I feel like the only way to start out this review is to just proclaim, “It’s Sriracha!” Obviously the Rooster Sauce is well-known with a passionate following. There’s no doubt it’s good, with its lovely garlic peppery taste that enhances the flavor in food. But how does that flavor stack up against other sauces? And that heat balance – is it merely good or is it great? Let’s dive into why – as Sriracha says on its label – people put “Sriracha on their Sriracha.”
The story of Sriracha is all in the first four ingredients on its ingredient list: chili, sugar, salt, and garlic. It also contains acetic acid, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite, and xanthan gum – but really they are all long words for preservatives and thickeners. Though acetic acid gives it its very light vinegary bite. You read more about those ingredients here.
From the second Sriracha hits your tongue the chili, sugar, and garlic make their presence known, without one outshining the other. It has a low acidic taste, so you really experience the ingredients here, not an overwhelming tang. Red jalapeños are the chili pepper behind Sriracha, and they are naturally sweeter than green jalapeños (which have more of a bright bite.) It’s a lovely flavor complement to the natural sweetness of the garlic and the sugar.
On that sugar: It’s really welll balanced in Sriracha. I think its what drives people to layer up this sauce so much. They get that slight peppery kick, but with this delicious sweet side that keeps you coming back for more. It’s basically all the ingredients my brain tells me to eat to feel good.
It’s simply tasty and as “flavor-safe” as a hot sauce gets. Sriracha is a sauce people try once and it immediately becomes a staple.
As mentioned, Sriracha uses red jalapeños as its pepper of choice. Red jalapeños tend to be near the top of the jalapeño Scoville heat range (2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units). But this sauce only taps into about small portion of that. It’s really rather mild. Sriracha only lands between 1,000 and 2,500 Scoville heat units, making it a very family-friendly hot sauce. Compare that to another staple Tabasco, which hits between 2,500 and 5,000 SHU. It’s much less.
Even with the amount of layering you’re so tempted to do with Sriracha, the heat never builds up to an uncomfortable place. And the spiciness doesn’t linger. You can see why this chili garlic sauce is such a staple. The heat is about as safe as a hot sauce can get.
It’s Sriracha! There’s a reason most restaurants carry this; it will literally go on anything and enhance the flavor. It doesn’t overwhelm your food and it doesn’t kill your taste buds.
But probably best of all for its usability, it sort of lives well in many culinary worlds. It has that peppery “fresh from the garden” flavor that works with meats, vegetables, and all sorts of meals. It’s thick enough to use as a dressing in its own right. And it has that sweet side that makes it an interesting pairing for spicy desserts.
So Sriracha is amazing on everything from green beans and steak to even ice cream! I tried it on top of vanilla bean ice cream, and I was left wondering if I should open a Sriracha ice cream shop. Or make a plate of fries, add cheese, and some Sriracha spice…YUM. This is such a fun sauce to experiment with since it pairs so well.
Even the packaging is ultra-usable. The Sriracha bottle comes in a larger plastic squeeze bottle because they knew you’d want to layer it all over your plate. It’s perfect for squeezing out just the right amounts.
This is an everyday hot sauce that everyone should have in their fridge. And most staple hot sauces don’t rank high in collectibility. But then there’s that Sriracha Rooster. People slap that on everything. T-shirts, bags, hats, mini-hot sauce bottles, you name it. I get it, it’s random, old school, and cool. Want to learn about that Rooster, check out our post on why it’s on the bottle in the first place.
So a little extra for the cool rooster. Sriracha may be everywhere, but it’s still a fun label to talk about.
Sriracha is arguably the most versatile hot sauce on the planet. It’s sweet, garlicky flavor works on everything from steak to ice cream. And it’s a heat that most everyone can enjoy. It’s a staple for good reason.