It’s no secret that sriracha sauce has taken the food community by storm, captivating foodies from every corner of the country. And it’s not hard to see why.
This spicy sauce — made from chili peppers, white vinegar, garlic, salt, and sugar, and introduced to the American pallet by a Vietnamese refugee — has garnered a loyal following among lovers of Asian cuisine, hot chicken wing fans, pizza aficionados, and everyone in-between.
But for those who have yet to try its tongue-tingling taste, the question lingers: just how hot is sriracha, really?
How Hot Is Sriracha Sauce?
According to Jeff Young, author of The Catholic Foodie blog and podcast, the original sriracha sauce made by California-based Huy Fong Foods is considered to be moderately spicy, registering at a range of 1,000 to 2,500 unit on the Scoville scale.
To help you put that into perspective, Tabasco sauce typically measures between 2,500 and 5,000 Scoville heat units (SHUs), while jalapeño peppers typically register between 2,500 and 8,000 SHUs on the Scoville scale. This puts sriracha within the milder range compared to other hot sauces.
The appeal of sriracha sauce, however, extends far beyond just adding heat to a dish. One of the reasons why this fiery condiment has become so popular is because it adds a unique and complex flavor to your food.
So, Is Sriracha Considered Hot?
The answer to whether sriracha is considered a hot sauce can be subjective and boils down to the eater’s tolerance levels for spicy food.
While some individuals may find sriracha to be a mild sauce that they can eat with ease, others with lower tolerance for spiciness may consider it to be a hot sauce that requires them to consume it cautiously. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your personal preference and appetite for heat.
For those who enjoy the flavor of sriracha but find its heat level to be a bit too much, there are ways to temper the spice. Mixing the sriracha with queso blanco or cream and yogurt-based sauces can help tone down the heat, thanks to the dairy’s cooling effect.
On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who likes a little more heat that sriracha offers, you can add pepper flakes or mix the sriracha with other sauces — like Tabasco — to create your own custom blend. There’s no ring and wrong way to do this; it’s all about finding the right balance to suit your taste buds.
Why Is Everyone Obsessed With Sriracha?
Sriracha sauce is not just about adding heat to your food, but rather about adding a unique and complex flavor to your dishes.
The tangy sweetness of the chili peppers, combined with the subtle notes of garlic powder and the tang of distilled vinegar, can enhance the taste of any dish. So, while sriracha sauce does have a notable level of spiciness, it is equally valued for the depth of flavor it brings to the table.
There’s even a short, 33-minute documentary film dedicated to the story of sriracha sauce. Directed by American filmmaker Griffin Hammond, the film is aptly named Sriracha and features Huy Fong Foods’ founder, David Tran, as he shares the story of his sauce’s origins and inspirations.
For the more adventurous, there are variations of sriracha sauce, such as fermented varieties that have a flavor reminiscent of kimchi. You can even find products like Heinz Sriracha Tomato Ketchup or Sriracha Hot Stout chili beer for a unique twist on the classic sauce.
Sriracha sauce is a popular hot sauce that is relatively mild, ranking between 1,000 and 2,500 on the Scoville scale. While it is not as spicy as Tabasco, many people are drawn to its vibrant color and addictive blend of sweetness and heat.