How to Make Your Own Hot Sauce – Non-Fermented

It is so easy to make your own hot sauce. Give this recipe a try if you have access to fresh hot peppers and love a good hot sauce.

hot sauce
Homemade hot sauce made with a blend of hot peppers, garlic and vinegar.

Also Read: Homemade Cayenne Pepper & Hot Pepper Flakes, Pickled Hot Peppers, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

With this easy homemade hot sauce, you chop, cook, add vinegar, blend, strain and bottle your hot sauce. You’ll be done within an hour or less. The result is a thin, smooth Louisiana style hot sauce that is similar to Frank’s Hot Sauce or Sriracha.

Difference Between Fermented and Non-Fermented Hot Sauce

Fermented hot sauce requires a longer process and can take 7 days to several weeks. Basically, you mix hot peppers and a salt brine and then wait for naturally occurring yeast and bacteria to transform the peppers. It’s relatively easy, it just takes time. There are many different ways to make fermented hot sauce which may or may not use commercial vinegar at some point. As a result, the taste profile can vary greatly, but most agree that fermented hot sauce has a little more complex taste.

Fermented food also has the benefit of providing healthy probiotics, but unless you’re using spoonfuls of sauce daily, I don’t think that’s a major advantage when it comes to hot sauce.

I’ve made fermented hot sauce several times and haven’t found the flavour of the end product to be worth the extra time. I would rather get the added complexity by experimenting by using different ingredients in my quick cooking sauce – adding cumin, onions, sweet peppers, fruit, etc.

hot peppers in bowl
Can you identify my three favourite hot peppers – jalapeno, serrano and cayenne. They’re not the hottest peppers, but they provide plenty of heat in this sauce!

What Kind of Peppers to Use

Use whatever hot peppers you have easy access to and that you enjoy the most. Better yet, use a combination of peppers to build complexity of flavour. You can even replace some of the hot peppers with sweet peppers. Personally, I love a blend of red jalapeno, serrano and cayenne peppers.

If you have green hot peppers – use those and make a green sauce!

PRO TIP: For the best looking sauce, stick to all green or all red peppers when making a batch. If you mix green and red peppers you’ll end up with a less attractive brown coloured sauce.

hot pepper sauce and hot peppers
I like using a blend of red hot peppers in my hot sauce. This time it was cayenne peppers, serrano and jalapeno.

Adjusting the Heat in Your Hot Sauce

Want to increase or decrease how hot your hot sauce is? Try one or a combination of these strategies.

  • Use a combination of sweet and hot peppers. Keep the overall amount in the recipe the same, but add in some red bell peppers for a milder sauce.
  • Check the Scoville chart to determine where your peppers rank on the scale from mild to hot and choose accordingly.
  • Remove the ribs and seeds for less heat. The highest concentration of capsaicin (the compound that makes hot peppers hot) is in the white ribs or membranes inside peppers. Because the seeds cling to these membranes, they’re often hot too, but the heat is really in those white ribs! You can choose whether to keep them or remove them.
  • Adding the onions builds flavour and helps tame the heat just a little.
  • Add a little sweetness. While it won’t change the actual heat level, it makes our taste buds think there’s less heat.
  • Add a little more acid. More vinegar, wine, lemon or lime juice will help.
  • Add a little tomato paste.
mix of peppers onions and garlic in pot
Roughly chopped peppers, onions and garlic ready to turn into sauce.
hot pepper sauce and peppers
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Homemade Hot Sauce

A quick and easy, non-fermented hot sauce using whatever red hot pepper you have. Similar to Frank's Red Hot Sauce or Sriracha.
Prep : 10 mins
Cook : 25 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 100
Author: Getty Stewart

Ingredients

  • 10 oz red hot peppers (cayenne, jalapeno, serrano, fresno, etc) 4 cups
  • 3-5 cloves fresh garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey (optional)

Instructions

  • Wash and remove stems from peppers. Chop roughly into small pieces (Kitchen scissors work great for slender peppers). Keep or remove seeds and white ribs depending on how much heat you want. The more you leave in, the hotter your sauce will be.
  • Combine peppers, garlic and onion with water in pot and simmer for 20 minutes until peppers are soft and water is almost all gone. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Add vinegar to mix and puree – either with immersion blender or blender.
  • Taste and add more salt if needed. If you prefer a little sweetness, add honey.
  • Strain out seeds using fine sieve or cheesecloth.
  • If mixture is too thick add more vinegar to desired texture and taste.
  • Pour into sterilized jars or bottles (pint/2cup/500ml). (Wash then boil in water for 10 minutes.)
  • Seal with lid and keep refrigerated for up to 6 months. Flavour will be best after letting it age for at least 2 weeks.
  • Makes about 2 cups or 100 teaspoon sized servings!

Notes

The vinegar allows this to stay in the fridge for up to 6 months.
For longer, shelf-stable storage, replace the water in this recipe with more vinegar and can using a hot water bath. Process quarter pint jars (125 ml) with 1/4 head space for 10 minutes as seen in the Bernardin Hot Sauce Recipe.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 3kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 24mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cayenne peppers, hot peppers, hot sauce
hot pepper sauce and hot peppers
We love our hot sauce!

To get a nice smooth sauce, we strain the cooked sauce using a fine sieve. If the sauce is a little too thick, I add a little more vinegar to make it runnier.

straining hot sauce

The leftover pulp, I spread on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate. When it’s thoroughly dry, I put it into a grinder and turn it into a powder – we call it Sriracha powder and use it just like cayenne pepper.

dehydrated hot pepper sauce powder
We dehydrate leftover pulp and turn it into Sriracha powder!

More Ways to Use Hot Peppers

If you have a bounty of hot peppers, here are some other ways we like using them.

Homemade Cayenne Pepper & Hot Pepper Flakes

Pickled Hot Peppers

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Salsa

Hot Pepper Jelly

hot pepper jelly close up
Hot Pepper jelly is another way to enjoy hot peppers.

Do you have a favorite hot pepper? How do you prefer to use them? Let me know your favorites either down below or on Instagram @getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.

Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist, speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to using and enjoying seasonal foods.  She is the author of several recipe books on enjoying and preserving fruit, a mom and veggie gardener. Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this.

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