Sriracha sauce has a huge fan base around the world, thanks to the spicy kick it adds to foods. While it might be the hot sauce of choice for millions, it’s not necessarily a good option if you’re following a vegan diet.
While most of Sriracha’s ingredients are plant-based, some gray areas — like the type of sugar used — could be a vegan deal-breaker.
What’s In Sriracha Sauce?
Sriracha sauce, often recognized by the rooster logo from Huy Fong Foods, is a famous hot sauce that originally hails from Thailand.
The spicy concoction created by David Tran is primarily made from simple ingredients like red chili peppers, garlic, distilled vinegar, sugar, and salt.
The main ingredients in Sriracha are:
- Red chili peppers
- Distilled vinegar
While most of these ingredients are vegan-friendly and align with a plant-based diet, the sauce’s vegan status is questionable once you look into the sugar and vinegar components.
Non-Vegan Ingredients in Sriracha Sauce
The sugar used in Sriracha sauce is the bone of contention (pun intended) for many vegans.
A lot of cane sugar is processed with bone char to achieve its white color. Bone char is derived from animal bones, making it a no-go for those avoiding all animal products.
Some off-brand versions of Sriracha specifically mention the use of vegan sugar, making them a suitable choice for those adhering to a strict vegan diet.
If the Sriracha sauce uses beet or coconut sugar, it’s a safer bet for vegans since these sugars are processed without bone char.
While vinegar is generally considered vegan, some wine vinegars might be processed using animal-derived ingredients like gelatin.
However, distilled vinegar, like the one in Sriracha, is almost always vegan.
Vegan Alternatives to Sriracha Sauce
Don’t worry if you’re steering clear of Sriracha due to doubts about its vegan status.
There are plenty of vegan hot sauce options out there, including:
- Frank’s RedHot Original
- Tabasco Original Red Sauce
- Cholula Hot Sauce
- Valentina Salsa Picante
- Crystal Hot Sauce
Just be sure to check ingredient lists before buying in case recipes have changed.
Or you can whip up your own homemade vegan Sriracha sauce using vegan-friendly ingredients like organic sugar or agave syrup, chili peppers, garlic, salt, and vegan vinegar.
For those who love Sriracha mayo, you can easily create a vegan version using vegan mayo as the base mixed with vegan hot sauce.
The Bottom Line
Although Sriracha sauce is made from primarily plant-based ingredients, its vegan status is debatable due to the potential use of sugar processed with bone char.
It’s always best to do your due diligence and research the specific brands available in grocery stores to ensure they align with your vegan lifestyle.