Hot sauce is one condiment that seems to have a cult following. There are so many different styles, flavors, and heat levels. But the key to a really amazing hot sauce is FERMENTATION!
Here is everything you need to know to create your own unique fermented hot sauce flavor. Whether you like it mild or hot, it’s so EASY to make a full-flavored and delicious hot sauce.
Types of Hot Peppers
To make your own brand of fermented hot sauce, you need to figure out how hot you want it. The key is in the combinations of peppers you use. There are literally more than 50,000 different types of peppers worldwide. Here are a few of the more commonly found types of peppers and their hotness on a scale of 1 to 5:
- Sweet bell pepper: This mild, snacking pepper is not at all hot.
- Poblano (Ancho): A large dark green pepper that is a fairly mild 2.
- Hot Banana: There are also sweet banana peppers, but the hot ones are a bit spicier at a rating of 2.
- Jalapeno (or chipotle when dried and smoked): An easy-to-find hot pepper with a spiciness of 3.
- Cayenne and Thai Chile: Both are small, thin red peppers that are a 5 on the scale of spiciness.
- Habanero: A small bright orange pepper that is another hot and spicy 5.
Hot Sauce Flavour Combinations
There are so many options for flavoring fermented hot sauce. A portion of the hot peppers can be replaced with onions, carrots, or fruit. Also, many hot sauces involve the addition of vinegar or lemon juice for acidity. This fermented hot sauce doesn’t need the extra acidity; however, if you like a more acidic hot sauce add 1 Tbsp of vinegar after fermentation.
Here are a few of my favorite hot sauce flavor combinations.
- Mild Manners Hot Sauce: This is a kid-friendly, “not-hot” sauce. Use 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/4 cup of onion, and 1/4 cup of hot banana peppers for the vegetables.
- Sweet Mango Hot Sauce: Use 1/2 cup of mango and 1/2 cup of cayenne peppers. Then add 1 Tbsp of lime juice and 1 tsp of sugar after fermentation.
- Smokey Chipotle Sauce: I love the flavor of chipotle peppers. Use the whole dried pepper, not the jarred ones. Grind 4 chipotle peppers up with 1/4 cup of onion and 1/4 cup of hot banana peppers. Add an extra 1/4 cup of water to the mix to re-hydrate the chipotles.
- Knock Your Socks Off Sauce: Use a mix of straight habanero and cayenne peppers for the hottest of hot sauces.
Tried any other combinations? Share your favorite flavors in the comments section!
Fermented Hot Sauce
This simple fermented hot sauce recipe is designed to help you create your own signature hot sauce flavor. Add fruit, vegetables, or spices. Make it as hot or not as you want!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1/4 to 1/2 cup 1x
- Category: Condiment
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 1/2 lb (750g) cup of coarsely chopped hot peppers, other vegetables, and/or fruit (about 3 1/2 cups)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tbsp salt (non-iodized)
- 2 Tbsp of water, as needed, to cover (chlorine-free)
- Usually, hot sauce is just made with hot peppers or a combination of hot peppers, garlic, and onions. However, it’s OK to use whatever flavors you want. See the section above for a few of my favorite combinations.
- Finely chop all the vegetables and garlic in a food processor. Add the salt and continue to pulse until it’s as smooth as possible.
- Scrape the hot sauce puree into a quart-sized (1L) jar for fermenting. Depending on the combination of vegetables, you may need to add a bit of water to keep everything under the liquid. To keep everything below the liquid for fermenting, use a ziptop bag filled with water as a weight. Generally, I don’t recommend using plastic bags for fermenting, but in this case, it’s the best option.
- Store the jar in a dark location for fermenting and let it ferment for 5-7 days.
- When you have finished fermenting, strain the pulp through a fine-mesh sieve, squeezing out all the liquid. Store the hot sauce in a jar for serving and discard the pulp (or see notes for a suggestion on how to reuse the pulp).
- If you want to add additional flavors like lime juice, vinegar, or sugar, add them at this point.
- Store in the fridge and use within 6 months (for hot sauce) or 1 month (for not-so-hot sauce).
- The combination of hot peppers and salt will help prevent your hot sauce from going off. However, hot sauce is prone to kahm yeast. Kahm yeast isn’t an issue, just make sure it’s not mold.
- I don’t like throwing out my leftover hot sauce pulp. It’s packed full of flavor, perfect for adding to chili or tortilla soup.
Keywords: chili, spicy, sweet, fruit, summer, fall, traditional, gluten free, vegan, sugar-free, keto, paleo, onion, garlic, mango, not-hot sauce