Are you trying to get your homemade hot sauce bottled, packaged, and available for sale online?
Homemade hot sauce can be sold online if you reside in a state that allows it to be sold under their cottage food law and there are not any stipulations within the law that don’t allow online transactions. A commercially manufactured hot sauce can be sold online if the facility where the sauce is made is registered with the FDA but, this can be much costlier than a homemade operation. Private Label and Co-Packing are other manufacturing options that allow a hot sauce to be sold online.
Hot sauce has become one of the trendiest condiments to consume, make and sell. Consumers are willing to try the next best-flavored sauce through different tolerance levels and this has triggered new entrepreneurs to want to enter the business to satisfy this demand. Selling hot sauce online is one of the easiest ways to enter the business but there are some other ways to check out here. Not every method of entering the hot sauce business involves a great recipe…but it helps knowing what it’s made with.
I probably mention in every blog post how hot sauce is made; hot peppers in some form to create the spicey pungency and a type of liquid-based substance to help it liquify and become a sauce. Add a couple of other ingredients and you will have a unique hot sauce flavor. It’s a natural reaction to want to share it with someone or take it to the next level with sales.
Can you sell homemade hot sauce online?
Yes, you can sell hot sauce online but there are several practices to follow to ensure that the sauce is legally produced and sold. It can be approached like other consumable or edible products but there are a few things that can be avoided or “loopholes” in which your homemade hot sauce can be sold.
1] You can sell hot sauce online if…a homemade hot sauce is approved as a “shelf stable” food within the state, or county you are making the sauce.
2] You can sell hot sauce online if…you make a homemade hot sauce in a facility that is registered with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
3] You can sell hot sauce online if…someone else makes the hot sauce, either using their recipe or yours.
Many products are sold online, and this is true of hundreds of brands of hot sauce as well. However, many people who start a hot sauce business may want to sell their homemade hot sauce online because it is easier, a quicker startup, and much less expensive than a commercially manufactured sauce that needs to be sold at a physical location or on store shelves.
States that allow homemade hot sauce sales online through cottage food laws
Either you live in a state that allows homemade hot sauce to be sold online (not all of them do) OR you follow US Federal Food and Drug Administration requirements
Every state has rules regulating the manufacture and sale of homemade foods and this can vary significantly from state to state and even counties or jurisdictions within the state. These are known as Cottage Food Laws and just about every state has one that will approve or not approve the sale of homemade hot sauce online. Check out this site from the Institute for Justice that breaks down each state’s cottage food law.
About half of the states in the US allow acidified foods or foods with a shelf-stable ph level to be sold under their cottage food law. If a hot sauce is acidified with a pH of 4.6 or below it could qualify as a food that can be sold under cottage food laws, but many states do not clearly define hot sauce products as being approved or not. Read more on Why the pH of Hot Sauce is Important.
This is largely due to the many ways hot sauce can be made through acidification and preservation methods or whether they would need pasteurization or refrigeration. In addition, some states that allow homemade hot sauce to be sold through their cottage food laws don’t allow online sales of the product, so it is important to know the details of your state’s cottage food law.
Know your states Cottage food law
A hot sauce needs to be approved under the state’s cottage food law to be sold to consumers through online methods and even then, some states may have other restrictions. Cottage Food Laws or Home Processing Licensing can often have a sales cap on the amount of money that can be earned from sales online or otherwise. This means sales are limited to a certain amount each year whether you sell online or not.
In addition, a state like Texas and South Dakota allows online orders, but the product needs to be delivered in person. Some states such as Maryland will have separate cottage food laws that pertain to on-farm home processing. Click here for an overview of cottage laws in every state.
States needing to follow Food and Drug Administration regulations
States that do not allow hot sauce to be sold under their cottage food laws whether it is acidified or not will have to follow the FDA regulations for commercial manufacturing to sell hot sauce online. If your manufacturing facility has passed FDA inspections then you can sell your hot sauce anywhere, not just online.
The FDA does not inspect home kitchens, but that would be done on the state level if their cottage food laws allow hot sauce to be made in a home kitchen and sold online. Click here to register your facility with the FDA or go here for their registration guide. Registering with the FDA may be time-consuming and tedious if you don’t know where to start. However, there are a few methods to sell hot sauce online that avoid county, state, or health regulations.
How to sell hot sauce online
Private Label and Co-Packing provide an opportunity to sell hot sauce online using a product made in an approved or registered facility without needing to apply for licenses yourself. A Private Label or Co-Packing facility already has been inspected and registered with the FDA and therefore if your sauce is produced in their facility, you can sell it online. However, only a Co-Packer would be making your unique recipe, a Private Label manufacturer has their own sauce recipes that you usually cannot alter.
How to sell someone else’s hot sauce online
Another option to sell hot sauce online is to sell someone else’s sauce under your label, known as a Private Label. This is a legitimate and legal way to sell hot sauce if you have an agreement with the Private Label manufacturer to sell their recipes in your branded bottle. Private Label is a quick and effective way to enter the hot sauce business to focus on the marketing, promoting, and sales portion of business. Click this link for some of the top Co-Packers to work with for an online hot sauce business.
Private Label online hot sauce sales
Selling hot sauce online under a Private Label contract can allow you to focus on the sales aspect of selling and not the need to be making hot sauce in a kitchen. Private label also allows you to put your branding, image, or logo on a bottle of hot sauce. If you have a logo, brand, image, or trademark, selling Private Label hot sauce can support promotions behind your brand.
Drop Shipping online hot sauce sales
Drop shipping hot sauce is not the most common method for selling hot sauce online. This method of selling hot sauce online gives you access to major brands of hot sauce that are stored for you and shipped out when you make a sale off your website. Shipping costs may or may not be included as well as the promotional and marketing costs needed to make a sale. Check out Hot Shots Drop Shipping where you can start a hot sauce business online…today!
Cost to sell hot sauce online
The costs for an online hot sauce business can be broken down into the basics; hot sauce and a web page. The Rule of Essentials would require some form of hot sauce as a physical product. After all, you are not selling a service….you are selling a product. I discuss the Rule of Essentials and break down the basic necessities of what is needed to start business in How To Start a Hot Sauce Business.
The hot sauce can come in the form of a Private Label, Co-Packer, or Bottling Your Own if your home state allows it under their cottage law. The cost of the product, if broken down into single bottles doesn’t vary too much but the costs of startup otherwise varies significantly. Learn much more about Bottling Your Own hot sauce in my latest version of How To Start A Hot Sauce Business available as a paperback on Amazon.
The costs for an online store front through a website are minimal compared to other physical storefront costs. A host can provide an online store set up for about $60.00 a year or about $5.00 a month. This is the least expensive platform for selling hot sauce unless you have a location where you can sell for free, Some of the more popular websites to set up a store front are Wix and Shopify.
Social media is great for promoting your online hot sauce store but having a store front gives a professional appearance that attracts shoppers. However, social media can be used to bring traffic to a site because traffic equals sales.
Additional costs on the website may be a plug-in for point-of-sale transactions, at the very least. Many plug-ins can be obtained for free but a fully automated system may have additional fees. However, this could free up time and efforts to make additional sales and allow for a continued operation.
Other costs involved with selling hot sauce online
Marketing and promoting are huge necessities if you are trying to sell anything online. Having a hot sauce listed on a webpage or blog that doesn’t get any traffic also doesn’t get any sales. After your online store front is set up it will be necessary to spend money on promoting your hot sauce and getting traffic to land at your store. Marketing a hot sauce is as important as making it but we can help with that too. Check out Top Hot Sauce Marketing Must Have Strategies.
What you need to sell hot sauce online
Selling hot sauce online needs a physical product such as hot sauce or the method of obtaining it and the means to sell it through a website or social media platform. Each of the essential pieces to successfully selling hot sauce online will require some money down, although selling online can be relatively inexpensive compared to other methods of starting a hot sauce business.
Hot sauce product
Selling online will require a physical product even though it will not be displayed as it may on a traditional store shelf. Hot sauce intended to be sold online can be made by yourself if your state cottage food law allows it or you can hire manufacturers from pre-registered facilities like Private Label and Co-Packers to manufacture it for you.
Registration, Permit, License
Almost every form of selling hot sauce requires registration, permits, or licenses in some form and this is true for online sales as well. However, the type of registration and fees is determined either by qualifying as a home processing seller or manufacturing hot sauce through FDA recommendations.
A webpage with a storefront is the best option for selling hot sauce online. Social media can have a strong online presence, but the customer conversion rate increases with a strong landing page and other linking pages as reinforcement.
Pros and Cons of selling hot sauce online
Every business opportunity has reasons it works for some people and other reasons it doesn’t work for other people. Selling hot sauce online can be a quick and low-cost way to enter the business but it still keeps you from making any face-to-face sales and that may be your specialty.
Get the latest version of How To Start A Hot Sauce Business available as paperback or kindle on Amazon. This book outlines EVERYTHING you need to know to start a successful hot sauce business TODAY!
THERE IS NO OTHER BOOK LIKE THIS AVAIALBLE ANYWHERE!
Many entrepreneurs inquire about how to start a hot sauce business because recipes are so easy to make, and it has become a well sought after condiment. This makes it an easy business model to make a profit. Having a product that can be simple to produce but has such high demand is reason enough to start a hot sauce business.
Starting a hot sauce business begins with a great recipe, applying for the proper permits needed to make it, and obtaining the funding to support the business. Manufacturing and selling hot sauce has many restrictions on the state level and cannot be sold as a cottage food in every state. Applying for permits, inspections and licenses on the federal level can many times avoid state restrictions, but it can be a longer, costlier, and deeper committed endeavor.
The 3 essentials of starting a hot sauce business
Starting a hot sauce business follows three principles or essentials; money to make hot sauce, the product (hot sauce) along with a method to produce it, and the means to sell it. I call this the Rule Of Essentials. Each rule does not always need to be equally proportionate, but without each component…there will be no business.
For instance, If you plan on producing hot sauce for sale out of a kitchen or Bottling Your Own then the concentration needs to be on how to make hot sauce. If you are hiring a Co-Packer then there may be more emphasis on selling the sauce. Understanding the difference between these two actions will put you in the right direction.
Starting a hot sauce business requires 3 components: 1) MONEY TO MAKE HOT SAUCE, 2) THE PRODUCT (HOT SAUCE) & 3) THE MEANS TO SELL IT
1] Money to make sauce
Starting a hot sauce business or any business needs money down to begin or start-up costs. This is the cost of equipment and raw product as well as costs for a place to make sauce. Fortunately, the cost of starting a hot sauce business is very low, compared to other types of businesses. Saving money to pay for costs upfront is a great way to ensure that a hot sauce business doesn’t leave you in debt. Read more here in 19 Ways To Save Money for some real tips on creating a down payment for your hot sauce business.
Other costs pertaining to marketing, promoting and sales of hot sauce are also important but are not a necessity or essential for a startup company. These other costs are known as operating costs. The start-up costs for a hot sauce business can be allocated in many ways depending on the approach. Selling hot sauce through Private Label means you are only purchasing the sauce and not the equipment or facility to make it. Read more here in the 1st edition of How To Start A Hot Sauce Businesson how to obtain the funding needed to cover startup costs for Private Label, Co-Packing or Bottling Your Own.
To be successful in the hot sauce business…you need hot sauce. This means either selling someone else’s recipe or making your own from scratch. A hot sauce can be obtained from a Private Label corporation, making it in a home kitchen (Bottling Your Own), or produced by a Co-Packing company using your recipe. Each of these methods (and more) are also revealed in detail in How To Start A Hot Sauce Business available on Amazon.
3] Means to sell it
Finding a method of producing hot sauce is absolutely necessary as well as the means to sell it. The last thing you want is 100 cases of freshly made hot sauce without a method of selling it. However, selling hot sauce may also depend on the method chosen for producing it, especially if you are making it at home. For example, selling hot sauce online through a web site is simple to set up…but unless there is traffic there will not be a sale. There is a lot that has to do with selling hot sauce that relies heavily on marketing but focusing on where to start can guide you to the end results of selling it for profit.
How to start a hot sauce business
Starting a hot sauce business requires three practices that the essential principles are built on; creating a great hot sauce recipe, providing a place to manufacture the sauce, and finding the places where the sauce will be sold. Within each of these three practices, there are many different areas to understand but each of them will require some costs at various stages. Get the book that fully explains these costs here.
Many people that start a hot sauce business don’t jump into a $1,000,000 commercial setup, selling in thousands of stores across the country. Many entrepreneurs in the business make a sauce out of a home kitchen, shared kitchen space, or rented commercial kitchen facility and sell hot sauce at local markets. The inspiration for starting a hot sauce business may often begin with creating new and exciting hot sauces right in your home kitchen. After all…It’s all about the sauce!
Hot sauce business starts with a great recipe
It’s all about the sauce! Starting a hot sauce business is all about the hot sauce recipe and how to make it for sale commercially. Without a product that tastes great, has been properly packaged, and meets all federal and state regulations…there is no sale, no matter how much planning you have done. It’s like starting a book-selling business without writing a book or having any books to sell. If you don’t have a recipe, check out 50 great Hot Sauce Recipes here that you can use to start your hot sauce business.
Q:Is a recipe copyright protected? A: No. A recipe does not have copyright protection…but the process used to make the sauce can be protected by a registered Trademark
How to make hot sauce…where do I get a recipe?
A great-tasting hot sauce recipe is easy to produce with a simple combination of hot peppers and vinegar. This is a classic recipe combination or Lousanna style hot sauce and still holds strong as a desirable flavor combination. There are many combinations of this type of sauce once a few other ingredients like salt and garlic are added. The possible combination of ingredients increases exponentially as gourmet recipes use 10 to 20 ingredients in some sauces.
According to Business News Daily the number one thing you should do before starting a business is to refine your idea. This could mean even if you have a great hot sauce recipe, look deeper into who will be buying it, consider a brand name, and ask yourself why you want to enter the hot sauce business in the first place. Many times, a great recipe or product can guide you or help you decide who you are marketing towards and this leads to better sales results. Read more on The Science of Hot Sauce for how new recipes can easily be created with just a few ingredients.
However, entering the hot sauce business does not always mean that you need a recipe, but you do need a great-tasting hot sauce or some type of product to sell. Private Label allows you to sell someone else’s sauce with your own branded label on it. The business approach to selling hot sauce can be done in several different ways such as Drop Shipping, Co-Packing, and Private Label but one of the easier and least expensive ways is Bottling Your Own sauce and selling it at local markets. Read more on the costs associated with each of these business models in How To Start A Hot Sauce Business.
Q: How much does it cost to start a hot sauce business? A: The startup cost for a hot sauce business can be as low as $1.00 to $3.00 per bottle for a Private Label or some Co-Packing contracts
Three ways to enter the hot sauce business (PICK ONE…)
The three primary ways that many people use to enter the hot sauce business are Private Label, Co-Packing, and Bottling Your Own sauce. However, there are several combinations of each approach, a few other less common approaches, and several levels of costs associated with all of them as well. Read more here on which one of these business models works best for you before you begin to plan your business.
1] Private Label – Private Label is when you are putting your label on another manufacturers hot sauce product. This is one of the easiest ways to enter the hot sauce business and is completely legal. There will usually be a contractual agreement where you cannot alter the recipe.
2] Co-Packing – Co Packing involves another manufacture making and developing your hot sauce recipes. This is one of the most common ways of entering the hot sauce business. It involves more freedom to make unique recipes but will cost more than Private Label.
3] Bottle Your Own – Bottling Your Own hot sauce involves owning, leasing or renting a kitchen facility to make hot sauce and bottle it yourself. This method involves a lot of regulations and cost associated with the facility where the hot sauce is made.
Plan your hot sauce business before you plan your business
Having a business plan for any type of business is smart. If you plan on borrowing money from a bank many institutions will require a formal, well written and completely thought-out business plan. Check out this article on How To Write a Busness Plan published by the US Small Business Administration (SBA).
