What chili sauce is gluten free?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and fatigue. When shopping for chili sauce or any packaged foods, it’s important for gluten-free consumers to check the label for any wheat-based ingredients. Many popular chili sauces are naturally gluten-free, but some contain additives like wheat flour or malt vinegar that contain gluten.

Quick Answer

Most plain chili sauces, like Tabasco, Frank’s RedHot, and Cholula, are gluten-free. Some chili garlic sauces, Sriracha, and Asian chili sauces also test gluten-free. Always check the label to confirm gluten-free status. Avoid chili sauces with wheat, barley, rye, malt vinegar, or unspecified natural flavors.

Naturally Gluten-Free Chili Sauces

Many basic chili pepper sauces are naturally gluten-free. Here are some of the most popular gluten-free chili sauce options:

  • Tabasco Sauce
  • Frank’s RedHot Sauces
  • Cholula Hot Sauce
  • Valentina Hot Sauce
  • Tapatío Hot Sauce
  • Crystal Hot Sauce
  • El Yucateco Hot Sauces
  • Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce
  • Huy Fong Sambal Oelek
  • Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce

These chili sauces are made with a simple ingredient list of peppers, vinegar, salt, and spices. They don’t contain any gluten-containing ingredients. Plain chili sauce options like these are naturally gluten-free.

Tabasco Sauce

The classic Tabasco sauce contains just distilled vinegar, red pepper, and salt. It’s produced in a gluten-free facility. Both the original and all the other Tabasco sauce varieties are labeled gluten-free.

Frank’s RedHot Sauce

Frank’s RedHot advertises their sauce as gluten-free on the bottle. It’s made from aged cayenne red peppers, vinegar, water, salt, and garlic powder. Frank’s offers seven different heat levels and flavors of gluten-free hot sauce.

Cholula Hot Sauce

Cholula hot sauce has very few ingredients – just water, peppers, salt, and vinegar. It contains no gluten-based additives. The Original, Green Pepper, Chili Lime, Chili Garlic, and Sweet Habanero flavors are all labeled gluten-free.

Valentina Hot Sauce

Valentina is a very popular Mexican hot sauce brand. Their Original Red and Extra Hot sauces contain only chili pepper, vinegar, water, salt, and spices. Valentina sauces are gluten-free.

Tapatío Hot Sauce

Tapatío hot sauce includes red peppers, vinegar, water, salt, garlic, spices. It’s gluten-free and safe for those avoiding gluten. Tapatío is a common taco sauce and chili ingredient.

Crystal Hot Sauce

Crystal Hot Sauce is another very straightforward chili pepper sauce. The ingredients are aged Cayenne red peppers, vinegar, and salt. It’s an easy gluten-free flavor boost.

El Yucateco Hot Sauces

All the El Yucateco hot sauces are gluten-free. They’re made from habanero peppers, vinegar, salt, spices, and Xanthan gum. The Caribbean, Kutbil-ik, XXXtra Hot, Green Habanero, and Black Label sauces are oriented around chili peppers and don’t contain gluten.

Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce

The iconic Huy Fong chili garlic sauce in the rooster shaped bottles is gluten-free. It contains chili, garlic, distilled vinegar, and salt. You’ll often find it served with dumplings or spring rolls.

Huy Fong Sambal Oelek

Sambal oelek is a simple chili paste without additives. The Huy Fong brand contains just chili peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar. It’s a versatile Sriracha-like sauce without gluten.

Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce

Lee Kum Kee is another major Asian chili garlic sauce brand. Their sauce has chili, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and salt. The chili garlic sauce doesn’t contain any wheat or gluten.


Sriracha is another very popular chili sauce. The original Huy Fong Sriracha contains chili, sugar, salt, garlic, distilled vinegar, potassium sorbate, and sodium bisulfite. Huy Fong Sriracha is gluten-free. However, check brands carefully as some Asian-style chili sauces do contain wheat.

Chili Oils and Chili Crisps

Plain chili oils are typically gluten-free, but check labels. Ingredients are usually a blend of vegetable oil and chili peppers. Fly By Jing and Lee Kum Kee are gluten-free brands. Chili crisp sauces with toasted garlic, shallots, soybean oil, and chilies are also usually gluten-free, like the popular Lao Gan Ma chili crisp sauces. But confirm by reading the label.

Potential Sources of Gluten

While many plain chili pepper sauces don’t contain gluten, here are some ingredients and factors to watch out for:

  • Wheat flour – sometimes used as a thickening agent
  • Barley malt – can be used as a flavoring
  • Malt vinegar – can be derived from barley
  • Soy sauce – may contain wheat
  • Teriyaki – often contains soy sauce and wheat
  • Natural flavors – may contain hidden gluten sources
  • Shared equipment – risk of cross-contact in facility

Always thoroughly read the ingredient list and look for a “gluten-free” label claim if avoiding gluten. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer.

Notable Chili Sauces That Are NOT Gluten-Free

While many major brands are gluten-free, here are some popular chili sauces that do contain gluten:

  • Heinz Chili Sauce – contains wheat flour
  • Maggi Chili Sauce – contains wheat flour and wheat fiber
  • Hunt’s Chili Sauce – contains wheat flour
  • Kikkoman Chili Sauce – contains wheat and soy sauce
  • Kraft Chili Sauce – contains wheat flour
  • Thai Kitchen Sweet Chili Sauce – contains soy sauce

Always double check the label of any chili sauce or condiment if avoiding gluten. Many brands contain hidden gluten from wheat flour, soy sauce, malt vinegar or flavorings.

