Whether it’s that devilish Rooster Sauce made by Huy Fong Foods or a homemade variety, Sriracha is about as popular as they come among hot sauces. Right there on the shelf with Tabasco, it’s a staple in nearly every grocery store and widely available in restaurants. It’s a popular hot sauce, but how hot is Sriracha really? Where does it fit in on the Scoville scale?
How hot is Sriracha?
Sriracha has a low-medium spiciness, ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 Scoville heat units (SHU). This is a level of heat that has mass appeal. It’s hot enough to enjoy the bite, but not so hot as to detract from the overall sweet and garlicky undertones of the hot sauce.
–> Learn More: Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce Review
What chili pepper is in Sriracha?
Surprising to many, Sriracha’s hot pepper base is typically none other than the jalapeño pepper. “But wait”, you may be asking, “It tastes a heck of a lot hotter than some other jalapeño sauces I’ve tried.” There are reasons for that.
First, chilies star in Sriracha – they sit in the pole position of Sriracha’s ingredients list as the primary ingredient. In many other hot sauces, the chili pepper used comes further down the list. The ratio of chilies to other ingredients is less, so the heat is diluted.
Second, Sriracha uses red jalapeño peppers, the fully ripened form of the chili. With the ripening comes a kick up in heat (an increase in capsaicin) to the upper end of the jalapeños range (2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units). Your normal jalapeño will typically fall somewhere in the middle of that range (with many coming in pretty close to the mild depending on where they are grown and the plant itself). Red jalapeño peppers are more likely to hit the 5,000 to 8,000 SHU range much more often.
How does Sriracha compare to other hot sauces in the grocery store aisle?
In terms of the hot sauces you normally find in general grocery stores, it holds its own in terms of heat. It’s a definite medium bite, but not as strong as most of the seriously spicy sauces made with habaneros or scotch bonnets. We say most because the more ingredients a hot sauce has (fruits, mustards, etc) the more diluted the heat from the pepper will be. With Sriracha hot sauces there normally aren’t many ingredients between you and the hot pepper, so it can pack a surprising punch comparatively.
As an example, here are the heat levels of some of the more common store-bought brands:
- Sriracha: 1,000 to 2,500 Scoville heat units
- Tabasco Original Red: 2,500 to 5,000 SHU (up to twice as hot as Sriracha)
- Valentina Hot Sauce: 900 SHU
- Crystal Hot Sauce: 2,000 to 4,000 SHU
- Frank’s RedHot: 450 SHU
Want to discover more hot sauces? Check out our hot sauce rankings. We review and rank over 100 hot sauces, covering flavor, heat balance, usability, and collectibility. Plus, search by the chili pepper used. It’s the perfect way to find your next new favorite.