippable consistency.
  • Peri Peri Sauce. Full warning – Peri Peri sauce is a LOT spicier than sriracha, so start with small amounts. It’s another popular hot sauce, made with bird’s eye chili peppers, garlic, and lemon juice. It will definitely spice up whatever dish you’re making!

Common Questions

Besides “what is sriracha?”, here are the answers to some common questions about the hot sauce!

Does sriracha go bad?

Sriracha has a long shelf life – think a few years – but it can eventually go bad. If you find any mold in the bottle, it has a fermented smell, or the ingredients have separated or can’t be poured, it’s time to toss it out. Note that if you see the sriracha turning darker, that’s not a sign it’s gone bad – it’s a natural process that happens with chiles.

Does sriracha need to be refrigerated?

You don’t have have to refrigerate sriracha, even after opening, though doing so will extend the shelf life. Keeping the sriracha in the fridge will keep it fresh for a few years vs a few months and help maintain the same flavor. If you go through it quickly, storing it in a cool place in the kitchen is fine.

Is sriracha the same as hot sauce?

Sriracha sauce is a type of hot sauce from Southeast Asia. However, it’s not the same as Tabascao, Frank’s RedHot, or other common hot sauces.

How do you pronounce sriracha?

There are two common pronunciations – see-ROTCH-ah and see-rah-jah. The first is the most common pronunciation in the US.

15 Easy Recipes with Sriracha You Have to Try

Crispy baked sweet potato fries on a sheet of parchment paper with a small bottle of honey sriracha sauce

Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries with Honey Sriracha Aioli

Sweet and spicy honey sriracha aioli is the perfect dipping sauce for these Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries! Enjoy as a healthy snack, side dish, or appetizer everyone will love.

Honey sriracha grilled shrimp garnished with chopped parsley and fresh lime slices

Honey Sriracha Grilled Shrimp

These Honey Sriracha Grilled Shrimp are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. Serve with a fresh squeeze of lime juice and enjoy as an appetizer or entree!

photo of mini baked crab cakes with sriracha sauce on a plate

Mini Baked Crab Cakes with Sriracha Sauce

Forget remoulade sauce, sriracha sauce is the perfect dip for crab cakes! These Mini Baked Crab Cakes with sriracha make the perfect appetizer for any party.

a pile of crispy baked chili lime chicken wings

Sticky Sweet ‘n Spicy Chili Lime Baked Chicken Wings

Sriracha helps turn up the heat in these Sticky Sweet ‘n Spicy Chili Lime Baked Chicken Wings. These crispy baked wings are the perfect appetizer for game day!

Sriracha Mac and Cheese, a classic amped up with spicy sriracha hot sauce and a few secret ingredients for a healthier comfort food version you'll love! | joyfulhealthyeats.com #recipes #lowcalorie

Sriracha Mac and Cheese

Forget basic mac and cheese – this Sriracha Mac and Cheese is where it’s at. Once you try this, you’ll never settle for a plain bowl of mac and cheese again.

A Plate Full of Chicken Wings, Carrots and Celery Sticks

The Crispiest Honey BBQ Air Fryer Chicken Wings

A little bit of sriracha helps make the most addicting honey BBQ sauce you can imagine, perfect for these Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings! Ready in just 20 minutes!

A salmon salad on a black serving platter with a small dish full of honey sriracha dressing

Grilled Honey Sriracha Salmon Salad

Honey sriracha sauce makes the perfect glaze for the salmon and the perfect salad dressing in this Grilled Honey Sriracha Salmon Salad. Each bite is bursting with flavor!

wok filled with low carb chicken fried rice

15 Minute Cauliflower Chicken Fried Rice

A splash of sriracha adds just the right amount of heat to this Cauliflower Chicken Fried Rice. Ready in 15 minutes, it’s easier (and healthier) than takeout!

Extra honey sriracha sauce being brushed onto a grilled chicken thigh

Honey Sriracha Grilled Chicken Thighs

Honey and sriracha is the perfect combination for these sweet, spicy, and smoky Honey Grilled Grilled Chicken Thighs! Perfect for summer grilling.

A bowl full of crunchy quinoa salad on top of a kitchen countertop

Thai Quinoa Salad

A little bit of sriracha in the sesame ginger dressing adds incredible flavor to this Thai Quinoa Salad. With quinoa, cucumber, bell pepper, and cabbage, this easy salad is the perfect healthy lunch option.

a mason jar with boom boom sauce which is a mayonnaise-based sauce that's sweet, spicy, and tangy.

Boom Boom Sauce

Boom Boom Sauce is another addicting condiment – and sriracha sauce is one of the ingredients! Sweet, spicy, garlicky and creamy, you’re going to want to add this Boom Boom Sauce to literally everything.

egg roll in a bowl plated in a white bowl which is ground turkey, cabbage, and carrots tossed a soy-based sauce

20-Minute Eggroll in a Bowl

This low carb Eggroll in a Bowl is the perfect 20 minute dinner for any busy weeknight! Ingredients like ginger, garlic, sriracha, and soy sauce ensure each bite is bursting with flavor.

close up on Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce

The spicy peanut sauce made with sriracha adds so much flavor to these Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps! A quick, easy, and low carb recipe that’s perfect for lunch or dinner.

a plate of ahi tuna poke nachos with diced mango, green onions, and sriracha mayo

Ahi Tuna Poke Nachos

Sriracha mayo elevates these Ahi Tuna Poke Nachos to a whole new level. Enjoy as a light lunch or shareable snack!

a bowl of asian-inspired brussels sprouts with sesame seed garnish

Crispy Air Fryer Asian Brussel Sprouts

Sriracha adds just the right amount of heat to these sweet and savory Air Fryer Asian Brussels Sprouts. A quick and easy side to nearly any meal!

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