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+ servings
one rectangular bottle of hot sauce is surrounded by scotch bonnet peppers in the foreground, two additional bottles of hot sauce are out of focus behind it to the right

Basic Homemade Hot Sauce

Rebecca Eisenberg
Learning to make your own hot sauce means you can control the heat levels — resulting in a hot sauce that adds a punch of flavor with none of the acidic, face-melting burn you expect from store-bought hot sauces.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 12 oz


  • 10 ounces Fresno peppers, or desired combination of red peppers (weight is after chopping the peppers)
  • 4 ounces medium shallots (about 2-3 bulbs, cut into quarters)
  • 1 ounce garlic cloves (about 5 cloves, smashed)
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons diamond crystal kosher salt (use half as much of any other brand)
  • 6 ounces distilled white vinegar (¾ cup)


  • Remove the stems from the peppers and cut them in half, lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds and ribs according to desired heat levels. Roughly chop the peppers into pieces approximately 2″ in size.
  • Put the chopped peppers and the rest of the ingredients in a medium-sized sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, then cover and reduce to a lightly-bubbling simmer for 15-20 minutes. Be careful when removing the lid — the vinegar steam is potent!
  • While still hot, carefully pour everything into a powerful blender. Slowly increase speed from low to high until the sauce is completely smooth. This may require a few minutes of blending.
  • Pour still-hot hot sauce through a strainer into funnel set up in the mouth of your hot sanitized hot sauce bottle. You may need to do this in a few batches. Use a small spatula to press the sauce through the strainer, occasionally lifting the strainer to scrape the sauce off the bottom and into the funnel.
  • Seal the bottle tightly and let the hot sauce cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 8 months.


  • If making your hot sauce shelf stable (a pH of 3.8 or lower) is important to you, use a ratio of ½ cup vinegar for every 10 ounces of combined peppers, onions, and garlic. With this recipe, you should have 15 ounces of peppers, onions, and garlic combined, which is why it calls for ¾ cup vinegar. You can check the pH of your finished hot sauce by using a pH testing kit.
  • If you plan on storing your hot sauce in the fridge, you can reduce the amount of vinegar to as low as 4 ounces (½) cup. Follow safe bottling practices regardless.
  • The weight of the peppers is after the tops have been discarded and the peppers chopped — you'll need to buy more peppers than the recipe calls for to account for that loss.
  • For a hot sauce with a sweeter, fruitier profile, use apple cider vinegar. For a hot sauce with citrusy notes, use a combination of lemon juice and white wine vinegar.
  • Stick to peppers in the same color family unless you want brown hot sauce. Other than that, you can really use any kind of hot pepper you want and follow the steps above.


Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me how it was!