11 Best Substitutes for Tabasco Sauce

Some like it hot! Whether you can take the heat or not, Tabasco sauce is a great condiment to add to your arsenal. Of course, if you can’t take the heat or just don’t like Tabasco sauce… you need to look elsewhere. There are several hot sauces and condiments to choose from. 

Why Is Tabasco Sauce So Hot?

Tabasco sauce gets its heat from the tabasco pepper. This pepper is rated 30,000-50,000 on the Scoville Scale. The Scoville Scale measures the heat of all peppers in scoville units. To put that into perspective, the tabasco pepper is ranked hotter than both the serrano and jalapeno peppers.

Hot sauces also have rankings on the Scoville Scale and Tabasco sauce is ranked pretty high. It is placed second, coming in with 3,750 Scoville Heat Units – smokin!

What is Tabasco Sauce Made of?

The simplicity of Tabasco sauce is part of what gives it such a unique flavor. The fiery sauce is made out of: tabasco peppers, salt, and a high quality distilled vinegar. To add to the process, Tabasco sauce is aged in white oak barrels for up to 3 years.  

While it does pack some heat, a little goes a long way and so you can easily add one or two drops to a whole dish and it won’t be too overpowering. 

Is Tabasco Sauce the Same as Hot Sauce?

Tabasco sauce is considered to be a hot sauce. There are several different types of hot sauce, all ranging in varying degrees of heat, and all with unique flavors. Depending on what part of the world you are in, there is sure to be a favorite hot sauce.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Tabasco Sauce?

No doubt, Tabasco sauce is a delicious hot sauce with a unique tangy flavor, which is derived from the distilled vinegar that is used. If you find yourself with an empty bottle in your spice cabinet, there are many variations of hot sauce you can use as a substitute for Tabasco sauce. 

Cholula, Texas Pete, and Sriracha are all great, although slightly milder choices to replace Tabasco sauce. Alternately, sometimes you don’t want that tangy heat of Tabasco sauce in the dish you are making. Ketchup and Worcestershire sauces are both flavorful alternatives.

Finding a replacement for tabasco sauce to use in a variety of dishes is a good idea.

1. Cholula

Although Cholula is vinegar based much like Tabasco, it is not nearly as spicy. This makes it an excellent substitute for those that don’t want as much heat. Cholula originates in Mexico and is most often used on tacos, enchiladas, and soups. 

2. Sriracha Sauce 

Sriracha sauce, also affectionately called Rooster Sauce by its many admirers, is a great substitute for Tabasco sauce because it is not as spicy but still has tang. 

This slightly thicker Asian hot sauce, although not as hot as Tabasco, adds flavor to anything from soups, curries, and even tuna salad. Give this hot sauce a try the next time you make scrambled eggs, you won’t be disappointed!

3. Cayenne Pepper 

By adding a little vinegar to cayenne pepper, you can make a quick replacement for Tabasco sauce in a pinch. It shares the same rating on the Scoville Scale as a tabasco pepper so be sure and use a little first and taste your food before adding any more. 

You can also add ground cayenne pepper to your dish during the cooking process. Again, start with a very small amount and add more if desired.

4. Ketchup

While basic ketchup has no spice to it, it does add a tasty flavor to certain dishes. It is the ever popular condiment to french fries, hamburgers, and hot dogs. For anyone that can’t handle heat, this is a great substitute to Tabasco sauce.

To many home cooks, It is also considered a must when making meatloaf from scratch. Aiding in the binder process and also lending a sweet tomato flavor. 

You can also find spicy ketchups in most grocery stores now and this can be used in food to give a little extra heat. Adding spicy ketchup to a pan of sloppy joes will be an unexpected, and delicious, twist.

5. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce is another great replacement for Tabasco sauce. It doesn’t have any heat, but offers a very robust vinegar based flavor. Because of all the ingredients, Worcestershire sauce is often referred to as having everything but the kitchen sink in it! Adding this complex brown sauce to soups, chilis, eggs, and more brings out so many flavors – your taste buds will sing.

