5 BEST Nam Prik Pao Substitutes in Recipes

Are you looking for spice and flavor-empowered ingredients to take your home-cooked dishes to the next level? If so, Nam Prik Pao is the way to go.

This versatile condiment’s lip-smacking mixture of spices and herbs can easily enhance the taste of your dishes without overpowering them.

But if, for any reason, Nam Prik Pao isn’t available, then worry not; there are several substitutions that can act as effective replacements.

Whether it’s sambal oelek, gochujang, or a unique blend of spices, there are many versatile ingredients that can bring the punchy flavors of Nam Prik Pao into your favorite recipes.

What is Nam Prik Pao?

Nam prik pao is a Thai chili paste made from roasted chili peppers, garlic, and other tasteful aromatics.

It has an intense flavor that makes it ideal for adding spice to many Thai dishes.

The roasted chilies provide a pleasant smokiness, while the garlic adds a great depth of flavor.

The paste has a coarse texture with a slightly sweet, salty taste that adds complexity.

With the right balance of ingredients in your nam prik pao, you can create delicious Thai dishes like salads, soups, and curries.

You can even add it to stir fry or sprinkle it over steak or seafood to give them some zing.

5 BEST Nam Prik Pao Substitutes in Recipes

If you’re a fan of Thai cuisine, you know that Nam Prik Pao is an essential ingredient in many popular dishes.

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But what happens when you don’t have any on hand? Finding a good substitute can be challenging – luckily, we’ve done the work for you.

Here are 5 of the best alternatives to Nam Prik Pao when you’re in a pinch:

1 – Sambal Oelek

Sambal Oelek is a traditional Indonesian condiment that goes great with rice dishes, delectable soups, and stir-fries.

It contains fresh red chili peppers, shallots, vinegar, and lime juice mixed together to create a spicy and tart paste.

When tasted alone, it has an intense heat that gives even the most seasoned food connoisseur a kick; however, when added to recipes in proper quantity, it adds flavor and depth of taste.

Sambel Oelek can be substituted for Nam Prik Pao in certain Thai cuisine due to their similar texture and sourness.

When making this switch, simply reduce the quantity, as Samble Oelek is much stronger than Nam Prik Pao.

2 – Gochujang

One of the most common ingredients in Korean cuisine is Gochujang, a fermented red chili paste made from sticky rice, fermented soybeans, and a variety of spices.

The deep, complex flavor of Gochujang has a unique tanginess that sets it apart from other condiments.

Texture-wise, it’s thick and sticky but not cloyingly sweet; its spiciness can vary from mild to intense.

It is often used as a substitute for Nam Prik Pao, the staple Thai spicy chili paste, due to its similar flavor profile.

When substituting Gochujang for Nam Prik Pao, experiment with different levels of spiciness until the desired balance is achieved.

3 – Harissa

Harissa is a condiment made from roasted red peppers, garlic, spices, and chili peppers.

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Originating in Tunisia, this richly flavored paste packs a punch – just a spoonful will liven up any dish.

With its grounded notes of caraway and coriander, as well as its addictively smoky taste and smooth consistency, harissa brings an exciting yet subtly complex flavor to foods.

It can be used as a great substitute for Nam Prik Pao; try blending it with some extra oil to make it more spreadable or add it to soups and sauces.

With its intense heat and depth of flavor, harissa is perfect for turning everyday dishes into extraordinary culinary masterpieces.

4 – Sriracha

Sriracha is a beloved condiment that has quickly grown to be a pantry staple in the eyes of many aficionados.

This tangy, spicy chili sauce was first made in Thailand, and it’s been making its way around the globe since then.

It’s usually made with garlic, sugar, salt, and vinegar and has a full-bodied flavor that can likewise pack quite a punch.

For cooks looking for an ethnic flair that stays true to the classic Nam Prik Pao, sriracha is the perfect substitution.

It’s conveniently found at most supermarkets, affordable, and provides much of the similarly savory elements of its traditional counterpart without all of the hours spent creating an authentic version by hand.

5 – Chili Garlic Paste

Chili garlic paste is a must-try if you like spicy cuisine.

It’s really easy to make yourself, or you can buy it readymade in many supermarkets.

An orange-red paste made of finely ground chilies, garlic, and a few other ingredients like oil and vinegar, it adds zing to your dishes.

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Its texture is thick and oily, while the taste packs a punch of both spice and umami thanks to all the ingredients melded together.

You can use this as an alternative for Nam Prik pao when making meals like tom yum soup or Thai fried rice – just make sure to adjust the proportions so that the dish isn’t too spicy for guests who have sensitive taste buds.


In conclusion, there are several great substitutes for Nam Prik Pao that can be used in various recipes.

Sambel Oelek, Gochujang, Harissa, Sriracha, and Chili Garlic Paste all provide a unique twist on traditional Thai flavors while still remaining true to the original dish.

Experiment with different amounts of each ingredient until you find the perfect balance of flavor, heat, and texture for your own dishes.

Nam Prik Pao may be difficult to find in some places, but with these alternatives, you can still enjoy a delicious, traditional Thai experience.

5 BEST Nam Prik Pao Substitutes in Recipes

5 BEST Nam Prik Pao Substitutes in Recipes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 – Sambal Oelek
  • 2 – Gochujang
  • 3 – Harissa
  • 4 – Sriracha
  • 5 – Chili Garlic Paste


  1. Choose a preferred substitute from the provided list.
  2. Follow the cooking instructions for the selected substitute.
  3. Use the correct proportion of ingredients when preparing the substitute.

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