There are many ways that cooking with hot sauce can “spice” up a dish and this goes way beyond simply dumping a bottle of your favorite sauce on your favorite dish. Different varieties of hot sauce can be used in traditional and unique ways to bring spice to any meal or snack.
Cooking with hot sauce opens up options to use it as a topping for your favorite meal, mix it with recipes to infuse the spiciness and flavor into meals, or add it to the side as a garnish. With the vast number of hot sauce flavors available and the number of meal types that compliment spiciness, the combinations of cooking with hot sauce are nearly endless.
Hot sauce can be used as a topping or mixed in with a main course, appetizer or even desserts to add a bit of spice to any meal. It can also be used as a marinade, mixed with dips, or as a flavoring agent in some common recipes.
Table of Contents
- Cooking with hot sauce
- Hot sauce as a marinade
- How to use hot sauce as a topping
- Hot sauce makes a great flavoring agent
- Spicy appetizers and starters
- Dips with a kick
- Add zest to a main dish
- Best hot sauce to cook with
- Hot sauce as a recipe substitute
Cooking with hot sauce
Hot sauce has become a very widely different flavored condiment of spiciness that when used in cooking, can span many palettes of flavor. We explore the use of hot sauce and spices in cooking and not just the foods that it pairs well with. Cooking with hot sauce can add a spicy kick to your dishes but it can also bring out the deep flavors that many sauces have. Here are a few tips on how to incorporate hot sauce into your cooking.
Start with small amounts
Hot sauce can vary in heat levels, so it’s best to start with a small amount and gradually increase it according to your taste preferences. If it is a sauce you have eaten many times you may already know the flavor but you may not know how it reacts with certain combinations of food, especially when heated.
Use it as a marinade
Hot sauce can be a great marinade for meats, seafood, or tofu. Simply mix the hot sauce with other ingredients like oil, vinegar, garlic, and spices, and let your protein marinate for a few hours or overnight before cooking.
Add it to sauces and dressings
Hot sauce can enhance the flavor of your sauces and dressings. Whether you’re making a pasta sauce, a salad dressing, or a dipping sauce, a few dashes of hot sauce can add a spicy twist. Color can become a factor also, especially if you are mixing a bright green hot sauce with a pale white sour cream.
Spice up your soups and stews
Hot sauce can be a fantastic addition to soups and stews. Add a few drops or teaspoons of hot sauce to your pot while cooking to infuse the dish with heat and flavor. According to FSR Magazine spicy soups Latin America and Asia are becoming popular items on restaurant menus.
Use it as a condiment
Hot sauce can be used as a condiment to add a spicy element to your finished dishes. Drizzle it over tacos, burgers, eggs, or any other dish that could benefit from a spicy kick. This has always been the intent of hot sauce…but did you know it is also great on shrimp, rice, and pasta.
Everyone’s tolerance for heat and spicy food is different, so adjust the amount of hot sauce according to your preference. Enjoy experimenting with different flavors and spice levels to create delicious and spicy dishes for your own enjoyment and as dish to pass at your next dinner party.
Hot sauce as a marinade
Marinading is usually done with meats such as chicken, pork, or steak. Using hot sauce as a marinade is similar to using any standard marinade but the flavors of the hot sauce with be infused in the meat, including the spiciness. A hot sauce with a low acidic value, or a sauce that contains a lot of vinegar or citrus will permeate into the meat.
How long to marinade?
According to Verde Valley Oil Traders the vinegar base will help breakdown the proteins in meat, making it softer. This allows a marinade to permeate or infuse its flavors better. The longer a meat sits in marinade the better but not more than 48 hours. The USDA states that it is best to marinade for about 24 hours and anything over 48 hours will cause the meat to become mushy.
