Dawson’s Original Hot Sauce Review

Dawson’s Original Hot Sauce is pretty sneaky. The heat doesn’t get you on first bite. But a few swallows in and WHAM. That habanero heat sneaks up on you and it’s legit. So it packs a surprising punch. But does the sauce’s overall flavor balance it all out? And how usable is it with this kind of spiciness? Let’s dive into Dawson’s Original to see what it’s all about. 

Video review


First things first, the ingredients. Dawson’s keeps its original sauce on the simpler side: habanero, vinegar, cane sugar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and sea salt. That’s it. You may be thinking, how flavorful could this be? The answer: Pretty darn flavorful. 

It smells and looks delicious. This sauce is medium thick, which allows you to see the small chunks of red habaneros through the glass bottle. It’s packed with all fresh ingredients – no powders here – and you can totally smell that sweet, garden freshness upon opening. Dawson’s actually markets that their original sauce is all about “the floral nose of habanero”, and we get that here. This is a sauce made for those looking to enjoy the nuance of the pepper used.

On your first bite, you’ll get that slight tang of vinegar along with a delicious sweetness from the cane sugar, garlic, and fresh habs. The natural habanero fruity sweetness really meshes so well in the overall balance. There’s also a decent salt kick in Dawson’s Original. It doesn’t leave me craving more sodium when it’s added to food.

Dawson’s Original Hot Sauce on a spoon

Heat Balance

Dawson’s Original Hot Sauce uses habanero peppers, and they are no slouch on the Scoville Scale. Fresh habaneros range from 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville heat units.

That said, standard habanero hot sauces typically get nowhere near those numbers. Many land well below 50,000 SHU. Not Dawson’s Original. No, this sauce is one of those “I dare you” habanero hot sauces, with a heat around 82,500 SHU. That’s nearly as hot as the mildest possible hab. This is a legit habanero hot sauce, not one that’s by name only with no heat to back it up.

Now, it takes some time for that heat to hit full-force. It’s sneaky hot. You can get quite a few bites in thinking all is well. It’s like it lures you into thinking you finally conquered habaneros. Then, after a minute or two, Dawson’s Original smacks you back in your place, reminding you how hot habaneros can really be. 

You may grab some milk to cool things down if you eat too much in a short time. But the good news is the sauce’s flavor is robust enough to match it. It’s a real fun ride.


The fresh tangy sweetness will make you want to put this on everything you eat, but use caution here. Most people could handle a small dash of this on a bite of food, but any more than a few dashes and you could ask for trouble, unless you’re used to true habanero-level heat.

I tried this on quinoa, and it was so good. I mixed in some fresh tomato and basil – so good! This is also amazing on potatoes and tacos from firsthand experience. With its fresh sweet flavor, Dawson’s Original is really quite versatile, but, again, if you can handle the heat.


This bottle has a very edgy historic style to it. Dawson’s “fist holding arrows” logo has that cool hand-drawn look, bold in black and white. And the lid is adorned with a crest stamped in red wax. It transports you back in time. The design makes you feel that everything in this bottle is going to taste fresh – classic sauce making, no corners cut. It draws the eye as a culinary hot sauce that’s a must-try. And the sauce inside certainly delivers, too.

The Score

Dawson’s Original Hot Sauce is a delicious balance of fresh sweet flavor and fiery heat. Its spiciness lives up to the habaneros used inside the sauce, but with a delayed kick that really lets the flavor pop. 

Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance4.5
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

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UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on March 20, 2023 to include new content.
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