This homemade sriracha recipe is for those of you who love to make your own for the fun of it or because you have lots of red chillies to use up from the garden.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
What is Sriracha?
Sriracha is a slightly tangy hot sauce made with red chillies, garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt. It was created sometime in the 1930s by Thanom Chakkapak (with help from her father) for use with her home cooked meals.
This original Thai sriracha was hot, sour, salty and a little sweet, typical Thai flavours. While this Thai sriracha is spicier than the Western creation, its overriding flavour isn’t that of chillies. Instead it has a well rounded, balanced flavour that the Thais call klom klom.
Thanom named her hot sauce after the town she lived in, Si Racha. It sits in the Chon Buri district on the south coast of Thailand. These days, there are a few brands of this Thai version kicking about in Thailand. Having been to Chon Buri a couple of times, I’ve been fortunate enough to have tasted a few versions; some mild, some pretty sour and some, way too hot!
Huy Fong Sriracha (Rooster Sriracha)
Did you know that the sriracha sauce that everyone is familiar with, Huy Fong Sriracha, is not made in Thailand but in California? It is the brainchild of David Tran, a Vietnamese and huge fan of the original Thai sriracha sauce.
David’s sauce is also known as rooster sauce, and is slightly thicker than the original. It’s named after his Chinese zodiac sign (he was born in the year of the rooster).
These days though, there are a few other brands selling sriracha, with the rooster’s biggest competitors (at least here in the UK) being the Flying Goose and Thai Dragon. And you have all sorts of heat level, from mild to very hot. But they’re nothing like the one created in Thailand in the 1930s.
LinsFood’s sriracha recipe is closer to the original homemade version. It has a lighter consistency, is medium spicy, salty, has a touch of sweet and is also a little tart, both from the vinegar and the 1-week fermentation.
This is what we’ll be doing:
- Chop the chillies and garlic to a semi coarse state, along with the sugars and salt.
- Transfer to a sterilised jar, cover and leave to ferment for 1 week, stirring ever day.
- Pour this fermented chilli mix into a blender, add vinegar and blend to a smooth, runny paste.
- Strain this blended mix into a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Taste and add more vinegar, sugar or salt, to your taste.
- Transfer to a sterilised bottle and store in the fridge.
Should you Ferment Homemade Sriracha?
That’s an absolute yes, for that klom klom flavour. I’ve tried both many times over, and can definitely conclude that aging your homemade sriracha slightly gives it depth and tartness that cannot be obtained with just vinegar alone.
If you’ve never fermented before, don’t fret, it’s very safe and easily done. If you can’t wait for the whole 7 days I suggest in the recipe below, go for 5 days.
Best Chillies (Chili Pepper) for Homemade Sriracha
This, to a large extent, depends on you. The Huy Fong Foods sriracha uses fresh red jalapeños. This would have created a medium spicy hot sauce, which is what I’ve gone for in my recipe card below. Mind you, some of you probably think of jalapeños as mild, while others may consider them hot. It’s all rather subjective.
So you can use any medium hot red chillies. Or, if you prefer, Thai birds eye chillies, scotch bonnets or anything spicy, if you want to make a hot sriracha.
And if by some chance, you want to make it even milder, you could use half a mild chilli, and half red bell pepper in terms of weight.
I’ve given the weight of the chillies, to ensure that we have the right balance between chillies and all the other ingredients.
As you make this sauce more often, you can play around with the ratio, if you like. This is certainly the case with the amount of garlic. The Flying Goose sriracha is definitely a little more garlicky than the rooster one.
We don’t need many ingredients for our homemade sriracha. All you need:
- fresh red chillies
The only thing I want to touch on here is the sugar. The original sriracha would have used Thai palm sugar which is a delicious sugar with subtle caramel and coconut flavours. The Thai sriracha also uses pickled garlic, which I’m not doing here.
I’ve gone for a combination of palm sugar and white in our recipe here. This is because it gives me the best balance, the best klom klom flavour, in the absence of the pickled garlic.
