10 Secrets to Making a Great Hot Sauce

Many people love making their own homemade food products, packaging them as commercial commodities, and selling them for profit. In recent years there has been an increase in homemade small-batch hot sauces reaching successful global markets. Hot sauce has become one of the fastest-growing condiments because of the demand and the ease at which it is made. There are secrets to success within the hot sauce recipe itself that can make a simple combination of ingredients stand out.

Hot sauce is a simple mixture of combining peppers with liquids such as vinegar, citrus juice, or water and blending them. Other ingredients such as salt, spices, sugar, and fruits are also added to create gourmet hot sauces and they can be easily made, stored, and sold as unique and flavorful hot sauces with just a couple ingredients.

Making a delicious and unique homemade hot sauce can be achieved by either using an existing recipe or inventing your own hot sauce recipe from scratch. A recipe does not have copyright protection and can be duplicated, but it is usually the process, not the ingredients, that makes it unique and stand out among other sauces. Use this simple red pepper sauce as an example of hot sauce simplicity. OR Get over 50 awesome HOT SAUCE RECIPES through this link. NOW! Also available as a paperback on Amazon HERE!

Red Pepper Sauce

  • Servings: 5 ounce
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

A super easy, tasty and tangy hot sauce recipe with a vibrant red color.

Credit: hotsaucehell.com


  • Paring Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Saucepan
  • Blender


  • 10 Fresno Peppers
  • 1 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves (½ oz)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Cut the stems off the peppers and remove the seeds.
  2. Peel the skin of the garlic and put them in a saucepan along with the vinegar and salt.
  3. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce heat to low.
  4. Let the ingredients cook on low for 12 minutes and stir occasionally.
  5. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  6. Blend the contents until it becomes a smooth consistency.


Per Serving: 580 calories; 33 g fat; 50.6 g carbohydrates; 20.3 g protein; 50 mg cholesterol; 760 mg sodium.

Here are the simple directions for making a hot sauce but find the SECRETS below

Secrets to making a great hot sauce

1) You only need a few ingredients

The three things that are essential to making hot sauce are 1) hot peppers of any variety, 2) liquid in the form of vinegar, water, or citrus juice, and 3) a high-speed blender. This simple combination will use a ratio of ingredients to determine the heat, flavor, and consistency of the hot sauce. When this ratio changes…so does the hot sauce recipe but that could be what makes it stand out. We dive further into what the ratio means below…

There are many varieties of hot peppers to use but this recipe uses Red Fresno because they are lower in heat and therefore the sauce can be enjoyed by more people. Get a pound of Red Fresno Peppers used in this recipe here through Amazon or two pounds Fresh Red Fresno Chile Peppers 2 Lbs.” target=”_blank”>here or check out more varieties of hot peppers here. Read more on the 25 Most Common Hot Peppers Used in Hot Sauce for peppers that range in color, flavor and heat! Or check out What You Need To Know About Purchasing Hot Peppers for for indepth information on buying from a reputable souce.

Additional everyday kitchen tools like a sharp knife and a cutting board are also needed but these items are not specific to hot sauce. Some more complex sauces use specialized equipment for fermentation or smoking and roasting the peppers before they become a hot sauce. Finally Understand The Fermented Hot Sauce Process.

2) Higher wattage blender makes a better sauce

A blender is essential in making the “sauce” or your creation will become a separate condiment otherwise without one. Food processors or food choppers tend to chop fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients and are not always powerful enough, fast enough, or designed to blend peppers and vinegar into a sauce mixture. It may take more blending time for the ingredients to become a thin consistency using a small blender or food processor.

You will want a blender with at least 600 watts of power to efficiently make a sauce of thin consistency. Read more on blender wattage here and check out our Blender Buyers Guide here. Get Amazon’s best seller the nutribullet here. This is what I use for small batches like this recipe.

