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.
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.
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.
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.
Homemade Hot Sauce
- 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)
- 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!
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
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.
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.
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
- Hot Pepper Jelly
Do you have a favourite hot pepper? How do you prefer to use them? Let me know your favourites 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.