Hellofresh Szechuan Paste Substitute (19+ Option Available)

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As someone who loves experimenting in the kitchen, I’m no stranger to the thrill of discovering new ingredients and flavors.

Recently, I found myself faced with a culinary challenge: a recipe that called for HelloFresh Szechuan paste, a delicious and spicy ingredient I didn’t have on hand. 

Determined not to let this obstacle derail my cooking plans, I embarked on a quest to find the perfect HelloFresh Szechuan paste substitute.

19+ Best Hellofresh Szechuan Paste Substitute

Hellofresh Szechuan Paste Substitute (1)

Homemade Szechuan Paste

You can create your own Szechuan paste using ingredients like red chili peppers, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and a touch of sesame oil.

Adjust the quantities to achieve the desired level of spiciness and flavor.

Store-Bought Szechuan Sauce

Look for Szechuan sauce or paste at your local grocery store or Asian market.

Store-Bought Szechuan Sauce

Brands like Lee Kum Kee and Kikkoman offer Szechuan sauces that work well as a substitute.

Sriracha Sauce

Sriracha is a versatile hot chili sauce that can add a spicy kick and some depth of flavor to your dish.

It may not be a perfect match for Szechuan paste, but it can provide a similar level of heat.

Chili Garlic Sauce

Chili garlic sauce, such as Huy Fong Foods’ brand, is a great alternative. It combines chili peppers and garlic, delivering a spicy and garlicky flavor that can work in Szechuan-inspired recipes.

Szechuan Peppercorns and Chili Flakes

Szechuan Peppercorns and Chili Flakes

If you have Szechuan peppercorns and dried red chili flakes on hand, you can create a simple spice mix by toasting them and grinding them together.

This mixture can add the characteristic heat and numbing sensation of Szechuan cuisine to your dishes.

Gochujang Paste

Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili paste that has a unique combination of spicy, sweet, and savory flavors.

While it’s not exactly the same as Szechuan paste, it can add depth and complexity to your dishes, making it a great alternative.

Thai Red Curry Paste

Thai red curry paste offers a different flavor profile but can still provide a rich and spicy kick to your recipes.

It contains ingredients like red chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger.

Harissa Paste

Harissa is a North African chili paste made from roasted red peppers, garlic, and various spices.

It can bring a smoky and spicy element to your dishes, making it a unique substitute for Szechuan paste.

Sambal Oelek

Sambal oelek is a simple and versatile chili paste made from crushed red chili peppers, vinegar, and salt.

It has a fiery heat and can be used as a straightforward replacement for Szechuan paste in recipes that call for a spicy element.

Chili Oil with Szechuan Peppercorns

If you have chili oil infused with Szechuan peppercorns, it can be an excellent substitute for HelloFresh Szechuan paste.

The oil provides heat, and the peppercorns impart the characteristic numbing sensation of Szechuan cuisine.

Miso Paste with Chili

Combine miso paste with a bit of chili paste or chili flakes to create a flavorful and slightly spicy alternative. Miso paste contributes depth and umami to your dishes.

Tahini with Chili

Mix tahini (sesame paste) with chili sauce or red pepper flakes to create a creamy and mildly spicy alternative.

This can work well in recipes where you want a creamy texture along with some heat.

Soybean Paste (Doenjang or Miso)

Depending on the flavor profile you’re looking for, you can substitute HelloFresh Szechuan paste with a milder soybean paste like Korean doenjang or Japanese miso. These pastes add a savory, fermented quality to your dishes.

Black Bean Garlic Sauce

Black bean garlic sauce is a staple in Chinese cuisine and offers a savory and slightly sweet flavor with fermented black beans and garlic.

It can be used as a substitute in Szechuan-inspired dishes for a different but delicious twist.

Tom Yum Paste

Tom Yum paste is a Thai seasoning paste used to make the famous Tom Yum soup.

It contains chili, lemongrass, and other aromatic ingredients, providing a tangy and spicy flavor profile that can work as an alternative in certain Szechuan recipes.

Ginger and Red Pepper Flakes

Combine freshly grated ginger with red pepper flakes or chili powder to create a simple yet effective substitute. This combination will provide some heat and a zesty, spicy kick to your dishes.

Chili-Garlic Peanut Butter

Mix peanut butter with chili garlic sauce or sriracha for a creamy and spicy substitute. This can work well in dishes that benefit from a nutty and spicy flavor combination.

