Is Sriracha Vegan?

Sriracha is a popular spice hit that anyone can enjoy, right? Well, we have to ask – is Sriracha vegan? The answer is that yes, most of the time it is. 

There are instances where this isn’t the case, and we want you to be able to enjoy this without having to double-check every ingredient. Read on to find out how to enjoy the chili hit, cruelty-free.

Ingredients

Most recipes will be very similar and use sun-ripened chilis and sugar, salt, vinegar, garlic, as well as other vegan-friendly ingredients. 

There is one ingredient that stands out in this list for any vegan and that is sugar. 

Many vegans will ask why sugar? And the answer is quite shocking.

Since many food manufacturers in the US use bone char to decolorize their sugar, it is not strictly cruelty-free. This process bleaches sugar to make it a more desirable white and is made from the charred bones of cattle and pigs.

It can be difficult to tell if a company uses this method as they do not have to include such information on the label. Because of this, many vegans like to contact companies directly, but are often given a generic answer along the lines of “we use various suppliers.”

The best way to ensure the foods you consume are not using bone char is to look for organic sugar, beet, or coconut sugar.

Homemade recipes can help to fix this, as using organic sugar, chilies, vinegar, and garlic is a simple yet effective way to replicate the iconic flavor. 

Does Sriacha Contain Fish?

Most brands do not include anything untoward apart from sugar. However, there is always the risk that some sort of fish-based product has been used.

These are usually easy to spot on a label and determine whether the Sriracha brand you are considering is vegan. Popular in a lot of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, fermented fish is often used to add a salty flavor to Sriracha. This, and shellfish are obvious red flags for any vegan.

Look out for the following ingredients on the label in case they try to sneak their way into your Sriracha sauce: Fish Sauce, Anchovies, Shrimp Paste, Dried Shrimp, Fish Extract, Nam Pia

Sriracha Brands

One of the most popular brands is Huy Fong. A brand that has made the news for the surrounding communities experiencing burning eyes. Their sriracha is so popular, it is found in grocery stores nationwide, as well as restaurants. 

The bad news is that their Sriracha sauce is not vegan. This is confirmed to numerous sources by a spokesperson who advised that their products are not plant-based because of the process their sugar goes through. 

We can only speculate that this means they use bone char as part of the production process. 

How Is Sriracha Sauce Made?

Chilis are ground into a paste before being mixed with vinegar and salt. Once these are combined, garlic and sugar are added to complete the recipe. These are pumped into bottles before being ready to send out around the world. 

Where To Buy Vegan Sriracha Sauce?

Buying almost anything in-store can be a challenge for many following a plant-based diet, but there are brands available, you just have to read the ingredients list.

Frequenting any Asian supermarket will provide several options, increasing the chances of finding something suitable. It can be difficult to read the label though which is why we usually use the internet. 

The best place to buy these sauces is usually online, and here are a few options:

Organicville Sky Valley Sriracha Sauce

An organic option, this at least means the organic cane sugar is not processed with bone char. On top of this, it has a flavorful heat and is completely vegan. The ingredients read as follows:

CAYENNE PEPPER PUREE, WATER, ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, RED JALAPENO PEPPERS, ORGANIC DISTILLED VINEGAR, ORGANIC DRIED GARLIC, CAYENNE POWDER, XANTHAN GUM, CITRIC ACID.

Eaten Alive Smoked Sriracha

Another plant-based option that claims to be raw, vegan, and bio-live. Expect an interesting smokey flavor and that same hit of red sauce using the following ingredients:

Smoked red pepper, smoked chili, smoked onion, raw cider vinegar, garlic, dry chili, chili miso (rice koji, soybeans, chili paste, chili powder, salt), sugar, salt. (Allergens: Soy)

Flying Goose Sriracha Sauce

According to the company website, this product is vegan. Made in Thailand, it has a heck of a kick, plenty of tangy flavor, and the following ingredients:

Chilli 61%, sugar, garlic, salt, water, acidity regulator: E260, E330, flavour enhancer: E621, stabiliser: E415, preservative E202

Yellowbird Sauce Siracha 

Certified organic and sweetened by dates and raisins, this has an interesting flavor and is made without sugar. A vegan option that features a flavor first, heat second approach. The ingredients list reads as follows:

Organic Jalapeno Peppers, Organic Dates, Organic Raisins, Organic Distilled Vinegar, Organic Garlic, Sea Salt, Organic Tangerine Juice Concentrate, Organic Lime Juice Concentrate

Final Word

Although traditional sriracha is made without fish or other non-vegan ingredients, it can be found in several recipes. 

Having said that, there are plenty of brands making plant-based options that we can all enjoy. The flavor, heat kick, and deep red appearance are all there so we don’t have to miss out.