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Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili Sauce Shortage (Explained) 

Trader Joe's Sweet Chili Sauce Shortage

Grocery stores across the country are still feeling the effects of the supply chain disruption caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, and Trader Joe’s is no exception.

Some of their most beloved products have been MIA over the last two years, including Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce – a huge hit with folks that want to add a little sweet and a little spice to their favorite dishes.

Skyhigh demand combined with a lack of supply has made it next to impossible to predict whether or not your Trader Joe’s is going to have their sweet chili sauce in stock anytime you pop down to the grocery store.

Truth be told, it’s a bit of a guessing game. Maybe you get lucky and maybe you don’t.

Let’s dig a little bit deeper into this, shall we?

Sweet Chili Sauce Shortage at Trader Joe’s

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The reason that you’re not seeing a ton of sweet chili sauce at Trader Joe’s is multifaceted, with a number of different things conspiring together to keep this best-selling product off of a lot of Trader Joe’s shelves.

For one thing, the disruption to the supply chain (the global supply chain) in 2019/2020 continues to send ripple effects throughout the grocery and retail space.

When everything shut down (and the whole world really did grind to a halt) sweet chili sauce wasn’t moving through normal supply chains to Trader Joe’s locations – and a lot of new sweet chili sauce wasn’t being made to replace the stock already on the shelves, either.

Things are starting to ramp up again (and have been for the last year or so), but we still aren’t back to the same kind of relatively hiccup free global supply chain we enjoyed up until the COVID 19 disruption.

Customer Buying in Bulk

On top of that, when people find out that their favorite Trader Joe’s items are becoming harder and harder to find they are a whole lot more likely to buy boxes of them when they do come across them – far more than they would have purchased otherwise.

Remember the toilet paper shortage in the early days of the pandemic?

Well, folks are doing almost the exact same thing with stuff like Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce still today.

This means that even if your store is lucky enough to get a halfway reliable supply of sweet chili sauce in somebody else might get there first and buy up the whole supply.

That’s a problem, to be sure, but it’s one that Trader Joe’s is having a tough time troubleshooting right now.

To check the current price and availability of Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili Sauce, click here to view the listing on Amazon.

Possible Causes of Sweet Chili Sauce Shortage

Like we mentioned already, there are two main reasons that sweet chili sauce is in such limited supply at Trader Joe’s all over the country:

Supply chain disruptions have thrown a huge monkey wrench into almost every aspect of the grocery store and retail industries. Until those disruptions are ironed out “nonessentials” like sweet chili sauce are probably going to be hitting shelves at a more sporadic pace.

On top of that, the skyhigh demand for products that are hard to find at Trader Joe’s (like sweet chili sauce) means that people are gobbling up as many of these bottles as they can as soon as they come across them.

Because of that, fewer people are able to get their hands on sweet chili sauce even if the supply floods a couple of stores with bottles.

It might be a little while until things get back to normal.

Alternative Sweet Chili Sauce Options

If you are having a tough time finding sweet chili sauce at your local Trader Joe’s, it might be a good idea to look for similar sweet chili sauce options at other grocery stores in your area.

People seem to really love the specific flavor of the Trader Joe’s variety, though, so making the switch can be a little jarring at first.

However, sriracha sauce, sweet Thai chili sauce, hoisin sauce, spicy honey mustard, and even some barbecue sauces or teriyaki sauces might be able to stand in temporarily.

You might also want to jump online and see if you can get your hands on Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce from third-party online retailers. You never know what you can find on forums, Facebook groups, social media, and even online retailers.

If you are really in a fix, though, you might want to try this homemade sweet chili sauce recipe:


  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of red chili flakes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp of cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of citric acid


  • Get a medium saucepan and combine your water, sugar, vinegar, chili flake, garlic, and salt ingredients together over medium heat
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and then cut the heat to low, allowing the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes
  • Whisk your cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water together into a slurry
  • Slowly pour your cornstarch slurry into your saucepan while you stir
  • Cook for another two or three minutes
  • Take off the heat and add your paprika and citric acid
  • Allow to cool to room temperature
  • Bottle your sauce!

Frequently Asked Questions

Did Trader Joes Discontinue Their Sweet Chili Sauce?

Trader Joe’s has not discontinued their sweet chili sauce (at least not yet, anyway).

Did Trader Joe’s Discontinue Chili Pepper Sauce?

Trader Joe’s has not discontinued their chili pepper sauce, either.

Does Trader Joe’s Have Sweet Chili Sauce?

Normally, Trader Joe’s would have money of sweet chili sauce available in stock for everyone that wanted some. Hopefully we get back to that sooner rather than later.

What Can I Use in Place of Sweet Chili Sauce?

Sriracha sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce, barbecue sauce, and teriyaki sauce can all be used in a pinch to replace Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce. You could always go the homemade route with our recipe above, too.

Final Thoughts

While it would be nice if Trader Joe’s could snap their ears and flood their stores with bottles of their legendary sweet chili sauce, they don’t have a magic wand to fix this problem – and there’s no real timetable for everything to iron itself out, either.

In the meantime, it’s a good idea to keep checking your Trader Joe’s every time you pop in to see if a spare bottle or two have been left on the shelves for you to buy.

If that’s not working, check other grocery stores, try other sauces, or give our homemade recipe highlighted above a shot.


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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