Many hot sauce recipes include many types of sugar and some of those are in the form of syrup. The sweetness balances out the spiciness of the hot peppers and can complement other flavors used as well. Sugar has been a regular additive to sauces for many years but it has only been used in syrup form in recent years.
There are about 8 different syrup types that are used in hot sauce recipes. Adding syrup to a hot sauce will sweeten the sauce, add a distinct flavor and contribute to a thicker consistency. Some syrups will act as a binding agent for thicker chunkier sauces but will usually not keep water from separating from the sauce.
All syrups are considered a form of sugar but some are sweeter than others. Colors can range from almost clear to dark brown. There are many ways to extract sugar from plant products and turn it into an edible and sweet syrup. These products are usually much sweeter than granulated sugar, or other natural sweeteners and can be difficult to use in a hot sauce. Syrup is a type of sugar added to a hot sauce to balance the heat. Read about the 7 Things Sugar Does To Hot Sauce.
What does syrup do?
Syrups added to a hot sauce will bring sweetness to the sauce. These sweeteners will balance the heat and spicy flavors in hot sauces because they present a completely different flavor profile. Although the sweetness of many syrups can be a primary reason for using syrups there are also distinct flavors that they offer.
What does syrup taste like?
Aside from being very sweet, syrups will also provide individual flavoring to a hot sauce. Maple syrup will be one of the bolder-tasting syrups and can be difficult to process within a hot sauce recipe without bitter flavors developing. Corn syrup may only have a mild flavor and sweetness.
1) Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is one of the more common variations of sugar in syrup form. It is sourced from maple trees throughout the US and its resources are plentiful. Before it is processed by boiling it until the water evaporates, it has a very bitter and undesirable flavoring to it. Some brands of hot sauce that are not processed completely can still have this bitter and harsh flavor and it can be evident within a hot sauce.
Like any products maple syrup also has a grade. This means some products are of higher quality than others. Some of the lower-grade maple syrups can have a slightly bitter flavor to them. It can be distinct within the syrup because sweet and bitter are two separate flavor profiles.
|Cost||Nova Maple Syrup $.51 / ounce|
2) Vermont maple syrup
Vermont maple syrup is specific to a certain region of the United States in and around the state of Vermont. Vermont maple syrup has a higher grade than others and is what distinguishes it from others. Top-grade Vermont maple syrup is usually a very intense flavor sweeter than regular maple syrup.
Tasting maple and Vermont syrup together may not provide much difference to the average taste buds because the differences can be subtle. Often the words “Vermont maple syrup” are included on a product label for marketing purposes.
|Syrup||Vermont Maple Syrup|
|Cost||Barred Woods $.65 / ounce|
3) Agave syrup
Agave syrup also called agave nectar and has a district flavor unique to other common syrup forms. The web site bbcgoodfood.com states agave syrup is derived from a type of cactus native to Mexico called the Agave plant, the same source as Tequila. Agave has become a replacement for table sugar because the same level of sweetness can be achieved with a lower quantity of product.
The flavor of agave syrup is similar to mild-flavored honey and is best described simply as being sweet. Agave syrup can be mixed into a hot sauce either hot or cold and will provide the same level of flavor, sweetness, and consistency without much processing.
|Cost||Blue Green Agave $.31 / ounce|
4) Brown rice syrup
Brown rice syrup is derived from steeping the starch of brown rice. Brown rice syrup has a milder taste and sweetness to it when compared to other forms of syrup such as maple or agave. The consistency and color can be a thicker texture closer to the appearance of molasses.
Brown rice syrup is not used as frequently in a hot sauce as other syrups. Mo Hotta Cayenne Garlic Hot Sauce uses brown rice syrup as one of the ingredients. This sauce is great with Cajun-style foods.
|Syrup||Brown Ric Syrup|
|Cost||Lundberg Family Farms $.62 / ounce|
5) Cane syrup
Cane syrup is made similarly to the methods of making brown rice syrup but has a thick consistency, sweet flavor, and dark color similar to molasses. Cane syrup is used in many recipes of the South as a topping or glaze for meats.
|Cost||Steen’s Pure Cane $.78 / ounce|
6) Corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup
Corn syrup is almost clear in coloring and is very common in many foods and hot sauces. Dark corn syrup can have a slight molasses flavor due to its content of molasses. Adding corn syrup instead of granulated sugar will prevent the crystallization of sugars as well as provide a thicker texture to the sauce. Corn syrup is available in light and high fructose varieties as well, with high fructose being sweeter.
|Cost||Karo $.53 / ounce|
7) Malt syrup
Malt syrup is derived from sprouted barley although the process of extracting it can very detailed. It is a thick and sticky sugar only half as sweet as granulated sugar so it can provide a thicker sauce but will be less sweet. Its dark brown color is similar to the color of molasses, and this can be evident when used in a hot sauce.
|Cost||Eden Foods $.49 / ounce|
8) Apple cider syrup
Apple cider syrup is not apple cider vinegar. It will have a somewhat tart and fruity flavor to it but like many of these flavors can balance well in a hot sauce. Apple cider syrup also has a darker color to it and an intense apple flavor.
|Syrup||Apple Cider Syrup|
|Cost||Stonewall $.88 / ounce|