Here’s Another Great, Easy-To-Make Hot Sauce Recipe!
Are you looking for a basic, easy to follow, hot sauce recipe?
Then look no further. We’ve got exactly what you need right here!
The secret to building a great tasting hot sauce recipe.
You really only need a handful of ingredients to make a hot sauce. Chilies, a little salt, and vinegar.
Yep, three ingredients, that’s it… that’s all.
After all, that’s the main ingredients in Tabasco sauce. But just tossing these ingredients together in a blender won’t make a great tasting hot sauce.
If you want a GREAT hot sauce recipe, you’ve got to dig a little deeper, and add a few more ingredients.
What you’ll find is there’s a few categories of ingredients in every hot sauce. The key is mixing and matching the ingredients at the right point in the right quantities.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into the categories of ingredients to add to a great hot sauce…
6 Critical Ingredient Categories In A Great Hot Sauce Recipe.
If you ask me, there are 6 critical ingredient categories for a great hot sauce. Now here’s the excitement behind hot sauces… you can mix and match these categories to your heart’s desire!
Do you need to use every category of ingredient? NO!
Really, if you tossed a bunch of chilies in a blender and whipped the whole thing up… adding nothing else… you could call it hot sauce! Imagine that – One Ingredient Hot Sauce!
It wouldn’t be very good… or have any depth of flavor… but it would be a hot sauce.
But, we want more than that… and is one ingredient really a hot sauce recipe?
Let’s go quickly through each of the 6 critical hot sauce ingredient categories… then we’ll end with a basic hot sauce recipe you can try at home. From there, you can mix and match any way you want.
Let’s start with the first – and most important – ingredient category for every hot sauce…
Chilies – Ingredient Category One
Chili peppers are the basis of every hot sauce. If you don’t have chilies, you don’t have hot sauce!
Now there are hundreds of types of chilies… if you don’t believe me, check out our giant list of chili peppers.
Chili peppers come in all shapes, sizes, styles, colors, and heat levels.
Chilis are used in in many different forms… for example, some hot sauce recipes call for green chilies, before they are fully ripe. Others call for fully ripe chilies. The famous Tabasco sauce has a stick that’s painted a very specific color red. The color indicates the perfect ripeness to pick chilies at!
But that’s not the end of it.
Some chilies are picked and and the dried. Some recipes call for chilies that are smoked and dried… adding a smoky flavor to your hot sauce.
But it doesn’t end there… some chilies are very very very spicy – like the Carolina Reaper Chili Pepper. To see how hot it is, watch this video of two brave (or stupid) people trying to eat one.
Other chili peppers are very mild, like a bell pepper…
Here’s what I’ve got to say about the hot, hot sauces… if it’s so hot that you can’t taste anything – or you throw up… it’s not good hot sauce. Burn is good… and everyone has a different pain point… but let’s use a little common sense!
The chilies you use in your hot sauce will add a lot of flavor. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your favorite chilies!
That brings us to category number two…
Vinegar – Ingredient Category Two
Another big ingredient in hot sauce is vinegar. Now vinegar plays a number of rolls in your hot sauce recipe.
First, it brings flavor.
There are tons of types of vinegar. You can use regular distilled white vinegar, which can be harsh and have a bite. There’s malt vinegar, that adds a depth of flavor. You have wine vinegar and champagne vinegar which can add sweetness and more flavor.
You can add apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or even rice wine vinegar.
The list goes on, and on…
But adding flavor to your hot sauce is not the only role vinegar plays.
Vinegar adds a liquid component to your hot sauce. Often times I’ll thin out a very thick hot sauce by adding more vinegar. It makes it easier to pour and use.
Vinegar also acts as a preservative.
Because Tobasco is predominantly vinegar, it might just last forever. Fresher hot sauces, without as much vinegar, will need to be used within a few days of being made… or use other methods of preservation.
Along with vinegar, I’m going to add one other ingredient – Alcohol. It too is a preservative, and adds flavor. Some hot sauces have bourbon or wine added, developing a more complex flavor.
One other thing alcohol brings to the hot sauce party… enhanced flavor.
If you’re looking to carry the flavor of your chili peppers, alcohol will help extract that flavor even more.
Ok, enough about vinegar, preservatives, and alcohol. Let’s look at the next ingredient category…
Salt – Ingredient Category Three
Salt might seem like a strange ingredient… but salt isn’t always salt.
Here’s what I mean.
Salt can be added to bring out the flavors of any hot sauce recipe.
But salt can be delivered in a number of different methods. You can add regular salt to your hot sauce… or you can add saltiness with two other key ingredients: Worcestershire sauce, or fish sauce.