However, many people entering the hot sauce business are entering the food industry for the first time and are unfamiliar with the best practices and proper regulations for packaging and selling hot sauce. This information can be obtained in this post, through state and local offices and through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Planning a hot sauce business can be done in many ways depending on the business model you choose. It can be similar to planning any type of business but will have specific tasks and goals associated with a making and selling hot sauce. If you already have a great recipe that you have mass-produced then planning should be done on a formal level with a complete outlook towards sales over a 1-year, 2-year, and 5-year period. Also, a thorough business plan will be necessary if you are going to be obtaining funding from a lending institution or bank. Below are some examples that should be included in your business plan.
If you are working on a homemade recipe and haven’t completely developed a strategy, planning can be done on a Rolling Wave Phase. This means you can plan through events as they happen such as the amount of sauce you make, the places you intend to sell, and the amount of profit you intend to make. However, an established bank is probably not going to lend thousands of dollars based on a Rolling Wave Business Plan.
Planning a hot sauce business is typically based on two business models; Co-Packing and Bottling Your Own, although there are a few other less common options. Even though there are several other business models, these two are what most entrepreneurs follow. Read more here on other business models to start your hot sauce business today. Most of the business decisions about planning the amount of money needed to operate should be based on one of these business models…after you have firmly established a good recipe or two.
Hot Sauce Co-Packing
Co-Packing as it refers to the hot sauce business is when a manufacturer makes and bottles your hot sauce recipe in their facility. This is common practice in the hot sauce business and can eliminate the complications with finding and registering your own facility. Also, many Co-Packers can offer advice or other services towards getting your sauce packaged properly. Check out this Complete List of Co-Packers in the US to find a Co-Packer near you.
Hiring a Co-Packer may not be the choice of everyone entering the hot sauce business due to the lump sum of startup costs and the lack of involvement with making the sauce. Every aspect of a company startup will have pro and cons, ups and downs and pitfalls that may work for one person and not another. Get more Indepth details on hiring a Co-Packer in How To Enter The Hot Sauce Business available in paperback from Amazon or instant download here!
How to plan a Co-Packing hot sauce business
The best way to plan a hot sauce Co-Packing business is to make contact with a Co-Packer near you to walk you through their process. The first step to planning is asking if a facility can make your recipe or not. The second question should be how much it costs to make your recipe…exactly as you make it. Once you have these two questions answered you can plan the cost of making 50, 100, or 500 cases of sauce.
Q: What is the easiest way to enter the hot sauce business? A:Private Label is the easiest and least expensive way to enter the hot sauce business
Bottle your own hot sauce
Bottling Your Own hot sauce refers to making the sauce in a home or rented kitchen and bottling it in the same facility. This will usually lead to the need to file for the correct permits, licenses, and inspections with the local health departments before you begin to make the sauce. Although the needs of registering a home kitchen may be very stringent and task-oriented, the costs and ease of working from home is why many entrepreneurs start here. Click here for a link to local offices in your area to get specific answers to regulations involving making and selling hot sauce from home.
How to plan Bottling Your Own hot sauce
Establish a kitchen
Register and apply for local inspections
Buy the equipment& ingredients
Make hot sauce
Bottling Your Own hot sauce will make it necessary to follow state and local guidelines if you are operating out of your home as many entrepreneurs do. If you are making hot sauce in a commercial facility with the intent to sell across the US, then you will need to follow FDA regulations.
State regulations for making and selling hot sauce
Many types of commerce vary from state to state and that includes the ability to make a hot sauce out of your home and sell it for profit. According to the Institute for Justice, some states are easier than others, or less stringent with the permit and licensing requirements that are needed. The site ranks Wyoming as being the easiest to make and sell a homemade hot sauce and Delaware as the most difficult but this only refers to selling hot sauce within state lines.
Wyoming has a very open policy with making acidified foods (hot sauce) out of a home kitchen and selling it. Other states like Delaware follow strict regulations and don’t allow hot sauce made at home to be sold to consumers. Many people want to start a hot sauce business out of a home kitchen because it is easier and less expensive than operating out of a commercial facility and following federal regulations. However, following local regulations can be just as difficult as adhering to federal guidelines in many states.
How to avoid stringent state laws
The regulations per state cannot be avoided if you plan on setting up a manufacturing business out of your home in a specific area. However, if you follow the FDA guidelines for the commercial production of hot sauce, jurisdictions should accept these standards everywhere and this will set you up for selling throughout the US. These regulations, like state requirements, can be accompanied with filing the proper paperwork correctly. Once you are registered in one state under FDA rules you can sell to every state.
Q: Can I sell my homemade hot sauce at a farm market? A: About half of the states in the US DO NOT allow the sale of homemade hot sauce at markets, fairs, or festivals
There is a long list of what some states require and what others do not that goes much deeper than the content in this blog post. These restrictions are broken down into two categories: making hot sauce at home and selling it directly to consumers. About half of the states in the US allow for the sale of homemade acidified foods under their Cottage Food Laws but the other states do not. Find out which states allow homemade hot sauce to be sold as an acidified food under their cottage food laws here.
Applying for the proper permits to manufacture and sell hot sauce is one of the most important aspects of starting a hot sauce business
Every state allows food that falls under that state’s cottage law to be sold directly to consumers at farmers’ markets. However, the number of sales or revenue and the type of venue they can be sold at vary significantly, no matter what the type of food is. These regulations vary significantly from state to state and regions or counties within every state as well. In addition, these laws and regulations are changing all the time but they are usually in favor of someone starting a hot sauce business out of their home.
Understanding cottage food laws
A cottage food law is a law, bill, or act that allows home-based businesses to make and sell food. The cottage food laws in each state can be difficult to understand because many times hot sauce specifically will not be listed as a food that is allowed or not. It will usually fall under the category of “acidified food” and its acceptance is determined by each states laws for making and selling homemade foods.
The language used to describe acceptable foods under cottage food laws (like every law, act, or bill) can be very difficult to decipher. Non potentially hazardous foods, acidified foods, and shelf-stable foods can all mean different things. However, it will usually mean a food product that does not easily allow bacterial growth like many hot sauces. For hot sauce, this means having a pH of or below 4.6 level. Read more here on Why The pH of Hot Sauce is Important. However, even though 4.6 is a safe pH level to prohibit bacterial growth, some states do not allow manufacturing in a home kitchen and selling at a local market.
Registering a home kitchen
Q: Can I register a home kitchen with the FDA? A: The FDA does not regulate home kitchens because they are sanctioned by the state and counties in which they are established. Many states may follow regulations that are similar to what will be filed with the FDA.
Home-based kitchens are not required to be registered with the FDA under Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1.227. A home-based kitchen will adhere to local inspections and permits, and this is where your efforts may lead to a closed door or the need to make contact with many people. Every jurisdiction may have slightly different regulations, or some may be more lenient than others. Click here to find the regulations in your area to register your home kitchen.
A home-based kitchen will need a certain type of functionality and cleanliness for safety reasons before it will pass an inspection in most jurisdictions. These are relatively similar in many local areas but contact the Department of Health in your area for details on registering your home kitchen. If your state or county requires an inspection of your home kitchen it will follow these simple principles…at the very least!
Qualify for cottage law in your home state
Many states have a list of foods that are acceptable or approved to be sold under the cottage food law. Hot sauce will generally fall either under “sauce” or “acidified food”. Qualifying as an acidified food could be as simple as creating a hot sauce that tests with a pH at or below 4.6 consistently. Some states will require the test results for pH through laboratories. Read Why the pH of Hot Sauce is Important and Understanding Hot Sauce pH to determine what the pH of your hot sauce should be. This could guide you to qualifying to manufacture and sell hot sauce under the local cottage food laws in your state.
Cottage food laws are constantly changing as state legislation realizes the importance and ease of entrepreneurship for the economy. Institute for Justice and the Freedom Food Act are excellent resources for the push toward home-based hot sauce businesses. Many states are continually seeing updates to these laws to allow small manufacturers to produce and sell hot sauce out of their home.
Options for a home-based kitchen
There are many options for making hot sauce if you plan on making your own and are not going to be hiring a Co-Packer. The easiest, least expensive, and most convenient option is operating out of a home kitchen but not every state allows this. Some options include operating out of another area of your home, qualifying under local cottage laws, sharing kitchen space or renting kitchen space that has passed all federal inspections. These are all legitimate and legal methods of bottling your own hot sauce without needing to registering a commercial facility with the FDA.
Operate out of another section of your home
In my home state of New York, the requirements are that a home kitchen you will be making hot sauce in for the purpose of selling it needs to be a separate section of the house away from the “main” kitchen area. Although this may not be as convenient and inexpensive as using your primary kitchen it is still much easier and less expensive than owning, leasing, or operating out of a commercial facility.
Share a kitchen space
Another option for manufacturing hot sauce is using a shared kitchen space that has already qualified as a registered facility. Using a commissary or co-op kitchen can alleviate some of the costs of building a kitchen from scratch or finding a commercial facility. Check out How To Legally Sell Hot Sauce to get a list of kitchen co-ops where you can reduce your financial burden of starting a hot sauce business.
Rent commercial kitchen space
Renting kitchen space that has already passed any inspections on the state and federal level will give you “instant access” into a legal manufacturing facility. The downside to this is that there will be additional costs associated with renting space and there could be a limited amount of time that it is available.
Buy a commercial manufacturing and operation facility
Purchasing a commercial facility to make hot sauce for the purpose of selling it is very costly and signifies that you have a planned strategy to be successful. This is not considered one of the steps to starting a hot sauce business but should be considered as part of an investment into a business. It should also be included in a business plan if your intentions are to seek funding for your business.
Freedom Food Act
The Freedom Food Act model bill by the Institue for Justice has been paving the way for entrepreneurs to start their own hot sauce business out of their home. Nearly all the state in the US have a cottage food law that allows the process, manufacture and sale of food out of a home-based business and nearly half the states include acidified foods such as hot sauceas an approved food to be made at home and sold to directly to consumers.
Following FDA regulations
Registering a facility with the FDA will take some time to file the proper forms. Read the Food Facility Registration Guide for step by step instructions. The term “hot sauce” is not used bit it will be referred to as an “acidified food” and you will be referred to as an “acidified food processor”. There probably a lot of terms and verbiage that could be difficult to understand but the step by step guide will get you through it. Contact the LACF Registration Coordinator directly at 240-402-2411 or LACF@FDA.HHS.GOV for additional help with filing.
Unfortunately, nothing associated with the FDA is a quick process. Download the Form 2541form here or go to the FDA website for more information. This step-by-step guide published by the FDA will walk you through the process. Click this link to the FDA website to file electronically or click here to file a paper submission.
Food facility registration
According to the FDA, the manufacturing process is defined as making food from one or more ingredients. Hot sauce, even in its simplest form, falls under this definition. A facility outside of a home kitchen will need to be registered with the FDA as a Commercial Processor. However, farms, restaurants and retail food establishments are exempt from under 21 CFR 1.226.
The FDA offers guidance to registering your facility on any level of operation. Download the small entity guidance here with their Small Entity Compliance Guide issued by the FDA. This rule also applies to a Co-Packing facility even if the sauce is made elsewhere and packaged in the Co-Packers facility. Although there can be some gray areas or loop holes to making hot sauce in one facility and packing it in another witch only require the packing facility to be registered.
A private residence does not have to register with the FDA but will have to adhere to the states cottage laws where the sauce will be manufactured and sold
Information needed before registering will include such details as product information, container type and container size, the processing method and source and specific information regarding the type of sauce and type of container. Additional information that is critical to registering is how the sauce is made or the process.
If your home state does not allow hot sauce to be sold that is made in a home-based kitchen, you will be following FDA regulations like many business do. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will regulate the manufacturing and sale of hot sauce or spicy food products if your home state does not allow food to be sold under their cottage food law.
Getting the necessary permits and licenses for a hot sauce business can be task-oriented and make you feel as though you are running around in circles. However, it is possible because so many people have done it so don’t give up when the first phone call you make doesn’t answer your questions. What makes it tricky is HOW you plan on entering the business. There are three ways that 90% of businesses start in the hot sauce business and this can force you to get licensed if you Bottle Your Own or allow you to avoid the process all together if you hire a Co-Packer.
21 CFR 1.227
Under section 21 CFR 1.227 a private residence is not a facility and therefore not required to register. However, a home kitchen will have requirements on the state level that can allow or prohibit the sale of homemade hot sauce.
If the state you live in does not have a cottage law that approves the production and sale of hot sauce out of a home kitchen…You will need to follow FDA guidelines
What does it cost to register a facility with the FDA?
There is no cost to register your manufacturing facility for the purpose of making and selling hot sauce. The costs come from obtaining, renting, leasing, buy or operating the facility. The costs can be broken down into physical property, manufacturing equipment, maintenance costs, and utility bills.
Selling at a venue
There are many places that you can sell hot sauce such as stores, markets, or online retail shops. If you are manufacturing and selling hot sauce under your local cottage food law, you may be only able to sell directly to consumers at a market. However, if you are following federal regulations guided by the FDA then you can anywhere but there will be some upfront cost associated with each method.
Having a means to sell or method that will put your hot sauce in front of the right customer is the third principle in the Necessities of Selling Hot Sauce. This third principle is just as important as making hot sauce and will lead you to following other legal obligations and forming a legal business.
Form your hot sauce business into a legal entity
Being a legal business entity is very important for any type of business and any method you choose to start a hot sauce business. Starting a hot sauce business is no different even if you are making it out of a home kitchen and selling at local markets because your business name will be on the product. There are several ways to form a legal entity as one of the steps to starting a hot sauce business, but you should probably secure a business name before you get too deep into your investment and there are many ways to do it.
Reasons for filing legal business
Secure a business name
It’s a legitimate business
Before you get too deep into business it’s a good idea to secure a legal business name to validate your entrance into the hot sauce business. Your reasons for entering the business are to sell a delicious sauce to consumers. Anytime there is an exchange of money the proper tax payments and this needs to be kept separated when income begins to increase…and it will. According to Wolter Kluwer this may be necessary when opening a business bank account and strengthening business creditably as well as giving you the opportunity have a standout business name.
Becoming a legal business is easy
Becoming a legal business should be done whether you are making hot sauce in a home kitchen or hiring someone to do it for you. There will still be aspects of the business that will need to be covered legally when it comes to making sales. Don’t get it mixed up with a brand name, hot sauce product label, website name, trademark or trade secret. Each of these aspects are important and should be protected but are not 100% necessary to form a business name. A legal business entity can be formed as a Sole Proprietorship using your name.
Becoming a legal entity is a smart move for a hot sauce business and is easy to do as well as being very inexpensive. Many entrepreneurs start as a Sole Proprietorship which means there is one owner…you. Filing for a Sole Proprietorship can be done through the IRS website using your name in just a few minutes. Some sources state that you ARE a legal entity once you start doing business, but you wouldn’t want to think you are covered legally if you are not.
Filing for a DBA (Doing Business As) can also be easy and inexpensive and allows you to establish a brand name under which you will do business as. File for a DBA can be done through your local or state office for under $150 or you can do it here through Legalzoom. Unlike a Sole Proprietor, a DBA does not need to be your name and can be the made-up name, ficticous name, or the name of your company or brand name of your hot sauce.
An LLC (Limited Liability Company) is usually filed when there are one or more owner’s called “members” of the company. An LLC can also be filed through Legalzoom and costs can vary depending on your needs. Check out the DIY Guide to Forming your Own LLC in any of 50 states. Get the paperback here from Amazon.
Other business entities
Many entrepreneurs in the hot sauce business will be doing business online because this is the buying format the demographics will be using and because shipping costs for small hot sauce bottle can be low. Secure a domain name as you are filing your legal business name. These may be separate names altogether but do not necessarily have to be. Go to instantdomainsearch.com to look up and secure a domain name.
Create your hot sauce business website
Creating an online presence in the form of a website or other social media account specifically to sell you hot sauce is one of the easiest steps to starting a hot sauce business. Hosts like Wix and Shopify are established specifically for the ease of selling products online. A site can be set up in a few hours for just a few dollars a month and many hosts offer support for setting up a simple business model to help increase sales.
If you are making hot sauce in a home kitchen under state guided regulations check here to find out if you can sell online. Many states that allow home kitchens to be registered as a manufacturing facility may also regulate how hot sauce is sold within that state. All online sales are covered under federal guidelines if your application is through the FDA.