3) The ratio of ingredients will completely change the recipe

The ratio or percentage of ingredients against each other is very important in how the final product will turn out. A hot sauce with a 50 : 50 ratio will consist of 50% hot peppers and 50% liquid. The recipe below is almost a 50 : 50 ratio of peppers and vinegar, except for a little garlic and salt. This ratio could make a very hot sauce if the peppers used have a high SHU.

A good ratio for a common, classic, or traditional hot sauce is 65% hot peppers, 25% liquid, and 10% spices. This will produce a quality product because the majority of the sauce will be a pepper base and not fillers, thickeners, additives, or other un-natural ingredients. However, additives like flavoring, preservatives, or coloring need to be included in a hot sauce recipe if it makes a transition from a small batch homemade sauce to a large quantity commercially manufactured product.

4) The selection of peppers determines everything

The selection of peppers will depend on how hot you want your sauce to be as well as the color and flavor profile. Hot peppers contain other flavors besides just heat but it is usually the heat that is at the forefront. The recipe below uses Fresno peppers but that can be substituted for serrano or habanero for more heat and a focus on the flavor of each of those peppers. A serrano will tend to be a bitter pepper while a habanero can have fruity overtones. Read the 25 Most Common Peppers Used In Hot Sauce for more pepper substitutes and flavors they may have.

Color will play an important role in how the hot sauce looks or appears to the consumer. A bright red-hot sauce will usually indicate extreme heat whereas a yellow or green sauce tends to represent a milder sauce. This is not completely true of hot peppers but is a good general rule for a hot sauce as well.

Carolina ReaperRed / Red Orange1,400,000-2,200,000Fruity & Sweet
Trinidad ScorpionRed1,500,000-2,000,000Fruity & Sweet
Naga ViperRed1,200,000-1,382,000Fruity & Spicey
GhostRed / Orange800,000-1,000,000Fruity, Sweet Chili
Chocolate HabaneroDark Brown500,000-600,000Fruity / Earthy
Scotch BonnetYellow100,000-350,000Slightly Sweet
FataliiYellow / Red125,000-325,000Fruity / Citrus
DatilYellowish Orange100,000-300,000Sweet
Peri PeriRed100,000-120,500Smokey
Thai ChiliGreen/Yellow/Red50,000-100,000Fresh / Grassy
PequinVibrant Red30,000-60,000Nutty / Smokey
ArbolRed20,000-22,500Nutty / Grassy
SerranoGreen5,000-15,000Bitter / Fresh
FresnoGreen / Red2,500-10,000Fruity / Smokey
JalapenoGreen / Red2,500-5,000Fresh / Bright
GuajilloReddish Brown2,500-5000Smokey / Berry
Hatch ChiliGreen / Red2,000-5,000Earthy
PoblanoGreen1,000-2,000 Fresh / Earthy
AnaheimGreen / Red1,000-1,500Sweet / Tangy
AnchoDark Mahogany1,000-1,500Sweet / Smokey
Bell Green/Yellow/Orange0-100Fresh
*not a complete list of every variety of hot pepper

5) A high-quality hot sauce can be made in a few minutes

Most hot sauce recipes that use a simple process or blending, cooking, or roasting can be made in 20 – 30 minutes or less for a small batch of 10 – 12 ounces. Other recipes that use smoked peppers or a fermentation process can take several hours or days to produce. The deeper and more involved the process, the richer the flavor of the hot sauce.

The preparation time and process in which a hot sauce is made will determine the amount of time it takes to make the sauce because some processes take more time than others. Making a sauce with fresh peppers will take very little prep time and no processing but a fermented hot sauce can take weeks of fermenting to develop the flavor that is desired. Learn more about all of the processes used to make hot sauce in The Hot Sauce Recipe Workbook available as a paperback on Amazon OR get the instant download here as a fillable PDF file!