6. Texas Pete

Texas Pete is another well known Louisiana hot sauce. Made with chile peppers, salt, and vinegar it has a similar taste to Tabasco sauce, making it a good choice if needing a replacement. 

If you can’t handle as much spice as Tabasco sauce offers, Texas Pete makes a good alternative to its Louisiana cousin. 

7. Asian Chili Garlic Sauce

If you want to kick up the heat beyond what most hot sauces bring, try Asian chili garlic sauce. This offers an intense heat that lingers on the tongue well after you eat it. This hot sauce is not for the faint of heart but adds incredible garlic heat to your favorite Asian dishes. 

8. Chili Oil

Chili oil is a great alternative to Tabasco sauce and is a very versatile ingredient. Chili oil is made by flavoring oil with different combinations of peppers, chilis, and even garlic. You can add chili oil to homemade salad dressings, marinades, and stir frys for extra flavor and spice.

9. Hot Sauce

There are many types of hot sauce out there, ranging in levels of heat and even color – green, orange, and red being the most common. Some are made with extremely hot peppers such as the Carolina Reaper, while others are made with milder Chile peppers. 

Other ingredients are also used to enhance the flavor. There truly is a hot sauce for everyone! 

10. Homemade Tabasco Sauce

Making your own Tabasco sauce is a great idea! Not only is it fun to do, but you can control the level of heat to your liking. Follow these simple steps to make your own (don’t forget to where gloves when handling the peppers!):

  • Stem your tabasco peppers and pulse them in a blender or food processor
  • Combine the peppers, vinegar, and salt to a medium saucepan
  • Cook on medium heat and bring to a boil
  • Stir and reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes 
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely
  • Once your hot sauce is cooled, process until smooth
  • Store in an airtight container for 2 weeks 
  • Finally, strain this mixture and store the liquid in a glass jar

The finished Tabasco sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a year!

11. Valentino 

Similar to Cholula, Valentino is also made in Mexico – although it’s not nearly as spicy. In addition to the chile peppers and vinegar, it is also made with other spices and sugar. For a tangy, but slightly sweet hot sauce, this is a good choice if you need to replace Tabasco sauce.

What To Consider When Choosing A Substitute For Tabasco Sauce:

As mentioned earlier, Tabasco sauce offers a spicy and tangy flavor. When you are needing the addition of a hot sauce in either the cooking process or to the finished product, you need to consider the flavor profile of your dish. And how much heat you can handle.

The Food You’re Cooking

Are you cooking southern soul food or making a quick stir fry? Depending on what you are cooking will determine the type of hot sauce you will want to use. 

If making a pot of chili, you may want to add a good pinch (or two!) of cayenne pepper along with your other spices. Adding Tabasco sauce to the final product gives an extra kick for those that can handle it.

Asian stir-fry and soups, such as pho, are enhanced with the addition of Sriracha or Asian chili garlic sauce. 

Heat Level

How much heat you can handle ultimately will determine what type of hot sauce you will want to use. Choosing a mild chili oil is a good idea if you get a little weak in the knees with spicy foods. Others may wish to use multiple hot sauces together for a fiery experience!


For some dishes, no heat is needed, but rather more flavor! Worcestershire sauce gives an added boost of flavor without any of the heat. If you use a hot sauce that isn’t too spicy, it can help bring out the flavor in your food. The vinegar based hot sauces act as a salt to enhance your dish.

Hot Sauce’s Consistency

Whether you need something thick, like sriracha, or thin like Cholula, there are several options to choose from. A few dashes of hot sauce easily melt onto your tacos while a chunky Asian chile garlic sauce has a nice chew to it.

To End

Although Tabasco sauce is a favorite to many, there are times when you need to find a substitute for it. Some people can’t handle the heat but still want that tangy flavor. Perhaps you want more heat, or simply just a different flavor profile. Whatever your preference, you are sure to find a replacement for Tabasco sauce.