Posted on
Rate this post

Sambal oelek is a fantastic culinary condiment for individuals who wish to spice up and flavor their cuisine. Nevertheless, it is an Asian hot chili paste that is mostly sold at Asian supermarkets, but you may be lucky enough to come across it at random.

What if you don’t? What if there isn’t an Asian shop nearby?

Are you prepared to quit your dish halfway through and travel 10-15 minutes for chile paste? I’m not sure about you, but I’d rather save my time, energy, and petrol by using alternative Sambal Oelek equivalents.

And there are numerous variations to pick from, some of which are more flavorful and aromatic than the standard ground raw chili paste with basic vinegar and salt addition.

Chili garlic sauce, hot sriracha sauce, harissa chili paste, hot Tabasco sauce, gochujang chili paste, cayenne pepper flakes, crushed red pepper flakes, or fresh jalapeo are the best substitutes to sambal Oelek.

Sambal Oelek Substitutes

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these options to see whether they’re worth your money.

1. Homemade Sambal Oelek

Adding anything other than sambal Oelek is frowned upon by most people. And we can’t deny you that, which is why a homemade Sambal Oelek is the ideal alternative.

You can buy pre-made Sambal Oelek at the grocery store, but nothing beats fresh. After you see how simple it is to create your own hot chili paste, you’ll never want to purchase it again.

It simply takes a few minutes and three basic ingredients:

  • 1 pound chili peppers
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and mix until smooth. Finally, place the mixture in a jar and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours before using.

But wait, what if I told you the second substitution may be just as good as the fresh Sambal Oelek?

No cap! Check it out for yourself.

2. Sriracha Hot Sauce

The most popular hot condiment on this list is likely Sriracha Hot sauce. But, when a line is drawn between it and sambal oelek, the two hot Asian tastes go head to head.

The components and heat levels are almost same. Sriracha will provide a sweeter taste with hints of garlic notes. Meanwhile, the sambal oelek is mostly flavored with chili peppers and a dash of vinegar.

Marinades; used in noodle dishes, soups, and stews. Meats and cheese In addition, Sriracha is a sauce, but sambal oelek is more of a paste. You may use both directly as a dipping sauce, beverages, and eggs.

But, if you’re seeking for a thickening agent, sambal oelek is a far better choice. Several passionate chefs have also reduced the Sriracha garlic taste by adding a little vinegar. So you can, too.

3. Chili Garlic Sauce

While chili garlic sauce does not have the same taste, it may be used in most Sambal Oelek dishes. They include almost identical components such as chilies, vinegar, and salt; however, the Chili garlic sauce has sugar and garlic in addition to other flavors.

This explains why they’re spicier, somewhat sweeter, and chunkier.

Hence, if you don’t mind the additional tastes, change the amount to sambal oelek. You will not notice any change.

Chili garlic sauce goes well with noodles, stir-fries, grilled fish, meat, and tofu.

4. Tabasco Hot Sauce

Tabasco hot sauce, like sambal oelek, is produced with vital components such as chili pepper, vinegar, and salt, making it a great replacement.

Remember that this choice contains more vinegar than Sriracha sauce and sambal oelek. Therefore, if you’re going for it, use half the grade you’d use for sambal oelek.

Otherwise, your food will be overpowered by acidity. Try it on salads, curries, and pasta sauces, as well as fajitas, tacos, burritos, pizza, garlic bread, and even barbeque.

5. Harissa Paste

Harissa is a fiery chili paste native to Tunisia, North Africa. I can attest to the harissa paste’s effectiveness as a sambal oelek alternative whether used as a meat rub on beef, hog, lamb, or poultry.

Although they may not taste the same, they do have comparable heat levels and sensations. The taste of harissa paste is somewhat sweet, smokey, and tangy cumin.

This may not work in all recipes. It may, however, be used on roasted vegetables, salad dressing, spaghetti, burgers, and hummus. Nevertheless, begin by adding little by little until you get the desired outcome.

6. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Another great sambal oelek replacement is red pepper flakes. Although it does not replicate the flavor or consistency of Sambal Oelek, it does resemble the pungency.

Crushed red pepper flakes will happily fill in when sambal fails to effectively operate as an addictive. It may be found in pickling mixtures, spaghetti sauce, chowders, pizza sauce, beefsteak, soups, and sausage.

It’s sharp and earthy, with a good kick of spice; use a tablespoon for every one tablespoon of sambal oelek.

7. Gochujang Chili Paste

If you don’t have any of the sambal oelek replacements listed above, you might use Gochujang chili paste.

Gochujang is a thick fermented savory and somewhat sweet Korean red chili paste.

Because of their essential constituents, this paste and sambal oelek have unique flavors.

You may, however, use Gochujang instead of sambal oelek in all of your favorite Korean meals, such as Dakgalbi, Tteokbokki, Budae Jjigae, and others.

Apart from that, it’s great for thickening dipping sauces, slathering on as a marinade for birds, meats, or intensifying soups.

We suggest using half the quantity you would for sambel because to its strong taste character.

8. Cayenne Pepper Flakes

Cayenne pepper flakes, which are similar to crushed red pepper flakes but may substitute the sambal oelek, are another option.

