Basic Jalapeño Hot Sauce

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Here’s an excellent easy jalapeño hot sauce recipe that is a good beginning sauce for some culinary experimentation. It’s not overly hot (jalapeños are a milder medium-heat chili), so it’s a good one to make to spice up a summer family party or a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Keep some handy in the fridge to add a splash of heat to any meal.

Basic Jalapeno Hot Sauce
Our basic jalapeño hot sauce in a bowl

When it comes to experimenting, you have many options. First, you could swap out those fresh jalapeño peppers for a hotter chili. Serrano peppers would give you a comparable bright flavor, but with double the heat. Or you could go for a much hotter chili, like habaneros. Though, to go along with that extra-hot heat, there will be both a flavor change (has have a sweet, fruity flavor) and a color change to the hot sauce.

Another option is adjusting the vinegar to your liking. Want it tangier? Add a bit more? Less tangy? Add less. And, you could try adding some sugar to the hot sauce to even out the tanginess and deliver a sweet-heat twist.

There are also many ways to add unique tastes to our basic jalapeño hot sauce, just with common spices from your cupboard. Spice likes cumin, chili powder, and dried coriander are interesting adds, but there’s an entire world there to try. Fresh herbs are great for exploration, too.

See it being made:

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Basic Jalapeno Hot Sauce

Basic Jalapeño Hot Sauce

A delicious, medium-heat hot sauce – great for experimentation
4.23 from 126 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 30 servings
Calories 6 kcal


  • 20 jalapeño peppers sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt


  • Saute the oil, jalapeño peppers, onions, garlic, and salt in a saucepan over high heat for 4 minutes.
  • Pour water into the mix and cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes.
  • Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
  • Puree the mix in a food processor until it’s completely smooth.
  • Keep the processor running and add in the distilled white vinegar until completely mixed.
  • Place into a jar or bottle.


Hot sauces will keep for many months (6 months +). It’s best to refrigerate the hot sauce to help preserve it and keep its flavors intact.


Calories: 6kcalSodium: 59mgPotassium: 28mgVitamin A: 100IUVitamin C: 11.4mgCalcium: 3mg
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on February 17, 2024 to include new content.
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Can this be made with pickled jalapenos?


Can I make this with a variety of peppers? Also what is the consistency? I am looking for something thick that would be in a jar and require a spoon.


would it make sense to roast the peppers and remove the skin?


4 stars
Taste is there but we were coughing up a storm while making it. Made the air in my house spicy.


How many bottles does this make and can you freeze them?

Sue Lennick

Can I process this and seal it?


4 stars
There needs to be a heat warning on this recipe along with a do not make indoors…lol. while cooking the jalepenos I started laughing a little but it was bad enough to wake up my mom with Alzheimer’s caughing and get her out of bed actually walking. We had to go outside and air put the house for a couple hours before we could return.

A local Mexican restaurant has a green sauce that they warn is hotter than the gates of hell. My brother says we found the recipe.

I will say though that it is easy and delicious.