Firecracker sauce is a bold blend of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors. Its name aptly captures the taste experience it delivers, bursting with the heat of chili, and the sweetness of sugar or honey.
Do you love this recipe? Try our firecracker meatballs with a creamy twist on this spicy sauce.
This easy firecracker sauce is perfectly balanced. Savory and salty ingredients like garlic and soy sauce help balance out the sweetness and heat.
This versatile sauce adds sweet heat to so many dishes like meatballs, shrimp, chicken, and more.
Although it seems like an extra step, making homemade sauce and dressings take home cooking up a level. And this delicious firecracker sauce does just that. It's a flavorful finishing touch to all of your favorite chicken and seafood. Or start the recipe with a bang and use it as a marinade (learn how to marinate chicken).
What is Firecracker Sauce?
Born from the creative fusion of Asian culinary influences, firecracker sauce doesn't have a specific geographical origin but represents a contemporary marriage of diverse flavors. The very essence of firecracker sauce lies in its ability to turn an ordinary meal into a flavorful dish. Use this spicy sauce as a marinade, glaze, or dipping sauce, to add depth and flavor.
This recipe works because it's spicy, sweet, and savory. Sweet flavors balance out heat really well and we're using a simple ratio so this recipe isn't too spicy or too sweet. However, always taste and adjust to your preference. The savory and salty soy sauce or coconut aminos balances it out even more.
Why You'll Love It
- It's easy to store and use multiple times.
- It requires a few pantry staples.
- It has the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory.
- You only need 5 minutes to mix it together.
- It's the perfect sauce for your favorite proteins (shrimp, salmon, and chicken).
- The whole family will love it (adjust heat as needed).
Here are the handful of ingredients you need for this firecracker sauce recipe. You likely have them all in your pantry, but they're easy to find in the grocery store too.
- Buffalo sauce: this adds heat to the sauce. We love Primal Kitchen and Frank's Hot Sauce. You could also use sriracha sauce, but it's a little spicier. Start with less and add more.
- Soy sauce: use coconut aminos for a gluten-free and soy-free alternative.
- Honey: I love the thick, glossy finish this gives to recipes. You can use light or dark brown sugar or maple syrup instead.
- Vinegar: replace it with rice vinegar or lemon juice as needed.
- Salt: for flavor, but use sparingly because of the soy sauce.
- Red pepper flakes: for extra heat.
How to Make Firecracker Sauce
Here are the simple steps to make this spicy firecracker sauce. Skip down to the recipe card for the full instructions and printable recipe.
Mix the ingredients: add all of the ingredients to a small bowl or glass jar with a lid. Use a spoon or small whisk to stir it together until combined. Alternately, close the lid of the jar and shake well until combined.
Use it in your favorite recipes: drizzle it on top of your favorite breaded shrimp or grilled chicken.
Quick Firecracker Chicken Recipe
Follow the instructions on our air fryer orange chicken to pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels and dice into cubes. Toss the chicken pieces with corn starch and an egg white. Air fry it at 400 for 8-10 minutes.
While it's air frying, add the sauce to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss the chicken with the sauce and let it cook and thicken for 2-3 minutes. Serve with white rice, sesame seeds, and green onions.
Ways to Use It
- Breaded firecracker shrimp recipe: Our air fryer breaded shrimp is the perfect recipe to drizzle this sweet chili sauce on top of. This is essentially bang bang shrimp!
- Firecracker chicken recipe: use the chicken recipe in this hot honey crispy chicken and replace the hot honey sauce with this firecracker sauce. Or follow the recipe above.
- Firecracker salmon recipe: marinade salmon fillets in this sauce and bake or grill, similar to this salmon with mango salsa. Or swap it for the honey and garlic sauce in these salmon rice bowls.
- Crispy firecracker chicken wings: follow the steps for these Asian chicken wings and finish it with firecracker sauce instead of the Asian-inspired sauce.
- Sweet and spicy stir fry: try it in a chicken stir fry dish. Swap the beef for chicken in this flank steak stir fry.
- Chicken or seafood marinade: add your protein to a dish or freezer bag with the spicy sauce and marinade for 1-2 hours before cooking. Learn our best tips for how to marinate chicken.
- Baste your favorite chicken and fish: generously brush the sauce on top of grilled chicken in the last 3-5 minutes of cooking. The sugar in the sauce will burn quickly so keep an eye on it.
Firecracker Sauce FAQs
Firecracker sauce is a simple mix of hot sauce, brown sugar or honey, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes.
The first ingredient in this recipe is hot sauce. Because of this, the recipe is going to have some heat. The level of heat will depend on the type of hot sauce you use and how much you add. Start with less than the recipe suggests, taste, and as more as needed. If you find you've added too much heat, balance it out with more honey.
It's a mix between sweet, spicy, and savory. The sweetness balances out all of the heat, and the soy sauce adds savory and salty notes.
- Start with less spice and add more. Use less hot sauce and chili flakes then adjust the spice level to your preference.
- Try coconut aminos if you want this sauce to be gluten-free (soy sauce contains gluten).
- Avoid raw honey and use filtered honey instead because it doesn't crystalize as quickly.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Sweet and Spicy Recipes
- ⅓ cup buffalo sauce or sriracha
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos (Note 1)
- ⅓ cup maple syrup honey, or brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 Tablespoon water
- Jar or small bowl
- Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl or mason jar. Whisk or stir well until it's combined and the sauce is a deep red/orange color. Taste and adjust heat, sweetness, or salt as needed.
- Use as a marinade, baste, or glaze for chicken or fish. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.