What Sriracha Does Starbucks Use?

Sriracha sauce has become a staple condiment in many households and places, and Starbucks is no exception. 

The coffee chain offers its own Sriracha sauce, but what exactly is it made of? And how does it compare to other Sriracha sauces on the market?

In this article, we will take a closer look at Starbucks’ Sriracha sauce and discuss the ingredients, the flavor profile, and how it compares to other brands.

What Is Starbucks Sriracha Sauce?

Starbucks Sriracha sauce is a spicy garlicky sauce made by Starbucks that has become increasingly popular among customers. The Sriracha sauce slapped in their specials, such as the Honey BBQ Sriracha Chicken usually contain the following ingredients:

  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Cayenne Peppers
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Jalapeno Puree (Jalapeno Peppers, Salt, Citric Acid)
  • Water
  • Carrot Fiber
  • Dried Garlic
  • Natural Flavors
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Spice
  • Paprika

The takeout version of the Sriracha however (the one in the red and black sachet), usually contains a few ingredients that are different. Here’s the ingredient list for the takeout version of Starbucks sriracha:

  • Red jalapeño purée
  • Water
  • Red chili purée
  • Sugar
  • White vinegar
  • Garlic purée
  • Red bell pepper purée
  • Salt
  • Corn starch
  • Garlic
  • Habanero pepper powder
  • Xanthan gum

As you can see, both versions of Starbucks sriracha have some common ingredients, such as vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, and chili peppers. 

However, they also have some differences, such as the type of peppers used (cayenne and jalapeno for their special vs habanero), the addition of carrot fiber and natural flavors in the special version, and the use of corn starch as a thickener in the takeout version.

What Does Starbucks Sriracha Taste Like?

Starbucks sriracha tastes nearly identical to the original sriracha: spicy and garlicky, almost like more garlicky compared to Huy fong sriracha, except for the extra sweetness as well as kick at the end that makes it tastier in my opinion.

Maybe those aren’t things that actually make it stand out, maybe it’s the extra ingredients in the form of carrot fiber, as well as the secret natural flavors used. 

All in all, it still tastes better than the original in my opinion.

As for the color and texture, Starbucks sriracha has a dark red color and a smooth and thick consistency. It is easy to squeeze out of the packet or bottle and spread over your food.

Is Sriracha Free At Starbucks?

Yes, sriracha is free at Starbucks. You can ask for a packet of sriracha sauce with any order, and the barista will give it to you at no extra charge.

Starbucks has been offering free sriracha sauce packets since 2016, after many customers requested it. 

The coffee giant decided to add sriracha to its menu after noticing that customers were bringing their own bottles of sriracha to spice up their food.

If for some reason you request for sriracha sauce and get the famous message that the Sriracha is out of stock, you can always visit websites like eBay to try and buy them from customers that have collected them before. However, be prepared to pay a premium price for these rare packets.

Some of the specials at Starbucks also come with Sriracha sauce as an ingredient in them such as the Honey Sriracha Chicken Sandwich, the Sriracha Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich, or the Sriracha Egg Bites.

Is Starbucks Sriracha Discontinued?

No, Starbucks has not discontinued Sriracha sauce. However, the production of the sauce was suspended due to a pepper shortage that has struck the sriracha world.

Remember that Starbucks rely on a private label company to produce their Sriracha, and the company also source their peppers from places where the adverse weather conditions has caused cost bad crop and affected growth, and as a result, they are unable to produce Sriracha at large scale for all the companies they produce the sauce for, including Starbucks.

The pepper shortage has been caused by a combination of factors, such as droughts, floods, pests, diseases, and labor shortages all of which have reduced the supply and increased the demand of peppers, leading to higher prices and lower quality.

The pepper shortage has affected not only Starbucks, but also other sriracha brands, such as Huy Fong, the maker of the original sriracha sauce. Huy Fong has also faced legal issues and complaints from neighbors over the odor and pollution caused by its factory.

As a result of the pepper shortage, some Starbucks locations may run out of sriracha sauce packets or bottles from time to time. However, Starbucks has assured its customers that it is working hard to restore the supply of sriracha sauce as soon as possible.

The Best Alternatives To Starbucks Sriracha You’ll Ever Try!

If you are a fan of Starbucks sriracha sauce and you can’t find it at your local store, or you just want to try something different, here are some of the best alternatives to Starbucks sriracha sauce that you’ll ever try:

Yellowbird Blue Agave Sriracha

This is a vegan and gluten-free sriracha sauce made with organic blue agave nectar, organic jalapeno peppers, organic garlic, organic vinegar, sea salt, and tangerine juice concentrate. It has a sweet and tangy flavor with a mild heat level.

Sky Valley Sriracha

This is another vegan and gluten-free sriracha sauce made with organic cayenne peppers, organic sugar, organic garlic, organic vinegar, sea salt, xanthan gum, and citric acid. It has a classic sriracha flavor with a medium heat level.

Trader Joe’s Sriracha

This is a sriracha sauce made with red jalapeno peppers, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar, xanthan gum, and beet powder. It has a bright red color and a smooth texture. It has a balanced flavor with a moderate heat level.

Ninja Squirrel Sriracha

This is a sriracha sauce made with red jalapeno peppers, water, sugar, garlic puree, white vinegar, salt, corn starch, habanero pepper powder, and xanthan gum. It has a similar ingredient list to the takeout version of Starbucks sriracha sauce. It has a rich flavor with a high heat level. 

Normal Sriracha plus Good Honey

This is a simple but effective way to make your own version of Starbucks sriracha sauce. All you need is some normal sriracha sauce (such as Huy Fong) and some good honey (such as raw or organic). 

Just mix them together in a small bowl until you get the desired sweetness and spiciness. You can adjust the ratio according to your preference.

Some of the following alternatives, like Trader Joe’s and Ninja Squirrel are produced by the same private label company that makes the Sriracha for Starbucks. So they tend to have almost the same taste (Ninja Squirrel especially), even though some of the ingredients might differ.

Is Starbucks Sriracha Gluten Free?

From mere looking at the ingredient list of both the packet Sriracha and the one slathered on your honey bbq chicken sandwich, it doesn’t appear like the sauce is not gluten-free.

However, there is one gray area and that is the umbrella term “natural flavors” that is listed out in the latter sriracha, at least.

Ingredients that contain gluten could actually be used for such purposes, which may explain why the company did not come out to declare whether or not their Sriracha is gluten free.

But hey, these are just my guesses. And it may well be that Starbucks sriracha is gluten free or the opposite is true, whichever way, it’s best to consult the company directly to find out.

What Is The Nutrition Of Starbucks Sriracha?

Here is what you can expect from a serving of Starbucks sriracha sauce:

Serving SizeCaloriesFatProteinCarbsSugarSodium
11g (1 packet)150g0g3g1g138mg

The carbohydrates in Starbucks sriracha sauce come mostly from sugar, which is about 1g per serving. This accounts for 2% of your daily recommended intake based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Starbucks sriracha sauce also contains 138mg of sodium per serving, which is about 6% of your daily recommended intake. Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

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