Tips for Finding Gluten-Free Chili Sauce

Here are some useful tips for finding gluten-free chili sauces:

  • Look for the “gluten-free” label claim.
  • Check the ingredients list for wheat, barley, rye, malt vinegar or unspecified “natural flavors.”
  • Call or email the manufacturer if you’re unsure.
  • Stick to plain chili pepper-based sauces without a lot of additives.
  • Shop in the international aisle for chili pastes and Asian chili sauces.
  • Search for gluten-free brands online if your local stores lack options.
  • Make your own quick chili sauce by blending peppers, vinegar, garlic, and spices.

Gluten-Free Chili Sauce Brands

Here is a summary list of chili sauce brands that currently offer gluten-free options:

  • Tabasco
  • Frank’s RedHot
  • Cholula
  • Valentina
  • Tapatío
  • Crystal
  • El Yucateco
  • Huy Fong
  • Lee Kum Kee
  • Sriracha (check brands)
  • Dynasty
  • PexPeppers
  • Yellowbird
  • Tamajín

Gluten-Free Chili Sauce Recipes

Making homemade chili sauce is an easy way to control ingredients. Here are some recipes for gluten-free chili sauces:

Simple Chili Garlic Sauce

Blend together minced chili peppers, garlic, distilled white vinegar, vegetable oil, honey, and salt. Keeps refrigerated.

Caribbean Chili Sauce

Puree fresh habanero peppers, garlic, lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, cilantro, and sea salt. Store refrigerated.

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Simmer dried chilies, garlic, rice vinegar, fish sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and cornstarch. Cool and blend sauce.

Creamy Buffalo Sauce

Mix hot pepper sauce, butter, Greek yogurt, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Use as a dip.

Best Uses for Gluten-Free Chili Sauce

Gluten-free chili garlic sauces are extremely versatile ingredients and condiments. Here are some of the best ways to use them:

  • Stir fries – Mix into fried rice or noodle dishes
  • Marinades – Let meat or vegetables marinate in chili sauce
  • Dips – Mix chili sauce into mayo, Greek yogurt, hummus
  • Wings – Toss fried wings in chili-based Buffalo sauce
  • Burgers – Spice up cheeseburgers with chili sauce
  • Tacos – Top meats with a splash of chili sauce
  • Pizza – Drizzle spicy sauce over gluten-free pizza
  • Salads – Add a kick with a chili vinaigrette dressing
  • Grilled dishes – Brush chili sauce on meats, fish, and veggies
  • Eggs – Add some heat to omelets and scrambled eggs

Gluten-free chili sauces are great to have on hand for spicing up all kinds of gluten-free recipes.

Choosing a Chili Sauce by Heat Level

Chili sauces come in a wide range of heat levels. Consider how much spice you can handle when picking a sauce:

  • Mild – Valentina, Cholula Green Pepper, El Yucateco Caribbean
  • Medium – Tapatío, Cholula Original, Frank’s Original RedHot
  • Hot – Tabasco, Crystal, El Yucateco Kutbil-ik
  • Extra Hot – Frank’s Extra Hot Sauce, Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
  • XX Hot – El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Habanero

Also keep in mind that chili heat can intensify when cooked. Start with small amounts when using an extremely hot sauce.

Storing Gluten-Free Chili Sauces

Unopened chili sauce bottles can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry spot. Refrigeration can help preserve flavor over many months. Opened sauces will keep for several months in the refrigerator. For homemade sauces, storage times are shorter – only 2-3 weeks refrigerated.

Transfer any leftovers from opened bottles into a clean airtight container before refrigerating. Discard any chili sauce that looks noticeably darker or shows signs of mold.

Properly stored, most commercial and homemade chili sauces have a surprisingly long shelf life.

Gluten-Free Chili Sauce FAQs

Is sriracha gluten-free?

The most popular Huy Fong sriracha sauce is gluten-free, but always check the ingredients list on any brand of sriracha. Some chili garlic sauces contain wheat.

Is chili sauce the same as salsa?

Not necessarily. Chili sauce tends to be smooth and pourable, while salsa often has chunkier, chopped ingredients. But some thin, vinegar-based salsas could be considered a type of chili sauce.

What’s the difference between chili sauce and chili paste?

Chili sauces are usually thinner liquids while chili pastes are thick, often ground chili pepper mixes. But there can be overlap between watery chili pastes and thick chili sauces.

Can I make my own gluten-free chili sauce?

Definitely. Homemade sauces with basic ingredients like peppers, vinegar, garlic, spices will be naturally gluten-free. This also allows you to customize flavors and heat level.

What’s a good gluten-free chili sauce for chicken wings?

Frank’s RedHot Buffalo sauce is a classic gluten-free wing sauce. You can also mix butter, hot sauce, and spices like cayenne and paprika to make a homemade sauce.

What’s the most popular gluten-free chili sauce?

Tabasco and Frank’s RedHot are two of the most popular gluten-free chili sauce brands. Sriracha style sauces are also becoming ubiquitous as a gluten-free option.


Finding gluten-free chili sauces and hot sauces provides plenty of flavorful, spicy options. Many major brands like Tabasco, Tapatío, Huy Fong, and Cholula are labeled gluten-free and contain no wheat, barley, or rye ingredients. However, always carefully read the label of any chili sauce, as some brands contain hidden gluten sources like wheat flour or malt vinegar. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer or stick to homemade recipes to control all the ingredients. With so many versatile chili sauces to choose from, there’s a gluten-free option to spice up any meal.

Leave a Comment