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Tapatio vs Cholula ⋆ The Definitive Comparison ⋆

Are you after a new hot sauce? Are you considering Tapatio or Cholula – but not sure which one you’d like more or if there is even that much between them? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know.

So, what is the difference between Tapatio vs Cholula? Cholula sauce is typically less spicy than Tapatio. It also has a smokier, tangier taste. Cholula is also somewhat thicker in consistency compared to the thinner Tapatio. Generally speaking, consumers often enjoy both sauces despite their differences.

If you are in the market for a hot sauce, in truth, you won’t go far wrong with either Tapatio or Cholula.

But they are actually quite different as we shall explore below.

So stick around – besides, you want to ensure you get the right one for you and your preferences!

Is Tapatio Hot Sauce The Same As Cholula?

Tapatio Hot Sauce is not the same as Cholula. In fact, they’re actually quite different despite both being considered hot sauce condiments and the fact that they are often eaten with similar foods.

What Is The Difference Between Tapatio And Cholula?

The main differences between Tapatio and Cholula include the ingredients used, the respective flavors, the consistency of each sauce, and the size bottles you can buy them in.

Let us now explore these differences in greater detail.


Cholula is made from a very particular type of pepper, along with a range of other specific ingredients.

Here is the full ingredient list of the Original Cholula sauce, for reference:

Water, Chili Peppers (5.0%) (Arbol & Piquin), Salt, Vinegar Blend (Spirit Vinegar, Cider Vinegar), Spices, Stabiliser (Xanthan Gum)

And now, take a look at the ingredient list of Tapatio:

Water, Red Peppers, Salt, Spices, Garlic, Acetic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate as a Preservative.

As you can see, there’s quite a variance between them.

Cholula is made from two particular Mexican peppers (Arbol & Piquin), along with two types of vinegar and unspecified spices.

Tapatio on the other hand has water as its primary ingredient, uses unspecified peppers, and does not contain vinegar at all (instead leveraging Acetic Acid).

Flavor Profiles

It should come as no surprise that sauces with such different ingredients taste dissimilar.

While both are rich and flavorful sauces, Tapatio provides a subtle undertone of garlic, whereas Cholula has more of a mellow sweet smoky flavor.


With water being one of the primary ingredients, it’s no surprise that it is somewhat thin and runny in consistency.

You generally use Tapatio in ‘drops’.

On the other hand, Cholula is a little thicker and smoother, where you can drizzle it more easily without breakage or streaks.

Bottle Style/Size

Tapatio is commonly available in 5 and 10-ounce bottles. You can also get a 1 Gallon jug from some outlets such as Amazon.

Either way, the bottles possess a small red screw-top lid.

Cholula typically comes in larger bottle sizes, with 5, 12, and 64-ounce sizes being most common.

They also carry the famous brown wooden cap lid, which makes them stand out from other hot sauces on the market.

Which Is Hotter Tapatio Or Cholula?

Tapatio is considered hotter than Cholula. The average bottle of Tapatio measures around 3,000 on the Scoville Heat Scale, whereas the average bottle of Cholula measures around the 1,000-2,000 mark.

If you are wondering what the Scoville scale is, this is essentially the industry-standard hot sauce measurement of spiciness.

It’s a simple statistical means of comparing the heat levels of spicy foods, particularly chili peppers.

Hot sauce brands also use it to rank and compare the heat of their sauces.

Now, what you need to know is that each chili pepper, or sauce, is given a score on a scale – provided in SHU (Scoville Heat Units).

The higher the SHU, the hotter it is.

Just consider that SHU is often given as a range.

That’s because chili peppers, and resulting sauces, can range in regards to their heat.

It all depends on the chili – how, where, when it was grown, etc.

Nonetheless, the average bottle of Cholula is not as hot as Tapatio.

But there is one caveat here.

There are different variations of Cholula (whereas there is only one version of Tapatio).

If you look below you can therefore see that there is one variety of Cholula that may be hotter than Tapatio.

Cholula Variations SHU Score

  • Cholula Original – 1,000 – 2000
  • 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

That’s right, Cholula Sweet Habenero could be hotter than Tapatio. Depending on the batch.


Tapatio and Choulua are popular brands of hot sauce – for a reason. They pack a lot of flavor!

Although, if you like a spicer hot sauce, then Tapatio may be for you.

Otherwise, the only way to truly know what you prefer is to try them both.

Have your own taste test, and you’ll find what works for you.

Besides, consumers are often quite divided when it comes to their favorite!

Wondering about how other hot sauces compare too? Check out my other guides below: