What’s A Good Tabasco Substitute?

While Tabasco hot sauce is a supermarket staple, there are times when you need an alternative. What other hot sauces can you use that have a similar vinegary tang? What’s a good Tabasco substitute in a pinch for cooking if you don’t have a bottle of any hot sauce handy? And where can you turn if you simply don’t prefer the strong vinegar flavor that Tabasco is famous for? Let’s break down your best options.

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A comparable flavor: Nearly any Louisiana hot sauce

If there’s (surprisingly) no Tabasco available at your store, look at the hot sauces available and choose any labeled “Louisiana hot sauce” or “Louisiana-style hot sauce.” These include Crystal Hot Sauce, Frank’s RedHot, and the aptly named Original Lousiana Hot Sauce, among many others.

All of these hot sauces, like Tabasco, have a high vinegar-to-pepper ratio and few ingredients beyond that (typically only salt), a staple of what makes a Louisiana hot sauce what it is. And, therefore, any will work as an alternative to Tabasco when the need arises. The taste may not exactly be the same (there are definitely nuances between these sauces), but the flavor is comparable enough.

Tabasco too vinegary? Sriracha sauce

To really understand the differences between these two uber-popular hot sauces, check out our Tabasco vs. Sriracha comparison. But simply – Tabasco, with its high vinegar content, is best as a dashing hot sauce to add some Cajun-like heat and tang to a dish. Whereas, Sriracha, with its more complex flavor and thicker consistency, is more of a sauce.

The red jalapeños, garlic, sugar, and salt in Sriracha sauce are the primary ingredients delivering the flavor. And while it has a little vinegar, it is far from tangy. It’s a perfect Tabasco alternative for those that just can’t deal with that bold Lousiana-stye tang.

–> Learn More: Read Our Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce Review

Need a non-hot sauce solution? Cayenne pepper (with a few dashes of vinegar optional)

You can reach right into that spice rack for a perfect quick solution. Cayenne pepper powder can provide the fire that Tabasco was meant to, and a few dashes of vinegar can very roughly simulate the fiery tang of Tabasco.

Just be considerate about the amount of cayenne used. While Tabasco uses tabasco peppers which have the same high-medium heat as cayenne (30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units), those tabasco peppers are well diluted in vinegar. So just a little cayenne can go a long way when a recipe calls for Tabasco. Start with a dash or two and work up from there to get the heat level you prefer.


UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on September 18, 2022 to include new content.
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