I love hot sauce…but I really don’t. I love the tang, zip and bright flavors of hot peppers but I still cannot tolerate the heat. I have been eating hot sauce hot over 30 years and I still prefer a mild sauce over one using extremely hot peppers. Here is a recipe for a mild hot sauce that is just delicious on fried eggs, hamburgers, burritos, cold & hot sandwiches or any food that you enjoy hot sauce with.
A mild hot sauce can be made by removing the seeds and cooking the peppers in boiling water. Use a pepper that is already mild like a jalapeno and remove the pith (the white part the seeds are holding onto). Adding sugar to hot sauce will reduce the heat even further.
Follow this recipe below for a medium to mild hot sauce and read below if you need to reduce the heat even further…I won’t say anything!
10 ounces of jalapeno peppers (about 1 dozen)
½ cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of distilled white vinegar
½ ounce of garlic (3 cloves)
½ teaspoon of salt
These are the basic ingredients of this recipe and there are probably hundreds of combinations of these five simple ingredients used in many different hot sauces. Read below to find out ways to cut the heat from some basic hot sauce recipes. This one starts out mild so there may not be much of a reduction in the level of heat.
*must have items
Most home kitchens will have the appliances and utensils to make hot sauce because it only involves a few common utensils. If you don’t have some of these pieces of equipment…now you have an excuse to purchase them…you want to make hot sauce! Read here if you don’t have a blender or read our review on blenders here.
A paring knife is the smallest knife in a set with a blade about 3″ long like the one above. Any type of knife will work because there isn’t much preparation involved and a paring knife is smaller and easier to use with the smaller peppers. The sharper the knife the easier it is to use even though our peppers will eventually be blended. I use a set from Homegeek that you can get from Amazon through this link but a single knife is fine, although a butcher knife works great for removing the skins from garlic.
Much like the knife, any sized pan will work just fine but a smaller saucepan will boil water faster. Frying the peppers in a pan will work as well but this will give the sauce a much different flavor. I have never microwaved my peppers before making hot sauce, but any cooking methods will reduce the nutrients. I use pans by Wearever like this sauce pan at Amazon.
I have tried to make hot sauce with other kitchen appliances aside from a blender, but they just don’t get the sauce to a smooth consistency, like most hot sauces are. A small single speed blender should be enough to make the small batch of hot sauce that we are making here. My Ninja works great for most of the small batches I like to make. I also used a Magic Bullet for years, but both of these are for a single small batch of hot sauce. Get the Ninja here or the Magic Bullet here from Amazon.
Store the sauce in any container with a tight lid. I prefer to store my sauce in glass containers and usually have several “hot sauce” shaped woozy bottles laying around. Mason jars are perfect also, especially if you have a thick sauce. Read more about the many options for different bottle shapes in this article. Purchase woozy bottles from The Glass Bottle Outlet. They have some of the most inexpensive woozy bottles per case.
Don’t guess at the amount of ingredients you need to use in a recipe. Some recipes can have a variation after you have followed a guide and tasted it as you go along. Measuring spoons are useful as well because they will be sized differently (correctly) than the utensils you eat with.
A cutting board will protect your counter surface and make cleanup much easier. It also keeps any residuals from the peppers off the countertop. Sometimes very hot peppers can take many counter scrubbings to remove the residual heat.
Gloves will protect your hands from hot sauce burn if any of the “juice” gets on them when you are preparing the sauce. I usually don’t wear gloves if I am only cutting the stems off and leaving the seeds in but if you are removing them, like the process in this recipe, you should put them on. Even jalapeno’s can sting areas of your skin, especially if you have sensitive hands like me.
A strainer just makes removing the peppers from the water much easier. Ultimately you don’t want much (if any) water in your sauce. A colander will work fine because you are not straining anything just draining them from water.
Step 1. Cut the stems off the peppers and then cut them in half lengthwise. Use the paring knife and cutting board to slice out the seeds. It is OK to remove some of the pith or ribs along with the seeds because these are both responsible for the heat, (remember we are making a “not” hot sauce). It is also OK if you don’t remove all the seeds because they are edible but the more that are left in, the more heat the sauce will have. A few won’t matter.
Step 2. Cut the end off the garlic and remove the skins. I prefer fresh garlic cloves as apposed to minced in a jar but it is your preference. The garlic cloves can be whole at this point because everything will get blended.