Soy Sauce and Red Pepper Flakes

For a quick and easy substitute, mix soy sauce with red pepper flakes or chili oil. This will add a salty and spicy element to your recipes.

Sesame Paste with Chili

Blend sesame paste (tahini) with chili paste or red pepper flakes for a nutty and moderately spicy alternative. This combination can be used in various Asian-inspired dishes.

Szechuan Powder Seasoning

Look for Szechuan powder seasoning blends in your local Asian market or online.

These blends typically contain Szechuan peppercorns, chili flakes, and other spices, making them a convenient way to add Szechuan flavor to your recipes without the paste.

Note: As with any substitution, consider the specific flavors and heat levels of these alternatives and adjust them to match your recipe’s requirements and your personal taste preferences.

Can I make my own Szechuan paste as a HelloFresh substitute?

make HelloFresh Szechuan paste substitute

Yes, you can definitely make your own Szechuan paste as a substitute for HelloFresh Szechuan paste.

Making your own Szechuan paste allows you to customize the flavors to your liking and create a fresh and flavorful alternative. 

Here’s a basic recipe for homemade Szechuan paste:


  • 10-12 dried red chili peppers (adjust for desired spiciness)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns, toasted and ground
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (rice vinegar or black vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt to taste


  • Begin by soaking the dried red chili peppers in hot water for about 15-20 minutes until they become soft. Drain the water and remove the seeds for a milder heat, or keep them for extra spiciness.
  • In a dry pan, toast the Szechuan peppercorns over low heat until they become fragrant, being careful not to burn them. Then grind them into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and ginger, and sauté for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the soaked and drained red chili peppers to the pan and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Remove the mixture from heat and let it cool slightly.
  • Transfer the chili-garlic-ginger mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the ground Szechuan peppercorns, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt.
  • Blend until you achieve a smooth paste. You may need to add a little more oil or water to reach your desired consistency.
  • Taste the homemade Szechuan paste and adjust the seasonings according to your preferences. You can add more soy sauce, sugar, or salt as needed.

Once your homemade Szechuan paste is ready, you can use it as a substitute in your HelloFresh recipes that call for Szechuan paste.

Adjust the quantity to match the recipe’s requirements and the level of spiciness you desire. 

Homemade Szechuan paste can add an authentic and flavorful touch to your dishes.

Is there a store-bought Szechuan paste that works well as a HelloFresh substitute?

Yes, there are store-bought Szechuan pastes and sauces that can work well as substitutes for HelloFresh Szechuan paste.

These products are convenient options when you need a quick alternative. 

Here are a few brands to look for at your local grocery store or online:

Lee Kum Kee Szechuan Sauce:

Lee Kum Kee is a reputable Asian sauce brand, and their Szechuan sauce is a flavorful option.

It offers a balance of spiciness and savory notes and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Kikkoman Szechuan Sauce:

Kikkoman, known for its soy sauce, also produces a Szechuan sauce that adds a touch of heat and umami to your recipes. It’s a versatile option for Szechuan-inspired dishes.

Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp:

While not exactly a Szechuan paste, Lao Gan Ma Spicy Chili Crisp is a beloved Chinese condiment known for its complex flavor.

It combines chili flakes, garlic, and other seasonings in oil. It can be used as a topping or stirred into dishes for extra spice and texture.

House of Tsang Szechuan Spicy Stir-Fry Sauce:

House of Tsang offers a Szechuan stir-fry sauce that simplifies the process of adding Szechuan flavors to your dishes. It has a spicy kick with a hint of sweetness.

Maesri Szechuan Curry Paste:

Maesri is known for its Thai curry pastes, but their Szechuan curry paste is a fusion option that can add a unique twist to your recipes. It combines Szechuan spices with Thai curry flavors.

These store-bought options may vary in flavor and spiciness, so it’s a good idea to taste a small amount and adjust the quantity to match your recipe’s requirements and your personal preference for heat and flavor. 

Additionally, some stores may carry locally produced Szechuan sauces, so exploring your local Asian market can be a great way to find unique and authentic options.

What ingredients can mimic the flavor of HelloFresh Szechuan paste?

To mimic the flavor of HelloFresh Szechuan paste, you’ll want to create a blend of ingredients that captures its signature characteristics, which typically include a combination of spiciness, umami, and a hint of sweetness. 

