DIY: hot sauce from scratch


Hot Sauce. Man oh man, I love it. I am solidly in the camp of folks who believe that everything tastes better with a bit of a kick. There’s really not very many dishes–aside from most desserts and beverages, I guess–that I don’t want to put hot sauce on. Just too many good opportunities out there where a lil’ dab’l do ya. French fries, popcorn, soup, salad, burgers, baked beans, practically all take-out food… the list goes on. If you’re like me and you go through a lot of hot sauce, it’s a safe bet that you’re better off making your own at home. Not only is DIY great for controlling the flavor and the heat, but also allows you to experience the depth of flavor and intensity each individual variety of pepper offers. Plus, it’s SO easy!

If you’re not addicted to hot sauce like I am, you should still consider making your own. It’s perfect for recipes that require a little extra kick… or to have on hand for dinner guests like me. Offer me your homemade hot-n-spicysauce at your lovely dinner party and I will love you forever.

This recipe I’m sharing with you is my favorite classic-style hot sauce that’s appropriate for just about anything and requires few ingredients or fuss. Bear in mind, I like my hot sauce hot (at least equal to Sriracha in spicy factor) so use wisely and sparingly.

Recipe Notes:

  • You can replace half of the habaneros in this recipe with another sweet red pepper to drastically cut back on heat.
  • I added sumac to mine for a touch of color and flavor. Sumac can be located in the spice section of specialty markets or Middle Eastern grocers. Feel free to omit.
  • While roasting the habaneros, keep your hands from contact burns by wearing gloves, and keep those peppers far away from your eyes!
  • Feel free to omit the salt or replace it with Braggs Liquid Aminos, etc. I like my sauce to add flavor as well as heat and feel that a little bit of sodium helps.
  • Adjust this sauce from HOT to mild by simply replacing the same weight of peppers for a milder variety. Check out this chart for a quick run-down:


Classic Hot Sauce (vegan, gluten-free)

  • 3 large red bell peppers
  • 7 Habanero peppers (about 200 g), or the same weight of your favorite variety
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup water

Preheat your oven to 425 ºF. Place the bell peppers and habanero peppers onto a lipped metal oven-safe pan. Remove the papery outside of the garlic bulb and slice of the top (opposite the root) to expose just the tops of the garlic cloves. Drizzle bulb with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and wrap loosely in foil. Roast in oven until the habaneros are wilted and garlic is tender, about 25 minutes. Remove garlic and habaneros and let cool. Once cool remove the stems and seeds from the habaneros and the garlic cloves from the bulb.

Continue to roast the red peppers until the skin separates easily from the pepper, about 20 more minutes, flipping often to prevent burning and uneven cooking. Let cool, remove the stems and skin and discard.


Once all the peppers and garlic are roasted, place into a blender along with the rest of the ingredients, except for the water. Blend up all the ingredients until it is smooth and then add the water to thin, blending until the sauce is completely pureed. Funnel into clean, re-sealable bottles, and store in fridge. Put on everything!


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13 Responses to DIY: hot sauce from scratch

  1. […] hot peppers, and feel free to experiment with different types of peppers for different flavors. This site has a flexible guide to making your own hot sauce, with tips on making sauce from mild to […]

  2. Robert Turner says:

    You can add storage time by boiling your sauce, putting it in a sterilized glass bottle (using traditional canning methods)putting a nice cork on the bottle and dipping in red wax once the cork has subsided in the bottle. These are great Christmas gifts when paired with some smoked oyster etc.

  3. Tim says:

    Whats the purpose of the baking step?

    • admin says:

      Hi Tim, Just to roast the peppers–it totally transforms them into a sweeter, more smokey version of themselves. :)

  4. Denise says:

    Thanks for this, I’m really excited about trying this. Have you seen the article on the new Butch T Scorpion peppers on Slate.com? They are now the hottest pepper on the planet, beating the ghost pepper’s scoville units by 400,000, which is crazy!

    Also, loved your chocolate chipotle cake, and I’m not even gluten free (just dairy and egg free -allergies).

    Also I nominated you for a Sunshine Award at our blog, Surviving the Food Allergy Apocalypse,for all your efforts to post excellent receipes. Thanks! http://wp.me/p2E6AA-zB

  5. rk says:

    My son is obsessed with hot sauces since childhood (we like it hot too!) and I can’t wait to try this at home. I love all the colored hot peppers that show up in markets each summer. Great recipe!

  6. Kate says:

    Oh man, this is bookmarked and ready for me when the hot sauce is empty!

  7. Shan says:

    Do the bottles need to be sterilized? How long will it keep?

    Thanks kindly:)

    • allyson says:

      Hi Shan,

      Great questions–I do in fact sterilize the bottles and caps… but this is done simply with a good run through the dishwasher with the heat/dry cycle on. The sauce keeps about 1 month in my fridge… although I haven’t yet had any go “bad” before I was able to finish a bottle. :)

  8. Ron says:

    Great post! Homemade hot sauce seems doable and tasty!

  9. Maria Tadic says:

    My husband is obsessed with putting hot sauce on everything. We have a cabinet full of it! I should give this recipe to him – he’d love it!

  10. Julee says:

    How long will this last in the fridge? Awesome that you can adjust your tastes!

    • allyson says:

      Oh, hi Julee– just saw this and answered above–I’ll repeat here in case it goes directly to your inbox… :)

      “The sauce keeps about 1 month in my fridge… although I haven’t yet had any go “bad” before I was able to finish a bottle. “