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The 5 Best Substitutes for Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

Today, Frank’s hot sauce is a staple in almost any kitchen. Numerous recipes call for it, and who could imagine chicken wings without it? The good news is that there are a bunch of great substitutes in case you are out, and I’ll list my favorites here. I’ll also provide you with a quick and easy DIY recipe for Frank’s, so you can DIY it if you so choose.

1. Tabasco

A bottle of Tabasco hot sauce

Tabasco is relatively similar to Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. The primary difference you’ll likely notice is the peppers used in each sauce – as the name suggests, Tabasco is made with tabasco chili peppers. On the other hand, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce is made with cayenne peppers.

Both are vinegar-based sauces, which is why Tabasco is a good alternative for Frank’s. That said, Tabasco is runnier than Frank’s but is also much spicier and has more of a vinegar punch. Frank’s Red Hot is rated at 450 SHU, while the Original Red sauce from Tabasco is anywhere from 2500 to 5000 SHU – a startling difference.

While the runny nature of Tabasco may compel you to add more of it to your meal than you would Frank’s, keep the spice factor in mind – if you’re looking for the same heat levels, you’ll need less Tabasco than you would use with Frank’s, not more.

2. Sriracha

Hand holding sriracha sauce texas pete hot sauce in a store

Sriracha is another good option if you’re looking for a Frank’s Red Hot substitute that brings the heat.

That said, it’s essential to note that the flavor profiles of the two sauces are actually quite different. As mentioned above, Frank’s is made with vinegar, tomato paste, and cayenne peppers. Sriracha is made from red chile peppers, though the variety differs by brand. Other ingredients include garlic, sugar, salt, and – crucially – garlic. 

It is the garlic that makes all the difference in taste. Sriracha is tangy and spicy but also boasts a punch of garlic, which helps it stand out from other spicy sauces. This garlic taste can be a little much if you’re used to vinegar-only sauces like Tabasco and Frank’s. Though Frank’s does use garlic powder, the taste of the garlic doesn’t come through as much as it does in Sriracha.

However, if you’re a Sriracha (or garlic) fan, you can use it in place of Frank’s Red Hot. Keep in mind that Sriracha is both thicker and spicier than Frank’s. While the heat level of this sauce differs by brand, it generally ranges from 1000-2500 SHU. So, while it’s not as spicy as Tabasco, you should still use less of it than you would Frank’s.

3. Buffalo Sauce

Buffalo sauce in a bowl

Depending on which brand you buy from, buffalo sauce is perhaps the closest alternative to Frank’s Red Hot Sauce you will be able to find. Like Frank’s, buffalo sauces also use cayenne pepper, though some brands will increase the amount of cayenne they add to their buffalo sauce vs. their hot sauce. 

The primary difference between the two sauces is the inclusion of an additional ingredient – butter. Buffalo sauce is more buttery than Frank’s Red Hot, as it is designed to pair perfectly with buffalo chicken wings. 

Some brands may include an additional ingredient or two in their buffalo sauce blend aside from butter. For example, Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce has the same ingredient list as their Frank’s Red Hot Sauce – but with added butter flavor and paprika. 

This similarity to hot sauce also makes it very easy to make buffalo wing sauce at home – all you need is your hot sauce of choice, butter, and your preferred flavorings, such as garlic powder or paprika. To make, you need to:

  1. Melt the butter
  2. Whisk two parts hot sauce and one part melted butter together

That’s all you need to do, and your buffalo sauce is ready for use!

Because of the relatively similar flavor profiles, you can use about the same amount of buffalo sauce as you would Frank’s Red Hot. If the butter flavor is overwhelming, reduce the amount of buffalo sauce a little.

4. Cholula Original Hot Sauce

Bottles of Cholula hot sauce in a store

Cholula is another brand of hot sauce. Where Frank’s is made with cayenne pepper, Cholula is made with arbol and piquin peppers. Additionally, Cholula uses more spices than Frank’s. 

As a result, Cholula has a smokier, richer flavor. Additionally, it is spicier than Frank’s, coming in at about 1000-2000 SHU to Frank’s 450 SHU. Many people say they prefer the flavor of Cholula’s, as it brings both the heat and the smoke. 

When using Cholula’s as a substitution for Frank’s, the spice levels mean you should use less of it than you would Frank’s. However, this will ultimately depend on your personal spice tolerance.

5. Homemade Hot Sauce

Homemade red hot chilli sauce

If you don’t have Frank’s in your pantry, you can also try whipping up your own homemade hot sauce. The process is relatively easy – here’s what you need to do:

  1. Using a food processor, add chili peppers of your choice, peeled garlic cloves, ¼ cup of water, and salt to taste. Process the ingredients together.
  2. Put this base hot sauce mixture into a glass container and cover the mouth with a muslin cloth. Leave it to rest for one to two days.
  3. After it has finished resting, incorporate ½ cup apple cider vinegar into the mixture. Stir until the vinegar is thoroughly mixed in.
  4. Recover the container with the muslin cloth and allow it to rest for about a week.
  5. After it has finished resting, transfer the mixture to your food processor and/or blender and blend until it is completely smooth. If you think it is too chunky for your liking, add in more water or vinegar (depending on which flavor profile you’re aiming for) and blend, repeating the step until you’re satisfied with the consistency.
  6. If you don’t want to change the flavor profile but want a thinner consistency, strain the mixture. 
  7. Transfer the sauce into a bottle or jar. Store in the refrigerator, and shake well before using. 

Keep in mind that this is simply a basic hot sauce recipe. You can make it your own by changing the spices you add, adding sugar to sweeten it, or adding vegetables like onions to alter the flavor profile. 

You can also make your own Frank’s Red Hot Sauce at home. To do so, you should:

  1. Remove the ends and stems from fresh cayenne peppers. 
  2. Combine the peppers, 1.5 cups of white vinegar, garlic powder, minced garlic, and salt to taste in a saucepan and heat it until boiling.
  3. Let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer from the saucepan to a blender and process until completely smooth.
  5. Return to the saucepan and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a bottle or jar and allow it to rest in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to mature. However, if you don’t have the time to allow the sauce to rest, you can directly add it to your meal.


The five best substitutes for Frank’s Red Hot Sauce:

  1. Tabasco
  2. Sriracha
  3. Buffalo Sauce
  4. Cholula Original Hot Sauce
  5. Homemade Hot Sauce

Thanks for stoppin’ by!

For more, don’t miss 9 Yummy Substitutes for Barbecue Sauce (And Easy DIY Recipe).