Homemade Hot Sauce

If you’re looking for a Homemade Hot Sauce Recipe we have a large number to choose from. Making your own Homemade Hot Sauce is easy and a great way of creating that exact Hot Sauce you’ve been searching for. With a Homemade Hot Sauce you get to choose the ingredients, the type of chili pepper and the amount of chili peppers which in turn will have a big impact on the heat level.

All of the Homemade Hot Sauce Recipes will last for at least 6 months if all ingredients are boiled for 20 minutes and then bottled correctly.

Homemade Hot Sauce

Homemade Hot Sauce

A lot of commercial Hot Sauce brands don’t have a large range of chili peppers to choose from when making their Hot Sauces but we do. Their looking for a cheap chili pepper that’s commercially available throughout the year. You can choose to grow a specific chili pepper and then form a Hot Sauce recipe around the taste of that specific chili pepper, now that’s hard to beat.

Homemade Hot Sauce  pH

Preserving your sauce by lowering the pH is a crytical part of making homemade sauces, ideally a pH of around 3.4 will create an acidic solution that wil prevent the growth of bacteria. To create an acidic Hot Sauce you can either use limes or lemons, vinegar or you can ferment the Hot Sauce.

Testing the pH of your sauce can be done by taking a sample of your Hot Sauce from the cooking pot after all ingredients have been cooked down, wait for the sample to cool then with either food grade litmus strips or with a food grade pH meter test the Hot Sauces pH.

A general rule of thumb is that a Hot Sauce recipe with at least 20% vinegar added will lower the pH to a safe level for preserving.


Homemade Fermented Hot Sauces

Another method of lowering the pH of your home made Hot Sauce to preserve it is by fermentation. If you want to make a homemade hot sauce without vinegar then fermenting the sauce is another way of preserving you hot sauce, It’s definitely a time consuming method compared to the addition of an acidic ingredient.

hot sauce fermentationTo make a fermented Hot Sauce you will need a Lactobacillus bacterial starter, Lacto-bacillus is an acid loving bacteria which breaks down the natural sugars in the Hot Sauce ingredients and converts them into Lactic acid. I’ve used a sour dough starter in the past but some people just buy starters from their local chemist. For the bacteria to survive it will need sugar, the peppers contain natural sugars that the bacteria will consume, mashing or at least finely chopping the chilli peppers will increase the available surface area for the bacteria.

All equipment including the fermentation vessel needs to be thoroughly sterilized, this is done to retard the growth of any bad bacteria and it will hopefully allow the bacterial starter to get a unopposed start.  To keep the fermenting Hot Sauce mixture from being contaminated an airlock is needed, a brewers airlock should be inserted into the lid of the fermentation jar to allow CO2 out without letting any contaminated air back in.

Fermented sauces are stored in a cool dark location from 3 weeks up to a number of years. Once the pH of the sauce has reduced to a safe level (under 4) then the sauce can be boiled to halt the fermentation and then it can be bottled, instead of boiling the sauce some Hot Sauce makers will transfer the fermenting sauce into their fridge (with the brewers air lock removed) and use as they please.

Our in depth Fermented Hot Sauce page – Fermented Hot Sauce

Cooking time for Homemade Hot Sauces

The main concern with the bottling of home made Hot Sauce is the botulinum toxin, the botulinum bercterium can cause a paralytic illness which is life threatening in just about all cases. To kill the spores that cause this horrible illness you should always boil your home made hot suace for 20 minutes before bottling, never bottle uncooked sauces and that also means if you decide to add in another ingredient after the initial 20 minute boil then you have to go through the process again and boil the Hot Sauce for a further 20 minutes before bottling.

Hot Sauce Consistency

Keep in mind that a sauce will firm up and the poor will be thicker after a Hot Sauce has been kept in a fridge. So when your making your sauce try to pull it off the heat and bottle it just before its at the thicker consistency your looking for.