Best hot sauce marinades
The best hot sauces to use as marinades are vinegar or citrus based because this allows the sauce to infuse the flavor into whatever it is you are marinading. In addition, the spiciness of the hot sauce will also be evident after the marinaded food is cooked but it will not be as spicy as the marinade itself.
|Hot sauce||Vinegar base||Citrus base|
|Dirty Dick’s Caribbean Dream||X||X|
|Chef Daddy #1 Hot Sauce||X|
|Bravado Pineapple & Habanero||X||X|
|Marie Sharp’s Grapefruit Pulp||X||X|
|Fat Cat Florida Citrus||X|
The spiciness of a hot sauce will present itself through the marinade process. However, the heat level of the marinade or peppers used will not reflect the same intensity into the meat being marinaded. The duration or length of time that meat is marinaded doesn’t intensify the heat. The spiciness of the marinaded product will only be as hot as the sauce itself.
How to use hot sauce as a topping
One of the easiest ways to cook with hot sauce is to use it as a topping on a variety of meals, either before, during, or after cooking. Your favorite sauce can easily and quickly add zest to any bowl or rice, pot of stew, or plate of stir fry. Many hot sauces have a certain flavor profile that allow it to pair with specific foods types well.
The trick to using a hot sauce as a topping is to pair hot sauce with food. A Louisianna style hot sauce like Cholula is delicious as a topping on scrambled eggs. The tomato base of Mexico Lindo 7 Mares works perfectly as a topping for many types of Mexican food.
|Yellowbird Habanero||Fish Tacos||As a topping|
|Mexico Lindo 7 Mares||Tacos||As a topping|
|Chili the Kid||Chili||Mix|
|Curry Karma||Rice||On the side|
|Texas Pete’s||Mac & Cheese||Drizzled|
Hot sauce as a flavoring agent
Nowadays hot sauces are known for having a distinct flavor profile and heat. Using your favorite hot sauce mixed with hamburger or infused into a stir fry will instantly add the flavor and spice to the meal you are making. Sauces with a signature classic flavor like Tabasco or Frank’s RedHot will allow the heat and flavor to be recognized in what you are are preparing.
Recipes like Huevos Ranchos from Gordon Food Service uses Cholula mixed with the meat during processing and then as a topping when it is fully prepared. Sauces like Cholula add a distinct flavor but a mild level of heat to be enjoyed by those with only a moderate tolerance.
Using hot sauce as a flavoring agent to “take over” the flavor profile of a meal works best with bland foods like rice, pasta, and potatoes. Mixing a pungent flavored hot sauce like Secret Aardvark Habanero into raw hamburger suddenly turns your meal into “Aardvark Burgers”.
Spicy appetizers and starters
Spiciness is a great addition to any appetizer as long as the spininess is tolerable before the main course. Eating spicy appetizers allows your mouth to cool down before the main meal but it can also be a way to prepare yourself for more spice and build a tolerance to a spicy main meal.
Buffalo Chicken Wings
Classic and delicious, buffalo wings are a popular choice for hot sauce lovers. Almost any type, style, or brand of buffalo wing sauce makes a great appetizer on chicken wings. Wing sauce have expanded into other flavors like honey garlic, garlic parmesan, and sweet chili wing sauce.
These spicy and cheesy bites are perfect for dipping in hot sauce. Cheese filled poppers are an easy dipping food for any hot sauce. As an extra kick, add your favorite green sauce to the poppers before you bake them in the oven.
Spicy Chicken Tacos
Add some heat to your tacos by drizzling hot sauce over the filling. Tacos can be a main course, but a quick and easy appetizer of chicken, lettuce and tomatoes allow any hot sauce to make them a feature appetizer.
Spicy Shrimp Cocktail
Kick up the flavor of your shrimp cocktail by adding hot sauce to the sauce or serving it on the side. Shimp cocktail already has a bit of spice from the horseradish but adding a tomato based hot sauce will spice it up even more.
Spicy Deviled Eggs
Give deviled eggs a spicy twist by adding hot sauce to the filling. A hot sauce can influence the color of deviled eggs so using a yellow hot sauce like Lottie’s Traditional Barbados will maintain the classic look without freaking out guests at a dinner party. However, using bold, bright colored hot sauces could be topic of conversation.
Add some heat to your meatball appetizers by incorporating hot sauce into the sauce or mixing it into the meat mixture. Slow cooking frozen meatballs in a hot sauce like Ancho and Morita Smoky Tamarind makes a quick, easy, and tasty appetizer.
