Louisiana Hot Sauce Ingredients: What Makes This Hot Sauce Tick?

The makers of Louisiana Hot Sauce market it as one of the first Cajun food products to become commercially available. The sauce was first made and sold in 1928 by Bruce Foods, about five years after Baumer Foods (another Louisiana-based company) began producing Crystal Hot Sauce. Since then, Louisiana Hot Sauce has grown to become one of the iconic American hot sauces and is currently available in a large number of grocery stores. In order to get a better understanding of what has made this hot sauce popular for so long, let us take a look at what goes into it. You can also read our full review of Louisiana Hot Sauce to get a sense of how these ingredients come together.

The ingredients in Louisiana Hot Sauce

  • Aged peppers
  • Vinegar
  • Salt

The pepper in Louisiana Hot Sauce

According to the Wikipedia page for Louisiana Hot Sauce, the peppers used are long cayenne peppers. The About page on the sauce’s website states that the peppers are combined with vinegar and salt and then fermented. The benefits of fermentation include a more complex flavor in addition to a reduction in the amount of vinegar needed to acidify the sauce.

The Scoville rating of long cayenne peppers is in the 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat unit range, which means that it is 10 times hotter than a jalapeƱo pepper. The Scoville rating of Louisiana Hot Sauce is 450, making it one of the milder hot sauces. Note that the 450 score is the same as that of another popular mild hot sauce: Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce. The reduction in heat is thought to be more the result of dilution with vinegar rather than the fermentation process.

The other ingredients in Louisiana Hot Sauce

If you have looked at the ingredients lists of the most popular hot sauce brands, you will notice that vinegar or a similar acidic component can be found in most. One of the main reasons is flavor. Vinegar can give the sauce a tang that it would not otherwise possess. This tang complements the heat of the sauce and pairs well with most of the foods that you would enhance with hot sauce. In addition, vinegar helps to make the sauce’s texture thinner. The thin texture is a characteristic of Louisiana-style hot sauces.

The next ingredient is salt, which can be controversial due to its potential effects on cardiovascular health. Hot sauces need salt for flavor. Salt is especially necessary for sauces like Louisiana Hot Sauce that do not contain a large number of flavoring ingredients.

The Louisiana Hot Sauce website claims that a single 1-teaspoon serving of Louisiana Hot Sauce contains 200 mg of sodium, which is about 9 percent of the recommended daily intake; other sources state that this hot sauce actually contains 240 mg of sodium, which is more than 10 percent of the amount of salt that you should be consuming per day. In either case, Louisiana Hot Sauce contains considerably more salt than most other commercial hot sauces. For comparison, consider the fact that Tabasco Original Red Sauce only has 35 mg of sodium per 1-teaspoon serving.

Preservatives in Louisiana Hot Sauce

Aside from the dramatic difference in sodium content, Louisiana Hot Sauce actually has a lot in common with Tabasco Original Red Sauce. Along with the fact that both originated in the Pelican State, both sauces also rely on the preservative qualities of their flavoring ingredients. Louisiana Hot Sauce has an ultra-simple ingredients list that contains no preservatives aside from peppers, vinegar and salt. There is no need for any additional preservatives since the sauce does not have much in it that requires preservation. The simpler a recipe is, the less necessary preservatives become.

Photo credit: Photo | Chris Kennedy | Flickr

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on March 19, 2022 to include new content.
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