Hot Sauce

Until last week all of the salsa/hot sauce type sauces I have made have been tomato or tomatillo based, generally with cilantro, onion, and a few peppers. Last week I had an abundance of early season hot peppers. I had a few serrano and habanero peppers from the garden, as well as some jalapeno and serrano peppers I had previously run through the smoker. I thought it was about time I make a hot sauce because none of the other salsa ingredients are ripe in the garden.

I have noticed that what constitutes “hot” or “spicy” varies greatly since I moved from Maine to Arizona. Black pepper can blow a lot of people in Maine out of a dish because it is just too spicy. In Arizona, true habanero hot sauce can readily be found. Being used to sauces like Tabasco and Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce and how they have bottles that dispense one drop at a time, even though they are more of a sweet vinegar sauce, I was unprepared for the open top of a habanero sauce. Assuming it was not very hot because of the top, I poured some on a taco. I then realized my assumption was wrong and they correctly labeled the sauce “hot.” That experience convinced me to grow a few extra serrano and habanero pepper plants this year and to find a true hot sauce recipe. The recipe below is adapted from Rick Bayless’ Habanero Hot Sauce.


I pretty much followed the recipe, but I did not have enough habanero peppers so I used what I had – a few habanero peppers, mostly serrano peppers, and a few smoked serrano and jalapeno peppers. Surprisingly, the sauce was not too hot. When I make the sauce again I will reduce the amount of garlic used; maybe to three cloves instead of five. I will also cook the carrots and onions in extra water and cider vinegar since it took considerably longer for those to soften than the recipe said it would. Because of the various colored peppers I used the sauce had  an odd green color. To make a nice looking sauce pick a color pepper and use just that one color.

The sauce has a nice flavor. Because it is not overly hot as I made it I will be making it again with habanero peppers only as they ripen. I might even make a batch with ghost peppers when they ripen for Jake.


3 thoughts on “Hot Sauce

  1. David Montejo

    I’m enjoying your website, nicely put together, I am also an avid gardener so am taking tips on growing Serranos, thank you. I too make a similar hot sauce at home and have been experimenting with my own recipe, we in Belize love hot sauce on everything and the hotter the better.

    I thought I would share my recipe with you, it goes like this:
    a big handful of yellow habaneros (that’s a good point on colour you made)
    A few white onions
    a couple of large carrots
    half a papaya (instead of sugar, gives a nice taste too)
    salt to taste.
    I also add some tumeric as I read it is a natural preservative.

    First I dice the onion and lightly soften it over low heat in some coconut oil, dice the carrots and add them in. While this simmers remove all the stalks from the habaneros then drop them in the blender whole with a couple of cups of water. Grind them up but not too fine, don’t forget to inhale the fumes when you take the lid off.

    I add the blended up pepper mixture to the onion/carrots and then add about a tsp of salt and about the same in tumeric, also the papaya chopped up. You can add more water if you like

    I let this bubble away and emit eye-watering fumes for about 30 mins or until the carrots are soft.

    Then back in the blender where I turn it into sauce. This then gets jarred up and given to friends and family. The yellow colour is a site to behold and belies a lethal sweet and peppery sauce that is too hot for some, even here.
    Enjoy the heat!

    1. I am glad you are enjoying the site. Thank you for sharing the recipe, I like the idea of adding the papaya for flavor and sweetness.

      I grow serrano peppers just like habanero peppers. I like the fruity flavor of habanero peppers more than others. I now use ghost peppers to cut through the sweetness of some recipes, like chutney and some salsas, and add a little extra heat.

  2. Pingback: Francis’s Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce | Smoketree Cellars

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