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Chili Garlic Paste Substitutes

Suppose you’re the type that fancies a garlicky and salty rich taste in your stir-fries, marinades, vegetables, sauces, salad dressings, etc. In that case, chili garlic paste probably is a household recipe for you. It is a common ingredient in Asian and Chinese cuisines but definitely not limited to that. It is made from a combination of red jalapeno peppers and garlic with sugar, salt, a little vinegar, and a slurry of cornstarch to create the right texture.

Chili Garlic Paste Substitutes

Chili garlic paste is hot and tangy, with that punch of garlic. And yet, it tastes fresh, too, with a brightness that probably comes from the textural nuance. It pairs well with any dish you’re hoping to add a bit of heat and bite to.

Nevertheless, like many other spicy and hot ingredients, chili garlic paste has its own side effects, especially if consumed excessively; these effects could be; heartburn, burning in your mouth or throat, nausea, bad breath, vomiting, etc. Also, it is not advisable to take ginger contents if you’re on birth control pills, Tylenol, cyclosporine, warfarin, etc., to avoid negative reactions. This is why it is worth considering other viable options.

What is Chili Garlic Paste?

Chili paste is often used interchangeably with chili sauce, but that is far from the truth. Like tomato paste and tomato sauce, chili paste typically has a thicker texture compared to chili sauce. The difference in texture is because chili paste usually contains less moisture than chili sauce. A chili sauce may have extra liquid in the form of water or vinegar.

Chili paste is flavorful and intense because its main ingredient is chili pepper. It is very versatile and adds flavor, character, and pungency to whatever it is added to. Chili paste comes in different forms and varieties, sometimes different textures too, especially those with added ingredients, but the sole aim is to make your dishes come to life with an added bite. Some are used as a cooking ingredient, while others are used to season a dish after preparation.

Chili Garlic Paste Uses in Recipes

There is an inexhaustible list of what you could use chili garlic paste with; it adds a distinguished, strong, and pungent flavor to any dish. It pairs well with whatever you’re preparing, and your desired flavor is that spiciness and hotness. Let’s take a look at some of the recipes it shines well on.

Chili Garlic Paste Substitutes

Suppose you’re looking for substitutes for chili garlic paste. In that case, it could be due to the fact that you don’t have it when needed, or you’re experiencing some of the side effects like heartburn, bad breath, nausea, etc., or you’re advised by your doctor not to take it to avoid reverse reactions with the drugs you’re taking. Whatever the reason is, here’s a list to guide you on other replacements you could turn to.

Hot Sauce


Hot sauce is a similar type of condiment made from chili pepper and other ingredients. There are several hot sauces in the grocery store, and any of them would do a perfect job. While it may lack the consistency that chili paste offers, the similar properties of spiciness and intense pepper flavor make it an excellent replacement. It can be used in equal proportion as with chili garlic paste.

Ground Cayenne Pepper and Ketchup



Chilli garlic paste has similar textural nuance to ketchup; the only thing missing in the texture is the fiery pungent flavor. And that is exactly what ground cayenne pepper would bring to the mixture. What’s more, you can decide how spicy you want the outcome to be by adding the amount of pepper you want. But ideally, one to two teaspoons of ground cayenne pepper to one cup of ketchup makes a fiery replacement for chili paste.

Harissa Sauce

Harissa Sauce


This equally spicy sauce is made up of red chili, garlic, oil, and vinegar. It has a fiery and garlicky, hot, and aromatic flavor reminiscent of chili garlic paste. It also consists of a variety of spices such as cumin, coriander, caraway, etc. All of these make it a close replacement for chili garlic paste and can be used in the same quantity.




Sriracha is a hot sauce or chili sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. Although, one downside to using this as a replacement is that it contains too much salt. To lessen the effect of this, it should be used in decreased quantity compared to chili paste. However, it has garlic, spices, and a tinge of sweetness that many spice lovers appreciate. It has the same hotness and spicy flavor as chili garlic paste, making it an excellent replacement.

Black Bean Sauce

This is a Chinese sauce also known as doubanjiang. It is made of soybean oil, water, chili, and salt. Black Bean Sauce has a fermented flavor and rich, earthy taste, perfect for Sichuan dishes and other dishes that call for spicy sauces.

Also, it has no cholesterol or saturated fat, which always welcomes the news, especially to people on strict diets. Its hot, salty, spicy, and savory flavor means it can be a perfect replacement instead of your chili paste. It can be used proportionally as you would chili paste.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I substitute chili garlic sauce for chili garlic paste?

Yes, you can. They both have a fiery hot flavor and serve the same functions. However, there is a difference in their textural make-up. Chili paste is thicker and has a ketchup appearance, while chili sauce is thinner, has more moisture and other ingredients.

Is chili garlic paste the same as Sriracha?

No. Chili garlic sauce is not the same as Sriracha. However, they both feature similar ingredients leading to them being close substitutes.

What is the most similar spice to chili paste?

Hot sauce. It is a similar type of condiment made from chili pepper and other ingredients. They all have the same condimental properties. 


We all love that extra kick and spiciness in most of our dishes that call for it. Chilli garlic paste is one of such aromatic condiments that gives that bite and hotness. While some may enjoy it, others may have allergic reactions to it or are averse to taking it with some drugs, which is why we provided some close substitutes that would not deny you of that desired spicy taste in your dishes.