What to do before a website has been set up
Before your website has been set up you should have made enough sauce to accept a sale. The last thing you’ll want to do is accept an order without any product to ship. Simple plug-ins can be added to any website to accept credit card transactions.
What to do after a website has been set up
A webpage can be set up in a matter of minutes without much time spent on how a site looks. Once a site has been set up the number one thing that needs to happen is getting traffic to the site. The second thing that needs to happen is converting visitor to customers.
The only way to get sales from a website is to have a steady flow of traffic. This is the key component of any online business. The strongest type of traffic is organic traffic and this is when someone is searching for your product and the results end up on the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Other forms of traffic are referral, paid traffic.
Q: Are there too many hot sauce businesses and too much competition? A: No. Sales trends are showing consumers love trying new hot sauce flavors and sale are projected to grow over the next 5 years
Hot sauce industry trends
There is not a better time to start a hot sauce business! Like many industries a hot sauce business has trends that consumers follow. Also like many industries these trends are always changing. According to Award Staffing it is important to follow the trends within an industry to be successful at business. In other words…do what other small startup companies are doing.
It’s probably no surprise that hot sauce has become one of the most popular condiments on the market primarily for its ability to instantly add any amount of spice to any meal. The introduction of YouTube channels like the Hot Ones has exposed everyone’s interest in this condiment and can pave the way for your new hot sauce creation. There is room for another hot sauce business due to the high demand for new and creative gourmet sauces.
The most recent trend in hot sauce manufacturing is gourmet hot sauce. These are sauces that go way beyond a hot peppers and vinegar recipe and use fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, and variations of many other ingredients. These types of sauces use limited fillers or thickeners and rely on exotic flavors of unique ingredients. A gourmet recipe relies high quality ingredients but also unique processes like fermenting, roasting and smoking. Following the trend in hot sauce manufacturing can increase your sales potential.
Q: Are labels necessary to sell hot sauce? A: Yes. Labels need to display product information, nutritional content and bar codes if selling across state lines. Selling hot sauce on the in-state usually requires a product to be labeled “without inspection”
Label are not as critical as finding a Co-Packer to make your sauce or applying for the proper permits to do so but they will be necessary when it comes time to sell your hot sauce. There are three components that you will need for every label of hot sauce: a product display, nutritional label and a bar code. These three things are included on all commercial foods in the US that gets regulated by the FDA.
Having a label on a hot sauce simply for the means to sell it may not always need a logo, brand name or eye catching graphics but these should all be well thought out as part of a marketing campaign. Labels used to draw the attention of the consumer can sell products regardless of what is inside.
Every hot sauce business needs to adhere to FDA regulations regardless of which state your live in because it does not follow cottage food laws that other “made at home” foods do. Selling hot sauce will follow the same regulations as many other food-based products.
Open a bank account
Having a commercial bank account is important to track expenses and deposit and track any money earned. Personal accounts are OK to begin with but according to forbes a business account will legitimize your business and protect assets. Many banks may also offer a payroll processing services through a business account once you have established business and have hired employees. Business bank accounts can also be opened by a Sole Proprietorship by using a social security number,
Obtaining business insurance will be one of the last steps to starting a hot sauce business and may not be fully required at the beginning stages. Insurance will protect you from unexpected losses that may occur from accidents or lawsuits. If you have a long term business plan with projected sales into the thousands then you should get general liability insurance at the very least. According to the Small Business Association (SBA) there are six different type of insurance available for your hot sauce business but many at the entry level begin with General Liability.
Launch your hot sauce business
Launching a hot sauce business is the final step to starting a hot sauce business. If you have been follow some of the steps highlighted in this post than you are launching a business. If you have your hot sauce bottled and in your hands…then your business has been launched. The next phase of operation is to focus on sales. Congratulations!
Starting a hot sauce business begins with a great recipe and deciding if you are going to make it and bottle it yourself or whether you will be hiring a Co-Packer. Making hot sauce at home can have many restrictions and not every state has a cottage food law that allows homemade hot sauce to be sold to consumers.
Co-Packer are used by many people who start a hot sauce business and this tend to be safest, easiest and “middle of the road” for costs. If you hire a C-Packer, someone else is making the sauce so you will not be “getting your hands dirty” but this allows you to focus on business…and sell hot sauce.
Not all hot sauce is created equal. Many sauces will use vinegar and citric juices as part of the ingredient combination and these ingredients will naturally allow the preservation of the sauce for several months or longer. However, many others may not contain vinegar or citrus juices and will require other additives to preserve them and keep them fresh beyond a few days.
Preservatives are being used more in gourmet hot sauces to keep then tasting fresh longer and increase the shelf life. Common preservatives for hot sauces that do not contain vinegar or citric juice are acetic acid, ascorbic acid, potassium sorbate, citric acid, sodium benzoate, and sorbic acid. These are all recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as being safe to consume and will function well in a hot sauce of any heat level.The combination of ingredients needs to be considered when selecting the best preservative for a hot sauce.
Many preservatives are added to many different varieties of foods but not all of them may work well in hot sauces. Aside from the common ingredient of hot peppers, many other flavors are also being explored and these flavor combinations are only increasing. Gourmet, craft, and artisan hot sauce recipes get their uniqueness from the original or homemade approach to creating a new hot sauce. When these recipes become available on the commercial level preservatives may need to be added if the sauce expands beyond a traditional hot pepper and vinegar recipe.
Always pH test your hot sauce before and after adding preservatives
Hot sauces that do not contain vinegar will need other substances that will increase their preservation, or the hot sauce could have a very short shelf life. Refrigeration is an option to lengthen the shelf life of sauces but can get very costly during production, storing, and throughout the sales process. However, it is not uncommon for a hot sauce to be labeled “refrigerate after opening” to slow down any potential bacterial growth.
Many manufacturers want to keep ingredients simple, pure, or natural and avoid what can commonly be thought of as including additives against the principle that it may be an all-natural sauce. There are many common preservatives added to hot sauces but sometimes the name of the additives can be enough of a deterrent for overly concerned consumers to not use the product.
The word “acid” as an ingredient in a hot sauce may sound as if it could cause harm if it is consumed. Although some brand names of hot sauces include heat levels and names that sound as if they DO cause harm the preservatives in this article are proven to be safe for consumption and cause no known harm to the human body.
At least 20% to 30% of a hot sauce should be vinegar
Vinegar has been the number one common ingredient used in traditional or classic hot sauce since it was originally introduced to consumers. Cream-based sauces, butter additives, dairy products, or any sauces that contain cheeses will require preservatives to be included with the other ingredients. Many ingredients that will preserve, like vinegar or citrus juice, will also alter the flavoring.
Currently there are thousands of hot sauce manufacturers that use vinegar as one of the main ingredients. This is probably used as one of the ingredients in a recipe and not exclusively for the purpose of preserving. The addition of vinegar lowers the acidity of the hot sauce, and this prohibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
How to use
Vinegar will be an effective preservative in any temperature condition, whether it is cooked with the other ingredients or added afterwards. According to thekitcn.com vinegar has an almost infinite shelf life, almost never “going bad “so it is the amount added that will determine how it preserves a hot sauce.
At least 20% to 30% of a hot sauce should be vinegar if the recipe calls for it. Many sauce recipes like a classic Lousanna style hot sauce may use more but this doesn’t necessarily preserve it for longer durations. The addition of vinegar to a recipe will not only lower the pH and preserve the hot sauce but certain types of vinegar will add other qualities such as flavoring as well.
A common vinegar type for many traditional and easy to make recipes is a Distilled White Vinegar. This has a pungency to it and preserving qualities, but the mild flavor is disguised well in a hot sauce. Read more here on the Best Vinegar for Hot Sauce and Why for almost 20 different vinegar types.
2) Citrus Juice
15% to 20% of hot sauce should be citric juice
Citrus juice is a great substitute for vinegar in a hot sauce recipe because it replaces the use of liquid and provides the preservation that vinegar does. Citrus juices can have a pH between 3 and 4 depending on the fruit used. Lemons and limes are generally the lowest but there are several from each type of citrus fruit. Citrus juice will also have a huge influence on the flavor of a hot sauce but pairs well with hot peppers.
How to use
Citric juice is used as a liquid to thin out a thick hot sauce. Like vinegar it can be heated or used at any temperature. The use of citric juice can produce a very sour flavor as well as acidity to the hot sauce. It is the acid environment of hot sauce that creates the preservation. Citric fruits come in many varities such as lemon, lime, pineapple, orange and grapefruit but lemon or lime are some of the more common ones. Read Why Lemon Juice Works So Well in a Hot Sauce for more information about preserving with flavor.
3) Acetic Acid
Use 3 ounces of acetic acid per 1 gallon of water
Acetic acid also known asethanoic acid, ethylic acid, vinegar acid, and methane carboxylic acid is another colorless liquid preservative, like many others, that is used in many brands and varieties of hot sauces. Also referred to as an acid regulator acetic acid is used in a hot sauce as a replacement when vinegar or citrus juices are not used. There are over 40 differnt hot sauce brands that use acetic acid and many do so along with vinegar. However it can be used without vineger. Some hot sauces such as Ass In Space, Tapatio use acetic acid instead of vineger.
How to use
Think of acetic acid as concentrated vinegar or pure vinegar. Acetic acid should be diluted before it is used in a hot sauce. Use 3 ounces of acetic acid per 1 gallon of water. It is used as a food additive much like vinegar is but the concentrated form makes it much more powerful and with a much stronger odor. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) before using or contact the manufacturer directly.
4) Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
8% to 10% by volume
Ascorbic acid is derived from citrus fruit like citrus juice is and will also provide vitamin C into a hot sauce. This is more commonly used in a hot sauce than citric acid and is currently used by over 60 different commercial hot sauce recipes. Ascorbic acid is recognized by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as being safe to use and is another variation of a citrus-based preservative that works well in a hot sauce recipe.
Ascorbic acid is a white or slightly yellowish powder with a sour taste and is soluble in water. Once diluted in the water or other liquid substances ascorbic acid will be about 8% to 10% of the volume of the hot sauce. It is recommended to dilute it in water before adding it to a hot sauce recipe so account for this added water in the hot sauce.
5) Potassium sorbate
0.025% to 0.1% potassium sorbate
Potassium sorbate is a salt of sorbic acid and is used in over 30 commercially manufactured hot sauces. Hot sauce recipes will often use about 0.025 % to 0.1 % of the total recipe percentage will be potassium sorbate. Unlike vinegar, citrus juice, or other preservatives potassium sorbate will not affect the color or scent of the hot sauce.
Flying Goose Yellow Chili Sriracha uses potassium sorbate as a preserving agent without the use of vinegar or other preservatives. There are over 30 commercial manufactured hot sauces including Huy Fong Sriracha that use potassium sorbate, but it is commonly used with other preservatives as well.
How to use
Dissolve the potassium sorbate in water or a liquid solution before blending the hot sauce. It is this combination that will release the sorbic acid that controls the growth of microorganisms. Potassium sorbate can be used at any temperature and according to articles published in Science Direct there shouldn’t be a loss of its properties at any temperature.
6) Citric Acid
¼ tsp of powdered citric acid is equivalent to 1 tbsp of lemon juice
Citric acid is derived from citrus fruits like lemons and limes. There are over 100 hot sauces that use citric acid as a preservative due to its availability, ease of use, and acceptance as a preservative in the food industry. These are usually sauces without a heavy concentration of vinegar or other citric juices and may be creations outside of traditional hot sauces.
Citric acid can preserve in small doses, but it is recommended to pH your hot sauce recipe. Once the pH level reaches 4.6 or below there has been sufficient amount of citric acid added.
How to use
Before adding the citric acid, pH test the hot sauce. Add a minimal amount of less than a ¼ teaspoon and blend completely. Let the hot sauce sit overnight in the refrigerator and test again. Continue to add minimal amounts of controlled measurements until a pH of 4.6 or under is achieved.
7) Sodium benzoate
Use less then 0.1% of the total contents
Sodium benzoate is a very common preservative used in hot sauce recipes as much as citric acid is. It can however, also alter the flavor by adjusting the salty, sour, or bitter flavors of a hot sauce. Many hot peppers such as serrano have a bitter flavor to them so sodium benzoate can pair well. Because of the slight bitter flavor, it often is used with other preservatives within a hot sauce recipe.
How to use
According to the FDA sodium benzoate is recognized as being safe as long as it is less then 0.1% of the total contents. Like other preservatives sodium benzoate is dissolvable in a liquid form hot sauce.
8) Tartaric acid
1% of the total substance
Tartaric acid, also known as a weaker form called cream of tartar, is a lesser-known preservative used in hot sauce recipes due to the sour taste it can produce. It is found naturally in fruits and plants and is also a by-product of wine making. Tartaric acid is derived from succinic acid and will lower the pH enough to kill harmful bacteria.
Tartaric acid is not as common as many other preservatives and is typically used where wine-based vinegars are also used. Tartaric acid is great for enhancing the flavors of fruit-based sauces. Because it does not dissolve very easily at low temperatures it is probably not the best preservative to use in a recipe that does not involve cooking or some heating.
Tartaric acid also acts as an emulsifier as well as a preservative. Tartaric acid is dissolvable in cold or warm liquid but should be liquified before its blended into a hot sauce. The dissolved tartaric acid should be 1% of the total substance according to Technical Evaluation Report conducted by the USDA or it would be 0.05 ounces of a 5-ounce bottle of hot sauce.
9) Soy lecithin
½ oz for every 24 oz of hot sauce
Soy lecithin is only a mild preservative and is typically included in a hot sauce to keep liquids from separating from other ingredients or used as an anti-caking agent and thickener. If used as a preservative, it is often also combined with vinegar and other products such as sodium benzoate.
Soy Lecithin is a great product to use if a hot sauce combines two oil or vinegar-based ingredients that don’t mix well. Recognized as being safe by the FDA soy lecithin is only a mild preservative but will provide the stabilization needed for certain ingredient combinations. Checking the pH level of a hot sauce before and after any additives is good practice to ensure any preservatives added are doing what they are supposed to do.
How to use
Soy lecithin works best if it is dissolved in a liquid before it is added a hot sauce but the liquid needs to be part of the ingredient base. However, it can be used at any temperature and it begins to do what it is supposed to do immediately states puritan.com. The soy lecithin granules should dissolve OK but may take some mixing or blending and depending on the amount used could affect the flavor of a sauce. Large amounts can have a nutty flavor but this may or may not be evident among some of the other stronger flavors within a hot sauce.
A minimal amount of soy lecithin is needed and it works best at preserving if there are fats and oils used in the sauce. Begin with ½ oz for every 24 oz of hot sauce.
10) Lactic acid
0.8% to 1.5% (¼teaspoon)
Lactic acid is often used with other preservatives in a hot sauce recipe and will be present in organic form if the sauce is fermented. It is made from the sugars of fruits or vegetables and like many other forms of preservative, lactic acid is often used with other preservatives such as sodium benzoate and sodium metabisulfite. Lactic acid can alsohelp boost the immune system by killing and suppressing bacteria and it is the bacteria that will cause a hot sauce to perform against preservation.
Lactic acid as a liquid form can be combined with other ingredients at any stage during the production of hot sauce. Brewers Circle recommends using 0.8% to 1.5% of lactic acid. That means in a 5 oz bottle of hot sauce only 0.04 ounces or a ¼ teaspoon is needed.
While not as common as other preservatives, lactic acid is often used in preserving olives. It can have a mild flavoring and color to it but that can get masked by other stronger flavors within a hot sauce.
11) Potassium benzoate
Potassium benzoate is the salt of benzoic acid. It inhibits the growth of mold and some bacteria but works best in pH below 4.5. Like many preservatives, potassium benzoate is a white odorless powder but can have a tangy flavor in certain foods. Potassium benzoate is often used to replace sodium benzoate. Check out Ass Kickin Sriracha Hot Sauce that contains potassium benzoate along with vinegar.
How to use
Potassium benzoate in powder form should be diluted in a liquid before it is added directly to a hot sauce although it will not have any harm if it isn’t. Cranberries contain a detectable amount of benzoate acid therefore a hot sauce that uses them will nave trace amounts.