Top your nachos with hot sauce for an extra kick of flavor. You can’t go wrong with nacho chips, queso and hot sauce. Lay out your favorite tortilla chips on a plate, cover with queso and microwave, and then top off with a great hot sauce.
Dips with a kick
Spicy dips can be another great way to enjoy a hot sauce because the amount of heat can be controlled much easier than if the hot sauce is infused into a meal. Using a hot sauce and mixing it with equal parts cream cheese, sour cream, or Greek yogurt make a simple, but delicious spicy dip for chips, veggies, or bread.
|Hot sauce||Mix with||Heat|
|Lao Gan Ma||1 block cream cheese||Mild|
|Cholula Chipotle||8 oz sour cream||Mild – Medium|
|Yellowbird Sriracha||8 oz Greek yogurt||Medium|
|Sriracha||4 oz plain yogurt||Medium|
|Frank’s RedHot Buffalo||Crumbly blue cheese||Hot|
Making a spicy dip is easiest by mixing your favorite hot sauce with cream cheese, sour cream, or Greek yogurt for a delicious dip for tortilla chips, fresh veggies, or fruit. With the number of sauces available on the market, the combinations are endless. Try these…
Buffalo wing dips
Buffalo wing dips will usually include some sort of buffalo wing hot sauce mixed with blue cheese or cream cheese. Gourmet recipes includes chucks of chicken, crumbly blue cheese, and slices of celery.
Spicy queso dip
A spicy queso dip is as easy as melting cheese and drizzling it with your favorite hot sauce. Options for a spicy queso dip include mixing it directly in with the melted cheese or topping off the mixture so the hot sauce is more visible. If you are serving a spicy queso dip to guests always have the bottle of hot sauce on display next to the dip. Cholula is a classic hot sauce that mixes well with any queso dip.
Add to salsa
Topping off your favorite salsa is a quick and easy way to ass another layer of flavor and spice to any dip. Try topping off a red tomato and onion-based salsa with a bright green hot sauce like El Yucateco Green Habanero. This not only compliments a good salsa dip with flavor but also creates an eye appealing dip.
Add zest to a main dish
Cooking with hot sauce in the main course of a meal means you must really love hot sauce and have a high tolerance for heat because spice is intended to be the focus. Not all types of foods will pair well with spiciness as part of the main course.
Not all Asian, Indian, and Mexican cuisine needs some form of spiciness and not all forms of hot sauce work with everyday meals but foods from cultures known for spicy food are a great introduction.
When it comes to Asian food and hot sauce, there is a wide variety of options to explore. Asian cuisine is known for its diverse flavors and spices, and hot sauce plays a significant role in enhancing the taste of many dishes. Some popular Asian hot sauces include:
1.Sriracha: Originating from Thailand, Sriracha is a spicy sauce made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. It has gained popularity worldwide and is commonly used as a condiment or ingredient in various Asian dishes.
2. Gochujang: This Korean hot sauce is made from fermented soybeans, chili peppers, rice, and salt. It has a unique sweet and spicy flavor and is often used in Korean dishes like bibimbap and bulgogi. Read more about The Origin and Use of Gochujang.
3. Sambal: Sambal is a spicy chili paste commonly used in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine. It is made from a mixture of chili peppers, shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, and other ingredients. Sambal is versatile and can be used as a dipping sauce or added to stir-fries and curries.
4. Doubanjiang: Also known as spicy bean paste, Doubanjiang is a Chinese hot sauce made from fermented broad beans, chili peppers, soybeans, and various spices. It adds a rich and savory flavor to dishes like Mapo Tofu and Kung Pao Chicken.
5. Nam Prik: Nam Prik is a Thai hot sauce made from a combination of chili peppers, fish sauce, lime juice, and other ingredients. It is often served as a dipping sauce for vegetables, meats, and seafood but can also be used as a topping for foods made with these ingredients.
