Are you looking at getting a new hot sauce? Then Cholula and Sriracha are two brands you have likely seen or are contemplating getting. But how do they differ? Or are they essentially the same thing? Well, here is what you will want to know.
So, what is the difference between Cholula vs Sriracha? Cholula sauce is milder than Sriracha. Although it is similar in consistency and while they both share peppery flavor undertones, Cholula has a smokier, tangier taste and tends to pair better with a wider variety of foods. Sriracha on the other hand is a little sweeter and its heat makes it more of the focal point of a dish.
There is one thing you need to know at this point.
There are actually several different varieties of Cholula. Each of which tastes a little different.
Cholula is a brand, after all.
Whereas Sriracha is a type of sauce.
And as such, there are different brands that make it, and variations between them.
So comparing Cholula vs Sriracha is not like comparing apple to apple.
Just consider that as we explore the similarities and variances below!
Is Cholula Hot Sauce The Same As Sriracha?
Cholula Hot Sauce is not the same as Sriracha. In fact, they’re actually very different. That being said, they are both condiments in the hot sauce category and are typically eaten with similar foods.
What Is The Difference Between Cholula And Sriracha?
The main differences between Cholula and Sriracha are the ingredients they are made from, the resulting flavor profiles, and the color of the respective sauces.
At the same time, Cholula is a brand, whereas Sriracha is a type/style of sauce.
Let us now run through each one in further detail.
Just consider I have compared Cholula Original hot sauce to the Huy Fong Sriracha brand.
While the ingredients used in Cholula and Sriracha similar, there are some clear differences.
Here is the full ingredient list for Cholula Original sauce:
And now, here is the ingredient list of the ever-popular Huy Fong Sriracha:
While on the face of it, there isn’t much between them, if we look a little closer we can see how these sauces end up tasting quite different.
Firstly, Cholula uses two very specific types of peppers (Arbol & Piquin). And they only make up 5% of the recipe.
These are also much milder than the chilis used in Sriracha, and alternatively, they make up the majority of the sauce.
Cholula also contains spirit and cider vinegar, opposed to just the distilled vinegar of Sriracha.
And then there is the garlic and the sugar.
Cholula does not contain garlic or sugar, whereas Sriracha actually includes quite a lot of the latter!
Unsurprisingly, Cholula and Sriracha taste quite different.
Cholula has a deep, mellow, and somewhat smoky flavor. It’s not considered particularly hot.
Whereas Sriracha has a sweet, rich, garlicky, and spicy taste. Sriracha is known for being quite hot.
Another result of the ingredients used; both sauces look quite different.
Original Cholula has a vibrant orange color, whereas Sriracha is a rich red.
Just consider that there are different variations of the Cholula sauce. Each of which has different colors too.
For instance, Green Pepper Cholula is, you guessed it, green.
Chipotle Cholula is maroon.
Whereas in the Sriracha line, all sauces are predominantly red.
Cholula is widely known for its wooden cap lid (that some people struggle to take off!)
But once that’s done it’s a simple tilt and pour.
Sriracha, on the other hand, is easily recognizable for a particular type of green lid that you need to make a small cut into to begin using.
From there, it requires a squeeze to get the sauce out of the bottle.
Can You Substitute Cholula For Sriracha?
You can substitute Cholula for Sriracha, but just consider that this will not be a like-for-like replacement. The heat profiles and flavors will result in different tastes, and may or may not go as well with the food you are serving them with.
For these reasons, you may actually find other hot sauces that are better suited, depending on what you need them for or depending on your preferences.
For instance, if you are looking for a hotter sauce, you may want to consider Tobasco over Cholula.
Or if you are looking for something milder, you could go for a sweet chili sauce.
That being said, Cholula and Sriracha are both hot sauces – so if one is not available and another is, you could use them.
Which Is Hotter Cholula Or Sriracha?
Sriracha is generally spicier than Cholula. The average brand of Sriracha measures at 1000-2500 units, whereas Cholula ranges from between 1000-2000 on the Scoville heat scale.
Now, if you are not sure what the Scoville scale is, it is essentially a measurement of spiciness or heat, based on the analysis of capsaicinoid concentration.
Put simply, it’s a statistical way to compare spice between foods (typically chili peppers). For this reason, it is a well-respected and commonly used standard adopted by hot sauce brands.
The measurements are given in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), where the higher the SHU, the spicier it is.
Just consider that you’ll always get a range.
That’s because there will always be a variance from chili to chili, or bottle to bottle.
It depends on the types of chili used, where they were grown when they were harvested etc.
At the same time, we need to consider that there are different brands of Sriracha – who will use different chilis in their recipes.
Nevertheless, Cholula tends to not be as spicy as Sriracha, on average.
Just consider that there are different variations of Cholula – each of which tends to have a different SHU score, as we can see below.
Cholula Variations SHU Score
- Cholula Original – 1,000 – 2,000
- Cholula Green Pepper – 1,000
- Cholula Sweet Habenero – 2,500 – 5,000
- Cholula Chipotle – 750-1,000
- Cholula Chili Lime – 300-600
- Cholula Chili Garlic – 500-750
So, as a rare exception, Cholula Sweet Habenero is often hotter than Sriracha. But the other varieties are not.
Cholula and Sriracha are actually quite different, even if they are marketed and sold as hot sauces.
To the point where people are often in favor of one or the other.
But what will you prefer?
Will you be Team Cholula or Team Sriracha?
Well, only time and a little taste testing will tell!
Wondering about how other hot sauces compare too? Check out my other guides below:
Hi there. I’m Jeremy – a passionate food technologist with several decades in the food industry. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my experience, knowledge, and recommendations; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to nutrition for every sauce imaginable.