how to make hot sauce

How To Make Hot Sauce

Have you ever wondered how to make hot sauce? Maybe you’ve got into growing chilies as a hobby and want to turn your bountiful harvest into some delicious hot sauce for your friends and family to enjoy.

It can seem like quite an intimidating process, especially if you have no experience. But not to worry! We’re going to talk you through how to make hot sauce, and give you some tips and tricks to make the process as fruitful as it is enjoyable!

The first step in the hot sauce-making process is to choose your chilies. This can be limited by the types of chili you are growing or have access to. If you don’t have the right environment for your chosen chilli, you won’t be able to grow it.

So let’s stick with something easy and popular – everybody’s favourite, the Jalapeno. These tasty peppers can be grown in pots and love the sun. They thrive in temperatures of 21 to 32 degrees Celsius, making them one of the more resilient types of pepper you can grow.

Alternatively, you can buy your chilies from wherever you prefer. They can be fresh, or frozen or you can even use chilli powder! However, we think growing your own gives your hot sauce that personal touch.

make hot sauce

How To Make Chilli Hot Sauce

 The next step in making hot sauce is to decide what other ingredients you will be using.

Hot sauce is typically made with a combination of these different ingredients:

  • Hot Peppers: The main ingredient in hot sauce, providing the key component, the heat! Common types of hot peppers used in hot sauce include jalapenos, habaneros, cayenne, serrano, and Thai chilli peppers. If you’re feeling brave you can go even hotter with Trinidad Scorpion Chillies or the infamous Carolina Reaper.
  • Vinegar: Helps preserve the sauce and adds tanginess.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavour of the sauce and helps balance out the heat.
  • Sugar: Balances out the heat and vinegar and adds a touch of sweetness.
  • Garlic: Adds flavour and depth to the sauce.
  • Onions: Can be used to add flavour and depth to the sauce.
  • Spices: Some hot sauce recipes include additional spices like cumin, paprika, coriander, and black pepper to enhance the flavour.
  • Water: Used to thin out the sauce and adjust the consistency.

The specific ingredients and proportions you use are going to vary widely depending on the type of hot sauce you want as an end result.

Want a hot sauce with more sweetness? Use more sugar. Maybe you want something hotter? Try adding more chillies to your recipe!

 It’s all about trying different combinations of ingredients until you get the end result that you’re looking for.

how to make hot chilli sauce

How To Ferment Peppers For Hot Sauce

Fermenting peppers is an important part of the hot sauce-making process as it allows the heat from the peppers to be reduced without sacrificing the flavour of the chilli.

This means that you can use larger amounts of chillies in your recipes, certain types of chilli that you wouldn’t normally be able to use, and most importantly it means that your hot sauce isn’t going to be so overwhelmingly spicey that you can’t enjoy it!

There are two different types of hot sauce when it comes to fermentation – one using fermented peppers, and the other using unfermented peppers.

ferment peppers for hot sauce

Fermented Peppers – Fermented peppers are hot peppers that have been preserved through a process of lacto-fermentation. This process involves submerging the hot peppers in a mixture of salt and water, allowing naturally occurring bacteria to ferment the peppers and preserve them. This process not only preserves the peppers, but also enhances their flavour, adds tanginess, and increases the probiotic content of the finished product.

Fermented hot peppers are often used as an ingredient in hot sauces, salsas, and condiments to add heat and flavour. They can also be used in cooking to add a spicy kick to dishes, or as a garnish.

The specific type of hot pepper used, the amount of salt used, and the length of time that the peppers are fermented can all impact the flavour of the final product. Some popular types of fermented hot peppers include chipotle, which is a smoke-dried jalapeno pepper, and kimchi, which is a fermented mix of Napa cabbage and various seasonings that often includes chili peppers.

Unfermented Peppers - Unfermented peppers are simply fresh or dried hot peppers that have not undergone the process of lacto-fermentation. They are typically used in cooking or to make hot sauce or salsa.

Fresh hot peppers can be sliced or chopped and used in a variety of dishes to add heat and flavour. They can also be roasted or grilled to bring out additional flavours.

Dried hot peppers can be rehydrated and used in the same way as fresh peppers, or they can be ground into a powder to make chili flakes or chili powder, which can be used as a spice.

Unfermented hot peppers are often used in dishes like tacos, chili, salsa, and stir-fry, or in hot sauces and condiments to add heat and flavour. They can also be used to make spicy pickles or added to soups, stews, and sauces to add a spicy kick.

 hot chilli sauce recipe

How To Make Mexican Hot Sauce

Mexican hot sauces are one of the most varied and popular types of hot sauce. Being used across a variety of different dishes to help compliment and bring out the flavours of Mexican cooking. Some examples of different types of Mexican hot sauce include:

  1. Salsa Roja: A classic Mexican hot sauce made with cooked and blended red chilies, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and vinegar. It's commonly used as a dip or as a cooking ingredient in dishes like tacos and enchiladas.
  2. Salsa Verde: A green hot sauce made with fresh green chilies, such as jalapenos or serranos, and blended with ingredients like cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and vinegar. It's commonly used as a dip or as a cooking ingredient in dishes like chicken and fish.
  3. Cholula: A popular brand of hot sauce made with a blend of red and chilli peppers, spices, and vinegar. It's known for its unique flavour profile and moderate heat.
  4. Tapatio: Another popular brand of hot sauce, made with a blend of chili peppers, spices, and vinegar. It's known for its bright red colour and medium heat level.
  5. Valentina: A Mexican hot sauce with a smoky flavour profile, made with a blend of chili peppers, vinegar, and spices. It's commonly used as a condiment for tacos, grilled meats, and other Mexican dishes.

mexican hot sauce

Here we’ve got a simple, easy-to-follow recipe for a classic Mexican-style hot sauce that you can easily make at home!


  • 8-10 ripe red jalapeno peppers
  • 1 medium-sized white onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of water


  1. Roast the jalapeno peppers on a grill until charred on all sides.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend the roasted jalapenos, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, sugar, vinegar, and water until smooth.
  3. Pour the blended mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency.
  5. Let the sauce cool, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. 

Note: You can adjust the heat and flavour of the sauce by using more or less peppers in your sauce, or by changing the ratio of vinegar to water. This recipe makes a medium-hot sauce that we think everyone will be able to enjoy!

jalapeno hot sauce

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