Sriracha Sauce: What is This Popular Hot Sauce Exactly?

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There are plenty of condiments you can use on fries and burgers – ketchup, mustard….mayonnaise. But only sriracha sauce can add a fiery kick. It’s used to top just about everything.

Sriracha sauce is a spicy, tangy paste that originated in Thailand but is manufactured in California by Huy Fong Foods. It contains chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Sriracha sauce is used on all sorts of dishes and is a popular dipping sauce for fried foods.

Let’s look at the origin of Sriracha sauce, how it’s made, what it’s used for, and why so many people love it.

Sriracha sauce- what is this popular hot sauce exactly?

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What is Sriracha sauce?

Sriracha sauce, pronounced as (seer-RHA-shah), is made from fresh chilies that are ground into a paste and then combined with other flavorful ingredients to create this popular condiment.

Basically, Sriracha sauce is a spicy condiment that is popular in many parts of the world. It has a bright red color and a thick, savory flavor.

Sriracha sauce contains the following ingredients:

  • chilies (red Jalapeño)
  • vinegar
  • garlic
  • sugar
  • salt

Sriracha sauce originated in Thailand, but it is now widely manufactured in California by Huy Fong Foods.

It is also called rooster sauce because of the red rooster logo on the bottle.

Sriracha hot chilli sauce rooster Huy Fong Foods

(view more images)

This condiment is used to top a variety of foods, from french fries and pizza to scrambled eggs.

It is commonly used to add a spicy or tangy flavor to dishes, and many people enjoy it as a dipping sauce for fried foods.

The sauce’s appeal is as diverse as its origins and inspirations.

The sauce is now available not only in Asian eateries but also in home kitchens, on the covers of cookbooks, and on the shelves of supermarkets all over the country.

Since the sauce is so popular, the components are listed on the bottle in five different languages.

Today, sriracha is widely available in many grocery stores and restaurants, and it can be used as a dipping sauce or flavoring for a variety of foods, including tacos, sandwiches, eggs, soups, noodles, stir-fries, and more.

There are many variations of sriracha on the market today, and it continues to gain in popularity as a versatile condiment that adds an extra kick of spiciness to your favorite foods.

But the original Sriracha most people are familiar with is the one manufactured in America by Huy Fong Foods.

What does Sriracha mean?

Sriracha doesn’t mean anything, but it’s believed to be named after a coastal city in Thailand called Si Racha. This is where the original recipe was first created and introduced to the world.

Therefore Sriracha is just a name based on the town where the sauce originated.

What does Sriracha sauce taste like?

The predominant flavor of sriracha sauce is spicy and savory.

However, it is very tangy and has a mild sweetness to it which sets it apart from other hot sauces.

Sriracha sauce is made with fresh chilies that are ground into a paste, which gives the sauce a thick, rich texture.

And depending on how much sugar and salt is added to it, sriracha can range from mild to extremely hot.

So while there are many variations of this spicy condiment on the market, the original sriracha is a flavorful blend of chilies, vinegar, sugar, and salt that is sure to add some heat to your favorite foods!

What is Sriracha sauce made of?

The exact recipe is somewhat of a guarded secret, but we know that sriracha is made of chilies, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt.

The spiciness is a result of the red Jalapeno peppers.

There are also some other additives like potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite, and xanthan gum.

It is this unique combination of ingredients that gives sriracha its spicy, tangy flavor and dark red color.

There are many different variations of the sauce available today, and most people consider these copycat recipes.

How spicy is Sriracha sauce?

Sriracha sauce is considered to be medium-spicy. Compared to other hot sauces, it is actually quite mild.

But for those who are not used to spicy food, sriracha can be quite a shock!

If you’re new to this popular condiment, it’s best to start with small amounts and work your way up from there.

But the sauce is, surprisingly, not that spicy. Sriracha scores 2,200 on the Scoville scale, a device created to gauge the heat of chilies.

Tabasco sauce has a score of 3,750, while cayenne pepper has an astonishing heat score of 50,000!

If you like your food hot hot hot, try making your own Spicy dilis, the mouth-watering Filipino dried anchovies snack

What’s the origin of sriracha sauce?

Sriracha doesn’t have a very old history, but it is believed to have originated in Thailand. It was first made by a Thai company called Huy Fong Foods and brought to the United States in 1980.

We can’t be sure about the origin of the sauce in Thailand, but we know who brought it over to the US.

There is significant controversy over the sauce’s genuine origin, and with good reason: the most well-known brand is produced in the United States by Huy Fong Foods, a company run by a Vietnamese immigrant and named after the spicy sauces found in the small Thai town of Sri Racha.

David Tran left Vietnam for the United States in the early 1980s, settling in Los Angeles. Tran started producing his own hot sauce since he couldn’t find one he liked.

As the sauce’s popularity rose, Tran started selling it out of the back of his van, giving rise to Huy Fong Foods.

The business expanded quickly, and Huy Fong Foods Sriracha Sauce is now marketed in over 20 million bottles annually.