I normally add at least 20% vinegar to all my sauces which normally adds more than enough liquid. After adding all of the ingredients, including the vinegar, I cook the sauce down for at least an hour with a lid on the pot. This will help prevent the sauces consistency reducing down and thickening too much. Once the Hot Sauce ingredients have cooked down I then blend the sauce, a very runny sauce can easily thicken up once it’s blended. Then I return the sauce into the pot with the lid removed so the sauce can reduce down. While reducing the Hot Sauce keep it at a slow boil, if the sauce starts spitting this is a sign that enough moisture has been removed from the sauce and it’s ready for bottling.

Sterilizing your Hot Sauce Bottles

Sterilizing the bottles is a must! Always use new clean bottles, if you want your Hot Sauce to last for months then don’t re-use old bottles its just too hard to properly clean out old bottles. The only exception would be using glass vinegar bottles, when making small batches of homemade sauce you can buy a bottle of vinegar, use some of the vinegar to lower the pH of the sauce and then sterilize the bottle.

Baby bottle sterilizers and electronic steamers are a great way to sterilize your Hot Sauce bottles, just make sure you can fit the bottles in vertically.

Sterilizing Bottles for Hot Sauce

Bottling your Homemade Hot Sauce

Many sauce makers will bring their sauce to a vigorous boil for the second time just before bottling so that the Hot Sauce is at the required 120°C/248 °F when it is bottled.

While sterilizing your bottles its a good idea to also sterilize any funnels and poring equipment to be used for filling the bottles. When your ready to bottle the sauce remove these items and place them on baking paper or sterile dish.

While the Homemade Hot Sauce is still at a slow boil remove one bottle at a time from the sterilizer shake out any moisture inside the bottle and then fill the sterilized bottle with the Hot Sauce. Repeat this until all of the sauce is bottled then tighten the caps onto the bottle. Once the bottles have lids tip them upside down to sterilize the cap, this has to be done quickly before the sauce cools.

Once the bottles of Homemade Hot Sauce have cooled down sit them up and tighten all of the caps again. Store the sauce in a cool dark location, if possible store the bottles in the fridge as they will last longer. A homemade hot sauce should have a shelf life of 6-9months as long as it’s been bottled correctly and has a low pH.

Ingredients for a Home Made Hot Sauce

It’s always a bit tempting to use a large number of ingredients when making your first ever Hot Sauce, as I did. But as I’ve gotten better at making sauces it’s apparent that a sauce with a minimal number of ingredients can taste a lot better than one with a dozen or more. Now I like to make Hot Sauces that highlight the taste of the chili pepper used or a key ingredient instead of trying to balance a wide range of flavors.

Some of my favorite ingredients for Making Hot Chili Sauces are pears, apples, onion, artichoke hearts, ginger, garlic, a tinny drop of fish sauce, tomatoes, mustard seeds and of course the chili peppers. I only grow and cook with chili peppers that have a defined and appealing taste.

Some of the ingredients that are nearly always in my sauces are salt, vinegar, sugar and the Chili peppers.

HomeMade Hot Sauce Recipe


  • 10 – 40 Scotch Bonnets or Habaneros
  • 2tsp Cracked Pepper
  • 4-6 Large Pears
  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2tbsp Lime Juice
  • 8 Cloves Garlic
  • 1tbsp Ginger
  • 2tsp Fish Sauce (optional)

Cooking Directions

  1. Remove the stems from the peppers, you can remove the seeds if you want a smoother consistency.
  2. Add the pears, Vinegar, ginger and garlic into a food processor.
  3. Liquefy the mixture and taste, if need be add more ingredients to taste. It needs to be strong tasting if you intend to add a lot of peppers.
  4. Add the chilli peppers into the food processor with the other ingredients and blend thoroughly.
  5. Add the blended mixture into a pot and slowly bring it to a rolling boil.
  6. Add the last ingredients and adjust the amount of fish sauce, keep in mind as the hot sauce reduces the strength of the fish sauce will become more prominent. Keep in mind the saltiness of the sauce will increase as the sauce reduces.
  7. Keep the sauce at the boiling point for at least 15 minutes.
  8. Reduce the heat and simmer the hot sauce until the consistency thickens.