Hot Ones “The Classic” Hot Sauce Review

Looking for a hot sauce that you can just keep at your kitchen table day in and out? Hot Ones “The Classic” Hot Sauce (by First We Feast) is just that. This is a staple hot sauce — the kind that’s crazy versatile and just hot enough. So how flavorful is it? And how balanced is that heat really? Before you continue on your 300th episode of Hot Ones, let’s break down The Classic Hot Sauce and see what it’s all about!


There’s a double-whammy of vinegar on The Classic Hot Sauce’s ingredient list that hits you right up top. They slot in right after the chili pepper that’s a fave of this site: organic chile de arbol peppers, organic apple cider vinegar, organic rice vinegar, water, organic garlic, organic turmeric, and salt.

The Classic takes you on a total flavor journey. Those vinegars land quickly with plenty of classic hot sauce tang, followed up by a delicious nuttiness and heat from the chile de arbol peppers. There’s a touch of smokiness here, too, that shines after a few bites.

Then, on the tail end, you get a hint of pungent earthiness from the garlic and turmeric. You can even see fresh bits of garlic floating throughout the sauce. Overall — it’s the total package when it comes to flavor. It’s classic, but not “ho-hum everyday.” Those organic ingredients really shine here.

On sodium: The Classic is impressively low-sodium. It contains only 20 milligrams per teaspoon serving, or 1% of your daily allowance. It’s impressive how deep the flavor goes here and salt isn’t a key player. And if you’re watching your sodium intake, this is a good low-sodium hot sauce to stock up on.

The Classic Hot Sauce — Hot Ones
Hot Ones “The Classic” Hot Sauce by First We Feast, on a spoon

Heat Balance

Chile de arbol are medium-hot peppers, ranging from 15,000 to 30,000 Scoville heat units. That’s hotter than a jalapeño (2,500 to 8,000 SHU) but typically milder than cayenne (30,000 to 50,000 SHU.)

But, of course, in any hot sauce dilution is in effect. The Classic by Hot Ones hits a little below the mildest possible jalapeño (1,800 SHU.) That puts it more inline with fresh poblano pepper heat (1,000 to 1,500 SHU). Or, compared to another hot sauce, it’s similar to Sriracha-level heat (1,000 to 2,500 SHU.) Short of it: If you can handle Sriracha, you can handle The Classic by Hot Ones.

This mild-to-medium heat doesn’t come on too strong and it doesn’t linger. The most lingering heat you’ll feel is a little warmth on your tongue — like after you’ve eaten a lot of pepper. You’ll feel a slight hit of spiciness in the back of your throat, but it disappears before you know it.

Balanced against the flavor, I’d say it’s close to spot on. It could be just a little more spicy, but really chile de arbol is as much about that delicious nutty, smoky flavor as it is the spiciness.


You know if you name it “The Classic” it better deliver on versatility. And it does: This is the #1 sauce on Hot Ones for a reason. You can use it with any and everything, making it an excellent table hot sauce to place right next to that Sriracha and Tabasco Original Red Sauce.

The Classic is a hot sauce you can go ham on without much worry (except for the fact that you may finish the bottle within a week.) The heat is low enough that you can pour it on and enjoy it in volume.

It’s great on the Hot Ones go-to (wings), but it’s just the beginning of a laundry list of delicious use cases: sandwiches, soups, vegetables, grilled pork, steaks, eggs, hash browns, rice, and the beat goes on. There’s no wrong way to use this sauce in my book.

I also recommend eating this with any dishes featuring garlic. In fact, The Classic actually works well with garlic-heavy pastas. It provides a nice acidic taste and vinegar tang while complementing that garlic perfectly.


Obviously, for anyone who watches Hot Ones this is certainly a collectible. I mean, who doesn’t want to compare themselves to Scarlett Johansson’s hot sauce reactions? But for those who haven’t seen the show, the flavor alone keeps The Classic up there as a conversation starter.

And the label. It wins me over with its classic red and yellow colors, along with the “Heat with Heart ” quote by Heatonist. Their logo of the chicken screaming fire is perfect for the Hot Ones series (wings and hot sauce, from mild to delirious!)

Some complain about the price of The Classic, but I think it’s completely worth the money. It’s just the total package — a staple sauce that’ll keep you coming back for more.

The Score

Hot Ones The Classic Hot Sauce delivers on flavor (tangy, nutty, earthy, and a touch smoky) with a very eatable heat. It’s extremely versatile and totally fun to eat! 100% a classic and a must-have for any hot sauce collection.

Overall Flavor5
Heat Balance4.5
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on May 9, 2021 to include new content.
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