Again, this substitute does not have the same taste or consistency as sambal oelek, but it adds a spicy kick to your food.

You will enjoy it more in Mexican food, such as tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas.

It may also be used to flavor cheese omelettes, meat marinades, and powerful spicy sauces.

You should use a quarter quantity of crushed red pepper flakes.

9. Fresh Jalapeno

Finally, if you don’t have any of the aforementioned sauces or pastes to substitute, don’t despair.

In all recipes, dice a couple FRESH Jalapeo peppers for extra spice and crunch.

You may use it raw in salsas, salads, chutney, or guacamole as a sambal oelek alternative; cooked in major meals, baked into cornbread, and many other things.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is Sambal Oelek Made Of?

Sambal Oelek is a spicy Indonesian chili paste made from three basic ingredients: fiery red chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. Other ingredients that might be used include onion, garlic, lemon, sugar, and so on.

How Hot Is Sambal Sauce?

Sambal oelek has a modest heat that is not overpowering and is not sweet. Even the garlic varieties aren’t very flavorful. In general, sambal oelek is quite fiery, similar to cayenne pepper or Holland Chili, with 30,000 to 50,000 SHU.

If you’re preparing your own sambal sauce; you may experiment with various spicy chilies based on your preferred degree of heat or what’s available at the time.

Is Sambal Oelek Unhealthy?

Since it has no sugar, it is a healthier alternative to hot paste or sauce condiments. This sugar-free sauce reduces your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. It is also a low-calorie condiment that aids in the relief of discomfort, rhinitis, and the discharge of mucus during a cold attack.

Warning! If you have colitis or ulcers, this does not grant you permission. You may either avoid it entirely or use it sparingly.

How Long Does Fresh Sambal Last?

Sambal is rather perishable. Therefore placing it in the fridge will make it last longer. But, unfortunately, not for long. You only have around 2 weeks to a month to save your bigger batches for subsequent use. Just keep it in an airtight jar or container.

But, seriously?

Consider this for a moment: sambal has never gone that long without being consumed.


With so many Sambal Oelek Substitutes available, selecting a decision might be difficult.

Of course, you can’t have it all!

It would be beneficial if you focused more on what works best for you and what is accessible at the time. It will be much easier to make a decision this way.

Also, many of the aforementioned Chili pastes and sauces will work well as a sambal oelek alternative, albeit some may change in consistency, flavor, or texture. Better still, you can create your own sambal oelek from scratch.

You now have the ball in your court!


What is the best substitute for sambal oelek?

What can I substitute for sambal oelek? Garlic and chili sauce, sriracha (albeit sweeter than sambal), or crushed chilli are the finest replacements. It’s also simple to create your own.

What can I use instead of sambal oelek if it’s not spicy?

Sriracha (a chili garlic sauce) is the most easily accessible alternative to sambal oelek, and it also has a very similar taste profile. The key taste distinctions are a touch of garlic in Sriracha (which sambal oelek lacks) and less vinegar tang.

Why is sambal oelek discontinued?

Huy Fong Foods Inc., the creator of one of the most popular condiments in the United States, has been forced to halt manufacturing of its signature hot sauces — Sriracha, Chili Garlic, and Sambal Oelek — owing to a shortage of chili peppers.

Can I substitute sambal oelek for sriracha?

Sambal oelek is by far the greatest replacement for the thick, spicy sriracha sauce. It is quite popular in large supermarket shops and offers a comparable heat impact. It’s produced with many less components than sriracha.

What can I use instead of sambal oelek hot sauce?

Finally, sambal oelek may be replaced with a variety of other ingredients. Tapatio sauce, harissa, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, and gochujang are some of the most popular replacements.

Is sriracha the same as sambal oelek?

Sambal Oelek is less refined than Sriracha. Sambal is thicker and has less flavors, such as garlic. Sambal’s pure chili taste appeals to many hot sauce enthusiasts. Because of its clean taste profile, Sambal Oelek has garnered the admiration of many chefs and found its way into numerous restaurant kitchens.

What is the flavor of sambal oelek?

Sambal oelek, often known as sambal, is thicker and chunkier than other spicy sauces in the United States. It generally has pepper fragments and entire pepper seeds. The vinegar taste is sharp and tangy, with a nice degree of spice. A little amount goes a big way!

What is the Flavour of sambal oelek?

The taste sensation provided is also straightforward: sambal oelek is sweet, somewhat acidic, salty, and spicy. It has a natural sweetness that comes from the mature red chili peppers utilized to make this paste. The absence of garlic in most sambal oelek recipes distinguishes it from sriracha.

Is sambal oelek the same as Thai chili sauce?

Although Sriracha is uniquely Thai, Sambal Oelek is Indonesian, and it is simply powdered raw chili paste. It is usually made with red chili peppers, vinegar, and salt.

What is the best brand of sambal oelek?

The Most Popular Brand of Sambal Oelek

While there are several companies that create a chili garlic sauce and sambal oelek may be prepared at home, Huy Fong Foods makes the most famous and well-known sambal oelek.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *