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Apr 13, 2012 05:33 PM

When a recipe calls for 'chili sauce,' what do you use?

Just a question out of curiousity.

Whenever I see a recipe that calls for 'chili sauce,' I get a little annoyed because of the ambiguity. There are so many different brands and variations of things of varying flavor/potency/consistency ect.. that could all be technically consider a chili sauce.

What do you consider 'chili suace,' when called for in a recipe?

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  1. The only recipe I've used calling for chili sauce is meatballs with grape jelly and chili saice, in which case I buy Heinz Chili Sauce, next to the ketchup,

    Tomato puree (tomato paste, water), distilled white vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, corn syrup, dehydrated onions, spice, garlic powder, natural flavoring.

    4 Replies
      1. re: arktos

        Sure is similar based on ingredients. Here's Heinz Ketchup:


        I've only bought the chili sauce twice, to make this recipe, and it definitely has more bite than ketchup does, sort of like cocktail sauce.

        1. re: arktos

          Similar but not the same -- more acidic, ever-so-slightly more spice, and thicker than ketchup. I really notice the difference when I use Heinz chili sauce to make cocktail sauce, as a base that I add Worchestishire (sp) sauce, lemon juice, gin, horseradish, and salt to. My husband didn't believe ketchup wouldn't work as well but conceded it didn't when tasting the thin/runny, sickish sweet concoction it made.

          All that said, the brand's name is misleading, as I don't taste anything chili-like about it.

        2. Must admit I have never used a recipe that asked for "chili sauce." Where do you tend to use it?

          4 Replies
          1. re: escondido123

            In my experience, a cup of Heinz Chili Sauce is a mandatory ingredient of meatloaf. Both my family and my Wife's have made their meatloaf that way for well over 60 years.

            1. re: OnkleWillie

              Uh I'm pretty sure you can just use ketchup that's what everybody that I know uses.

              1. re: cowgirlcore1

                ketchup could be used, just a different flavor than chili sauce. chili sauce is sweeter, more complex. ps, all of you who use heinz, try bennett's. more like homemade. (no, i don't work for them)

                1. re: cowgirlcore1

                  my mom uses ketchup on her meatloaf, but doctors it up with brown sugar and paprika etc. so it comes out more like a BBQ sauce.

            2. What's the context? What kind of recipe, era, ethnicity? If it's in an American cookbook or magazine, especially from a decade or more in the past, then it probably means the Heinz (or similar brand) Chili sauce, ie. a spiced ketchup. But in another context it may mean Sriracha, or one of the Chinese chili garlic sauces. And depending on the quantity, any thing that adds heat to your taste would work.

              2 Replies
              1. re: paulj

                I think that's bang on. Retro = Heinz, modern = hot pepper sauce (Tabasco and its epigoni).

                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  I also add general ethnicity as well. From the midwest/general America = Heinz, Southeast Asian/Pan-Pacific = Sriracha, Chinese or Korean = chili oil.

                  If I feel like they are asking for Mae Ploy, I try to work around it. I'm not a fan of it.

              2. Where I am that would invariably mean Tabasco. Anything else would be more specifically described.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Harters

                  In the USA, Tabasco would be generically called a 'hot sauce'.

                  Outside the USA, 'chilli' is also commonly used, isn't it?

                  1. re: paulj

                    I agree paulj, though on occasion I've seen Mexican recipes that call for hot sauce and that may mean something generally sold as "taco" sauce.

                    1. re: paulj

                      I have usually found Tabasco referred to as "Pepper Sauce".

                      1. re: PotatoHouse

                        Ok, this might be a Southerner/Yankee thing, but in the South, Tabasco sauce is called Tabasco sauce or hot sauce. Pepper sauce is small hot peppers and vinegar packed in bottles. The spicy vinegar is then sprinkled over hot vegetables, such as turnip greens or collards. Never would the two be considered the same around here.

                    2. re: Harters

                      That would be my feeling, but the last time I saw "chili sauce" in a recipe it called for 1/4 cup. I love HOT stuff, but that's obviously not supposed to be Tabasco (or anything like it). Sriracha and chile oils are right out too. I didn't even think of pseudo-ketchup, but now I'm betting that's what they meant.

                    3. Chili sauce used to be a much more common ingredient than it is nowadays; get an American cookbook from the 1940s and '50s and it pops up frequently. I remember it as being much more complex in flavor when it was made with sugar, but then of course my taste buds were fifty years or more younger! The only thing I make using it is a bread stuffing for baked salmon, passed along to me by the first Mrs. O, an Army brat who had it from a colonel's wife next door. It's just dry bread cubes, a little fine-chopped celery and onion, Heinz chili sauce and a bit of salt; the fish provides sufficient extra moisture. It's weirdly good. I have mixed a little pickle relish and ketchup as a substitute, which works.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Will Owen

                        I use the Heinz-type chili sauce to make a pink shrimp cocktail sauce, which is also a salad dressing. Whisk a little mayo with a little sugar until smooth, stir in prepared (jarred)horseradish and the chili sauce. Should be dark salmon pink in color. I never have measured any of the ingredients. Fro some reason, if you don't whisk the mayo first, it's a struggle to get it to blend with the chili sauce.