Here are some key ingredients that can help you mimic the flavor:

Dried Red Chili Peppers:

Dried red chili peppers are a fundamental ingredient for achieving spiciness.

You can use them whole or rehydrate them by soaking in hot water before blending or cooking.


Garlic provides a strong, savory, and aromatic component to the paste. Use fresh garlic cloves for the best flavor.


Fresh ginger adds warmth and depth to the paste’s flavor profile. Peel and finely mince or grate the ginger.

Soy Sauce:

Soy sauce contributes saltiness and umami, enhancing the overall savory taste of the paste. You can use regular soy sauce or a low-sodium option.

Sesame Oil:

A touch of sesame oil can add a nutty and slightly sweet note to the paste.

Szechuan Peppercorns:

Szechuan peppercorns are a signature ingredient that provides a unique numbing sensation and citrusy flavor. Toast them and grind them into a powder before adding.

Sugar or Sweetener:

To balance the spiciness and add a hint of sweetness, include sugar or a sweetener of your choice, such as honey or brown sugar.


A dash of vinegar, such as rice vinegar or black vinegar, can brighten the flavors and add a tangy element.


Add salt to taste, adjusting it as needed to enhance the overall seasoning.

Optional Flavor Enhancers:

Depending on your taste preferences, you can experiment with additional ingredients like finely minced lemongrass, green onions, or even a dash of fish sauce for extra depth and complexity.

Remember that the exact quantities of these ingredients will depend on your desired flavor profile and the specific recipe you’re preparing. 

How do I adapt a recipe that calls for HelloFresh Szechuan paste if I don’t have any?

Adapting a recipe that calls for HelloFresh Szechuan paste when you don’t have any can be done by creating a substitute or using alternative ingredients to achieve a similar flavor profile. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to adapt such a recipe:

Understand the Flavor Profile:

Start by understanding the flavor profile of the HelloFresh Szechuan paste.

It typically has a combination of spiciness, umami, and a hint of sweetness, along with the unique numbing sensation of Szechuan peppercorns.

Choose a Substitute:

Select a substitute from the options mentioned earlier in this conversation, such as homemade Szechuan paste, store-bought Szechuan sauce, or a combination of ingredients to mimic the flavor.

Adjust the Recipe: Here’s how you can adapt the recipe:

  • Depending on the substitute you choose, you may need to adjust the spiciness. If the substitute is milder, you can add more chili flakes, chili sauce, or chili oil to increase the heat. Conversely, if the substitute is too spicy, reduce the amount or dilute it with other ingredients.
  • If the substitute lacks umami, you can enhance it by adding soy sauce, miso paste, or fish sauce. Taste as you go and adjust to achieve the desired savory quality.
  • Balance the flavors with a sweetener like sugar, honey, or brown sugar. Start with a small amount and add more if needed to replicate the sweetness of Szechuan paste.
  • If you’re missing the unique numbing sensation of Szechuan peppercorns, you can try adding a small pinch of ground Szechuan peppercorns to your substitute or directly to the dish.

Taste and Adjust:

Continuously taste the dish as you add the substitute and adjust the seasonings as necessary.

Remember that it’s easier to add more of an ingredient than to correct an overly spicy or salty dish, so go slowly.

Consider the Dish:

Keep in mind that some recipes may require specific adjustments based on the dish you’re making.

For example, if you’re making a stir-fry, you might need to modify the cooking process slightly to accommodate the substitute.

Document Changes:

If the adaptation turns out well, take note of the adjustments you made so you can replicate the flavor in the future or fine-tune it to your liking.

Be Creative:

Don’t be afraid to get creative and make the dish your own. Szechuan cuisine is known for its bold and varied flavors, so feel free to experiment with additional ingredients to enhance the dish further.

Are There Any Tips For Finding The Best Hellofresh Szechuan Paste Substitute?

Finding the best HelloFresh Szechuan paste substitute involves considering various factors to match the flavor, spiciness level, and overall profile of the original ingredient. 

Here are some tips to help you find the most suitable substitute:

Read Labels and Ingredients:

When shopping for store-bought substitutes, carefully read the labels and ingredient lists of Szechuan sauces, pastes, or condiments.

Look for products that contain chili peppers, garlic, soy sauce, and other seasonings to ensure they align with the flavors of Szechuan cuisine.

Consider Spice Level:

Szechuan paste is known for its spiciness. If you enjoy spicy food, look for substitutes with a similar heat level.