These are just a few examples of the many hot sauces used in Asian cuisine. The specific flavors and heat levels can vary depending on the region and ingredients used. It’s always a good idea to explore and experiment with different hot sauces to find the ones that suit your taste preferences.
|Best Asian foods with hot sauce|
|Fly By Jing Chili Crisp||Rice|
|Sambal Oelek||Stir fry|
|Garlic Chili Sauce||Sushi|
|Dou ban jiang||Kung Pao Chicken|
Many Mexican style meals can accept a source of spiciness because this is such a common additive to Mexican foods. Cheese is often incorporated into a Mexican meal and many hot sauces go very well with cheese. According to kevinscooking.com Monterey Jack and Chedder are often used with many Mexican meals but are not as authentic as queso fresco or queso Oaxaca.
When it comes to cooking with hot sauce and Mexican food, there are numerous delicious possibilities. Hot sauce is a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine, adding heat and flavor to various dishes. Here are a few ways you can incorporate hot sauce into your Mexican cooking:
1.Salsas: Hot sauce can be used as a base for making salsas. You can combine it with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and other ingredients to create a spicy salsa to accompany tacos, quesadillas, or chips.
2. Marinades: Hot sauce can be used as a marinade for meats, such as chicken, beef, or shrimp for many Mexican dishes. Mix it with lime juice, garlic, and spices to create a flavorful marinade. Let the meat marinate for a few hours or overnight before grilling or cooking.
3. Enchilada Sauce: Hot sauce can be used as a base for making homemade enchilada sauce. Combine it with tomato sauce, spices, and broth to create a spicy and tangy sauce for enchiladas.
4. Spicy Guacamole: Add a few dashes of hot sauce to your guacamole for an extra kick. It pairs well with the creamy avocado and other traditional guacamole ingredients like lime juice, onions, and cilantro.
5. Spicy Tacos: Drizzle hot sauce over your tacos to add heat and flavor. It works well with a variety of fillings, such as grilled meats, beans, or vegetables.
The heat level of hot sauces can vary, so adjust the amount according to your preference. It’s always a good idea to taste as you go and add more hot sauce gradually until you achieve the desired level of spiciness. Enjoy experimenting with different hot sauces and Mexican recipes to find your favorite combinations!
When it comes to cooking with hot sauce and Indian food, there are various ways to incorporate the spicy flavors into your dishes. Hot sauce can add heat and depth to Indian recipes. Here are a few ideas:
1.Curries: Add a few drops of hot sauce to your curry base for an extra kick. It can complement the flavors of spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. Adjust the amount of hot sauce according to your desired level of spiciness.
2. Chutneys: Hot sauce can be used as a base for making spicy chutneys. Combine it with ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, and spices to create a flavorful accompaniment for snacks, dosas, or samosas.
3. Marinades: Use hot sauce as a marinade for meats or vegetables before grilling or roasting. Mix it with yogurt, lemon juice, and spices to create a spicy marinade that infuses the flavors into the dish.
4. Spicy Dips: Mix hot sauce with yogurt or sour cream to create a spicy dip. It can be served alongside appetizers like pakoras, kebabs, or bhajis.
5. Spicy Rice or Noodle Dishes: Add a few dashes of hot sauce to rice or noodle dishes like biryani or pulao for an extra layer of heat and flavor.
Remember to start with a small amount of hot sauce and adjust according to your taste preferences for every type of food you prepare. Indian cuisine offers a wide range of flavors, and hot sauce can be a versatile addition to enhance the spiciness of your dishes.
Best hot sauce to cook with
Hot sauces are full of flavor and many stand alone, but they are also intended to be eaten and cooked with other foods. Many hot sauces are produced to reflect a culturally specific type of food. This is a good marketing tactic for many manufacturers because it can also lead to demographic associated with what type of consumers is purchasing a certain type of sauce.
|Mexican||Mexico Lindo Habanero|
|Southern||Pain is Good Batch #218|
|Barbeque||Pepper Palace Moutain Q Bourbon|
|Middle Eastern||Blank Slate Shug|
|West Indie||Matouk’s West Indian|
|Jamaican||Eaton’s Jamaican Scotch Bonnet|
|Indian||Naagin Indian Hot Sauce|
Hot sauce as a recipe substitute
Hot sauce can be used as a replacement for several ingredients in many recipes, but it is usually limited to ingredients intended to add spiciness or heat. Keep in mind that if the recipe calls for a dried spice, a hot sauce can replace the flavor but will also add liquid.
