In the world of hot sauces, two names often standout – Buffalo Sauce and Sriracha.
Both are renowned for their unique flavor profiles and ability to completely transform a dish.
However, they are not interchangeable and each brings its own distinct qualities to the table.
This article will delve deeper into the differences between these two popular hot sauces, examining what they contain, their taste profiles, heat levels, cost considerations, culinary uses, and whether one could serve as a substitute for the other.
What Is It And What Does It Contain: Buffalo Sauce vs Sriracha
Buffalo sauce got its name from the city where it was born, Buffalo, New York. Traditionally used as a coating for chicken wings, this sauce is a spicy and tangy concoction.
The primary ingredients in most Buffalo sauces are cayenne pepper hot sauce, vinegar, and butter or margarine.
Depending on the recipe, some variations may also include Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder or other spices.
Sriracha on the other hand originates from Thailand and is named after the coastal city of Si Racha, where it was first created.
Unlike Buffalo sauce which emphasizes tanginess, Sriracha provides a balance of spicy heat with underlying sweet and garlicky notes.
The main ingredients in traditional Sriracha are red chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt. This combination results in a versatile sauce that goes well beyond just being a condiment for Asian cuisine.
Both sauces offer unique flavor profiles but they do share some common elements like vinegar and hot peppers. However the presence of butter in Buffalo sauce gives it a rich creaminess that is not found in the brighter and more piquant Sriracha.
What Does It Taste Like: Buffalo Sauce vs Sriracha
Buffalo sauce is known for its tangy, spicy, and slightly buttery flavor.
Its main ingredient, cayenne pepper, provides a noticeable heat that is tempered by the incorporation of butter or margarine into the sauce.
This yields a smooth, creamy texture and rich taste. The addition of vinegar adds a tangy undertone to the overall flavor profile.
On the other hand, Sriracha offers a different taste experience. It presents an interesting balance of flavors – spicy, sweet, and garlicky – all at once.
The heat of the red chili peppers is counterbalanced by sugar and garlic in the recipe. These elements combine to create a complex flavor that kicks off with sweetness followed by a burst of chili heat and rounded off with a savory garlic finish.
While both sauces are spicy and tangy due to their vinegar content, Buffalo sauce has a more straightforward flavor profile primarily driven by its spiciness and tanginess.
In contrast, Sriracha offers layered flavors where sweetness and garlic notes play prominent roles alongside spiciness.
How Hot Is It: Buffalo Sauce vs Sriracha
The spiciness or “heat” of a hot sauce is usually measured using the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale.
Buffalo Sauce’s heat level can vary widely depending on the amount of cayenne pepper used in the recipe. Most commercial versions offer mild, medium, and hot options to cater to different preferences.
The heat in buffalo sauce primarily comes from the cayenne pepper, which ranges from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU.
However, because it’s often mixed with butter or margarine, the overall heat of buffalo sauce is reduced and milder compared to some other hot sauces, even sriracha.
Sriracha typically has a moderate heat level and ranks around 2,200 SHUs. Despite containing red chili peppers, Sriracha is not as spicy as one might expect due to the balance provided by its sugar and garlic content. The result is a sauce that delivers a manageable kick without being overwhelmingly hot.
In general terms then, while both sauces provide some degree of spiciness, neither are considered extremely hot when compared to other sauces in the market like habanero or ghost pepper sauces.
However, if we were comparing them directly against each other, Sriracha might potentially be hotter than Buffalo sauce depending on how much cayenne pepper was used in its creation.
How Much Does It Cost: Buffalo Sauce vs Sriracha
The cost of both Buffalo Sauce and Sriracha can vary based on factors such as brand, ingredients, quantity, and where you’re purchasing from.
Buffalo sauce is typically quite affordable. On average, you can expect to pay between $2 to $6 for a standard bottle (12 oz) at most grocery stores. The price could rise slightly if you opt for organic or artisanal versions.
Sriracha tends to be similarly priced to Buffalo sauce. A standard bottle (17 oz) of Huy Fong Sriracha, one of the most popular brands, is usually priced around $3 to $5 in many grocery stores. However, prices can go higher for gourmet versions or those imported directly from Thailand.
What Is It Used For: Buffalo Sauce vs Sriracha
Both Buffalo sauce and Sriracha are incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Buffalo sauce, often associated with Buffalo wings, is indeed a fantastic coating for these and other poultry dishes.
However, its uses extend much further. It can be drizzled over pizza, stirred into mac and cheese, or used as a dipping sauce for fries or veggies. It can also add a tangy kick to sandwiches, burgers, and wraps.
Sriracha has become a staple condiment in many households due to its balanced flavor profile. It is commonly used in soups, noodles, and stir-fries in Asian cuisine but can be just as wonderful when used to add some heat to tacos, scrambled eggs, burgers or pasta.
You can mix it with mayonnaise to create a spicy spread for sandwiches or sushi. The possibilities are nearly endless.
While both sauces have their traditional uses rooted in specific cuisines (American for Buffalo sauce and Thai for Sriracha), they have transcended these boundaries due to their adaptable flavors. Regardless of whether you’re preparing Western or Eastern dishes, both sauces can enhance your culinary creations significantly.
Can I Substitute Buffalo Sauce For Sriracha? (And Vice Versa)
While Buffalo sauce and Sriracha both belong to the category of hot sauces, they have different flavor profiles and ingredients.
As such, using one as a substitute for the other would depend on the specific dish and personal taste preferences.
In dishes where the tangy and vinegary kick of buffalo sauce is key, like buffalo wings or certain types of dips, substituting it with Sriracha might not provide the same results due to its sweeter and more garlicky flavor profile.
Similarly, in recipes that call for the complex sweetness and garlic notes of Sriracha like pho or noodle dishes, replacing it with buffalo sauce could result in a dish that lacks depth.
However, if you’re simply looking to add some heat to a dish, either sauce would work as they both contain elements of spiciness though their heat levels are different.
If you’re sensitive to heat, you may want to adjust the amount used accordingly.