According to ehso.com many sulfites are used in the form of sodium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, or potassium metabisulfite. There are only a few hot sauce brands that use sulfites because they are typically used for preserving dried fruits. It is not uncommon to see sulfite in a sweet-based hot sauce or a sauce that has a heavy concentration of vegetables.
Cholula Green Pepper Hot sauce contains sulfite along with acetic acid, sodium benzoate, and sodium metabisulfite.
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 awesomeHOT SAUCE RECIPESthrough this link. NOW! Also available as a paperback on Amazon HERE!
A super easy, tasty and tangy hot sauce recipe with a vibrant red color.
10 Fresno Peppers
1 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
2 garlic cloves (½ oz)
¼ teaspoon salt
Cut the stems off the peppers and remove the seeds.
Peel the skin of the garlic and put them in a saucepan along with the vinegar and salt.
Bring to a boil and quickly reduce heat to low.
Let the ingredients cook on low for 12 minutes and stir occasionally.
Remove from the heat and let cool.
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…
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 nutribullethere. 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.
Red / Red Orange
Fruity & Sweet
Fruity & Sweet
Fruity & Spicey
Red / Orange
Fruity, Sweet Chili
Fruity / Earthy
Yellow / Red
Fruity / Citrus
Fresh / Grassy
Nutty / Smokey
Nutty / Grassy
Bitter / Fresh
Green / Red
Fruity / Smokey
Green / Red
Fresh / Bright
Smokey / Berry
Green / Red
Fresh / Earthy
Green / Red
Sweet / Tangy
Sweet / Smokey
*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 daysto 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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It doesn’t take a genius to figure out where a Nashville sauce came from. Like many regional sauces, for lack of a better name they are distinguished by cuisine from the area in and around the vicinity it came from…in this case, it’s Nashville Tennessee USA, and the sauce is called Nashville sauce. Spicy hot chicken has been consumed by communities across the US, but modern versions of Nashville chicken originated in the ’70s.
Nashville hot sauce is similar to a Buffalo-style chicken wing sauce but has more sugar added making it sweeter. It is usually served covering a chicken sandwich topped with pickles and has a heat level of about 1,500 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). Butter is the main ingredient like Buffalo sauce but a commercially bottled sauce will often use oil as a replacement.
Throughout the US there are many communities, demographics, or races that are populated in metropolitan areas or their suburbs. These populations of people will often likely all prefer a similar cuisine or have a preferred taste for certain foods. In the case of Nashville sauce, it was black communities in the 1970s in and around the Nashville area that liked hot and spicy chicken. Hence the name Nashville chicken or Nashville hot chicken. The sauce has now evolved and gets bottled to be simply called Nashville sauce or Nashville hot sauce.
Similar occurrences have happened elsewhere in the US in specific regions to create individual hot sauces but not all are culturally driven. A similar style of sauce was created for chicken wings in Buffalo NY about the same time (or maybe slightly earlier) as Nashville chicken was invented. The sauce is called…yup you guessed it…Buffalo sauce! Although there is controversy about where Buffalo sauce came from it doesn’t conflict with a Nashville sauce but there are some similarities. Also, like many great hot sauces, it gets duplicated, replicated, or imitated and sometimes becomes better or sometimes becomes worse.
Nashville sauce and Buffalo sauce similarities
Both a Nashville sauce and a Buffalo sauce use spiciness in the form of cayenne pepper to give the original versions of both a consistency in heat. Nashville sauce uses cayenne peppers in powdered form whereas Buffalo sauce uses a cayenne peppers-based Louisiana style sauce. Like Nashville and Buffalo sauce a Lousanna sauce comes from a certain region…yup you guessed it again…Lousanna. Most Buffalo sauces these days won’t use a Louisiana sauce as a basis as the original version did back in the mid 1960’s.
Recently the recipe has been adopted by Kentucky Fried Chicken and like any great sauce, many brands have adapted the recipe and sell it as a bottled sauce. Other establishments have capitalized and offered similar sauces served on a similar style chicken sandwich.
Like many hot sauces, Nashville sauce is primarily used on deep-fried bone-in chicken. It is brushed on, poured on, or dumped on after the chicken has been deep-fried in oil. If using a bottled sauce, the amount used is your preference, but the sauce is usually very thick and needs some form of a basting brush to coat the chicken.
How hot is Nashville sauce?
Nashville hot chicken can have a range of heat to it depending on the company that manufactures the sauce or the establishment that provides the chicken. Compared to the vast levels of heat available for most brands of hot sauce a Nashville hot sauce is around 1,000 to 1,500 SHU or what may be called mild to medium hot. In comparison, Tabasco® is about 1500 SHU. These sauces are made with red cayenne peppers which by themselves have a heat level of about 30,000 to 50,000 SHU.
Once processed and mixed with other ingredients the heat of the pepper is reduced significantly, like Tabasco®. Once poured onto a breaded chicken breast the heat or spice level of the sauce can diminish as well because bread products absorb some of the heat. The chart below indicates just over 20% of the sauce is red cayenne pepper powder making a homemade sauce about 6,000 SHU because 30,000 (SHU) divided by 5 (parts) equals 6,000.
What is Nashville hot sauce made of?
Like all hot sauces, there is a huge variety of flavors and ingredients even within a specialty sauce like a Nashville sauce. It typically uses red cayenne peppers either in the form of powder or used fresh and put through a process like many hot sauces.
Although the same red cayenne peppers are used in a Nashville sauce as are used in a Buffalo sauce, there isn’t always vinegar-like there is in a wing sauce. A Buffalo wing sauce will use a vinegar-based hot sauce as the base for the sauce. This is replaced with oil in a Nashville sauce, often vegetable, soybean, or canola that Buffalo chicken sauces don’t have. Sugar or some sort of sweetener is another common ingredient found in a Nashville sauce. This can sometimes “cut” the heat slightly in a hot sauce and will certainly add another dimension of flavor.
Homemade Nashville sauce
A homemade Nashville sauce is made with red cayenne pepper, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, butter, and salt with the majority of the contents being butter, and just melted together. Butter has been a common ingredient in many homemade wings sauces as well.
Homemade Buffalo sauce
A homemade Buffalo sauce has similar ingredients but without sugar and paprika. A wing sauce will often use a hot sauce that may already have a combination of spices as well as vinegar. The heat level of a homemade Buffalo sauce depends on the SHU of the hot sauce added. Also, many bottle hot sauces will have garlic, salt, and spices which will also affect the overall flavor. The original wing sauce used Franks Redhot which has a high sodium level so salt may not be needed if you are using it.
How is Nashville sauce different from Buffalo sauce?
Nashville hot sauce and a Buffalo wing sauce will similarities in the spice level, the type of peppers used, and some of the same spices. One of the main differences in flavor is that a Nashville sauce will include brown sugar and some recipes include honey. There have been variations of Buffalo wing sauces to include sugar and sweeteners but the original does not.
It is easy to argue the similarities between hot sauces, especially a Nashville and a Buffalo sauce. Perhaps in the late 60’s someone from Buffalo traveled down to Nashville and added some sugar to the sauce? There is undoubtedly a difference in the way these two sauces are presented and consumed but they can be very similar in bottle form.
The main ingredient in many bottled versions of a Nashville sauce is oil either in the form of vegetable, soybean, or canola. This differs greatly from a Buffalo wing sauce or traditional hot sauce. Many traditional and classic hot sauces usually do not have any oil at all in them but in the case of a Nashville sauce, it is to replace the butter. Using real butter in bottled hot sauces is not typical and is cause for refrigeration or will also decrease the shelf life of the sauce.
Nashville hot chicken
A Nashville sauce is usually served up on a chicken sandwich or the sauce is poured and smothered over a breaded chicken breast. Buffalo-style chicken wings are placed in a container or bag and shaken up until the sauce covers the wings. The coating on a deep-fried Buffalo chicken wing is minimal to none.
The breading on a piece of Nashville chicken is made of breadcrumbs therefore the sauce gets absorbed and it still maintains its crispiness. The sauce will also be thicker than many traditional hot sauces, so this also helps it from watering down the coating and making it soggy.
Creating a hot sauce recipe can be a fairly simple combination of adding hot peppers and vinegar together but when additional ingredients or processes are used the hot sauce recipe can be very complex. That is when additives like xanthan gum are used to stabilize, thicken or bind ingredients of a hot sauce together.
Xanthan gum is used dry and is added to a hot sauce when the ingredients are blended. There isn’t any processing, cooking or other forms of preparation needed when using it. However, it should be used in small amounts until you have figured out the right consistency for your hot sauce.
Xanthan gum was discovered in the mid-’60s and has been used in food products ever since. As much as it sounds like a substance that is toxic, harmful or under-researched…it is not. There are thousands of products on the market that uses it for various reasons, including hundreds of different hot sauces.
What is xanthan gum and what is it made of?
Xanthan gum is a food additive, not a preservative, that is included during the manufacturing of foods as a thickener and stabilizer but when added to hot sauce it is usually used to keep ingredients that don’t mix well together from separating. Xanthan gum is created from a fermented sugar bacterium. The sugar may come from wheat, corn, dairy or soy and if people suffer from severe allergies to this substance, they may have to avoid it. It is no less natural than yeasts or vinegar and is widely used in commercial food production, especially hot sauces recipes.
Xanthan gum is used to thicken and stabilize foods. It is used to improve the consistency, texture and appearance of many different types of food products, including ice cream, baked goods and hot sauce. In addition, xanthan gum is used to stabilize a hot sauce and keep the ingredients from separating. Dressings and sauces that combine oil and vinegar often use xanthan gum for these reasons.
There are almost 400 hot sauces on the market that use xanthan gum in their recipes but because xanthan gum is not found in nature and has to be manufactured, it cannot be included on an “all-natural” label. However, xanthan gum is approved by the FDA (Federal Food and Drug Administration) which is why it is widely used in a variety of hot sauces on the market today.
How to use xanthan gum in hot sauce
Because of what it is used for in a hot sauce, xanthan gum will influence the texture and appearance of the sauce, but this the intent. Often used in other condiments and foods, it is a stabilizer, emulsifier, thickener, suspending agent, bodying agent, and foam enhancer. Xanthan gum can allow otherwise non-blending ingredients to combine in a sauce with just a minimal amount of the ingredient.
Check out the RECIPE TEMPLATE for other common hot sauce ingredients and their substitutes!
Some other thickeners like corn starch and arrowroot powder need to be cooked into the sauce to help reduce the liquid consistency but xanthan gum does not. Xanthan gum should be added to the hot sauce toward the end process of blending without the need to cook or heat it. It does not need any additional processes to provide the stabilization. Blend the ingredients of your hot sauce, add xanthan gum, and blend further. Test the consistency of your hot sauce by pouring a small amount on the uneven surface of a plate to visually test if there is a liquid separation.
Xanthan gum can be used at a variance of temperatures and it will not affect the outcome of the sauce. This is one of the reasons it is widely used in a variety of food types. I let all my cooked, smoked or roasted hot sauces cool down before I blend them but maybe your processes are different. Perhaps you prefer to blend your ingredients hot or at room temperature, either way, the xanthan gum will produce the same results.
Only you can determine what results you want from your sauce. Adding too much xanthan gum to a hot sauce will thicken it to a paste or gelatinous, gooey form and not adding enough will still leave the liquids separating. Separate your sauce into two or three containers and use different amounts to achieve a different consistency. Or use one batch and gradually increase the amount added until you get the consistency you want.
How much xanthan gum should be used in hot sauce?
¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum to 1 quart of sauce
As a general rule, use ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum added to 1 quart of sauce, to begin with. Add it slowly as you blend but it does not usually clump up as a corn starch or other thickeners will would. Adding it gradually simply gives more control over the consistency of the sauce. Adding a liquefying substance like vinegar or water will give the sauce more consistency if you use too much xanthan gum, but it will become a sauce much different in flavor as well.
If you are using xanthan gum in a new recipe you should have the ingredients weighed on a digital scale. Xanthan gum works well in both small and larger concentrations. Adding 0.1% can thicken a liquid and adding 0.5% will produce a paste. Anything more than 0.5% will cause the sauce to become gummy and sticky and the end product will be almost unusable as a hot sauce.
Example: 1 lb (16 oz) of sauce would use 0.016 oz (.45 g) of xanthan gum
If you are unsure of the amount of xanthan gum to use in your sauce weigh your sauce. First, weigh the container without sauce. Second, weigh the container with sauce. Third, subtract the weight of the container to get the exact weight of the sauce. Fourth, multiply the weight of the sauce by 0.1%. This will be the measurement of xanthan gum to use in your hot sauce. I use a Taylor Digital Scale that has increments as low as 1 gram to get accurate ingredient weight measurements. Get the Taylor scale here from Amazon or check out other scales HERE.
Example Xanthan Gum Measurement
Weigh the container
Weigh container with the sauce
Subtract weight of container
90 oz – 6 oz = 84 oz hot sauce
Multiple weight of sauce x 0.1%
84 oz x 0.1% = 0.084 oz OR (½ tsp)
Will xanthan gum reduce the heat of a hot sauce?
Adding xanthan gum to a hot sauce will not reduce the heal level. There is very little xanthan gum needed for thickening and binding hot sauce ingredients compared to the total amount of hot sauce. The heat of a hot pepper can be reduced before it is mixed as a hot sauce but is difficult to do to a hot pepper of extreme heat. There are also some methods to reduce the heat with additives once it becomes a sauce but that is only because you are reducing the concentration of the pepper within the sauce. However, xanthan gum in and of itself does not have properties to reduce the heat of a hot sauce.
Does adding xanthan gum alter the pH level of a hot sauce?
A low pH level of about 3.4 to 4.6 is important for a hot sauce to maintain its shelf life. Adding xanthan gum to a hot sauce will not alter the pH of the sauce. Xanthan gum is one of the few gums that can tolerate the lower acid levels of hot sauce and still perform as it is intended. Xanthan gum also performs well at a higher pH if your hot sauce uses alkaline ingredients or emulates a salsa or chutney. That is the same reason it may be commonly found in cream salad dressings or cream based hot sauces.
Does the FDA approve xanthan gum?
Xanthan gum has been approved by the FDA and there is no limitation on the amount used. However, large amounts in a small batch of hot sauce may not produce the desired results. It is non-toxic to humans consumed in any amount and therefore does not need to be regulated.
Does xanthan gum have a flavor to it?
Xanthan gum does not have any flavoring to it therefore it will not influence the overall flavor of your sauce if used per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Although made from wheat, corn, soy or dairy it will not have the flavor concentrations of these food products. However, the best thing to do is taste every order of xanthan gum that will be going into every batch of hot sauce.
Does xanthan gum provide any nutritional benefits to a hot sauce?
The only nutritional benefit that xanthan gum will provide to a hot sauce is fiber and it will be in very minimal amounts in your recipe. Typically, it will only provide less than 1 gram of fiber per ¼ teaspoon. If you were to use a ¼ teaspoon per quart of hot sauce that would be less than 1 gram of fiber per quart (32 ounces). If your 12 oz bottle of hot sauce has 70 serving suggestions then that is a minimal amount of fiber that the xanthan gum is contributing to the hot sauce. This would be a trace amount of fiber that wouldn’t need to be indicated on the nutritional label.
However nutritional benefits can also be thought of in the form of xero calories. Many simple hot sauce recipes have few to no calories therefore making it a relatively healthy condiment.
How much additional cost will xanthan gum have to my hot sauce?
Xanthan gum is a relatively inexpensive additive to a hot sauce which is another reason why so many manufacturers of hot sauce use it. Costs can range from $.65 an ounce to $1.50 an ounce depending on the brand. The average cost is about $1.00 an ounce or about $0.035 (3 ½ cents) a gram on average. That is the equivalent to about $.01 per 10-ounce bottle of hot sauce, following the ¼ teaspoon to 1-quart rule.
If used to make mass quantities of hot sauce the costs can add up but are still minimal compared to other ingredients. The cost can get significant if you are producing 100,000 ($1,000) to 500,000 ($5,000) bottles of hot sauce a year. Check out prices of some common xanthan gum products here on Amazon.