If you prefer milder dishes, choose a substitute that you can adjust or dilute to your taste.

Balance Flavors:

Szechuan paste typically combines spiciness with umami, sweetness, and sometimes a hint of tanginess. Choose a substitute that allows you to balance these flavors. 

You may need to add soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, or other seasonings to achieve the desired balance.

Check Authenticity:

If you’re looking for an authentic Szechuan flavor, consider Asian brands or specialty stores that carry Szechuan-specific products. These are more likely to capture the traditional taste.

Experiment and Taste:

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different substitutes. Start with a small amount, taste as you go, and adjust as needed until you achieve a flavor that closely matches what you’re looking for.

Ask for Recommendations:

If you have access to an Asian grocery store or have friends familiar with Asian cooking, ask for recommendations on specific brands or products that mimic the Szechuan flavor well.

Online Reviews and Recipes:

Check online reviews and recipes for the substitute products you’re considering. Others’ experiences and suggestions can be valuable in finding the best option.

Consider the Dish:

Keep in mind the specific recipe you’re making and how the substitute will interact with other ingredients. Some substitutes may work better in certain dishes than others.

Adjust and Personalize:

Be prepared to adjust the substitute to your personal taste. Szechuan cuisine offers a wide range of flavors, so feel free to customize your dish to suit your preferences.

Keep Notes:

If you find a substitute that works particularly well for your taste, make a note of it so you can easily recreate the flavor in future recipes.

Remember that finding the perfect Szechuan paste substitute may involve some trial and error, as personal preferences for spiciness and flavor can vary. 

Be patient and open to experimenting until you discover the substitute that best suits your needs and enhances your Szechuan-inspired dishes.

Can I use a different type of paste or sauce in place of HelloFresh Szechuan paste?

Yes, you can often use a different type of paste or sauce as a substitute for HelloFresh Szechuan paste, but keep in mind that the flavor profile may vary.

While it won’t be an exact match, it can still create a delicious and unique twist on your dish. 

Here are some alternatives you can consider:

Thai Red Curry Paste:

Thai red curry paste is a flavorful and spicy option that can work well in Szechuan-inspired dishes. It contains ingredients like red chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger.

Green Curry Paste:

Green curry paste, also from Thai cuisine, offers a milder and slightly sweet flavor. It can be used as a substitute if you prefer a less spicy dish.

Harissa Paste:

Harissa is a North African chili paste made from roasted red peppers, garlic, and various spices.

It adds a smoky and spicy kick, which can be an interesting alternative to Szechuan paste.

Gochujang Paste:

Gochujang is a Korean fermented chili paste with a unique blend of spicy, sweet, and savory flavors.

While different from Szechuan paste, it can add depth and complexity to your dishes.

Miso Paste:

Miso paste, particularly red miso, offers a rich umami flavor that can complement Szechuan-inspired dishes. It won’t provide spiciness, but it can add depth and complexity.

Curry Paste:

Depending on the type of curry paste (e.g., Indian, Japanese, or Malaysian), you can experiment with different curry pastes to create a fusion dish.

These pastes vary in flavor, so choose one that complements your dish.

Tom Yum Paste:

Tom Yum paste is a Thai seasoning paste used to make Tom Yum soup.

It contains ingredients like chili, lemongrass, and other aromatic elements, providing a tangy and spicy flavor that can work as an alternative in certain Szechuan recipes.

Chili Garlic Sauce:

Chili garlic sauce, such as Huy Fong Foods’ brand, combines chili peppers and garlic, delivering a spicy and garlicky flavor that can work in Szechuan-inspired dishes.

When using these substitutes, be aware that the flavor and spiciness may differ from Szechuan paste.

Adjust the quantity to match your recipe’s requirements and your personal taste preferences. 

Also, keep in mind that experimenting with different pastes and sauces can lead to exciting and unique flavor combinations in your dishes.


In the end, my quest for a HelloFresh Szechuan paste substitute not only resulted in successful, flavor-packed dishes but also expanded my culinary repertoire. I realized that the world of cooking is brimming with possibilities, and with a little creativity and the right substitutes, you can recreate the essence of your favorite cuisines right in your own kitchen.

So, whether you’re out of Szechuan paste or simply looking to add a new twist to your dishes, don’t hesitate to embark on your own flavor-filled journey. Who knows what delicious discoveries await?

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