Best Simple Sambal Oelek Substitutes

Sambal Oelek Substitutes

Looking for an alternative to the spicy Indonesian paste called Sambal Oelek? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for my favourite simple Sambal Oelek substitutes.

What is Sambal Oelek?

Sambal Oelek is hot red chilli paste popular in Indonesia.

The ingredients on my pack include: Red Chillies (89%), Salt, Acidity Regulator (270), Preservatives (202).

Best Sambal Oelek Substitutes

1. Sriracha

My first choice would be Sriracha because it has a similar level of heat and because I generally have it in the house. Sriracha is a little sweeter though so it’s not an exact match.

2. Tabasco / Other Hot Sauce

Mostly when using Sambal Oelek you are just wanting the heat and not necessarily any sweetness. So Tabasco (or any other hot sauce you have in the house) will work.

3. Gochujang

This Korean red pepper paste has a similar level of heat but is much sweeter than Sambal Oelek – which may not be a bad thing.

4. Hot Chilli Powder or Chilli Flakes

You can get the heat needed from Sambal Oelek with good old chilli powder or chilli flakes.

5. Chilli Bean Paste

This Chinese hot sauce will add a similar chilli kick to your dish. Although chilli bean paste tends to be more salty so it isn’t an exact match.

Is Sambal Oelek vegetarian?


How to Store Sambal Oelek

Unopened jars will keep in the pantry for years. I just keep it in the fridge in the container I purchased it in once opened. Will last months if not years. It can be frozen as well if you like.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x