Hot sauces that use xanthan gum
According to hotsaucesurvey.com there are over 370 hot sauces that use xanthan gum as an additive used as a stabilizer, thickener, binding agent or to keep ingredients from separating. That’s not every hot sauce on the market but it is most likely a hot sauce that uses oil or other ingredients known to separate from each other.
Many traditional or classic hot sauce flavors that use hot peppers and vinegar don’t need xanthan gum because these two ingredients blend well. However, many gourmet hot sauces being introduced to the market have many combinations of exotic ingredients and use xanthan gum to give the hot sauce a visually stable appearance.
Does xanthan gum work for an oil-based hot sauce?
Vinegar is a common ingredient used in hot sauce as a preservative and flavoring agent. Oil is not as commonly used but when the two are added they don’t mix well together. This can be seen clearly in any type of an oil and vinegar salad dressing. The addition of xanthan gum will bind the vinegar and oil with the other ingredients which keep them from separating so you do not need to shake it every time you want to use it. A review of top-selling hot sauces that use oil will most always include xanthan gum.
Crystal extra hot wing sauce,
Positives of using xanthan gum in a hot sauce
The positives of using xanthan gum in a hot sauce far outweigh the negatives but that doesn’t mean you should throw it in your hot sauce recipe for no reason.
Keeps ingredients from separating
Binding ingredients together is the number one reason that xanthan gum is used in a hot sauce. The emulsification of the ingredients will be evident when the sauce is poured out and water separates. The appeal or look of a hot sauce is as important as the flavor.
Adds very little cost to a hot sauce
Xanthan gum adds very little cost when compared to the other ingredients. However, it can be similarly priced to other thickeners and stabilizers such as guar gum that also provides similar qualities. Xanthan gum is usually more expensive than corn starch but is much easier to use in a hot sauce.
Does not alter the flavor of a sauce
When used correctly, xanthan gum will not alter the flavor or appearance of a hot sauce. This is because the amount needed is minimal to achieve stabilizing properties. Hot sauces are known for their bold flavors so it would be difficult for xanthan gum to overpower the sauce.
Negatives of using xanthan gum
Adds another step to processing
Traditional and classic hot sauces are known for the simplicity of the ingredients. When combining other additives there will be other processing steps involved as well. Although it is a simple step of measuring and adding some sauces may already have a complex recipe and process.
Best use for xanthan gum in a hot sauce
The best use of xanthan gum in a hot sauce is when fresh or fermented hot peppers are used in the recipe. Many processes draw out the water of a hot pepper neither of these processes does. When the water remains in the hot sauce it tends to separate or float above the other ingredients.
Sauces that are made with roasted or smoked hot peppers will be thicker when they are blended. These processes draw out the water and if you are simply blending them with a few other ingredients you may not need the addition of xanthan gum.
Many brands and varieties of hot sauce use xanthan gum as a stabilizer and thickener. This substance is widely used and is acceptable to FDA standards. Experiment with what xanthan gum can do to your hot sauce.
Buffalo wing sauce has a unique flavor and an exceptional spiciness to it even among other hot sauces. Once you have it; that distinct taste can have a lasting recall and you want it again and again. These types of cravings are normal and will be heightened and intensified by hormones if you are pregnant.
Buffalo wing sauce, like many hot sauces, is OK to consume if you are pregnant and it will not harm an unborn child. However, Buffalo wing sauces or chicken wing sauces are almost always milder in heat level, higher in calories and will have additional ingredients that most traditional hot sauces do not have. This is due to additives such as oil, butter or natural butter flavorings that give these sauces a rich texture and flavor.
Craving certain foods during pregnancy is very common, but you already knew that. Some cravings may be unfamiliar foods or foods that you don’t normally eat. Healthline.com states that it is normal to suddenly crave spicy foods like hot sauce or Buffalo sauce while you are pregnant. Taste buds can often change throughout pregnancy so these cravings can come on suddenly even if you do not regularly consume Buffalo wing sauces.
These cravings can begin in the first trimester in as little as 5 weeks and according to nhs.uk. they will usually last throughout the second trimester and dwindle as you reach the 3rd. Don’t believe the myth about hot sauce inducing pregnancy, there isn’t any evidence that shows a Buffalo sauce can cause childbirth. However, a sauce with an extreme heat level can cause heartburn or irritation and this can be elevated during pregnancy.
I eat spicy food during pregnancy, is Buffalo sauce OK also?
Buffalo wing sauce is OK to consume during pregnancy because it is milder than most hot sauces, less acidic than traditional hot sauces and will usually be consumed in smaller servings. Buffalo sauce should be consumed in moderation during pregnancy and consult your doctor if you have any doubts about eating a really hot sauce.
Healthline, aptaclub and UT Southern Medical Center state there is no concern with consuming hot sauce and spicy foods during pregnancy. Hot sauce does not come into contact with the unborn child and is absorbed by the mother. The consumption of Buffalo wing sauce has no adverse effects on the unborn child and there is little evidence that it causes heartburn during pregnancy, as many professionals suggest. If you already suffer from heartburn consult your doctor before consuming Buffalo wing sauce.
However, Buffalo wing sauce should be consumed in smaller servings versus a traditional sauce and choose the sauce wisely by reading the ingredient and nutritional label. Prepackaged Buffalo sauce will typically have a butter flavoring to it, high amounts of sodium and more calories than traditional hot sauce. It’s mainly the salt content that has negative effects in large servings and this is true whether you are pregnant or not. The butter or butter flavoring is usually responsible for the added calories. Eatthismuch.com states that a natural butter flavoring can have as much as 100 calories per serving. That can also be a source of about 20 carbs per serving.
Although the amniotic fluid is passed to the baby, eating hot sauces will not be directly consumed by the unborn child. It could influence their food preference later as they start weening. Healthline.com also states that “Eating spicy food during pregnancy is 100% safe for your baby”.
Eating Buffalo sauce during the 1st trimester will not harm the baby
Cravings can begin in the first trimester or about 5 weeks into pregnancy but be cautious because some of the ingredients in Buffalo sauce can cause heartburn, especially if you are pregnant. Pregnancy is already susceptible to acid reflux so choose a sauce without tomatoes, garlic and one that is lower in sodium content than some others. Always consume the serving suggestion. Overeating can also be a cause of heartburn so don’t try and force a couple of dozen wings so you can just satisfy a craving.
According to parenting.firstcry.com eating hot sauce during the first trimester is OK and will not hurt the baby. Although the risks for pregnancy loss are higher during the first trimester, eating Buffalo sauce poses no risk to the development of the baby. Parenting.firstcry.com also states that it is safe for the baby too if the mother eats Buffalo sauce throughout the 2nd and 3rd trimesters but that increases the chances of acid reflux or heartburn increase during these stages. Surprisingly it is not the heat level that could cause heartburn.
How hot is a Buffalo wing sauce?
A Buffalo wing sauce can have a variety of heat levels. Many Buffalo wing sauces that want to emulate the origins of the original Buffalo chicken wing sauce will replicate each other with slight variations. Therefore, many of the well-known and better-selling brands of sauces use red cayenne peppers or cayenne pepper powder. While these are not considered mild, they are also not the hottest peppers in the world. Always check the label of a Buffalo wing sauce for the heat level and other added ingredient before consuming.
A red cayenne pepper has a SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) between 30,000 and 50,000 and this heat is diluted within the hot sauce. Just to give an idea where a red cayenne lies on the scale a bell pepper ranks 0 on the SHU scale, a jalapeno is 5,250 (average) and the world’s hottest, a Carolina reaper, is about 2,200,000. Don’t worry a dash of Buffalo wing sauce will usually have a diluted amount of heat from the cayenne pepper. If you are still craving Buffalo sauce and are unsure of your heat tolerance…get a mild sauce.
The heat of a hot pepper is caused by a compound called capsaicin which can offer health benefits during pregnancy. Capsaicin is made into topical creams and can be taken as a supplement but in this case, it is in the form of a hot pepper within the Buffalo sauce so the benefits will be minimal but will increase with a hotter pepper. The hotter the pepper…the more capsaicin it has. Read more here on the 25 Most Commonly Used Peppers in Hot Sauce.
What does capsaicin do?
It is capsaicin in the hot peppers that produces the heat or “burning” sensation, and this varies greatly from pepper to pepper. Some peppers such as bell do not have any, whereas others such as a Carolina reaper are some of the hottest in the world and are a couple of steps below law enforcement grade pepper spray. A typical buffalo sauce is nowhere near this amount of heat although some manufacturers get close.
There is NO BURN, blistering or inflammation from eating a hot sauce. The “burning” sensation created by the capsaicin in the hot sauce will not affect your unborn child during pregnancy. Capsaicin is absorbed by the stomach of the mother. The fiery sensation created from a hot pepper will have no negative effects on a pregnancy that it does not also have normally like hiccups and sweating. This sensation is not the cause of heartburn, acid reflux or GERD. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), capsaicin is safe.
Is capsaicin addictive?
Some pepper heads suggest that it is the capsaicin that makes people “addicted” to these hot sauces because it releases endorphins, so if you are craving some hot Buffalo wings that is probably why. Although there isn’t evidence that supports that hot peppers, hot sauce or Buffalo sauce have any chemicals or compounds to cause them to be additive. Craving a Buffalo sauce is not a form of addiction regardless of pregnancy or not! However, this craving could be heightened or compounded due to pregnancy, and this is also quite common as well.
Reasons for craving buffalo wing sauce during pregnancy
In an article from verywellfamily.com the author comments on the sensory changes that women go through during pregnancy and how it can affect their cravings (Wisner, W. Very Well Family, 2020). Hot sauce can have a very pungent and sharp aroma to it and can trigger sudden cravings, especially if it’s something you ate pre-pregnancy and you suddenly smell them at the local pizza joint!
Maybe you have always loved Buffalo chicken wings and you crave them now during pregnancy because something has triggered it. Possibly you gave them up for pregnancy and are craving them now because it is something you ate regularly. Pregnancy can force a change of eating habits that may cause you reaching for Buffalo wings as a way of comforting your restricted diet.
Need to cool down
Pregnancy can make a woman feel as though she needs to constantly cool down. Sweating helps cool down the body. One of the effects that hot sauce has on the body is that it can make you sweat and help cool down the body and this could be a cause of cravings. Hot buffalo wings are one of the most popular foods during pregnancy for this reason.
Does eating buffalo sauce during pregnancy cause heartburn?
Buffalo sauce may not be the cause of heartburn during pregnancy. It can however cause some adverse effects to you like hiccups and sweating. The sauce is made with hot peppers that are not acidic themselves but some of the ingredients they are made within a few brands of buffalo sauce that could be acidic.
According to Keck Medicine of USC in an article published by Forbes, hot sauce does not cause reflux disease or GERD. Heartburn can be more prevalent if you are pregnant but hot sauce isn’t always the culprit. All foods can lead to acid reflux. The stomach secrets acid and the food consumed buffers it. Once the food leaves the stomach the acid secretion will continue without and sustenance of food to neutralize it. (Pai, Deanna. Keck Medicine.org. 2021)
Other ingredients in a hot sauce may cause heartburn
Many traditional hot sauces made with vinegar and hot peppers are acidic and consumed in large quantities can increase the stomach’s acidity and this can lead to heartburn. Although they are hot, Buffalo wing sauces are usually not as acidic as a traditional hot sauce, therefore don’t create the same acids in the stomach. Because of some of the ingredients that a Buffalo wing sauce may contain such as garlic, tomatoes and citric, some can irritate the stomach. Foods that are low in pH, like a traditional hot sauce, are not always creating an acidic environment in the body.
If you are concerned about the acid levels of a Buffalo wing sauce and want a sauce leaning more toward alkaline levels make your own using butter, a common ingredient in Buffalo chicken wing sauce. Butter is considered neutral but will raise the pH of a sauce toward the alkaline side of the scale but this same ingredient can also cause unwanted calories.
An alkaline Buffalo sauce is difficult to find
Many hot sauces are on the acidic side of the pH scale or below 7. Foods that have a higher pH are on the alkaline side of the scale and can help to offset stomach acids. However, it can be difficult to find a hot sauce that is on the alkaline side of the scale. Simply adding ingredients like fruits and vegetables doesn’t always raise the pH level as much as you would think.
An alkaline diet during pregnancy is healthy
Recent revelations in certain eating habits state that the foods consumed should be 60% alkaline and 40% acidic. While pH regulation is important during pregnancy, consuming Buffalo wing sauce, even large servings, will not change the body’s pH level. Food cannot change the pH level of your blood unless you suffer from other diseases.
A Buffalo wing sauce is made of a traditional hot sauce, vinegar, butter or natural butter flavorings, garlic and salt. The hot sauce used in a traditional Buffalo sauce will have a base that includes red cayenne peppers. Some variations of the sauce will include tomatoes or tomato paste and other ingredients like salt, sugar and paprika.
Listed as the first ingredient in most Buffalo sauces is either hot sauce or the ingredients of a traditional hot sauce; red cayenne peppers, vinegar and garlic, salt. None of these ingredients are unhealthy for you during pregnancy but the added butter or butter flavors could add additional calories to your diet. Health experts agree that you need some of these extra calories during pregnancy.
Furthermore, if garlic and/or tomatoes are used (foods said to cause heartburn during pregnancy) in a Buffalo sauce they are usually of minimal amounts. If the serving suggestion of each sauce is followed, usually 1 tsp, you will not be consuming much that could cause acid reflux. However, if the sauce is slathered all over some deep-fried chicken wings, then it could be the skin, the method of cooking, or the large amount of sauce that cause heartburn.
Red cayenne peppers
All peppers have health benefits that they can provide whether they are hot or not. Red cayenne peppers are no exception and provide health benefits in many forms. Like other fruits and vegetables, they provide vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. The capsaicin in the peppers is believed to boost metabolism and lower blood pressure. Capsaicin in the form of a cream can also relieve muscle and joint pain but don’t expect to achieve this type of relief from Buffalo sauce!
Vinegar is very acidic but not all of them are the same. Distilled white vinegar, used in the hot sauce to make Buffalo sauce, is lower in acidity than apple cider vinegar. Vinegar can be a heartburn trigger because of its low pH value, especially if you already are prone to heartburn or have GERD. Just like any food or beverage too much of any substance, in this case vinegar, can upset the gastrointestinal tract.
Garlic is a common ingredient in many types of Buffalo sauces and poses no negative effects during pregnancy aside from heartburn according to Healthline. It is actually considered safe and can have benefits such as lowering the risk of preeclampsia that effects many pregnant women.
Usually, only a homemade Buffalo sauce will use butter instead of a butter flavoring in the sauce. Hot sauce manufacturers don’t always put butter in their hot sauces because it decreases the shelf life and would need other more complex methods of packaging. This ingredient then becomes “natural butter flavoring” and this is commonly what is found in a Buffalo sauce.
What is natural butter flavoring?
Manufacturing facilities create natural butter flavorings to be used in other products like cakes and cookies because the ingredient is easier to use and less expensive than butter. In this case, it is a hot wing sauce. The information about ingredients and processing of this flavoring is very difficult to get a hold of and could be considered a manufacturer’s “Trade Secret”.
According to bakerauthority.com flavoring ingredients and extracts are exempt from nutritional requirements 21 CFR 101.9 (J) (4). This would pose another question: Are these natural butter flavors OK during pregnancy?
This product may or may not contain dairy but could also contain other unwanted ingredients. The “natural butter flavor” in Franks RedHot is derived from other sources than dairy. These compounds that may be found in natural butter flavoring could also be found in solid butter or microwave popcorn to offer the same flavoring. These natural butter flavors will most likely use a compound called diacetyl.
For example, diacetyl is commonly found as a component in natural butter flavors and is used in minimal amounts due to its pungency. Diacetyl is created naturally from fermentation from cultured cream or buttermilk. Although there are links to diacetyl having negative health effects to the workers in manufacturing plants and as a vaping agent it is safe to consume in a flavoring by the FDA.
