How to Make a Christmas Hot Sauce

Get spicy for the holidays!

The holidays are a wonderful time of year to celebrate festive gatherings with family and friends among feasts of traditional and contemporary foods. Recently hot sauce has become a tasty condiment gaining popularity at many Christmas celebrations as a topping, feature condiment, or added with other ingredients to spice up a traditional dish. Use this colorful hot sauce recipe for ham, pork, or other holiday favorites to spice up your festive celebrations.

Christmas hot sauce can be made by making two separate hot sauce recipes; one using red hot peppers and the other using green hot peppers. The sauces can then be poured simultaneously into a serving bowl with the green sauce on one side and the red on the other. A simple recipe combines hot peppers with vinegar, but traditional holiday spices can be added to complete traditional flavor.

The red and green selections of the peppers in this recipe represent the bright colors of a holiday celebration and are intended to make two separate hot sauces with similar heat level and flavors and spices of the holidays. This sauce is not intended to be made by mixing both peppers because that would turn out to be a brownish color and may not have the appearance of a holiday hot sauce, although the flavor would be quite similar.

This sauce can be served in separate dishes or is thick enough to be poured into a serving bowl simultaneously, keeping each sauce separate. This is to keep the traditional colors of red and green to compliment the notes of flavor representing the holiday season.

There are several traditional spices representative of the holiday season according to Spices such as anise, ginger, cardamom, and allspice can give reflect the wonderful flavors of Christmas and are used in a variety of different foods. Once you have a firm grasp of this tasty hot sauce recipe experiment with adding different spices to complete the uniqueness of any hot sauce condiment. The Hot Sauce Recipe Workbook can guide you further into creating unique recipes using exotic ingredients and complex processes.

Holiday Hot Sauce

  • Servings: 10-12 oz
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Red Sauce
• ¼ cup red jalapeno
• ¼ cup green jalapeno
• ¼ cup of water
• ½ cup distilled white vinegar
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• Dash of cinnamon
• Crushed cloves
• Salt

Red Sauce
• ¼ cup red jalapeno
• ¼ cup green jalapeno
• ¼ cup of water
• ½ cup distilled white vinegar
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• Pinch of nutmeg
• Crushed cloves
• Salt

• Cutting board
• Knife
• Mixing bowl
• 1-quart saucepan
• Heat source
• Measuring cups and spoons
• Blender

1. Combine all the ingredients of the green sauce in a saucepan with the water
2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook on low for 5 minutes
3. Let cool and blend all the ingredients of the green sauce
4. Complete the same process with the red sauce
5. Pour simultaneously into an open bowl
6. Sprinkle crushed cloves on top

Using fresh peppers in a hot sauce will provide vibrant colors

Ingredients expanded (red or green sauce)

¼ cup jalapeno

A red jalapeno pepper is a jalapeno that has been left on the plant longer to ripen or are older than green jalapenos. According to cooksdream these peppers will have a higher concentration of capsaicin, making them hotter. Because the SHU of a jalapeno is low compared to other hot peppers and the heat level can vary between plants, the difference may not be very noticeable.

¼ cup of water

Water can be a useful resource or ingredient in a hot sauce and is not always used to “water” down a sauce. In this recipe it is used to cook the hot peppers and add additional liquid to thin out the sauce. Thinning out the hot sauce with a couple drips of water is OK but adding too much water will reduce flavor and heat.

½ cup distilled white vinegar

Vinegar is a common ingredient in many hot sauce recipes and adds to the preservation, flavoring and consistency. Because there are many varieties of vinegar and it may encompass much of the volume of sauce, it can highly influence the final flavor and consistency of a hot sauce.

1 tablespoon sugar

Sugar is another common hot sauce ingredient found in many different forms and is used in over 700 different types of hot sauces. Sugar can thicken a sauce, stabilize the other ingredients and contribute to the flavor beyond just adding sweetness. Sweet and heat is a great flavor combination but is used in this recipe minimally only to reduce the overall tartness of the sauce.

Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves

Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are all spices commonly used in many holiday foods. Each of these ingredients can takeover and destroy a hot sauce recipe. To control the flavor o the sauce use only a pinch at a time and if possible let the sauce sit. This will allow the ingredients to permeate each other and reflect the true flavor of the sauce. It is amazing how much different a homemade hot sauce can taste just sitting in the refrigerator overnight.


Salt is almost a necessary ingredient in any hot sauce and is one of the most commonly used. Salt can add to the preservation of the other ingredients but is mostly used to enhance their flavors. Overusing salt, like many ingredients can destroy a great hot sauce recipe.