|List of hot sauce substitutes in recipes||Type of sauce|
|Chili powder||Bravado Arbol Chili & Garlic|
|Crushed red pepper||Melinda’s Pizza Hot Sauce|
|Citrus juice||Blazing Citrus|
|Cayenne pepper powder||Louisiana Original|
|Tomato juice||Angry Irishman Habanero & Jalapeno|
|Mustard||Melinda’s Habanero Honey Mustard|
|Fresh peppers||Heartbeat Green Jalapeno|
Chicken works so well with many varieties of hot sauce and it can be used in so many different ways that the possibilities are almost endless. Hot sauce and chicken recipes extend way beyond just Buffalo chicken and Nashville chicken.
Here’s a simple recipe for Spicy Hot Sauce Chicken. Many of the ingredients in this recipe are also used in many hot sauce brands. This Spicy Chicken Recipe allows the hot sauce to be used as a marinade, topping and on the side.
Spicy Hot Sauce and Chicken
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup hot sauce (adjust the brand used according to your preferred heat level)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
- In a bowl, combine the hot sauce, olive oil, minced garlic, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to create a marinade.
- Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish or a resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken, making sure it’s evenly coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours overnight for more flavor.
- Preheat your grill or a skillet over medium-high heat. If using a skillet, add a little oil to prevent sticking.
- Cook the chicken breasts for about 6-8 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts.
- Once cooked, remove the chicken from the heat and let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and keeps the chicken moist.
- Serve the spicy hot sauce chicken with your favorite side dishes, such as rice, roasted vegetables, or a fresh salad. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley if desired.
Spicy Hot Sauce Shrimp
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 1/4 cup hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- In a bowl, combine the hot sauce, melted butter, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Mix well to create a marinade.
- Add the shrimp to the marinade and toss until they are evenly coated. Let the shrimp marinate in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little oil or butter to prevent sticking.
- Place the marinated shrimp in the skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until they turn pink and opaque. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp, as they can become rubbery.
- Once cooked, remove the shrimp from the heat and transfer them to a serving dish.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired, and serve the spicy hot sauce shrimp as an appetizer or as a main dish with rice, pasta, or a salad.
Enjoy the flavorful and spicy hot sauce shrimp or hot sauce chicken! Adjust the amount of hot sauce according to your desired level of heat.
Shrimp and Rice
Hot sauce can be a fantastic addition to a shrimp and rice dish, adding a spicy and flavorful kick. Both of these ingredients are easy to prepare, good for you, and pair well with many different types of hot sauces. Here’s how you can incorporate hot sauce into your shrimp and rice recipe.
- 1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 cups of cooked rice (white or brown)
- 1 tablespoon of oil (such as vegetable or olive oil)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup of vegetables of your choice (such as peas, carrots, or corn)
- 2 tablespoons of hot sauce (adjust according to your spice preference)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional garnish: chopped cilantro or green onions
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
- Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the skillet and sauté until they become fragrant and slightly softened.
- Add the diced bell pepper and other vegetables of your choice to the skillet. Stir-fry for a few minutes until the vegetables are tender-crisp.
- Push the vegetables to one side of the skillet and add the shrimp to the other side. Cook the shrimp for a few minutes until they turn pink and are cooked through.
- Combine the shrimp and vegetables in the skillet and add the cooked rice. Stir everything together to evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Drizzle the hot sauce over the shrimp and rice mixture. Start with a smaller amount and adjust according to your desired level of spiciness.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remember that the hot sauce may already contain some salt, so adjust accordingly.
- Continue to stir-fry for a few more minutes until everything is heated through and well combined.
- Remove from heat and garnish with chopped cilantro or green onions if desired.
- Serve the spicy shrimp and rice hot and enjoy!
Feel free to customize this recipe by adding additional seasonings or vegetables to suit your taste. Enjoy the flavorful combination of hot sauce, shrimp, and rice!