The amount of diacetyl used in flavorings is for it to be noticed is 2 mg/L. A standard 12 oz bottle of Franks RedHot And the amount of this flavoring used in a buffalo wing sauce is may only be a few drops. If you consume the serving suggestion that used a natural butter flavoring, then you are consuming a minimal amount of diacetyl.
If you are unsure of consuming some of the ingredients in a manufactured sauce, make your own. However, the butter you use will most likely have the same flavorings in it as some hot sauces. A homemade Buffalo wing sauce can be made with three ingredients: hot sauce, garlic and butter. These are some of the same common ingredients in some other well-known brand-name buffalo wing sauces. According to Nutritionix, the majority of these calories in a homemade buffalo sauce comes from butter. These isn’t any evidence that a natural butter flavor will cause heartburn but other common hot sauce ingredients may.
What ingredients in a buffalo sauce can cause heartburn during pregnancy?
Garlicshould be avoided in large amounts
Many hot sauces contain some form of garlic and this includes just about every wing sauce on this list. Garlic contains fructans that can not be fully digested by humans. Therefore the undigested substances can create problems with digestion and this could lead to acid reflux if consumed in large quantities. According to babygaga.com garlic should be avoided during pregnancy. However, garlic is usually used in minimal amounts in a hot sauce.
Tomatoes can cause acid reflux
Tomatoes are very acidic and can aggravate the lining of the stomach therefore causing heartburn. It is not uncommon for a wing sauce or hot sauce recipe to contain tomatoes and this ingredient is more likely to cause acid reflux. Sauces that contain tomatoes are usually salsa, barbecue and spicy ketchup but there are a few brands of buffalo sauce.
Like the other ingredients on this list citric in the form of lemon or lime juice is also common in a hot sauce but not as common in a buffalo wing sauce. Avoid a buffalo sauce that lists it at the beginning of the ingredient label…but chances are they don’t contain much citrus.
Too much sodium can have a higher risk of heartburn
According to parenting.com cutting off the intake of sodium is not necessary but cutting down on sodium intake during the 3rd trimester is a good idea. The maximum recommended salt intake should be 2,300 mg (milligrams) a day, whether you are pregnant or not (Leonard, Amanda. Babycenter.com, 2021).
Of the buffalo sauces that are on the top ten best-selling sauces on Amazon the average amount of sodium is 305 grams per serving so that is over 13% of the daily recommended intake. If there are concerns with sodium intake during pregnancy consult your doctor.
There are many brands and recipes for buffalo wing sauce and it tends to have a higher caloric content than a traditional hot sauce of just hot peppers and vinegar. However, according to verywellfamily.com your need for additional calories during pregnancy is needed.
Amazon Best Selling Buffalo Chicken Wing Sauces
This list was compiled from the top selling Buffalo Wing Sauces on Amazon and are not ranked in any particular order. The criteria to rank the best sauce during pregnancy were ingredients, availability and low sodium content and FLAVOR. **This table contains affiliate links to Amazon**
Each sauce gets special recognition for being lowest in calories or gets a red flag for being highest in sodium and calories. The sauces profiled on this list include only the “hot” version and there are some slight differences between mild and medium sauces from the same manufacturers.
Choose a sauce based on your dietary needs during pregnancy and consult your doctor before consuming. These sauces are great poured over any plain chicken wing but of the 10 sauces surveyed to be the best hot buffalo chicken wing sauces to consume during pregnancy three are offered in restaurants across the US.
Franks RedHot Wing Sauce
Franks RedHot has been making hot sauce for about 100 years. Their secret is in the aging process of the red cayenne peppers. The amount of taste isn’t always associated with the most ingredients and Franks can pack a lot of flavor into a single bottle with just a few ingredients.
Franks RedHot Wing Sauce
Distilled vinegar, aged cayenne red peppers, salt, water, canola oil, paprika, xanthan gum, natural butter type flavor and garlic powder.
Calories / tbsp
Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
Sweet Baby Ray’s is well known for their thick and rich BBQ sauce and their wing sauce is just as rich. This sauce has added oil and that is where it gets its calories from. It looks like a long list of ingredients but common for hot sauces.
In case you didn’t know the Anchor Bar is in Buffalo NY and is credited with inventing the Buffalo Chicken Wing so this sauce is the “original” original. Many have since duplicated it to be accepted as a competitor. With only a few locations around western NY and Canada, you may have to travel quite some distance to get wings. However, Anchor Bar Original is offered in Wegmans and Walmart stores or get it here from Amazon.
Anchor Bar Original
*Lowest Sodium, **Lowest Calories
Cayenne pepper concentrate (pepper, vinegar, salt), water, margarine (soybean and hydrogenated soybean oil, water salt, monoglycerides, soy lecithin, sodium benzoate, artificial flavor, beta carotene, vitamin A palmitate), vinegar, salt, xanthan gum, garlic, potassium sorbate and potassium benzoate as preservatives. Calcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor, contains soy.
Calories** / tbsp
Buffalo Wild Wing Hot
This sauce contains lemon juice, a citrus-based juice, which is more prone to cause heartburn during pregnancy. Although the amount of lemon juice consumed in one sitting is minimal (if you followed the serving suggestion), be aware that it is in there. There are over 1,200 Buffalo Wild Wing locations in 920 cities having the most of any wing joints in this article and you can also find this sauce in many retailers. Click here to locate a Buffalo Wild Wing near you.
Texas Pete is another zesty traditional wing sauce. This sauce is their signature sauce with added butter flavor. On this list, this sauce has the highest sodium content and the most carbohydrates per serving.
Texas Pete’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
Vinegar, aged peppers (peppers, salt, vinegar), water, xanthan gum and benzoate of sodium (to preserve freshness and flavor), natural butter type flavor, vinegar, salt, sugar, potassium sorbate (to preserve freshness and flavor. Manufactured on a line the produces products with soy allergen.
Calories / tbsp
Mitch’s Best Buffalo Sauce
Simple ingredients but great flavor. Mitch’s is the only sauce on the list that contains wheat. It’s used as a thickening agent. Also, the only sauce on the list with butter instead of a natural butter flavoring.
Mitch’s Best Buffalo Sauce
Hot sauce (aged cayenne red peppers, distilled vinegar, water salt, garlic powder), water, butter (cream), wheat flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid) salt*
Calories / tbsp
Vitamin A 4%
Primal Kitchen Buffalo Sauce
The protein in this sauce is coming from the cashews. Although it is minimal it is a step toward getting the minimal amount of protein a day. That’s probably not a worry if you are going to slather it over chicken wings.
Hooters is another location where you can get their signature sauce over wings in a sit-down establishment. There are over 420 locations in the US, but this sauce is the highest in calories on the list. Add the wings and it could push the limit.
Hooters Wing Sauce Hot
Hot sauce (cayenne peppers mash, water, vinegar, salt), pasteurized cream, water, soybean oil, palm oil, spices and spice extracts, contains less than 2% of salt, buttermilk solid, mono and dyglycerides, soybean lecithin, artificial flavor, beta carotene (color), vitamin A palmate, butter, cultured whey protein concentrate, maltodextrin, proplyne glycol alginate, xanthan gum, paprika extract (color), preservatives (potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, calcium disodium EDTA. Contains milk, soy
Calories* / tbsp
Cholesterol 15 mg, potassium 15 mg
Wing Time Hot Sauce
Included in this list of ingredients is tomato paste and according to thebump.com it is the acidity in tomatoes that can trigger heartburn during pregnancy. Wing Time doesn’t use any preservatives in their buffalo sauce.
Wing Time Hot Sauce
Hot sauce (cayenne peppers, vinegar, salt), soybean oil, tomato paste, water, spices, red chili peppers salt, xanthan gum (natural thickener), natural butter flavor
Calories / tbsp
Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 2%
Tabasco® Buffalo Style
Tabasco® has a long tradition of making a great-tasting hot sauce with just a few ingredients. This buffalo sauce has the least ingredients on the list and the least amount of sodium. However, even Tabasco® recommends mixing it with butter to get that true buffalo wing experience.
Tabasco® Buffalo Style
Red cayenne pepper, distilled vinegar, water, salt, garlic
Calories / tbsp
Foods to avoid during pregnancy
There are usually long lists of foods to avoid during pregnancy due to various conditions they may cause. Unfortunately, Buffalo sauce is almost always used on chicken wings and that includes two of the top foods on the lists of foods to avoid…fatty foods and fried foods. Your craving for Buffalo sauce may be met through dipping fresh vegetables into small servings.
Deep-fried chicken wings will stay in the stomach longer, therefore, taking longer to digest and will become uncomfortable. If you already have a sensitive stomach due to pregnancy adding hot Buffalo sauce to wings certainly won’t help it. Consult your care provider if the cravings don’t subside.
Fried foods also have the same effect on the stomach as fatty foods so deep-fried chicken wings could be a culprit of indigestion. Baking or air frying are great options for your chicken wings and it also leaves the option of plenty of buffalo sauce. Chicken is a great source of protein when you are pregnant.
Does buffalo sauce have too much fat during pregnancy?
A traditional hot sauce made with hot peppers and vinegar will have 0 to 5 calories per serving. A Buffalo wing sauce will be between 5 and 120 calories depending on the brand. Specialty wing sauces like garlic parmesan or honey barbecue can be between 70 and 130 calories per serving.
How many calories should you have during pregnancy?
According to whattoexpect.com, you should have about 2000 calories a day during pregnancy, and this would need to be increased throughout the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. Eating several servings of Buffalo sauce alone (who eats just the sauce?) would still limit your calorie intake but what about the wings.
What about wings?
The calories of the sauce are one thing but add the wings and calories increase. Pregnancy demands about 350 extra calories a day but not in the form of sugar or sweets and this only increases throughout pregnancy to about 500 a day. Protein is a key source of nutrients during pregnancy along with carbs, fats, calcium, vitamins and minerals state Food Insights. This means women should be consuming about 70 grams of protein a day minimum during pregnancy.
Typically, a buffalo sauce is slathered over chicken wings but it doesn’t always need to be to satisfy a craving. Try it on other edibles first like baby carrots or celery to satisfy your craving, if you are overly concerned about calorie intake.
Healthiest buffalo wing sauce
Like any product, there are “healthier” versions and that goes for buffalo wing sauces as well. There are a few bottled buffalo wing sauces available but the healthiest may be one you make for yourself. Some of the Buffalo wing sauces that are highest in calories are the Buffalo Wild Wing brand sauces.
Eating Buffalo chicken wings during pregnancy
Intermounainhealthcare.com states that there are many benefits to drinking liquids for both you and the baby and that some expecting mothers may have difficulty consuming enough liquid. Eating hot sauce could provide you with the need to drink some of these liquids.
Staying hydrated during pregnancy by drinking a lot of water is important but water will not necessarily cool the areas of the mouth affected by hot sauce burn. There other forms of liquid that will provide the water needed and will soothe the mouth from burning such as milk.
Some negative (just a few) effects of hot sauce (during pregnancy)
According to whattoexpect.comsweating during pregnancy is normal. The hypothalamus is confused by hormones but it is not the same sweating caused by eating hot sauce. Eating hot sauce captain triggers the nerves that make you feel warmer so the body produces sweat. This is normal if you are pregnant or not.
A hot sauce can cause hiccups upon consumption because the heat from the capsaicin irritates the diaphragm, whether you are pregnant or not. Hiccuping can be normal during pregnancy and there isn’t any evidence that it harms the baby. Sometimes a few deep and steady breaths of air after some hot wings can calm and steady the diaphragm.
If you can tolerate the heat and don’t mind sweating and hiccuping during a meal, then enjoy a serving of buffalo wings. So if you are craving those zesty wings during pregnancy…eat in moderation and you are fine.
I use a lot of oil in my cooking especially when I am frying vegetables in a pan for stir fry. Oil is a great way to fry up an otherwise undesirable vegetable and make the flavor stand out. I recently have used a roasted sesame seed oil along with some fried jalapenos to accent a plate of pasta. I now use the same oil and jalapeno combination in a hot sauce as a source of flavoring, but oil mixed with another ingredient in a hot sauce can produce some results you need to be aware of.
Using oil in a hot sauce can increase the number of calories and the decrease shelf life. Oils like extra virgin olive oil and roasted sesame oil can also enhance the flavor and give a rich and creamy appearance to the hot sauce. Adding oil to a hot sauce, along with vinegar and other ingredients, will cause the oil to separate unless emulsions are added to the sauce.
How is oil used in cooking?
The commercial production of cooking oil began in the US in the 1920s although records are indicating it was used hundreds of years before that. Not all hot sauce recipes use oil as one of the main ingredients but as the hot sauce industry is growing, more gourmet, artisan and craft hot sauces are being introduced that use some of these exotic flavors.
Often used in frying, if the oil is heated too much during processing it will polymerize and that liquifies the oil, allow it to get easily absorbed into other ingredients. This will make whatever you are cooking it with greasy and oily tasting. These methods may not be utilized when making hot sauce so the greasiness may not be as evident.
How are oils used in a hot sauce?
Oils are not typically used as a base of the sauce unless it is a chili oil or another product where oil is the main ingredient and other ingredients are added. Sauces with an oil base are paired with different foods than a traditional hot sauce may be used with, and some traditionalists may not classify an oil-based sauce as a hot sauce at all.
The amount of oil used, or percentage of oil in a hot sauce recipe verses the other ingredients will determine the classification or type of sauce. Many hot sauces that use oil have only about 5% to 15% of oil in comparison to the other ingredients. More often than not if oil is listed in the ingredients, it is usually one of the last items, so this means it is the least ingredient by volume.
It is not uncommon for a commercially manufactured Buffalo wing sauce to use oil as one of the main ingredients. Oil can replace butter and butter flavoring commonly used in a wing sauce or it can be used along with it. A traditional Buffalo wing sauce as well as a Nashville sauce, uses butter as one of the main ingredients but oil works better towards sustaining a longer shelf life over the use of butter. Read more here about a Nashville Sauce vs. a Buffalo Sauce: Is There Much Difference?
Cooking oil is a versatile ingredient and can be used in many different ways in a sauce. Oil by itself can have spice infused into it and these can have slightly different uses than a hot sauce would. Sauces of this type are usually 95% to 99% oil with the other ingredients only being pepper powder or pepper flakes. Lee Kum Kee Lkk Chili Oil, Benissimo Spicy Sriracha Infused Oil and Montava Organic Chili Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sauce are a few examples of hot oil with the oil being the main ingredient. Other hot sauces containing oil may not feature as much. Check out more examples of hot chili oilhere on Amazon.
Other oils such as canola, sunflower and vegetable oil are also used in some hot sauces although they are not considered as healthy as extra virgin olive oil. My new favorite is roasted sesame oil. It is a little more expensive than some other oils but has a bold flavor compared to other types of oil.
I use it to roast the hot peppers and add a trace amount to the sauce. The process of roasting brings out a stronger sesame flavor but be careful not to over roast. If oil is used in the processing but is not included as an ingredient it doesn’t need to be listed on the nutritional label. Read more here on How To Provide a Nutrional Label For Hot Sauce.
What does the addition of oil do to a hot sauce?
Adding any ingredients to a hot sauce recipe will certainly alter the flavor, texture and aroma of a hot sauce and complexly re-define what type of sauce it is. Oil should be used in moderation if you want to keep the calorie content as low as possible and extend the shelf life to the maximum length.
Adding oil to hot sauce increases the calories
Many types of oils can have a lot of calories but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them in your hot sauce recipe. Most oils used in cooking will have around 120 calories per tablespoon and vegetable oil can have as much as 124 calories per tablespoon. If you are concerned with caloric intake, then you may want to consider an oil substitute for your hot sauce.
Calories in some (not so) common oils
Cod Liver Oil
Grape Seed Oil
Rice Bran Oil
Although they carry the weight of the increase in calorie content some oils such as extra virgin olive oil contain added health benefits a hot sauce may not otherwise have. Read more on the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil below…
Is cooking oil healthy?
Not all cooking oils are bad for you and any oils used in moderation listed in the table above are OK for the human body to consume. However, some oils are considered healthier for you because they contain less saturated fats. According to heart.org, it is a saturated fat that can increase the body’s cholesterol level and could lead to stroke and heart disease. Avoid putting oils in your hot sauce that are high in saturated fats.
