The 5 Best Substitutes for Sambal Oelek

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Have you tried Sambal Oelek before? If you don’t, you’re losing out.

This delicious condiment is made from ground chili peppers, and its a staple in Indonesian cuisine.

This delicious condiment is made from ground chili peppers, and its a staple in Indonesian cuisine.

Because it is so spicy, a little goes a long way.

This delicious condiment is made from ground chili peppers, and its a staple in Indonesian cuisine.

This tasty sauce, produced from ground chili peppers, is a mainstay in Indonesian cuisine.

  • Add it to stir-fries for an extra kick of flavor.
  • To make a tasty dipping sauce, combine it with mayonnaise or sour cream.
  • Spread it on sandwiches or wraps to add a spicy touch to your favorite lunchtime foods.
  • Marinate grilled meats or veggies in it.

However, if you cant find Sambal Oelek at your local grocery store, dont worry.

Don’t panic if you can’t get Sambal Oelek at your local grocery shop.

In this article, well share five of the best substitutes for Sambal Oelek.

So, if you’re out of this chili paste or want something a bit less hot, we’ve got you covered.

What is Sambal Oelek?

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sambal Oelek

Sambal oelek is a famous Indonesian chili paste comprised of powdered chilies, salt, and vinegar; it is simply a chili paste.

It has a grainy texture and a spicy taste that complements a variety of foods.

It is created by pulverizing fresh chilies, adding salt and vinegar, then pureeing the mixture into a smooth paste.

Other spices like as ginger, garlic, or lemongrass may be included in certain recipes, but the core components are always chili peppers, salt, and vinegar.

The paste may be used as is, or it can be diluted with water to make a sauce.

Sambal oelek may be used as a condiment or as an ingredient in a variety of cuisines.

It is typically used as a dipping sauce or in soups and stews.

It may also be used as a marinade for meats or fish, and it can be used into stir-fry or noodle recipes.

Basically, sambal oelek is a wonderful alternative for adding spice and flavor to a meal.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sambal Oelek

The 5 Best Substitutes for Sambal Oelek

Don’t worry if you can’t get sambal oelek (or don’t have time to create it from scratch).

Here are five great substitutes:

1 – Sriracha

Sriracha sauce, a Thai chili sauce, is a popular condiment.

It’s created using a chili pepper paste, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt.

Sriracha has a somewhat sweet and tangy flavor with a moderate heat intensity.

The sauce has a thick, silky texture and a vivid crimson hue.

Sriracha sauce may be used in place of sambal oelek, which is another sort of chili sauce.

Sriracha is often less hot and sweeter than sambal oelek.

To replace Sriracha for sambal oelek, start with half the quantity of Sriracha you would normally use for sambal oelek.

If you want more heat, just add more Sriracha.

When using Sriracha instead of sambal oelek in recipes, bear in mind that the taste of the dish will change.

2 – Tapatio Sauce

Tapatio sauce is a traditional Mexican condiment comprised of chili peppers, vinegar, water, garlic, and salt.

It’s often used as a dipping sauce or a finishing sauce for foods like enchiladas, tacos, and burritos.

Tapatio sauce is also used in a variety of spicy foods.

Tapatio sauce has a strong, salty flavor with a medium amount of heat.

The sauce has a gritty texture and is thick and chunky.

Tapatio sauce may be used in place of sambal oelek.

To replace sambal oelek with Tapatio sauce, just use an equal quantity of the sauce in lieu of the sambal oelek.

The taste of the food will change somewhat, but the overall spiciness will be comparable.

3 – Harissa

Harissa is a North African chili paste that is becoming more popular in the United States as a tasty and versatile ingredient.

Harissa is often produced from a combination of fiery chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices such as cumin and caraway.

As a consequence, the paste is thick and somewhat greasy, with a rich taste that may vary from pleasantly spicy to flaming hot.

Harissa may be used as a condiment, marinade, or component in prepared foods, among other things.

It’s also an excellent alternative for sambal oelek, another popular Asian chili paste.

When replacing harissa for sambal oelek, start with less of the latter since harissa is more powerful.

4 – Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

Franks Red Hot Sauce is a famous chili sauce that is often used as a condiment or to add a fiery bite to dishes.

The sauce, which is created from cayenne peppers, vinegar, and spices, has a characteristic spicy and acidic taste.

It is also rather thin in consistency, making it easier to incorporate into other meals.

Surprisingly, Franks Red Hot Sauce may be used in place of sambal oelek, a similar chili-based sauce.

Both sauces have a hot flavor, but sambal oelek has a thinner consistency and a brighter flavor owing to the inclusion of lime juice.

Simply add an equivalent quantity of Franks Red Hot Sauce to your meal to replace sambal oelek in a recipe.

You may need to adjust the quantities slightly to suit your taste, but these two sauces may be used interchangeably.

5 – Gochujang

Have you tried gochujang? It’s a Korean chili paste with a taste that’s similar to a combination between Sriracha and miso paste.

Its also really versatile.

It may be used as a condiment, a marinade, or even a dipping sauce.

The flavor is undoubtedly hot, but it also has a rich, savory flavor from the fermented soybeans.

The texture is comparable to tomato paste, being thick and somewhat sticky.

It also has a somewhat sour flavor due to fermentation.

If you’re searching for a gochujang alternative, sambal oelek is your best choice.

It has a similar consistency and taste profile, although it is not as pungent.

Still, if you can’t locate gochujang at your local grocery shop, this is a fine substitute.

Simply substitute equal parts sambal oelek for gochujang in any recipe.


Finally, sambal oelek may be replaced with a variety of other ingredients.

Tapatio sauce, harissa, Franks Red Hot Sauce, and gochujang are among of the most popular replacements.

Each of these substitutions will slightly modify the taste of the meal, but they will all deliver a comparable degree of heat and spice.

Don’t panic if you’re in a bind and can’t get sambal oelek at your neighborhood shop.

These substitutes will do the trick.


What is a good 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.

Is chili garlic sauce the same as sambal oelek?

Chili garlic paste is similar to sambal oelek, but it contains vinegar, garlic, sugar, and other flavors. It’s similar to a chunkier, spicier form of sriracha, but with less sweetness and more heat.

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.

Is sriracha the same as sambal oelek?

So, what makes it different from Sriracha? 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.

What are the 2 types of sambal?

In Indonesia, there are two types of sambals: sambal masak (cooked) and sambal mentah (raw). Cooked sambal has been cooked, resulting in a unique flavor and scent, while raw sambal is blended with other foods and often eaten immediately.

What is the flavor 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.

What is sambal oelek in English?

The term sambal oelek translates as ground chili sauce, although “oelek” is a Dutch form of the Indonesian word ulek, which meaning to grind in a mortar. The chilis given to Indonesians by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 16th century form the basis of the sambal oelek we know today.

Is sweet chili sauce the same as sambal oelek?

Sweet chili sauce is usually made with fresh red chiles, but I rarely see those at the store, so I took a short cut. I used sambal oelek, which is basically just red chiles and vinegar. Since vinegar is another main ingredient in sweet chili sauce, this using sambal oelek is a great shortcut.

Which is hotter sambal oelek or chili garlic sauce?

Sweet chili sauce is usually made with fresh red chiles, but I rarely see those at the store, so I took a short cut. I made a sambal oelek sauce out of red chilies and vinegar. Because vinegar is another key component in sweet chili sauce, employing sambal oelek is a terrific way to save time.

Why is sambal unhealthy?

If you have high blood pressure or are monitoring your calories, limit your use of this spicy, shrimpy sauce. When making sambal belacan at home, taste it before adding salt since belacan (shrimp paste) is already salty.

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