By Angela Petulla

What Is Sriracha?

Over the last few years, sriracha has increased quite a bit in popularity, and even though millions of people enjoy the garlicky taste of the spicy sauce, many are still uncertain as to what it actually is.

For sriracha lovers and skeptics alike, we're here to break down the basics, including what sriracha is, its ingredients, how its made, and more. Keep reading to get the low down on this trendy condiment!

What Is Sriracha Sauce?

First thing's first - what is sriracha? Sriracha is a type of hot sauce that is known for its garlicky and slightly sweet kick. Made from chili peppers, distilled vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic, sriracha can now be found in big box retail stores across the United States. While the flavor and consistency can vary by manufacturer, it is typically associated with being a garlic-forward sauce that packs quite a punch.

Sriracha History

While many know sriracha as the iconic brand from Huy Fong Foods, it's actually the generic name for a type of hot sauce. Sriracha originated in Thailand, getting its name from the city where it was developed, Si Racha. In the 1930s, a Thai woman named Thanom Chakkapak developed the first batch of sriracha at her home, but after it grew in popularity amongst her friends, she decided to manufacture the sauce and distribute it nationally in Thailand. She named the commercialized sauce Sriraja Panich, and it is said to have become the most popular chili sauce in Thailand.

While sriracha was a well-known and loved condiment in Thailand, it didn't get traction in the United States until the 80s when Huy Fong Foods was established. David Tran was a Vietnamese man who immigrated to the United States in the 1970s and established a hot sauce company known as Huy Fong Foods. Today, Huy Fong Foods is known for its iconic sriracha sauce, identifiable by its clear squeeze bottle, green cap, and rooster logo. In fact, because of this logo, sriracha is often called "rooster sauce."

How Is Sriracha Pronounced?

Many people pronounce sriracha as "Sir-Rah-Chah," but it is actually pronounced "See-Rah-Cha." However, both pronunciations are commonly used in the United States.

What Is In Sriracha?

Recipes for sriracha can vary, but you will usually see the following ingredients:

  • Chili peppers
  • Sugar
  • Garlic
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Salt

Huy Fong Foods uses red jalapeños as its pepper of choice, but the type of chili pepper used may be different based on the recipe. Like Huy Fong Foods, we use red jalapeños here at Not Too Hot Sauce.

Does Sriracha Go Bad?

Just about any food will go bad eventually, but hot sauces tend to have a longer shelf life than many due to their high acidity content.

For sriracha specifically, the shelf life is usually around 2 years, and it is often recommended to refrigerate sriracha after it's opened. This is because sriracha can lose its quality over time, and refrigerating the sauce slows down its degradation process, helping it keep its bright red color, iconic taste, and spicy kick for longer.

However, sriracha sauces that contain fruit purees may go bad more quickly, so we recommend following the instructions on your sauce's packaging.

Is Sriracha Spicy?

Sriracha is a hot sauce, so it will certainly have a bit of a kick to it. The Scoville scale can be used to measure the spiciness of a sauce, and sriracha typically comes in at 1,000 to 2,500 Scoville units. For context, Frank's RedHot is 450 Scoville units, and Cholula is 3,600 Scoville units.

Keep in mind that the spiciness of sriracha sauce can vary depending on the manufacturer and the ingredients used. For example, our Cha-Cha Sriracha is more mild than many other sriracha options on the market due to our addition of red bell peppers alongside red jalapeños.

How to Make Sriracha

Making your own sriracha sauce at home is surprisingly easy! You do not need many ingredients, but you will need time, since sriracha is a fermented sauce.

To get started, you will mix your ingredients in a blender. As a reminder, sriracha typically contains chili peppers, sugar, garlic, distilled vinegar, and salt.

After you've pureed your mixture, you will pour it into a clean glass container to ferment. Cover the container with plastic wrap and leave it for 3 - 5 days in a cool, dark place. Be sure to stir the sauce at least once a day during the fermentation process.

After a few days, add the fermented mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. If you want a perfectly silky sauce, then you will need to strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer after blending. If you do not mind the added texture from the seeds and pulp, then no straining is necessary.

Once blended, transfer your sriracha to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer the sauce until it reaches your preferred level of thickness (generally 5 - 10 minutes will do the trick).

Once your sriracha sauce has cooled down, you can enjoy!

A couple of additional notes regarding how to make sriracha:

  • During the fermentation process, you will see bubbles form in the container with the sauce. This is normal and a part of the fermentation process.
  • We see red jalapeños and fresno peppers used the most, but you can change up the chili peppers, depending on your preference.

Where to Buy Sriracha

These days, sriracha is very easy to find in grocery stores and online. In fact, you can buy a slightly more mild sriracha from us, Not Too Hot Sauce, on our website!

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