Some cooking oils are high in saturated fat
The human body needs fat but too much saturated fat can lead to raised cholesterol levels. However, any oils added to a hot sauce are minimal and the consumption of these condiments may also be in smaller servings (at least that is what is suggested on the label).
Coconut, palm, palm kernel and partially hydrogenated oil are all oils that are high in saturated fats so use them in limited amounts or to your discretion, especially if you are focusing on a healthier hot sauce. Always have a sauce tested for nutritional content if you plan on marketing for sale or if you are using a lot for your own personal use. Recipal and RL Food Testing Laboratories can provide these results between $20 and $295, depending on the complexity of the recipe.
Adding oil to a hot sauce can shorten shelf life
Traditional hot sauces with a base of hot peppers and vinegar will have an extended shelf life due to the acidity of the vinegar that lowers the pH of the sauce. If the vinegar is left out, is not a large percentage of the sauce or a lot of oil is added, the shelf life will decrease.
This is OK but the hot sauce will need other means of packaging and preservation. Many popular condiments will need the same methods of storing so don’t avoid oils just for this reason. Oil-based hot sauces need to be refrigerated to increase the shelf life. Although this is not uncommon for most condiments once they have been opened, bottling or packaging may need to be approached differently.
Does oil reduce the heat of a hot sauce?
Adding oil to a hot sauce recipe could reduce the heat but it is difficult to rely on this addition as being an ingredient added for this purpose. Adding oil or another ingredient will reduce the mass of hot peppers per serving but oil is usually only adding in minimal amounts. Sardine oil or cod liver oil may not be as desirable of a flavor in hot sauce.
If you cook a hot sauce for long periods, the sauce gets reduced, and the level of heat intensifies per serving. It is not necessarily the oil that is making it hotter but the reduction of liquids from the sauce. Capsaicin is a fat-soluble, not water-soluble substance so hot peppers would be more likely to become hotter with the addition of oil.
Does oil raise or lower the pH?
Cooking oil will have a neutral pH or will be slightly alkaline but technically speaking the pH of oil is not measurable because there is no water content in oil. The measurement of pH is defined as the measurement of the Potential of Hydrogen used to specify the acidity of a water-based solution. The vegetable oil I used had a pH of 7.97. Read more here on Understanding Hot Sauce pH.
Measuring the pH of oil becomes neutral or slightly alkaline depending on the type of oil but this can still change the overall pH of a hot sauce. For example, the sauce in figure 1 has a pH of 2.66 without oil but adding oil in the sauce the pH becomes 3.61 because a neutral substance (oil) was added. Similar results will occur by adding water. The process of measuring the pH of hot sauce is relatively simple, inexpensive and easy. Check out How To Use a pH Meter Properly.
Other ways oil affects hot sauce
Adding any additional ingredients to a hot sauce will alter the flavor, aroma and appearance of the sauce. Oils that are strong in flavor such as extra virgin olive oil or roasted sesame oil can change the flavor with smaller amounts, but these are favorable and popular flavors.
Popular in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, sesame oil does provide some health benefits, and this could transfer directly to the hot sauce that it is used in. According to an article in webmd.com sesame oil provides Vitamin E, combats inflammation and helps in protecting the skin from the sun. Flavor and aroma are the primary reasons for using the two oils because they contain more flavoring than other types of oils.
Adding oil changes the appearance of hot sauce
The appearance of a food product is just as important as the flavor and aroma. I personally don’t like to see pepper flakes or seeds in any of my sauces but that is just preference. To others it may be an indication that it is a fresh and flavorful sauce. Culinary schools teach the importance of presentation and that is true for hot sauce as well.
Can you mix oil and vinegar in a hot sauce?
Oil doesn’t mix well with water-based ingredients like vinegar and blended hot peppers (hot peppers contain a lot of water). Adding oils to a traditional hot sauce mixture of hot peppers and vinegar will make the oils separate from these two water-based substances. The oil will rise to the surface because it is less dense than water.
The same thing will happen when you pour the sauce onto a flat surface like a plate. Although a hot sauce may taste fantastic, the appearance has a lot to do with the allure and attraction of the sauce as well. As the oil separates from the sauce, each will have a slightly different flavor.
How to keep oil from separating in hot sauce?
Available in liquid or granular form soy lecithin is an extract from soybeans used to blend oils and water-based ingredients. The process is known as emulsification and is the primary reason soy lecithin is used. This is primarily used in wing sauce, grilling sauces or BBQ sauces. Try Extra Mild Buffalo Wing Sauce by Texas Pete. Get it here from Amazon. Purchase liquid Soy Lecithin here for your hot sauce!
Xanthan gum is used more in a hot sauce recipe than soy lecithin and is also commonly used in many foods and condiments. Xanthan Gum is a synthetically produced fermented sugar that has been approved by the USDA. There are hundreds of hot sauces that use Xanthan Gum as an emulsifier for the ingredients. Crystal Wing Sauce uses it with canola oil. Try it here! Super inexpensive at $.01 an ounce you will only need about 0.01 oz per 10 oz bottle of sauce. Get kosher, vegetarian, gluten free Xanthan Gum through this link to Amazon.
Adding oil to a hot sauce will increase costs (but not by much)
Adding any additional ingredients to a hot sauce will increase the cost of making it depending on what the ingredient is. As stated above sesame oil can be one of the more expensive oils costing between $.60 and $.90 an ounce. Refer to the chart below for the costs and calories of some common oils found in hot sauces. Download the Cost of SauceFREEhere to determine how much it costs to make each bottle of sauce and evaluate a price point to sell hot sauce.
There are many other types of oils to explore in hot sauce recipes such as avocado oil, coconut, corn, garlic, mustard and peanut oil but there are not as many hot sauces on the market that use them. Reasons for not using them could be they are high in saturated fats, they are expensive, are difficult to obtain or produce undesired flavor results.
General uses of oil with hot peppers
There are probably hundreds of different hot sauce recipes many just using a simple combination of hot peppers and vinegar. Many non-traditional hot sauces being introduced to the market will contain other ingredients like oils and this can also expand them into different categories. Simply adding oil to an original hot sauce recipe is a good start but there should probably be some reason behind it.
Originating from Indian cuisine, a chutney is a sugar and vinegar base mixed with spicey vegetables such as red-hot chili peppers, not the alternative pop band from the early ’90s. Paired with meats and cheeses many chutney recipes will involve fruits as well.
Unlike hot sauce, chili oil infuses the dried peppers flakes into the oil as opposed to mixing oil with hot peppers and vinegar or other liquids like a hot sauce does. Coming from a Chinese culture chili oil goes best with ethnic Chinese cuisine although it works well with other dishes as well like a topping for eggs or eaten over pasta.
Oil-based hot sauce recipe – Chinese chili oil
3 cups of Vegetable or canola oil – Use an oil that is neutral or without any flavoring
Star anise, cinnamon, bay leaves and Sichuan peppercorns, toasted sesame seeds
3 garlic cloves – Pealed the skin but leave whole
2 shallots – Peal the skin but leave whole
Sichuan chili flakes – Crushed red flakes will work as well but here are the Sichuan flakes
Salt – Flavor as needed
2-quart saucepan – Any size sauce pan should work but a 2 quart is easier to work with
Spoon – Use a large metal sauce spoon
Heat proof bowl – Use some type of ceramic or glass bowl
Thermometer – I use my meat thermometer but be careful about keeping your hand away from the oil
Steps for making Chinese chili oil
Add all the ingredients, also called aromatics (except the pepper flakes) into a 2-quart saucepan and heat to a temperature of 250o Fahrenheit. Depending on altitude you may need to keep the temperatures between 200o and 225o F.
Cook the oil with the other ingredients at a steady temperature for about 30 minutes. Use a thermometer to make sure it is kept at a constant temperature of 250o Fahrenheit. Turn the burner higher or lower slightly if you need to adjust the heat level.
Let the oil cool slightly and pour just the oil over the pepper flakes. Mix the oil and flakes together to produce the chili oil. As an alternate you can strain the chili oil so you have pure chili oil.
Many good-selling brands of hot sauce use oil and they are usually minimal amounts. Some of the more commonly used oils in hot sauce are olive. Understand the fundamentals of adding oil to your hot sauce before you consume it, package it and sell it.
Towards the end of every growing season, I have an overabundance of hot peppers from our back-yard home farm that I am usually struggling to find a use for. I usually make as much hot sauce as I can and either dry them or freeze them for later use. Winter is a great time to make a fresh batch of fermented hot sauce from frozen hot peppers.
Frozen hot peppers can be fermented and made into a hot sauce once they have thawed out. Place the peppers on a plate, strainer or someplace where they can drip dry as they thaw. The peppers only need to be kept at room temperature and do not need any forced heat to make them thaw properly. Once most of the water that the freezing process has produced evaporates, ferment them as you would fresh peppers, with or without other ingredients.
The peppers should only take a couple hours to fully thaw out especially if they are the small size of most hot peppers. However, soaking them in warm or luke warm water (room temperature) for over 30 minutes will safely thaw them as well. I do it with frozen meat all the time. Don’t attempt to thaw them out by cooking them because it will reduce the heat and change the flavor of the pepper.
Frozen peppers that have thawed will not regain their original state
Once the peppers have thawed out, they will have wrinkled skin and will be slightly mushy. They will not regain their original state of being firm and crisp. However, the level of heat and flavor will not be affected much unless they have been frozen for years. Their contribution they provide in a hot sauce, meal or other use will provide similar results.
Hot peppers can be fermented whole or cut up and will have similar results, so it doesn’t matter how you chose to freeze them. I chop them into a mash before freezing them. Chopping them into a mash allows the bacteria from the fermentation process to begin working slightly faster but either way you choose, chopped or whole, the fermenting process only takes about 7 days.
The peppers will appear to be slightly wilted and mushy if they were frozen whole or may even be a little soggy. This is OK and they will taste just fine. Most fruits and vegetables will have wrinkled skins upon thawing, but this does not mean they are inedible or unusable in a hot sauce. The process freezes the water in the pepper causing it to expand and rupture the cell walls. Like many fruits and vegetables hot peppers contain a lot of water, some varieties have more than 90% water.
Click HERE to learn how to make 100’s of gourmet hot sauce recipes!
How long do frozen hot peppers last?
If you have an over abundance of hot peppers, there are many ways to preserve them before you make hot sauce. Freezing peppers are a quick and easy method of preserving them for later use, whether you are fermenting and making them into a hot sauce or not. Hot peppers can be good for 6 to 8 months in the freezer before they are subject to freezer burn.
Once thawed out the peppers should be used immediately for sauce if they were frozen fresh. If they were cooked or blanched before freezing than they can last an additional 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator. The longer they sit around the soggier and mushier they will get.
Making hot sauce from frozen hot peppers is a great use of the pepper because they will never be as crisp and firm as their original state. Blending them will obviously hide the slightly wrinkled appearance they will have after thawing. However, if they have been exposed to air and have freezer burn they may be unusable or inedible.
How to determine if the peppers have freezer burn
If hot peppers are frozen too long they will develop freezer burn and this will effect their taste. The peppers may not look very appealing but will still be safe to eat if they have been subject to freezer burn. However, there is no way of getting rid of freezer burn once it has set in.
Freezer burn can be determined by ice crystals forming on the entire outside of the peppers themselves. A little ice forming inside the bag and on the peppers is normal because it can be difficult to make the packaging completely airtight.
Over exposure to air in the freezer will also give the peppers a slight discoloration. This can vary slightly depending on the type of peppers or temperature of the freezer. They will usually have a pail skin color and will lack the brightness they had when they were fresh.
How to avoid freezer burn
Freezer burn can be avoiding by wrapping the peppers tight and not allowing air to enter. This can be difficult to do if you are just wrapping the peppers in tin foil and placing them in a bag. Vacuum sealing is a great way to reduce the air inside a bag to freeze hot peppers for a long time.
Proper vacuum sealed frozen hot pepperscan last 4 to 5 times longer than peppers that are not vacuum sealed. A fully functioning vacuum sealer can be purchased for under $100.00 and can have multiple uses in the kitchen. Here’s the FoodSaver FM 2000 from Walmart or the KOIOS 80 kpa at this link to Amazon.
Does freezing reduce the heat of a hot pepper?
All processing will reduce the heat of a hot pepper slightly, including freezing. Some believe freezing reduces the heat slightly while others believe it doesn’t have any affect at all. It has been my experience that the heat is not reduced when a hot pepper has been frozen and then thawed out.
Fermented hot sauce recipe prep
Adding onions and tomatoes to this recipe makes the hot sauce lean toward having a salsa flavor. I blended the peppers to a consistency of a sauce that was left over from another recipe. I then froze what was left over for about six months to be used in this recipe.
The canned crushed tomatoes were also used for another recipe and were frozen about the same amount of time. Both the frozen and fresh ingredients, with the exception of the sugar were fermented together for 1 week. The fermentation process will begin immediately but takes at least a week.
I used the usual fermenting equipment I always use but the size of the mason jar was increased to 32 oz due to the amount of ingredients in this recipe. The fermenting process may become easier with a crock or air lock lid, but fermenting with only a jar is just as possible especially with a small batch.
Understanding fermentation and conditions that interfere
I have written numerous posts about the fermentation process and what works or what could go wrong. There are several factors, issues, aspects or conditions that are important in how the process should work. This would be true for both frozen and fresh hot peppers but avoiding these four (4) conditions before and during the fermentation process will produce positive results.
Condition 1 – The peppers have freezer burn
Although the peppers to do pose any health risks if they are consumed after freezer burn, they will have an altered appearance and taste to them. This will be altered much more the longer the hot peppers are exposed to air in the freezer. It will most likely affect or interfere with the fermentation process.
Condition 2 – Incorrect brine mixture
The brine mixture of salt and water is the most important factor in whether or not the peppers ferment. Too much salt in a brine will cause the hot peppers to become very “salty” in flavor and it can be difficult to get rid of. Not enough salt will not allow the fermentation process and molds or “bad” bacteria can grow. See Step 1 below for an exact brine solution measurement.
Condition 3 – Fluctuating storing temperature
Storing the peppers in a dry cool place, about 68o F (20o Celsius) to 72o F (22.22o Celsius), will allow the peppers to ferment properly and will prevent direct sunlight or excessive heat that inhibits the fermenting. Keep the peppers in the same condition and don’t move them around too much. Hot peppers will ferment in the refrigerator but will take much longer.
Condition 4 – Exposure to too much oxygen
Fermenting will cause the release of gasses which is what an air lock lid is used for but should not be exposed to too much direct air over a long period during fermentation. I open the lid once a day for a few days to release the gasses but leaving it off completely will create a different process, not fermentation.
Fermented hot sauce recipe
1 cup canned tomatoes – Previously frozen, thawed and fermented.
1 cup chopped jalapeno – Previously frozen, thawed and fermented.
1 medium onion – Fresh and fermented with the tomatoes and jalapeno.
3 garlic cloves – Fresh and fermented with the Jalapeno.
2 teaspoons of sugar – To be added after fermentation.
6 Easy steps to make fermented hot sauce
Step 1 – Make the brine
Brine is a simple solution of salt and water that performs a very complex breakdown of the hot peppers. The brine used for this recipe was 3 tablespoons of salt mixed with 1 quart of water. Refer to the chart below in Table 1 to increase or decrease the amount of brine. Mix it in a separate bowl until the salt is dissolved.
1 ½ tablespoons
1 ½ cups
Step 2 – Ferment
Put the ingredients into the jar and gently pour the brine over everything. There is no need to shake the jar at this point but make sure everything is covered. Store the container in a dry, cool place (not the refrigerator) for one week. Open the lid for a few seconds to release some of the gases during the first few day but don’t expose it to too much direct air.
Step 3 – Skim the surface
Skim the surface of the brine and discard. Although this is harmless and shouldn’t be mold, remove it from the surface because it could affect the flavor of the sauce. I use a small baster to suck it from the surface. This step is not completely necessary if there isn’t any film on top.
