How To Make Hot Sauce 101: What You Need And What To Do

Sure there are some amazing hot sauces that you can buy, many from your local store and a whole lot more online. But how about making your own? How about crafting a hot sauce with the ingredients of your dreams? It’s easier to do than you may think.

Here’s a primer on how to make hot sauce, including the kitchen tools you need, the types of cooking steps you’ll take, and the best ways to keep your newly concocted hot sauce fresh as can be. Ready? Let’s make something wicked hot…

The kitchen tools you need

Creating hot sauces takes only a few cooking tools – most of which are common around the kitchen, but we’ve linked them to relevant searches on Amazon just in case:

Of course, hot sauce bottles stick out as the one thing you likely don’t have sitting around, but again you can pick these up online and they’re relatively inexpensive. You can opt for glass or hard plastic dasher bottles like you see on the store shelves, or some people prefer a squeeze bottle or mason jar instead.

Once you have the proper tools at hand, it’s time to get cooking.

Making hot sauce

There are lots of recipes out there, but most follow the same simple pattern of dice, sauté, heat, blend, and pour. It’s really that simple. Take a look at this basic jalapeño hot sauce recipe as a reference point. Prep consists of dicing and mincing, followed by a quick sauté of the main ingredients and then a prolonged heating period with water. Finally, the ingredients are moved into a food processor, blended smooth, and  lastly mixed with vinegar.

It’s that easy most of the time. It only gets trickier when you want to start experimenting, and you’ll want to as soon as you start mastering the basics. Maybe you want to upgrade the heat of a hot sauce by swapping out hot peppers, or perhaps you want to try to add a little sweetness through some tropical fruit. Maybe you want to try a mustard base instead of vinegar. Again, there are lots of recipes that you can follow to a tee. Or what’s perhaps more satisfying for many homemade hot sauce makers is experimenting from a hot sauce base. This way you can create your own concoctions to amaze family and friends.

Bottling hot sauce

The bottling is rather simple once, of course, you’ve got the right bottles at the ready. Simple use the funnel to pour your hot sauce into the bottle. You’ll definitely want to use the funnel, as the bottle tops are often very narrow.

If you want to get creative, you could pick up some printable labels from your local office store and develop your own hot sauce label to place on your bottles. This gives your hot sauces some personality, and it also warns those around that what’s inside is not for those with timid taste buds!

Refrigerating hot sauces

A lot of people ask does hot sauce go bad? Should your newly concocted hot sauce hit the fridge or is it safe to keep on hand at room temperature? You can find more details on the answer on this post, but the gist of it is that the heat from the capsaicin in the peppers along with the vinegar in the sauce both neutralize bacteria. Most simple hot sauces can live at room temperature with no problems for many months. But once you start experimenting with fruits and fancy ingredients, refrigeration becomes a must. These ingredients can spoil, so keep those bottles in the fridge and you’ll still see a nice six-month shelf-life easily.

Simple as that, right? That’s all there is to creating a hot sauce. For spicy food fans, this is a fun way to bring your passion to life. You can make some surprisingly tasty mixes once you get to the experimentation level, so enjoy!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on September 5, 2019 to include new content.
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