Worried about the "unprecedented" sriracha shortage? It's almost too easy to make your own

Don't fret about the condiment drought! Here's how to turn up the heat at home

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published June 23, 2022 5:55PM (EDT)

Spicy Sweet Sriracha (Mary Elizabeth Williams)
Spicy Sweet Sriracha (Mary Elizabeth Williams)

In "Quick & Dirty," Salon Food's Mary Elizabeth Williams serves up simplified recipes and shortcuts for exhausted cooks just like you — because quick and dirty should still be delicious.

Sriracha is more than just a condiment. Sriracha is one of those foods — like chocolate or bacon or avocados — people fall so deeply in love with that it becomes part of their identity.

You don't only carry sriracha with you on your keychain. You don't simply douse it on your favorite foods. Rather, you dress up as sriracha for Halloween, and you listen to entire podcasts about it.

When Huy Fong Foods, the California brand behind the most beloved, most rooster-festooned sriracha in America, recently revealed an "unprecedented shortage," the news wasn't just an inconvenience. It felt personal.

RELATED: It's almost too easy to make hot, fresh, fried onion rings

With the manufacturer citing "several spiraling events, including unexpected crop failure from the spring chile harvest" in northern Mexico, sriracha appears to be yet another victim of climate change. Consumers reported sightings of panic buying on social media, and restaurant owners told NPR that the prices per case had almost doubled in recent weeks.

Instead of stockpiling for the looming srirachapocalypse, why not make your own until the drought subsides? It's likely that you already have almost all of the ingredients on hand.

When I heard about the sriracha shortage, I immediately pulled out America's Test Kitchen's "DIY Cookbook: Can It, Cure It, Churn It, Brew It." Some days, I have to reach deep just to muster enthusiasm for mac and cheese out of the box. Other days, I think, "Yeah, I would like to make duck prosciutto." This is the cookbook for that. While many of the recipes ask for more commitment than getting my doctoral degree, several others require little more than a food processor and a few minutes of active work. 

RELATED: When to toss Sriracha and what to do with tahini: "Saucy" answers your burning condiment questions

The Test Kitchen sriracha recipe creates a beautiful, incredibly spicy-sweet hot sauce. While not a clone of the classic Huy Fong, it's an intriguing interpretation of it. If you're the sort of person who drips hot honey on your pizza, you're going to love it.

I cut the quantity in half, but if you're a bottle-a-week sriracha user, I recommend doubling the recipe. I couldn't find red jalapeños, so I reached for Fresno chiles instead. (Fresnos are a very good pepper; don't sleep on them.) I also used malt vinegar instead of white vinegar, which is inauthentic but also what I had in my pantry.

With a fresh batch in hand, I found myself drenching this sauce on my salad at lunch, then leveling up my sliders at dinner. Basically, this recipe belongs on everything but cake. I'll always be loyal to Huy Fong, but this stuff can proudly sit beside it on your shelf.


Recipe: Spicy Sweet Sriracha
Inspired by America's Test Kitchen's "DIY Cookbook: Can It, Cure It, Churn It, Brew It"

1 cup
Prep Time
 10 minutes
Cook Time
 30 minutes, plus chilling


  • 3/4 pounds Fresno chiles, stemmed and cut, seeds reserved
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons malt vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoons sea salt



  1. Place the chiles, garlic, water, malt vinegar and reserved pepper seeds (to your desired heat level) in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan, then add the sugar and sea salt.
  3. Boil the mixture over high heat, then lower to a simmer, stirring occasionally and skimming the gloopy foam, until the sauce is thickened and reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Return the mixture to your blender or food processor and blend again until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. 
  6. Pour the mixture into a jar or squeeze bottle and refrigerate it for at least 1 day. Keep in the fridge and enjoy for up to 3 weeks.

Cook's Notes

I recommend starting with about 1/2 tablespoon of pepper seeds.

For a less sweet sauce, dial back the amount of sugar to 3 or 4 tablespoons. 


Want more great food writing and recipes? Subscribe to "The Bite," Salon Food's newsletter.

More of our favorite condiments: 

Salon Food writes about stuff we think you'll like. Salon has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

MORE FROM Mary Elizabeth Williams

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Condiments Diy Food Hot Sauce Quick & Dirty Recipe Sriracha