Although sriracha’s popularity may just be recent, its origins are humble. Sriracha sauce (pronounced sir-rotch-ah1) is named after the eastern city of Si Racha in Thailand, where it was first created by Thanom Chakkapak in 1933.2
The sauce was first shared to family and friends, but its rising popularity prompted Chakkapak to begin manufacturing the sauce commercially under the name Sriraja Panich. It quickly became the best-selling sauce in Thailand.3
In the U.S., production of this sauce began in 1980, when Vietnamese immigrant David Tran founded Huy Fong Foods and marketed his own version of sriracha.
His first packaging is actually the design most of us are familiar with — a clear, green-capped, squirt bottle with a rooster in the middle. It became the most popular version of sriracha not just in the U.S., but across the globe.4
Since then, other brands have taken their own spin to this spicy sauce well, and, organic sriracha brands are even available today.
Unfortunately, while sriracha is typically made of simple ingredients like red chilies, garlic, vinegar and salt, most brands contain high amounts of sugar, which can be damaging to your health. As such, making homemade sriracha sauce is absolutely ideal, as you’re able to control what goes into your blend.5
See how you can use hot sriracha sauce for many of your recipes, and how to make it at home using healthy ingredients – a great alternative to processed varieties out there.
Is Sriracha a Healthy Sauce?
Most of sriracha’s benefits come from red chili peppers that form the base of the sauce. Spicy foods like these peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which can assist in boosting metabolism and weight loss, by helping lower calorie intake and shrink fat tissue.6,7
Capsaicin also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, effective for treating inflammatory diseases and cancers and lowering the risk for tumors.
This compound may also reduce platelet aggregation and triglyceride and cholesterol levels, provide pain relief and address nasal congestion by helping clear mucus from the nose. Capsaicin’s antibacterial properties may also thwart chronic sinus infections.8
Vitamins A and C are also in chili peppers, and this is why they are able to maintain healthy mucous membranes that help combat pathogens and create white blood cells that fight germs.9
Chili peppers could also assist in managing your blood sugar levels and even lower your risk of hyperinsulinemia (high insulin levels in your blood).10
Common Uses of Sriracha Sauce
Sriracha is a multi-purpose sauce, and can be incorporated in various recipes. Here are ideas on how to use sriracha sauce for your meals:11
• Use sriracha as a dipping sauce or combine it with ingredients like cream, sour cream or mayonnaise or in a dip for good balance.
• Add sriracha to soups or stews. While it’s often used to flavor pho, a Vietnamese soup dish, you can also mix sriracha into ramen, tomato soup or gazpacho.
• Flavor your meats (chicken wings, meatballs or meat loaf) or take your marinades (teriyaki sauce or BBQ sauce) up a notch with some sriracha.
• Incorporate sriracha into drinks like tomato or vegetable juice for a spicy kick.
How to Make Your Own Sriracha at Home
If you want that sriracha kick in your meals, I recommend making your own homemade version instead of relying on processed sauces sold in supermarkets. Here’s a simple recipe adapted from Nourishing Meals:12
Homemade Sriracha Sauce
- 1 pound fresh hot red chili peppers (padron, cayenne, serrano, jalapeno, cherry bomb or Thai)
- 1 pound sweet red peppers, seeded
- 4 to 6 garlic cloves
- 1 to ½ cups raw apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 2 to 3 teaspoons of sea salt
- Cut the stem off of each of the hot peppers and place into a high-powered blender. (There is no need to wear gloves because you are not opening the pepper up to remove the seeds.)
- Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and blend on high until very smooth.
- Pour the sauce into a 3- to 6-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes until thickened. Add more water for a thinner sauce and simmer for a few more minutes.
- Pour into clean glass jars and store in your refrigerator for up to six months. You can also pour the sauce into small sterilized canning jars (4- or 8-ounce) and can in a boiling water batch for 10 minutes. Then store jars in your pantry for up to a year.
This recipe makes about 4 cups of sauce.
Healthy and Tasty Sriracha Sauce Recipes
Greatist has compiled 50 recipes that use sriracha seasoning, either for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks. Here are recipes that combine both healthy ingredients and this spicy sauce:13
You can also try making these sriracha substitutes, which are just as spicy and flavorful, at home:14
• Sambal Olek: an Indonesian sauce created using freshly ground chili peppers15
• Gochujang: a traditional Korean spicy paste made from fermented soybeans
• Piri piri sauce: a Portuguese hot sauce made using bird’s eye chilies
• Harissa: a chili paste that traces its origins to North Africa