Panda Express – you know, that hit Chinese-American fast food spot?
They’re famous for their tasty and wallet-friendly meals.
Now, one thing people can’t get enough of (and they really sell a lot of) is their chili sauce.
It’s this sweet and spicy mix that takes dishes like orange chicken and chow mein to the next level.
But here’s a burning question: Is this sauce just another type of sriracha, or is it marching to the beat of its own drum?
In this article, we’re going to dig into what’s in Panda Express’s chili sauce.
We’ll put it side by side with sriracha sauce and figure out if they’re basically the same thing or if Panda’s got something totally unique going on. Intrigued? Me too!
Let’s dive in.
What Is Panda Express Chilli Sauce? And What Does It Taste Like?
Panda Express actually has two types of chili sauce, and each one’s got its own flair.
Chili Sauce in the Bottle: This one’s made with red jalapeño peppers (same as sriracha) and mixed with chili garlic sauce. The result? A thicker paste that doesn’t run all over the place. The flavor’s got a hint of sweetness, and the heat level’s just right – not too hot, not too mild.
Chili Sauce in the Packet: Now, this one’s closer to your classic sriracha. It’s made from a blend of chili peppers, vinegar, sugar and salt. Tastes pretty close to Huy Fong sriracha, but it’s not as pasty as the bottled chili sauce.
So, what’s it like to taste ’em? Well, the bottled sauce gives you that rich, slightly sweet kick with a good body, while the packet version gives you that familiar sriracha flavor, only a bit more liquidy.
Panda Express Chilli Sauce Ingredients
Here is a quick exploration of the ingredients in Panda Express chili sauce (Bottled) and the role they play:
- Sugar: Sweetens things up a bit and balances out the spicy flavors.
- Water: Helps with consistency, making sure the sauce isn’t too thick.
- Red Jalapeno Peppers: These are the stars of the show, giving that characteristic chili heat as well as red color.
- Distilled Vinegar: Adds a tangy kick and helps preserve the sauce.
- Modified Corn Starch: This acts as a thickener to make sure the sauce has a nice, rich texture.
- Chili Garlic Sauce (red chilies, salt, garlic, sugar, acetic acid, lactic acid, and ascorbic acid):This is like a flavor bomb (one of their products) adding complexity with a blend of spiciness, saltiness, sweetness and tanginess.
- Salt: Enhances all the flavors, making them pop just a bit more.
- Dehydrated Garlic: Adds a subtle, savory garlic flavor without overpowering the sauce.
- Xanthan Gum: Helps bind all the ingredients together and keeps the sauce smooth.
- Vegetable Color (paprika extract): Gives the sauce that eye-catching red color.
- Natural Flavors: These are the secret spices that give the sauce its unique taste.
Panda Express Chili Sauce Vs Sriracha
Here is a table comparing Panda Express Chili Sauce to Sriracha
|Ingredient||Panda Express Chili Sauce||Sriracha|
|Taste||Sweeter, tangier||Garlicky, spicy|
|Texture||Thick, pasty||Thin, smooth|
Both Panda Express Chili Sauce and Sriracha offer unique tastes and textures that cater to different preferences.
If your palate leans towards something sweeter and tangier with a thicker consistency, Panda Express Chili Sauce might be the way to go.
On the other hand, if you’re craving a sauce that’s rich in garlic flavor, has a kick of spice, and a smoother feel, then Sriracha would be an excellent choice.
Panda Express Chilli Sauce Recipe
- 1/4 Cup Water (The base for your sauce)
- 2 tbsp Sweetener (You can use sugar a sugar alternative, or your preferred sweetener to add that tasty sweetness)
- 2 tsp Sriracha (For the heat! Adjust to taste if you like it spicier)
- 1 tbsp Sugar-Free Ketchup (Adds a tangy tomato flavor)
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder (For that subtle garlic kick)
- 1/8 tsp Xanthan Gum (Or your thickener of choice to give the sauce body)
- Combine Ingredients: In a stove-top pot, add the water, sweetener, Sriracha, Sugar-Free Ketchup, and garlic powder.
- Bring to a Soft Boil: Get those flavors mingling and thickening a bit by bringing the mixture to a gentle boil.
- Add Xanthan Gum: Sprinkle in the Xanthan Gum (or other thickener), and whisk it in. Keep stirring until it’s fully dissolved.
- Remove from Heat: Once everything’s mixed and smooth, take the pot off the stove.
- Set Aside and Let Cool: Your sauce will thicken a little more as it cools. Just give it a stir now and then to keep everything smooth.
- Voila! You’ve got yourself a homemade Panda Express chili sauce. Drizzle it over your favorite Asian-inspired dishes or use it as a dip for some finger-licking goodness. Enjoy the flavor ride!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 10
How Much Does Panda Express Chili Sauce Cost?
The price of Panda Express Chili Sauce cost might vary a bit depending on where you snag it and the quantity you’re after, but here’s a general idea:
Single 20.75 oz Bottle: Grab one of these at H-E-B for about $4.14 or swing by Walmart and nab it for $3.72. A nice deal for some tasty sauce!
Pack of Four 20.75 oz Bottles: If you’re a true chili sauce lover, you might opt for a pack of four from Amazon, which will run you about $29.99. That’s plenty of sauce to get your spicy-sweet fix!
But hey, don’t limit yourself to just those spots.
You might find Panda Express Chili Sauce at other grocery stores, online retailers or even at a Panda Express restaurant near you. The price might wiggle around a bit depending on where you’re at and how in-demand the sauce is.
And if you’re really curious, why not hop over to the official Panda Express website? They might have more info on their products, locations and who knows what else.