Early in 2023, I was hopeful that the Sriracha drought was over. I could find it in my local grocery store any time, although it was twice the price. Unfortunately, the drought is far from over and once again it has disappeared from store shelves.
And if you’re anything like me, that’s a big problem! It’s not just a local issue; in fact, there’s a nationwide shortage of Sriracha.
Because Huy Fong Sriracha is a staple in my home, I have been trying to find a suitable alternative since last summer when it disappeared from the store. Over the past 12 months, I have been able to try four different alternatives labeled as “Sriracha,” so I wanted to share my thoughts on each one.
Unfortunately, none of them matched the perfect Huy Fong balance. However, the most recent one I tried is good enough to recommend, and I’ve been happy using it as a replacement until I can get my hands on Huy Fong Sriracha.
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Tabasco Sriracha Review
Let me start by saying, I hate traditional Tabasco sauce. It’s one of my least favorite hot sauces ever — it’s just a weird burny vinegar with no redeeming qualities.
Luckily, Tabasco’s Sriracha is… not as bad. To me, it doesn’t taste much like Huy Fong, but it’s acceptable.
Tabasco Sriracha vs. Huy Fong Sriracha
What I noticed about the Tabasco Sriracha is that it tastes SWEET, and a bit one-note. The ingredients are similar — red jalapeños, vinegar, sugar, garlic, etc, but it lacks the complexity of Huy Fong and sits very sweet on the tongue.
The garlic also isn’t as noticeable or pleasant to me as traditional Sriracha, and it is less spicy.
Overall, I give Tabasco Sriracha a 6/10. It’s alright if you’re in a pinch and have nothing else available, but it’s not my first (or second, or third) choice. I would rather reach for a non-Sriracha hot sauce than this one.
Food Club Sriracha review
I have never heard of Food Club Sriracha before, but it looks like a very generic off-brand. It has a flat cap rather than the coned nozzle found with normal Huy Fong Sriracha (and the Tabasco variation.) I found it at Woodman’s and it isn’t available on Amazon so that may be the only place you can find it.
Generic Food Club Sriracha vs. Huy Fong Sriracha
Again, this knockoff Sriracha just falls flat for me. It is much lighter and thinner in consistency than Huy Fong, looking almost like a sweet and sour sauce.
Surprisingly, the Food Club brand Sriracha was significantly less sweet than the Tabasco version, but it also falls short of regular Sriracha as we know and love it. It is more on the sour side vs. the sweet side, but again fails the balance of Huy Fong.
I give Food Club brand Sriracha a 3/10. Because I’ve got several other types of hot sauces in my fridge, I don’t think I will even use this one up before it expires.
Melinda’s Sriracha Wing Sauce review
Melinda’s is always been a reliable but not exceptional pick, but I was hoping this one would blow me away.
Unfortunately, Melinda’s was just “fine”, coming in at a 5/10 rating for me.
Melinda’s Sriracha Wing Sauce vs. Huy Fong Sriracha
When it comes to comparing Melinda’s Sriracha and Huy Fong Sriracha, there are a few notable differences worth mentioning. Firstly, Melinda’s Sriracha has a lighter and more liquid consistency, with a significantly brighter and more vinegary taste. Additionally, it’s less sweet than Huy Fong’s version.
Both sauces have a similar heat level and a spicy and garlicky flavor profile.
Because the brightness of Melinda’s Sriracha is a punch in the face, if you’re expecting the mellow and sweet Huy Fong version, I wouldn’t consider it a suitable replacement. It’s decent on its own and I will probably use it up, but I wouldn’t use it in the same ways that I would typically use Sriracha.
Trader Joe’s Sriracha review
I live more than an hour from the nearest Trader Joe’s, so I always have to go hunt one down when I’m in the Chicago area. Trader Joe’s is well-known for having their own branded version of almost anything you can think of, and in terms of packaged foods they usually do a really good job.
Luckily, this is the case with their Sriracha! I was so thrilled when tried it because it’s SO much better than any of the other alternatives.
This Sriracha was less than $3 in person at Trader Joe’s, but if you don’t have a TJ’s nearby, you can also buy it on Amazon, although the price is much higher.
Trader Joe’s Sriracha vs. Huy Fong
There are a few noticeable differences compared to Huy Fong’s version. First, the Trader Joe’s Sriracha has a slightly more liquid consistency. It’s also less sweet and more garlic-forward, which may be a plus for those who prefer a more savory taste.
Despite these differences, both sauces have similar heat levels and a spicy and garlicky flavor profile.
In fact, the taste of Trader Joe’s Sriracha is so similar enough to Huy Fong’s that I will use it as a 1:1 replacement. For those with access to a Trader Joe’s, this is an excellent option if you can’t find Huy Fong but want that classic Sriracha flavor.
While Trader Joe’s Sriracha isn’t a perfect match, I give it an 8/10 and will be using this until I can find the real deal.
The verdict: are off-brand Srirachas worth it?
If you have spent years eating Sriracha daily and are looking for a close replacement, Trader Joe’s Sriracha is the closest you’ll come. It’s not exactly the same, but I consider it a worthy alternative.
The other sauces each have their own benefits and downsides but don’t expect them to taste the same as the classic Huy Fong.
Other Sriracha alternatives
While Huy Fong’s Sriracha is a classic, many other brands offer a unique take on this beloved flavor.
Since writing this article I’ve tried nearly a dozen different off-brand Srirachas! Check out my full ranking list here.
Two alternatives that I have not yet had the chance to try but am curious about are Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha Hot Sauce and Yellowbird Organic Sriracha.
The Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha Hot Sauce is a fusion of Sriracha and Gochujang, a Korean chili paste. As a fan of Gochujang, I’m curious to see how this hybrid sauce turns out. I don’t expect it to taste exactly like Huy Fong’s Sriracha, but that’s part of the fun of trying new things.
In general, I’m a fan of Yellowbird hot sauces, so I’m curious about their Sriracha. They take a unique approach by using dates and raisins to add a touch of sweetness. Despite significantly different ingredients, it still has a similar sugar content to traditional Sriracha, so it may satisfy the same cravings.