The name “sriracha” comes from the coastal city of Si Racha in Thailand, where this sauce is believed to have originated.

However, it is difficult to trace the exact origins of this condiment, as different variations have likely developed independently in various parts of Asia.

Nevertheless, whatever its origins, sriracha has become popular worldwide for its spicy and tangy flavor.

How to cook Sriracha sauce?

The Sriracha sauce doesn’t need to be cooked before eating. However, if you want to cook it, you can add it to your favorite dishes, like soups and stews.

You can cook it alongside other ingredients like soup bases, seasonings, and all kinds of condiments.

I’ll explain how to use Sriracha sauce just down below.

How to use Sriracha sauce?

This sauce is very versatile, and there are many ways to use it.

Straight from the bottle

In American Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese restaurants, sriracha sauce is frequently offered as a side dish. Patrons can drizzle the Sriracha sauce over their food to add some extra spice and flavor.

Dipping sauce

The initial purpose of Sriracha was as a dipping sauce. You can either squeeze some into a small bowl or squirt it directly onto the dish of your choice.

It is used as a dipping sauce for dumplings, spring rolls, and other finger foods. It also pairs well with fried foods like chicken wings and french fries.

Flavor enhancer

Because of its tangy, spicy flavor, Sriracha can be used to improve the flavor of blander dishes.

Some people also add a few drops of sriracha sauce to their ramen, nachos, pizza, sushi, and other foods to give them an added kick.

Additionally, the sauce is also commonly used as an ingredient in many different types of dishes, including soups, stir-fries, noodles, and even cocktails.

Sriracha is a seafood lover’s dream seasoning! It can be drizzled over oysters, shrimp, and other fish dishes to enhance their flavor.

Mix into sauce

Creamy sauces and dips go incredibly well with Sriracha’s fiery, sour and savory flavor. For a mild kick, add some Sriracha to dips made with cream cheese, mayonnaise, or sour cream.

The Sriracha will give the sauce a reddish tinge.

Add to marinade

Sriracha is often added to marinades to enhance the flavor of meat, chicken, or tofu. Simply mix in a tablespoon or two of the sauce and let it sit while you prepare the rest of your marinade.

When preparing Japanese BBQ, Sriracha goes especially well with the soy-based marinade. Try adding it to your teriyaki or yakitori sauce for an extra spicy kick.

Combine with egg or pasta

Any creamy food, such as cheese or egg yolks, complements Sriracha’s hot, acidic flavor.

Sriracha sauce is commonly added to cheese dips, cheese balls, scrambled, fried, or deviled eggs, as well as pasta-based dishes like mac and cheese.


Although it sounds strange, Sriracha pairs well with alcohol.

It can be added to cocktails like Bloody Marys, margaritas, and mojitos for a spicy, bold flavor.

Just remember to use it sparingly and add it during the final stages of mixing, as its strong heat can overwhelm other flavors if used too heavily.

Whether you want to add a kick of spice to your favorite meal or just enjoy it as a flavorful dipping sauce, sriracha sauce is versatile enough to be enjoyed by everyone!

Best pairings for Sriracha sauce

Sriracha sauce pairs well with a variety of foods, including seafood, chicken, tofu, eggs, cheese, noodles, and pasta.

In Thailand and other Asian countries, Sriracha is usually paired with seafood.

Whether brushed onto grilled seafood or mixed into a spicy dipping sauce, its tangy heat brings out the bold flavors of shellfish and fish.

For a classic pairing, try adding Sriracha to fried chicken or buffalo wings.

Its spicy flavor will contrast the savory crust of baked chicken and deep-fried wings, adding a satisfying kick.

Sriracha also pairs well with the heat of chili peppers and spicy foods. It makes the hot foods even hotter!

Another popular pairing is to use Sriracha as a dipping sauce for fried foods. The combination of tangy and savory flavors makes these dishes even more irresistible.

Rice noodles, dumplings, and spring rolls also go well with Sriracha sauce. The spicy, sour flavor balances out the starchiness of these dishes and adds a pleasant heat.

Finally, Sriracha sauce pairs well with rice dishes because it improves the bland taste of the rice in recipes like fried rice or congee.

Best Sriracha sauce to buy

When it comes to buying Sriracha sauce, there are many different brands and options to choose from.

But I highly recommend the original Huy Fong Sriracha Sauce.

For a classic Sriracha flavor, Huy Fong’s brand is the best option.

This sauce has a flavorful heat that doesn’t overpower other flavors, making it perfect for adding to a wide range of dishes.

When the original isn’t available, Kikkoman Hot Sauce Sriracha is another tasty alternative, although the flavor is slightly different.

It’s a lot saltier than the Sriracha sauce, so it’s best to use a smaller quantity.

What’s the difference between Sriracha and hot sauce?

Sriracha and hot sauce are both spicy condiments that add a bold heat to your favorite dishes.

However, there are some key differences between the two.