Step 3. Fill the saucepan about halfway with water or until all the peppers are nearly covered with water (they will float). Bring the peppers and garlic to a boil for about 5 minutes or until the jalapenos turn from a bright green to a dull green. You can check them with a fork while they are being cooked but they should be not as crispy as they were when they were fresh, and slightly mushy. Cooking the peppers will reduce some of the heat just like removing the seeds does and unfortunately it will also remove some of the nutrients. The longer you cook them the less heat they will have, but not by much.
Cooking peppers on the stove will release the heat in the form of steam. The steam from cooking hot peppers could cause you to cough or produce a slight tickle in your throat. If you have a range hood exhaust fan turn it on to “suck” the fumes to where the they will exhaust.
Step 4. Strain the peppers and let them cool down so any residual water steams off. If you do not have a strainer you can lift each pepper from the pan with a fork or spoon and let them dry on a paper towel. The peppers will not blend any differently if they are hot or cold, but I prefer to taste my sauce during production, and I like it cool.
Step 5. Once they have cooled down to a room temperature put the peppers and garlic in a blender and pulsate a few times until they are chopped but they don’t need to be blended into a smooth sauce yet. Add the vinegar, salt and sugar (in any order) and blend until they become smooth to the textured consistency that you want. I like my sauces to a consistency of a ketchup.
Options for the ingredients
Any recipe can have variations to the ingredients or process. This recipe is aimed at reducing the heat of the peppers and introducing some type of sweetness so these are the two areas that I would adjust. Keep the phrase “sweet and heat” in mind because the addition of too much vinegar will create a sour sauce. That’s a whole other recipe.
Jalapeno peppers are on the lower end of the Scoville scale meaning they are just not as hot as many other peppers, but I just love their flavor. Using another pepper variety will either increase or decrease the amount of heat in the sauce right from the start. Serrano peppers work well with jalapeno’s, but they will increase the level of heat in the sauce.
A poblano pepper only has a small amount of heat so cooking them will reduce the amount of heat they provide significantly. Tabasco and cayenne are also popular hot peppers varieties, but they will increase the heat level of the hot sauce and even more sugar and vinegar won’t be able to tame it.
Vinegar enhances the bold flavor of many fruits and vegetables and is used here to highlight the jalapenos. Although vinegar can “tame” the heat slightly, the increase or decrease in the amount of vinegar in this recipe does not directly reduce the heat, but it will reduce the amount of the substance that produces the heat, the hot peppers.
Other types of vinegar can be used but I have not noticed much difference in the amount of heat it produces or hides from the sauce. Substitutions for vinegar can be lemon juice or lime juice and these can also reduce heat as well.
There are many different types of sugars to use in a recipe and there are many levels of sweetness among them as well. Getting the right combination of sweet and heat could be a preference for taste. Also keep in mind that the same amount (weight) of agave nectar will be much sweeter than granulated sugar. Read about the 7 things sugar does to hot sauce here.
Like sugar, there are many varieties of salt as well. This recipe needs salt for the flavor enhancement and not for the reduction of heat. Although there are many wonders that salt can do for food, due to the minimal amount in this recipe a different variety may not alter or reduce the heat much.
Options in the process
Cooking vs fresh
Fresh peppers will be hotter than peppers that are cooked but the goal of this recipe is to reduce some of the heat from a jalapeno, an already mild pepper. I love the fresh taste of these peppers! You can remove all the seeds and pith and this will leave the flavor but remove a lot of the heat. Removing seeds from hot peppers can be a daunting task but read 5 Ways to Remove Seeds from Hot Peppers to find the easiest one for you.
Cooking any vegetables removes many of the nutrients and this is true of cooking hot peppers as well. If you are looking to counteract the amount of sugar in your sauce then you may want to consider using fresh peppers or reducing the amount of cooking time.
The length or amount of time that you cook a hot pepper will reduce the amount of heat that it will produce, but not by much. Overcooking your hot peppers will only result in a loss of flavor and the main reason we are using jalapeno peppers in this recipe…is for flavor! This is a great condiment that provides a unique flavor to many common dishes. Try some variations to get to the level of sweet and heat that you desire in your sauce. Use this sauce on any foods where you desire the combination of sweet flavors with the heat of a hot sauce.