Step 4 – Strain the ingredient
Strain the brine into a bowl to be used as necessary in the recipe or for more fermenting. Because the peppers and tomatoes were blended into a sauce just let them drain but don’t rinse them. Some of the smaller particles will get washed away. A fine strainer as opposed to a colander will work best to catch all the contents.
Use a strainer and not a colander. A strainer is suitable for finer ingredients whereas a collider is usually used for rinsing off vegetables and draining pastas. You can find them at any Walmart or this set of three from Amazon comes in real handy for a variety of sauce making tasks.
Step 5 – Add vinegar, sugar and blend the ingredients
I like my sauces to be blended to a very thin consistency without it being too watery and not having any chunks. With this recipe the peppers were already blended so it is easier to get to that consistency. A commercial quality emulsifier will rotate at a higher speed and create a thinner sauce. Adding more liquids like vinegar or water will also help liquefy but it will also change the flavor.
I use the Ninja because it is small, easy to store and super easy to use. Ninja has a huge line of products but here is the link to Amazon for the Express Chop Professional that I use. Read more here in the Blender Buyers Guide for some tips on purchasing basic kitchen and commercial blenders.
Step 6 – Store in a woozy bottle, jar or container
I always check the pH of my sauce before, during and after fermentation. I then check it again when I make the sauce. This is a good way to determine the shelf life of the sauce and whether or not it needs to be refrigerated. I always refrigerate my sauces no matter what. Read Understanding Hot Sauce pH, learn about The Best pH Meters and purchase what we use here.
Many different types and sizes of container will work for storing hot sauce but I prefer the standard hot sauce woozy bottle so it is recognizable as hot sauce. I used a mason jar for this one because they are easy to fill and I don’t plan on sharing it with anyone. You can get them any where but the Glass Bottle Outlet has some of the best prices for smaller orders.
Last step – Enjoy!
This sauce is great with pita bread and tortilla chips. I eat eggs every morning that are usually covered with some sort of hot sauce. This hot sauce recipe has a sweetness to it that hits before the heat but blends great with the peppers. You can leave the sugar out and it still tastes like a full flavored blend of peppers and tomatoes.
The pH level of this sauce will depend on the source of the ingredients and the length of the fermenting. Although most of the fermentation happens in the first week the ingredients will gradually continue to lower the pH level, however slightly.
How hot is your homemade hot sauce? You may have spent a lot of time working on the recipe and would like some boasting rights on the heat level of your sauce or would like a reference point for some other sauces you are making. Knowing the heat level or SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) of your sauce is also a great approach to how you may market it. Either way you should know the exact SHU of your hot sauce.
Testing the heat of a hot sauce can be done with High Performance Liquid Chromatography testing, using a Scoville Meter or eating it and comparing it to other hot sauces and spicy foods. Hot sauce can be sent to a lab to be tested or performed with a handheld Scoville Meter in your own kitchen. This will give the precise SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) of your sauce. Testing it by tasting it will give an approximate level of heatas a reference point against other sauces.
Testing a sauce for the SHU level (Scoville Heat Unit) is much more accurate than describing the heat based on your own taste buds, although eating it is a quick way of testing it against other sauces. There are methods that are much more scientific and accurate to give your sauce a literal SHU rating.
Don’t guess at the SHU of your hot sauce…get it tested!
Understanding the Scoville scale
Understanding the Scoville scale will give you semi accurate rating of the heat level to the hot peppers that you are using to make a hot sauce. There is usually a range given for each type of pepper and depending on the ingredients you are using, the heat level could be affected by what the peppers are mixed with in the hot sauce as well. All hot peppers are listed on the Scoville scale with a SHU ranking to determine how hot they are.
Knowing the SHU of the peppers you are using is a good start to knowing how hot a sauce is. Most likely the variety of pepper has already been tested in a laboratory setting or has a SHU rating that is relatively accurate. This rating can change as the peppers are made into a hot sauce because the addition of other ingredients can diminish the overall heat level of the sauce. Read more on The 25 Most Common Hot Peppers Used In Hot Sauce and get the FREE Info Graphic depicting the SHU and flavor profile of each pepper HERE!
Vinegar, water and other liquid substances will dilute the concentrated pepper quantity in a hot sauce and will ultimately alter the SHU of your sauce. Lemon and lime juices mixed with additional vinegar and/or spices can enhance the flavor of hot peppers but will also lessen the amount of what is producing the heat, the hot pepper itself. There is not much you can do inside of a hot sauce that will make the pepper hotter. The SHU of a hot pepper does not equal the SHU of a hot sauce, but it is an excellent way to get a generalized heat ranking.
Type of pepper can determine heat
Chili de Arbol
*Size comparison of each pepper may be inaccurate
Hot pepper SHU
The peppers you are using in your sauce will give a fairly accurate indication of the heat level of your sauce. However, the SHU listing can often times give a range of the heat level that a pepper has. So, no matter what you think the SHU of a peppers is, it probably will not be the same in your sauce. Download the Recipe Template or the Hot Sauce Recipe Worksheet for some common types of hot peppers along with their SHU rating.
Also, mixing hot peppers does not multiple the SHU of your sauce. For example: a jalapeno could be 5,000 SHU and a serrano could be 15,000. Mixing them together does not produce 20,000 SHU. However, adding or mixing a hotter or milder pepper will certainly alter the recipes heat level as well.
Here are the three methods of testing a hot sauce for the heat level…
1. TASTE IT!
If you have not had your hot sauce tested for the SHU, you can estimate the level of heat fairly accurately by eating it. Tasting your sauce can give you an idea of how hot it is especially if you consume a lot of sauce and know what the SHU is of one of your favorite sauces. It would be best to have others test it as well but make sure they are not oblivious to different levels of heat.
Eating a hot sauce will give YOU an accurate reaction to the level of heat and allow you to compare it to other sauces. There isn’t a unit of measurement that can be put to a hot sauce after eating it other than the “that’s hotter than hell” scale or “that’s hotter than The Last Dab”. However, if you are an avid consumer of hot sauce that could be a good indication of the level of heat but could be difficult labeling a SHU. I notice the difference between two peppers that may be relatively close in SHU: the jalapeno and serrano.
I can tell the heat difference between the mild peppers I often use in my sauces but how do you put a number to them? New Mexico State University states this is a simple cost-effective way of measuring heat but only gives an approximation for a hot sauce. So if it burns your tongue and lips you are probably safe labeling it a “hot sauce”.
This type of testing is what originated the Scoville scale to measure the heat level of peppers. A gentleman by the name of Wilbur Scoville diluted hot peppers with an alcohol extract until the heat could not be felt on the human taste buds anymore. Although this scale is used to rank hot sauces, there are more accurate scientific methods called High Performance Liquid Chromatography.
2. HIGH PERFORMANCE LIQUID CHROMATOGRAPHY
HPLC or High Performance Liquid Chromatography or High Pressure Liquid Chromatography is a very scientific and the most accurate method of measuring the heat of hot sauce which requires high tech scientific equipment in a laboratory. This can be very expensive equipment and could involve scientific experience or a scientific background and you will not find this equipment on Amazon.
High Performance Liquid Chromatography is typically done in a laboratory setting under strict guidelines and processes. The laboratories request that samples be sent to them per their own procedures and could take several weeks before you get results but the results will be far more accurate than tasting it. The cost for having a hot sauce testing in a laboratory to determine the SHU is between $100 and $200 per sample depending on the laboratory and other testing you may have done.
Where do I take my hot sauce to be tested for the level of heat?
There are many laboratories that you can send your hot sauce to that will provide an accurate reading of the SHU of your sauce. I have listed several below but find the one that you are most comfortable with or that is within your budget. This could either mean it is the least expensive, it provides quickest results or is the most reliable.
Scoville testing labs
The equipment used for a Scoville rating is usually found in laboratories specially set up for testing food and food related substances. There are also labs that specialize in the specifics of testing hot sauce for heat. These labs can tell you much more about your sauce than the level of heat such as nutritional information and pH level. Information about the Nutrional contents is needed on each bottle per FDA regulations. Read more here on How to Provide a Nutritional Label for Your Hot Sauce.
Many manufacturers of hot sauce send their sauce to Scoville testing labs. The laboratory will charge a fee for the testing service, but it is usually under $100 per sample if you send multiple samples. If you are having 40 or 50 samples tested regularly than purchasing the Scoville Meter (see below) would be a significant cost savings.
Southwest Bio Labs
Southwest Bio Labs is located in New Mexico, USA. (go figure, this is where a large portion of hot peppers are grown). You don’t get your sample back but you do receive a PDF report. This is a well-known institute to have your hot sauce tested.
Southwest Bio Labs has tested over 85,000 pepper products since they have been established. Contact SBL here or download the PDF submission form here.
Barrow – Agee Laboratories
Barrow-Agee Laboratories LLC is located in Tennessee, USA. They will perform the Scoville testing by receiving your packed samples. Fill out the form on the contacts page. Like many laboratory settings your hot sauce can also be tested for other food related tests as well.
Barrow-Agee is a much larger facility then Southwest Laboratories and can offer many other test results beyond a Scoville rating. Contact BA Labshere to submit your hot sauce for a Scoville rating.
Advanced Laboratories Inc
Advanced Laboratories Inc offers HPLC testing as well as other services such as nutrition, carbohydrates and calories. Costs for service are just under $150.00 per sample. Advanced Laboratories has two locations in North Carolina and Utah, USA. Contact here.
If you will be making and testing your hot sauce for years to come specially to know the level of heat than sending it to a laboratory may become expensive and time consuming. You can use the method above by tasting it or you can do your own testing in your own kitchen with a Scoville meter.
The Scoville meter by Chillipot is available at zpchiligroup.com and was developed by the University of Oxford. This small handheld meter is relatively new to the market but is a simple way of testing the SHU of your sauce with sending it to a laboratory.
Testing hot sauce using the Scoville meter is not as complex as High Performance Liquid Chromatography but it will produce fairly accurate results. ZP Chili Group also offers services similar to laboratories that offer HPLC testing.
This meter is the first of its kind that uses an app and comes with testing strips
The ZPChilligroup (makers of the Scoville Meter by Chillipot) offer testing services as well similar to what a laboratory does. Often advertised as the fasted way to test a hot sauce for heat it can also be as accurate as laboratory testing. Although this equipment may be expensive (for my budget) you have to love the convenience of testing a new sauce.
If you are going to specialize in a hot sauce that has a high level of heat than investing in this equipment is crucial. If you are going to market your sauce based on a high heat level and know you will be experimenting with different levels of heat than a Scoville Meter will be necessary.
Whether you feel comfortable with knowing what the heat level of your sauce is or not it is always a good idea to test for all available nutritional services. If you are making a sauce specifically to boast the level of heat, then you will certainly want Scoville testing performed.
I enjoy making my own hot sauce and have recently decided to research selling it both locally and globally. I know that the hot sauce industry has been growing for the past five years and it is continuing to grow into 2023 but what about growth for the next five years? Will the hot sauce market be strong enough to sustain yet another hot sauce product?
A market analysis of the hot sauce industry indicates that it will continue to grow through 2026 and that most sales are currently made through mass merchandisers. The market is heavily saturated but there continues and will continue to be a demand for hot sauce.
This article was written to perform a market analysis of a hot sauce business to determine if it would be profitable to enter the hot sauce market with a new product. I used the following 5 areas to research the industry for 2020 and through 2026 to determine the profitability of a successful hot sauce business. An analysis of the market overview, target market, competition,pricing and challenges of starting a hot sauce business gives strong indication that a startup hot sauce business can be successful for the next five years.
MARKET OVERVIEW OF THE HOT SAUCE INDUSTRY
What is the market saturation of the hot sauce industry? Is it saturated or just popular?
There is heavy saturation in the hot sauce market but there continues to be a demand for new gourmet flavors to be introduced using both craft and aritsan methods. The market is split between names brand sauces and artisan or gourmet sauces. Brands like Franks RedHot and Tabasco®, both Louisiana style hot sauces using cayenne peppers, dominates shelves in stores. Smaller manufactures who produce specially sauces are found online, at festivals, trade shows and farmers markets. There are hundreds of these sauces and the flavor combinations continue to expand.
Online stores such as Hot Sauce Fever lists 589 brands of hot sauces. These sauces are available primary online and some specialty shops throughout the US due to hot sauces becoming more and more popular among current generations. Walmart and Amazon have name brand products and websites like Etsy.com lists hundreds of independent sauces as well as related products. No pun intended but the hot sauce industry is “HOT”. With the market being heavily saturated it could prove difficult to enter the market successfully, but it can certainly be done very inexpensively. Read more here on How Much Does It Cost To Sell Hot Sauce?
How To Start A Hot Sauce Business
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Is there room in the market for another hot sauce business?
The hot sauce market is saturated with hot sauces and hot sauce related products. Web sites like hotsauce.com and the above mentioned hotsaucefever.com list hundreds of varieties where stores will often only have a few dozen. It would be easier to sell online but more profitable in the long run with getting your product on the shelf at local stores. This gives indication that the growth of the online sales is increasing and surpassing the number of hot sauces available in stores.
Online sales have made room for the addition of another hot sauce brand through sites like Etsy, hotsauce.com, hotsaucefever.com and more. The steps taken to post products for sale can easily be made in an afternoon. The increasing availability of online sales have has removed much of the footwork of a brick and mortar shop to make room for another entrepreneur entering the hot sauce business.
The popularity of hot sauce
Fast food restaurants now offer hot sauces, and this gives indication to the popularity and acceptance of hot sauces. This opens up the market for people to explore different hot sauce flavors who may not otherwise. Well-known name brands sauces offer products with their logos and specialty stores sell products relating to the consumption of hot sauces which also fuels the industry. Read more here in the Ultimate Guide To Hot Sauce Consumption for some Indepth breakdown on the popularity of sauce across the globe.
Hot sauce consumption has reached just about every type of demographic from Millennials to Baby Boomers. Recent YouTube channels like The Hot Ones have catapulted the popularity of hot sauce by having celebrities consume wings coated in extreme hot sauces as they are interviewed. Read more here on Who Eats Hot Sauce and Why for a long (and growing) list of hot sauce consumers.
How much money is spent in the hot sauce industry?
The global hot sauce industry was 2.29 billion in 2018, is expected to reach 3.77 billion in 2026 and is part of a larger condiment market. That is a continued increase from 1.09 billion in 2010, tripling in sales every 8 years. The overall condiment market was worth 130 billion in 2018 and has proven to be as strong since. The consumption of condiments is shifting towards healthier more nutritious condiments, and this is a great reason to introduce a hot sauce as organic, low calorie, gluten free, fat free or vegan and is an excellent opportunity to include these marketing strategies in your campaign. Read the complete list of 10 Marketing Strategies for Your Hot Sauce.
Hot sauce has gradually become one of the top condiments among other favorites like ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard due to a variety of reasons. The chili pepper market itself has shown an increase annual growth 3.4% due to the health benefits chilies produce, not just hot sauces. Although hot sauces are consumed globally and there is a cultural-based consumption that drives a lot of it, North America alone has 1.02 Billion.
How much is spent compared to other industries?
The billions of dollars that are spent on the hot sauce industry may seem like a lot of money spent on hot sauce, and it is, but it is relatively a small amount compared to the alcohol industry and coffee industry or other non-food related businesses. The 2019 global beer market was 500 billion and the Coffee industry is currently about 100 billion. Both of these businesses are constantly seeing new products and startup businesses introduced, showing proof that a business industry operating at less than a 3% capacity (the hot sauce market) has opportunities to skyrocket sales.
How to survive in a heavily saturated market
Thriving in a saturated market needs a creative marketing campaign, a unique product offering, and consistent efforts to break into the market. Finding a gap in the products that are offered can lead to success in a saturated market according to Inc.com. This means understanding the demographics, knowing what they want, and being able to deliver. Currently consumers are after almost any type of condiment with a little spice to it, but flavor can also play a huge roll as well.
Be creative in your marketing campaign
Being creative in your approach to sales can give an advantage in an industry that is already blanketed with competition. Lowering your prices to undercut the competition can be one way to enter a highly competitive market. It can also indicate that you are offering a product lower in quality. Simply making a hot sauce simi