6) Hot sauce has become a decadent condiment

In recent years hot sauce has evolved into gourmet sauces that are rich and decadent. This is due to the ingredients used but also the process in which they are prepared. Beyond hot peppers and vinegar, many gourmet hot sauces may include garlic, some form of sugar, lemon and lime juice, or onions as some of the main ingredients. Read why these 50 common ingredients are used in hot sauce.

Hot sauce is not confined to a short list of common ingredients and has expanded into the use of exotic mushrooms, rare sweeteners and uncommon pepper types. The contents along with complex processes have allowed hot sauce to become a rich, multi-flavored condiment and intended to be used with many different foods. This phenomenon has also reached a larger demographic of consumers.

A great example of this is Truffs Hot Sauce that uses black truffles for a rich and flavorful hot sauce. This type of sauces that uses gourmet ingredients has helped to catapult the consumers acceptance of paying higher prices for sauce.

7) Sauce can be made without handling peppers

Using a sharp paring knife or another type of knife cut the stems off the hot peppers and discard them. The peppers do not need to be chopped or diced any further, that is what the blender is for. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise only if you intend to discard the seeds. Exposing the inner wall of the pepper will affect some processes like roasting. If the knife is sharp enough and handled correctly, removing the stems can be done without touching the peppers.

Use a teaspoon to scrape the seeds from the peppers. You can remove the seeds with a paring knife but be careful not to cut the wall of the pepper and release the “juice” because this is what will burn the skin on the fingers and hands. Leaving the seeds in will not cause any harm in consuming them and will add additional heat to the hot sauce. If the sauce is not processed enough or blended enough the seeds will be visible in the sauce. This gives a homemade appearance to the hot sauce.

Most hot sauces will contain fresh hot peppers from the beginning of preparation but the process itself will change that. The capsaicin from the hot peppers can irritate any areas of the skin that it meets. For this reason, gloves should be worn, or caution should be taken not to touch any of the cut pieces of the peppers. It is OK to touch the outside of the peppers but once cut…it is the “juice” that will sting the skin. Read How To Relieve the Hands of Hot Sauce Burn if you have suffered from irritated skin from preparing hot sauce.

8) Reducing prep time can make a better sauce

The time needed to prepare the hot sauce ingredients can be reduced without affecting the outcome of the sauce. A blender can do a lot of work! Most processes are done to create flavoring.

The end of the garlic clove does not need to be cut off and can be eaten. Remove the skin by crushing the clove under a butcher knife or metal spatula with a sudden punch with the palm of your hand. This allows the skin to easily peel from the garlic without needing to do additional prep work like slicing and dicing.

Hot sauce gets a rich, decadent flavor when it is cooked down or reduced

9) Lower cooking temperature makes a rich sauce

Pour the vinegar into a 2-quart saucepan. Add the peppers, garlic, and salt. Turn the burner to high and bring the contents to a boil. Do this in a well-ventilated area with a range exhaust hood turned on high because the fumes will irate the throat and eyes. As it reaches a boiling temperature quickly reduce the heat to low. Remove the saucepan for about 30 seconds to get the contents to stop boiling quicker. It’s the slow cooking or reducing that allows the hot sauce to get a rich, decadent flavor and help it blend with the other ingredients. Over boiling will remove all life and heat from the contents.

Stir the contents frequently while cooking on low for about 10 – 12 minutes or until the peppers begin to soften. Poke them with a fork to determine if they have softened but don’t overcook the peppers. They will lose their heat, flavor, and nutrients and produce a bland sauce.

10) Type of blender makes a difference

Add all the contents to a blender or food processor. Blend on high for about 30 seconds until the contents start to look like a hot sauce. Taste for additional salt and blend again for an equal amount of time. A blender with at least 600 watts will blend into a sauce without leaving it chunky.

A high-wattage blender should be able to blend all these ingredients into a thin consistency in under 30 seconds. If not strain the sauce through a sieve or fine strainer pushing the pulp with a rubber spatula to get all the sauce.

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