Substituting hot peppers

A jalapeno pepper has a spice level of 5,000 to 8,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). Although these peppers could be considered to have a high level of heat by many people they are very low on the Scoville scale when compared to scorpion, ghost, or reaper peppers. Read further here on the 25 Most Common Peppers Used in Hot Sauce for more information on color, flavor and appearance of hot peppers.

The peppers in this recipe can be exchanged or replaced to have either a higher spiciness or a lower level of heat but the colors of the peppers are the focus of the sauce. Many times a hot pepper greenish in color will have much less heat than a red pepper. Another option could be to have one side of the sauce at extreme heat and the other mild. Although by the end of a festive gathering the two sauces will certainly be mixed.

Many times a pepper is green because it has not fully matured or ripened and turns red once it has fully ripened or over ripened. The low heat level of this recipe and the consistent flavor of jalapeno peppers along with selective holiday spices make this recipe ideal for a holiday gathering.

RedHeat LevelGreenHeat Level
Bell 0 SHUBell 0 SHU
Fresno 1,000 SHUPoblano 2,000 SHU
Cayenne 25,000 SHUHatch 2,500 SHU
Tabasco 50,000 SHUJalapeno 8,000 SHU
 Peri peri 100,000 SHUSerrano 10,000 SHU

Equipment (expanded)

Making hot sauce is easy but having the proper kitchen equipment is equally important. Here is a list of the bare minimum needed to make hot sauce. The most important on this list is a blender and measuring cups.


A sharp knife will make all the difference in the kitchen. I prefer only a couple different cutting utensils because my hands are sensitive to their use. I have a full set of 12 but usually only grab slicing knife or paring knife when making hot sauce.

Cutting board

A cutting board is not a “must-have” piece of equipment when making hot sauce. The ends of the peppers can be cut off just by carefully holding the main portion of the peppers and cutting off the stem. Hot peppers do not need to be de-seeded or chopped up before making sauce.

Mixing bowl

This is only a container for holding all the ingredients before you throw them in a blender. Any type of bowl works best but I prefer stainless steel over plastic.


A large pan will work but will require a little more water for cooking the peppers before blending them. Smaller sauce pans are ideal for making small batches like this one.

Measuring cups and spoons

The correct measurement of ingredients is important and will affect the flavor of the recipe. Somehow my grandmother was able to throw in a little bit of this and a little bit of that into each recipe and the results were amazing…but I can’t do that no matter how many times I have made something.


The right equipment is needed for any project in the kitchen but making hot sauce takes little more than a blender to create savory sauces. I have found almost any type of blender will work for making hot sauce but one with a wattage of at least 600 watts will make the sauce much smoother instead of chucky like a food processor may. Read more in our Blender Buyers Guide.

Directions expanded

The process followed to create hot sauce will define the final product. Many hot sauce recipes use the same ingredients but completely different processes such as roasting or fermenting. Each of these can result in a completely different flavor.

Step 1

Remove the stems from the jalapeno peppers simply by cutting about a quarter inch off the end of the stem side. There is no need to remove any other part of the peppers, including the seeds, and no need to slice them or chop them up any further. Any blender or food processor of 600 watts or more should be able to blend the peppers and other ingredients into a fine sauce.

Step 2

Place the green peppers and ¼ cup of water into a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to low heat and let simmer for about five minutes. This softens the peppers and richens the flavor of the sauce by allowing the other ingredients to permeate the peppers. The peppers can skip this step and be blended fresh but this changes the flavor slightly and helps with the preservation of the sauce.

Step 3

Put the cooked peppers and ¼ cup of vinegar along with a pinch of salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon into a blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds or more until the hot sauce becomes a thin consistency. Add water a teaspoon at a time to thin out the consistency. Adding liquids such as more vinegar to thin out the sauce will give it a tart taste and will take away from the flavor of the peppers.

Step 4

Perform the same process in steps 2 and 3 with the red jalapeno peppers. The flavor should be very similar to the green jalapeno sauce because the red and green variety of these two peppers will not vary much. Add the same ingredients and the same quantities to each of the recipes.

Step 5

Taste your hot sauce once it has been blended into a sauce consistency. I know this sauce and therefore I know what it tastes like but everyone may not have the same taste buds or flavor preferences. Be careful because it is possible to “over nutmeg” because this is a strong spice flavor. Attempting to reduce the heat of the sauce at this point will drastically change the recipe or dilute the sauce into a liquid.


Hot sauce can be a great way to spice up many different types of traditional or nontraditional dishes, especially around the holidays. The increasing popularity of hot sauce has made this an interesting addition to any holiday celebration weather it is added in while cooking or simply used as a topping.


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