Spicy mayo has certainly earned its place as a go-to sauce for adding irresistible zing to a wide variety of dishes: chips, bread, sushi, potato salad, you name it.
Very commonly, this fiery spread (or dip if you like) is made using sriracha — the popular Asian chili sauce used as a condiment for pho and fried noodles.
However, not all of us have the good fortune of having sriracha sauce at home, or are even enamoured to its taste.
So what happens if you find yourself craving this creamy, spicy delight but don’t have sriracha on ground?
In this article, we’ll explore various options you can try to create a mouthwatering spicy mayo without relying on sriracha.
What Is The Purpose Of Sriracha In Spicy Mayo?
Before we begin the adventure of substituting anything for Sriracha in a spicy mayo, let us first understand what the ingredient itself does in a spicy mayo, that way, we know exactly what to look out for in a substitute ingredient.
So what does sriracha do in a spicy mayo?
Sriracha is a member of the hot sauce family because it’s made with chilli pepper paste. Therefore, the most obvious thing it does to a spicy Mayo is to justify its first name “spicy” — by adding heat.
Additionally, it has distilled vinegar, sugar, garlic, and salt in it. So while it does provide heat, it also adds a touch of sweetness from the sugar and vinegar used (if a sweet or fruity vinegar is used), tanginess solely from the addition of vinegar and a garlicky touch from the minced garlic cloves added.
This combo for some reason, works extremely well to complement many dishes you can think of from sandwich, sushi, tacos to even burgers and fries.
So now that we know what sriracha sauce does in a spicy mayo, let us quickly move to how you can substitute for it.
What Can I Use Instead Of Sriracha For Spicy Mayo?
Other Medium Heat Hot Sauces
The best direct substitute for sriracha is a similar hot sauce like it. Because sriracha is mostly a medium heat hot sauce, you want to find a sauce exactly like it (and also one that impresses you in terms of taste) so it doesn’t end up overwhelming the spicy Mayo and your buds when you use it.
Popular examples include: Frank’s RedHot, Cholula, Adobo, Chilli Garlic Sauce, Purry-Purry Sauce or Jalapeño Hot Saucer, Tabasco’s Chipotle or Garlic Pepper Sauces.
When adding the hot sauce, it’s always recommended to start with a small amount first, about 1-2 teaspoons (stick with the lower range first), and mix it with about 1/4 cup of mayonnaise.
Work your way up to the desired level of heat as well as flavor intensity by adding more of the sauce incrementally and tasting as you go to avoid making the spicy mayo too hot or overpowering.
If you find that your new sauce lacks the extra garlicky and sweet taste, which is characteristic of sriracha sauce, you may want to add ½ to 1 teaspoon of minced garlic and a pinch of sugar to replicate these characteristics.
Use Chilli Powder
Chili powder is simply the pulverized fruit of one or more varieties of chilli peppers, and its main goal in cooking, when used in its pure form, is to add pungency to the dish.
Because of this pungency, chili powder can serve as a decent substitute for sriracha in spicy mayo.
To do this effectively, it’s essential to use a medium-heat chili powder and incorporate other spices and flavor inducing compounds, particularly those found in sriracha, such as garlic, sugar and vinegar.
To use chili powder as a substitute for sriracha, follow the steps below.
Begin by making the base for your spicy mayo using mayonnaise as the primary ingredient, kewpie Mayo is preferred because of its amazing flavor profile.
For every 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, use approximately 1 teaspoon of medium-heat chili powder.
This amount can be adjusted based on your preference for spiciness; just make sure to use a chili powder with medium heat to ensure the final product has a similar heat level as sriracha.
If you find the heat to be too mild, you can always add more chili powder incrementally until you reach a level of spiciness that you like.
Now it’s very likely that the chili powder spicy Mayo wouldn’t taste exactly like the spicy Mayo made with sriracha, especially when using pure chili powder with no mix, and so in order to mimic the flavor profile, you’ll want to include other ingredients like garlic, sugar and vinegar.
Add about 1/4 teaspoon of freshly minced garlic to introduce that familiar garlicky taste. Then add a little splash of cider vinegar (or squeeze of lemon juice) for tartness and a pinch of sugar for sweetness.
When it comes to substituting for Sriracha in spicy mayo, adobo sauce is another great option you can try.
By default, adobo sauce is rich, has a smoky flavor with bits of tartness here and there.
And this would contribute greatly toward steering your spicy Mayo in the sriracha direction.
Here’s how to use adobo sauce to make spicy Mayo.
- ½ cup of mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons of Adobo sauce (from the can), or homemade — your choice
- 1 teaspoon of lime juice
Mix everything in a bowl thoroughly, making sure to be conservative with the sauce just so you don’t over do it.
Add a little at a time, then taste, salt and sauce the Mayo even more to create a balanced out flavor.
You can add water to thin out the mixture if it’s too thick and a little chili powder mix (plus smoked paprika) to add more heat and flavor.
If you like, you can ditch the adobo sauce and use the chipotle in it instead.
Use Sambal Oelek
Both Sambal oelek and Sriracha are chili-based sauces which means that you can use them interchangeably in recipes that primarily highlight the spiciness of the dish, with very little consequences.
Spicy Mayo is one such recipe, and the main purpose of Sriracha in Spicy Mayo is to bring in the heat which sambal oelek would perfectly do well.
Before you dive into the substitution however, it’s good to consider the difference in taste for both ingredients.
While both sauces are spicy, sriracha has a sweeter and slightly tangier taste compared to sambal oelek, which has a more prominent chili flavor.
So start with a little quantity of sambal oelek and work your way up to the desired level of heat.
But sambal oelek alone, most of the time, wouldn’t do the magic of making your spicy Mayo taste like one made with sriracha.
You will need to combine sambal oelek with other ingredients your recipe calls for, such as lime juice, garlic or sesame oil.
If you find the sauce isn’t spicy enough, add more sambal oelek; if it’s too spicy, add more mayonnaise.
If you miss the sweetness of sriracha, you can add a small amount of sugar or another sweetener to achieve a similar taste.
You might also need to add vinegar to replicate the tanginess of sriracha.
How To Make Spicy Mayo Without Mayo
When you have calorie concerns, it’s natural to want to substitute Mayo for something else in a spicy Mayo recipe, and while technically, you end up creating something completely different — “spicy something else”, we can still assume it’s a spicy Mayo made with a Mayo substitute.
So what are the options?
- Sour cream
- Greek or low fat yoghurt
These ingredients have way less fat content in comparison to Mayo, somewhat resemble it in terms of composition, and do not taste bad when mixed with sriracha, so they’re the perfect ingredients for the job.
Spicy Mayo With Sour Cream
Using sour cream as a substitute for Mayo in spicy Mayo will provide a similar creamy texture, but the taste will be slightly tangier compared to mayonnaise due to the fermentation.
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons of sriracha or any of its substitutes we mentioned above
- 1 teaspoon lime juice (optional, for added tanginess)
- Minced fresh garlic (optional)
- Salt, to taste
Mix everything together in a mixing bowl.
Adjust the spiciness by adding more sriracha or tanginess by adding lime juice.
Once you’re happy with the flavor, cover the bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
Serve only as a dip.
This alternative is also significantly lower in calories and it allows for adjustment of ingredients without any compromise.
- 8 tablespoons of reduced fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce or sriracha
Mix everything together.
Season as you like.
Serve as a dip.