We Tried 7 Brands of Sriracha — And the Winner Is Not What You Think

published Apr 9, 2024
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Group shot of Siracha bottles.
Credit: Mackenzie Filson

There have been some scary moments over the last few years, and I think you know which ones I mean: all the sriracha sauce shortages. With the most recent Huy Fong sriracha sauce shortage behind us (for now), you no longer need to shell out $86 for a two-pack of bottles. But as I’ve found, one never had to in the first place. 

Much of the hysteria surrounding the shortage could be attributed to Huy Fong; there were plenty of other brands — albeit lesser known — out there that have been steadily churning out the sweet, hot, vinegary sauce.

I must admit, the Huy Fong bottles were also my gateway into sriracha, and I’ve been curious about how the newer-to-me sauces would fare in pho and on wings, spring rolls, pizza, salad, pasta … you see where I’m going here. So I decided to sample all the bottles I could get my hands on (only readily available in grocery stores, though there are tons of online-available options out there I’m excited to track down eventually). Much like the best jarred tomato sauces, each sriracha uses many of the same ingredients (chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, salt, and sugar), yet yields such distinct results. 

In total, four of the seven were immediately on my “buy again” list, and I don’t think you’ll guess who snagged the top spot either. 

The Best Srirachas

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Best Sriracha Sauce: Ox Brand Sriracha Sauce

First things first: I was not expecting such a close race between the two top spots, or that Huy Fong wouldn’t run away with the “W.” However, Ox Brand is truly the one I keep coming back to. (I ordered Thai after my taste test, and it was the bottle I grabbed immediately for my pad see ew.)

When it came to my top pick (and the close runner-up, as you’ll find), it had the distinct flavors of sriracha, but dialed up way higher in a couple different directions. In Ox Brand’s case, that meant a deeper, more savory flavor that seemed, to me, to have a bit more punch of pickled garlic. It surprised me and gave me a deeper umami that I didn’t know I needed.

Buy: Ox Brand Sriracha Sauce, $5.99 for 29.25 ounces at Kroger

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Runner Up: Ninja Squirrel Sriracha Sauce

Like I said, it was a near tie between Ox Brand and Ninja Squirrel; I went back and forth with my taste test until my tongue asked me to please, please maybe slooooow down. While the Ox Brand dials up the garlic, the Ninja Squirrel delivers a vinegary kick of heat that reminded me of my early sriracha-eating days, when I could only handle dipping the tines of my fork in ever so gingerly. 

It’s also not that “hot for the sake of being hot” variety of spice either, there’s plenty of depth courtesy of two peppers, red jalapeños, and red chilies. For the spice fiends, this will likely be your new favorite sriracha. 

Buy: Ninja Squirrel Sriracha Sauce, $5.79 for 16 ounces at Amazon

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Honorable Mention: Huy Fong Sriracha Sauce

The rumor on the street is that the rereleased Huy Fong Sriracha Sauce’s formula has been tweaked, and many fans can notice it. Personally, I didn’t notice that much of a change (though any taste discrepancy is likely due to the change in its pepper supplier). All things considered, Huy Fong will always have a bright red, subtly burn-y nostalgic place in my heart because of just how balanced it is. 

It’s just spicy, vinegary, and garlicky enough and remains the can-do-it-all sauce to this day. It’s the sauce I think any sriracha-lover or new-to-sriracha folks should always have on hand, in addition to these other bottles. It makes me happy when I see it on the countertop of my go-to restaurant.

Spicy Lil’ Disclaimer: Underwood Ranch, the original suppliers of Huy Fong’s peppers, now make sriracha. Sadly, I could not track it down near me, but I’ve heard it’s worth grabbing a bottle.

: Huy Fong Sriracha Sauce, $4.79 for 28 ounces at Target

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

Wild Card: Yellowbird Blue Agave Sriracha Sauce

To steal a phrase from the great poet, Beyoncé, I got hot sauce in my bag. The hot sauce in question? This pint-size little dream of a sriracha from Yellowbird. It’s the baby bear of bottles — the just-right size to keep in my bag in case of spice-related emergencies. Swapping in syrupy sweet blue agave nectar instead of sugar, the Yellowbird Blue Agave Sriracha Sauce was the crowned wild card of my taste test.

Slightly sweeter than the rest of the bunch, this sriracha sauce was so good it had me scheming my next move: Slick onto sticky-sweet wings? Add to salad dressings, crispy fish tacos, and maybe a marinade or yogurt dip? Yes. It’s also slowly but surely passing one of my main taste-test markers: Do I want to cook things just because I think it can be a vehicle for Yellowbird? You know it.

: Yellowbird Blue Agave Sriracha Sauce, $3.79 for 6.7 ounces at Walmart

How I Tested the Sriracha

I tasted seven bottles blind — each sauce served straight up off a spoon (with a yogurt chaser, naturally). I narrowed them down one by one, separating the “absolutely nots” from the “oooh, interestings” until I landed on the four I’d absolutely rebuy, no hesitation. I evaluated each sriracha based on three criteria:

  • Spice Level: Is it too mild or does it pack just the right amount of burn and heat (tingles without detracting from the garlic, pepper, vinegar notes). 
  • Texture: A solid sriracha sauce is not too diluted from vinegar, nor is it bogged down with too much body from the pepper base. Ideally it should be somewhere right in the middle, with a consistency that is drizzle-able. 
  • Versatility: Does its use feel limited or is the sriracha inspiring me to try it as a marinade, dip, spread, sky-is-the-only limit? 

Did your favorite sriracha make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.