The best substitute for Thai palm sugar, to me, is the humble white sugar. Light brown sugar (or dark brown), which is the popular choice for just about everything in the US, is too strong in every way, and has the wrong aroma. To me, it alters the flavour of whatever recipe it’s used in.
So, if you can’t get Thai palm sugar, use white sugar. Even my beloved gula melaka is too strong for this.
How long will it Keep?
Your homemade sriracha will keep for 6 months in the fridge.
If you want to keep it for longer, you’ll have to do a ph test. As we are simmering our sauce, the acetic acid in the vinegar (which is very water soluble) will burn off to some extent, increasing the ph level. You’ll find many options for food grade litmus paper and also other tools on Amazon.
For the homecook, just to be on the safe side, you don’t want a ph level higher than 4.
Then, give your sriracha a water bath and it will last for a year if unopened. Once open, store it in the fridge.
How to use It?
Sriracha is first and foremost, a condiment. So think of it as a dipping sauce or burger/sandwich sauce. Use it as you would use any of your favourite chilli sauce. This is how I use sriracha:
- with burgers, sandwiches, kebabs, tacos, grilled seafood and anything along those lines
- as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, Chinese dumplings, arancini, hush puppies, Spanish tortilla and any finger food
- it’s a great condiment for sushi
- definitely with my chips (fries), alongside mayo
- speaking of mayonnaise, sriracha mayo is going to be your next best friend, just mix the two
- along the same lines as above, I’ve also been known to spike other sauces this way, think hollandaise, salad dressing and the like
- as a cooking ingredient, whether in marinades, in stir-fries, with eggs, potatoes, etc
- in cocktails!
Look out for sriracha recipes over the coming weeks, including sriracha chicken traybake, a salad and a cocktail!
The best sriracha substitute out there is a basic chilli sauce or hot sauce that has hints of sweetness. I grew up on Lingham’s Chilli Sauce, and that, to me, is the perfect substitute for sriracha.
It has a well rounded flavour, just like a homemade, fermented sriracha sauce, albeit on the sweet side.
You could also use sambal oelek if you intend to use it as a cooking ingredient. Click below for our homemade recipe.
And now, shall we get our aprons on?
If you enjoy the recipe, drop me a comment and let me know. And if you are feeling like a star, don’t forget that 5-star rating!
If you make this recipe, post it on Instagram and tag me @azlinbloor and hashtag it #linsfood.
Homemade Sriracha Recipe
- 1 blender or food processor
- Chopping board
- 1 mesh strainer
- 1 bottle or jar with 350ml (11.8 fl oz) capacity (I get around 300 – 350 ml of sriracha every time I make the amount in the recipe below)
- 1 glass jar for fermenting the chilli mix
- 1 saucepan
- 1 ladle
- 500 g medium heat red chillies like jalapeňos or anything you prefer, read article above
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 1½ Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp Thai palm sugar
- 1 Tbsp white sugar
- 125 ml clear vinegar or rice vinegar
- Roughly chop your chillies and place in a blender or food processor.Peel and add the garlic.Add the salt and sugar and blend/chop everything to a semi coarse state.
- Transfer to a sterilised jar, cover and leave somewhere dark for 7 days. Be sure to stir it every day. ⅕Click here for how to sterilise jars and bottles.
- Pour your fermented chilli mixture back into a blender. Add the vinegar and blend until you get a smooth purée.
- Strain this purée through a medium mesh strainer straight into a small saucepan. You don't want a strainer that's too fine as you'll be missing out on all the flavour from out processed chillies and garlic.Push down hard on the pulp to extract as much flavour out of it as possible.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.Taste it after 2 minutes and add more salt, sugar or vinegar to your taste. You want hot, sour, salty and a touch sweet.
- Pour into your sterilised glass bottle or jar, cover and leave on the kitchen counter until cool. Then store in the fridge and use within 6 months.Click here for how to sterilise jars and bottles.