Hot sauce is typically made with a blend of peppers, while Sriracha is flavored with chili garlic paste.

The flavor profile is nearly the same, except that there is somewhat less hot chili in Sriracha sauce than in regular hot sauce.

It is also significantly thicker and has a strong garlic and sugar flavor, especially the most popular Huy Fong type.

Therefore, the main difference is that while hot sauces usually contain more hot peppers, Sriracha contains a combination of other ingredients too.

What’s the difference between Sriracha and Tabasco?

Sriracha is more of a ketchup-like condiment and contains a long list of ingredients, including chili, sugar, and garlic, whereas Tabasco sauce is more Cajun-inspired and just contains distilled vinegar, red pepper, and salt.

Tabasco sauce is also thinner and more acidic in flavor, while Sriracha is thicker and has a strong garlic aroma.

In terms of flavor, Tabasco hot sauce is much spicier than Sriracha which has a hint of sweetness to it.

What’s the difference between Sriracha and Sambal Oelek?

Surprisingly, these two hot sauces have a nearly identical composition.

However, the Sambal Oelek doesn’t contain sugar, so there’s no sweetness to it.

Sambal Oelek is a chili paste, while Sriracha is a combination of chili, garlic, and other seasonings.

The main difference between these sauces is in the flavor profile and consistency.

If you’re looking for a spicy condiment that’s more savory than sweet, then Sambal Oelek is the best option.

What’s the difference between Sriracha and Frank’s Hot Sauce?

While both hot sauces are made with chili peppers, there are some key differences between them.

Frank’s Hot Sauce is a thinner, more acidic sauce, while Sriracha is thicker and contains other ingredients like sugar and garlic.

In terms of flavor, Frank’s Hot Sauce has a much spicier heat than Sriracha, which is why it’s commonly used in Cajun and Southern dishes like crawfish and shrimp.

Types of Sriracha hot sauce

While it may seem like there’s only one Sriracha sauce, there are, in fact, a few varieties.

The most popular type of Sriracha is Huy Fong’s original sauce, which has a smooth texture and strong garlic flavor.

There’s also the original Thai version called Sriraja Panich Sriracha Chili Sauce. It is thicker and slightly sweeter than Huy Fong’s.

There’s also a chili garlic sauce that has a thicker texture and is made with just chili, sugar, and garlic.

There’s also a Sriracha mayonnaise that is made with eggs, vinegar, sugar, and oil.

Is Sriracha healthy?

Sriracha hot sauce is low in calories. It is also made with natural ingredients and is gluten-free.

However, it does contain added sugar, so if you’re trying to follow a low-sugar diet, then Sriracha may not be the best option for you.

Sriracha does not significantly increase the number of nutrients in your diet because it is often consumed in tiny doses.

It does have a small amount of carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals like salt.

One thing to note, though, is that chili peppers contain capsaicin. It is healthy because it can help boost metabolism and reduce inflammation in the body.

So, sriracha is not healthy, but it’s not unhealthy either unless consumed in large quantities. In that case, it may contain more sodium and sugar than is necessary for the body.

Overall, when consumed in moderation, Sriracha hot sauce can be a healthy addition to your diet.

Is Sriracha gluten-free?

Yes, most types of sriracha sauce are gluten-free, as it does not contain any wheat-based ingredients.

However, you should always check the label of your sriracha sauce to be sure.

How to store Sriracha sauce?

There are a few key tips that can help you store your Sriracha sauce properly.

First, you should always keep it in a cool, dry place where there is minimal exposure to sunlight or other sources of heat. This will help preserve the flavor and texture of the sauce over time.

Second, try not to leave your Sriracha sauce out for too long. It’s best to store it in the fridge, so that you can reach for a quick meal or snack without having to worry about food waste.

Last, make sure that the bottle of Sriracha is properly sealed. You may need to wipe down the lid and outside of the bottle regularly to avoid any sign of condensation.

With these tips in mind, you can be sure that your Sriracha will stay fresh and flavorful for a long time to come!

Does Sriracha sauce go bad?

Yes, Sriracha sauce can go bad over time. This is because it contains fresh ingredients like chili peppers and garlic, which are susceptible to spoilage.

To help prevent your Sriracha from going bad, you should keep it stored in a cool, dry place where there is minimal exposure to light.


Sriracha is a popular hot sauce that is made with chili peppers, sugar, and other seasonings.

It has a thick texture and strong spicy flavor with notes of sweetness and garlic, making it a versatile addition to many different dishes.

There are several types of Sriracha sauce available, including Huy Fong’s original sauce, Thai Sriraja Panich Sriracha Chili Sauce, and chili garlic sauce.

Whether you’re looking for a spicy condiment that’s more savory than sweet or a creamy spread that’s full of flavor, there’s a type of Sriracha hot sauce out there to try.

Japanese food is not often spicy, but Tsurai (辛い) or karai (辛い) (“Spicy” in the Japanese tongue) does exist!

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Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.