Now, I’m not going to get into how Worcestershire or fish sauce is made… What you need to know is, they both add a level of salt, and bring other flavors to the party.
Salt is critical in small amounts to any hot sauce, so don’t forget this key ingredient in your hot sauce recipe.
This brings us to the next three categories, all adding different flavor profiles.
Sweetness – Ingredient Category Four
A lot of hot sauces add a touch of sweetness to balance out the acidic bite of the vinegar. Sweetness is a “yin” to vinegar’s “yang.”
But sweetness isn’t just adding sugar to your hot sauce and calling it a day.
Some commercial hot sauces use corn syrup in their hot sauce recipe. But personally I don’t think corn syrup or regular sugar bring much to the party.
If you’re going to add sweetness to your hot sauce, consider adding Honey, it brings more than sweetness, it adds some nice flavors… or try brown sugar.
Another way to add sweetness to your hot sauce recipe is by adding fruit or fruit juice.
Many Jamaican hot pepper sauces add mango for sweetness… and in the American south, it’s not unusual to find peach puree added to a hot sauce recipe.
In Mexico you might find agave syrup added too.
Basically, if it’s sweet, it’s fair game to add to your hot sauce. So why not bring sweetness with flavor!
Let me mention one other important factor to sweetness…
When you start cooking with hot sauce the added sugars will caramelize and add a depth of flavor. This is why a lot of hot wing recipes have hot sauces with higher portion of sugar and sweetness.
Take your cooked wings, and toss them in your hot sauce… then return the wings to the heat, or back to the BBQ grill, to caramelize the sugars in the sauce. The caramelization will take your wings to another level.
Just be careful not to burn your wings, burnt sugar isn’t tasty!
So that’s four of six categories of ingredients. The next category for your hot sauce recipe is…
Vegetation – Ingredient Category Five
Now, when I say vegetation, I’m not talking about grass clippings and tree branches as a type of vegetation. I’m talking other vegetables!
Any vegetable can be used, but here are some common ones:
These extra ingredients are often fire roasted to add even more flavor. Now, if you’re going to add this type of vegetation to your hot sauce recipe, you’ve got to make sure these ingredients get cooked and blended into your sauce.
Often when adding vegetables like these, you’ll want to strain your final sauce (after blending) through a fine mesh strainer to eliminate chunks.
This brings us to the final category of ingredient…
Herbs & Spices – Ingredient Category Six
Some type of herbs and spices can be found in almost every hot sauce made. The extra herbs and spices can add flavor depth that can’t be found anywhere else.
Now here’s a pro chef secret. If you’re going to add dried herbs and spices to your hot sauce recipe, dry toast or oil roast them. It will help bring out their flavors and really let the taste bloom!
What kinds of herbs & spices can you add to your hot sauce?
Cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, ginger, fennel, turmeric, tamarind, and black pepper… just to name a few.
Fresh herbs can also be added too. Consider oregano, dill, cilantro, or sage. You can also find other herbs and spices to add in a processed form.
What do I mean by that?
Consider mustard. You can add dried mustard seeds to your hot sauce, or you can add yellow or stone ground mustard. Mustard is simply processed mustard seeds with vinegar and other spices added.
Once again, it’s a great way to add flavor to your hot sauce recipe.
Now here’s one more thing to consider… don’t go overboard. In my opinion, with hot sauces, less is more. Add a spice or two, and maybe an herb… but make sure they accent the true star of your hot sauce, the chili peppers!
There you have it, the six critical ingredient categories when making the best hot sauce. Like I mentioned, you can include all six ingredient categories… or just two or three.
So, let me give you a great place to start…
An Easy Hot Sauce Recipe
This is a great, tasty, easy to make hot sauce recipe. It’s a perfect recipe to start with. So give it a try, and then start modifying to make the perfect sauce for you!
Without further delay, here’s a recipe to make an easy hot sauce…
Hot Sauce Ingredients
- 1/2 Pound Dried Chili Peppers chopped (Guajillo Peppers or Pasilla Chili Peppers)
- 1/2 Pound Fresh Red Chili Peppers
- 5 Garlic Cloves Minced
- 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Cup Tomato Diced
- 1 Cup Onion Diced
- 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
- 2 Teaspoons Mexican Oregano
- 2 Teaspoons Cumin
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Hot Sauce Directions
- Add all the ingredients to a pan over medium high heat.
- Simmer for 30 – 40 minutes – until the chilies are soft and the onions are cooked
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then blend till smooth.
- Add additional vinegar to get the perfect consistency / taste.
- Strain the mixture, and add additional vinegar to get the perfect consistency.
- Bottle and use within a week.
Try this recipe today… then use the notes above to change it, mix it up, and make it your own!