The Great Sriracha Shortage of 2014 was a tad overblown. With only a month’s worth of shipment problems, you probably never even had an issue stocking your shelf. Still, the scare got us thinking, “Is the classic Huy Fong Foods rooster sauce really the sriracha you should be using anyway?” We gathered up nine different versions of the Thai sauce and hosted a blind taste test to find out which should be your spicy condiment of choice. We ranked both overall flavor and heat level in an attempt to find the best of the bunch. These are the surprising results (all ratings are based on a scale of 0-5):
9) Sriraja Panich Chilli Sauce – This is the classic sriracha from Thailand and it has a flavor that’s completely different from what you might be used to. It’s tangy and oddly reminiscent of saltwater and seafood. It is also extremely garlicky. Different and not our cup of tea.
Rating: 2.4 • Heat: 2.2 • Buy
8) Shark Brand Sriracha – Despite many glowing reviews online and being the sriracha of choice for James Beard Award-winning chef, Andy Ricker, we weren’t all that impressed with Shark Brand Sriracha. While some of us found it decent at best, the majority found it far too thin with too much back-end heat.
Rating: 2.5 • Heat: 2.5 • Buy
T-6) Organicville Sky Valley Sriracha Sauce – Mild with a nice little smokiness to it, Sky Valley Sriracha Sauce lets the flavor of cayenne peppers and jalapenos come through without bashing your palate with heat.
Rating: 2.9 • Heat: 1.8 • Buy
T-6) Pain is Good Sriracha Pepper Sauce – While Pain is Good Sriracha Pepper Sauce packs more of a spicy punch than Organicville’s offering, it doesn’t quite deliver what you might expect after hearing the brand’s name.
Rating: 2.9 • Heat: 2.7 • Buy
5) Three Mountains Sriracha – In a way, Three Mountains Sriracha is like an improved version of Sriraja Panich. It has a great tanginess to it that gets balanced by a sweetness that’s not too cloying. We’re not saying we need overly spicy, but Three Mountains Sriracha needed more of a kick for us. Not our favorite, but far from bad.
Rating: 3 • Heat: 1.7 • Buy
4) Lee Kum Kee Sriracha Sauce – The main knock on this sauce was that it was a bit too sweet for some of us. While some found it cloying, a few really enjoyed the unique sweetness it brought to the table. It also had a hint of fishiness that, while not overpowering, definitely turned some of us a touch off.
Rating: 3.4 • Heat: 2.5 • Buy
3) Crying Tiger Sriracha Hot Sauce – Now this is a sriracha that delivers both flavor and heat. For some, the heat that creeps up is a bit too overpowering so it’s clearly not the perfect choice for everybody. That said, most of us found it pretty tasty with bright flavors.
Rating: 3.5 • Heat: 3.5 • Buy
2) Kim Tu Thap Sriracha – There is a wonderful smokiness to Kim Tu Thap Sriracha that adds an element to your food that no other sriracha on this list could. It’s also a tad thicker than some of the sauces here and coats food nicely. While hot, you don’t lose the flavor to a scorched palate. It scored very well across the board.
Rating: 3.9 • Heat: 4 • Buy
Huy Fong Foods Sriracha – We fully planned on crowning a new sriracha champion and riding off into the sunset as champions of flavor discovery. We were gravely mistaken. When we finished the blind tasting and looked at our pick for the tastiest, we found a familiar friend. Maybe we’re just so used to it or maybe it really is just that good, but there’s a beautiful showcase of peppers going on here with flavors that don’t get lost in the heat. The tanginess is ideal and makes for the complex sauce you know and probably love. It scored highly with all of us and many picked it as their favorite by a wide margin.
Rating: 4.4 • Heat: 2.8