Answers to DIY Hot Sauce Questions


So you either bought one of our DIY Hot Sauce Kits or you are inspired and going to make hot sauce at home without our kit. Now you want to have some of your questions answered. Hopefully our Hot Sauce FAQ will help.

Q: What kind of shelf life can I expect for my hot sauce?

A: First and foremost you must sterilize everything you use to make and bottle your hot sauce. While vinegar and sugar are good preservatives, the fact that there are peppers and other vegetables in your sauce, limits the amount of safe shelf life. Don’t place any kinds of oil in your sauce, since it can introduce botulinium. If you have a tight seal and boil your sauce for at least 20 minutes, you can safely store the sauce on the shelf (in shaded and cool location) for 6 months.  A rule of thumb is that a Hot Sauce recipe with at 20% vinegar will have a pH at a safe level for preserving. We suggest that your sauce be refrigerated until you intend to use if it has less than 20% vinegar. The smell and taste should be clear indicators if your sauce is or is not ready for prime time.

Q: Should I add veggies to my hot sauce?

A: We believe that adding fresh ingredients is the key to an excellent sauce, but is not required if you are going for a simple sauce. Adding fresh cilantro, onions and tomatoes can really make for a delicious blend. Also, to make regional favorites you’ll want to consider adding the fruit and vegetables popular for that region (Brazilian, Jamaican, Cajun

Q: What is the key to a great hot sauce?

A: Quality ingredients, proportions and experimentation. We have found that our recipes for our DIY Kits receive universal praise for producing great results, because we use quality ingredients and have exacting proportions. However, we also highly encourage experimenting and making a sauce which has your own signature. You will find that through experimenting you can end up with a flavor that is something distinctive and through refinement that will win prizes.

Q: Is there a recommended pH for my hot sauce

A: A pH of around 3.4 will create an ideal acidic solution that will prevent bacteria growth. You can either use limes or lemons, vinegar or you can ferment the Hot Sauce.

Q: Which peppers correspond to which level of heat in my sauce?

A: In this heat index we only include peppers which we think make sense for your hot sauce makings

Poblano / Ancho  = Mild

Pasilla = Mild

Guajillo = Warm

Jalapeno = Hot

Chipotle = Hot

Serrano =  Hot

Arbol = Hot

Manzano = Hot

Tabasco = Very Hot

Cayenne = Very Hot

Habanero = Very Hot

Anything hotter is probably not going to be good for hot sauce.

Q: What is a good hot sauce for beginners to start out with?

A: Here is our basic recipe from our DIY Hot Sauce Making Kit

• Remove stems from dried peppers (arbol for hot and guajillo for mild). Use provided gloves to protect your hands. Grind the peppers in a blender or food processor (seeds are ok). GUAJILLO PEPPER is a variety of chili pepper with only a small amount of heat and an earthy, mild fruity flavor. ARBOL PEPPER has a lot of heat and would be used for extra-hot sauces. CHIPOTLE PEPPER is medium heat pepper which adds a rich, smoky flavor to the sauces.

• Add about 1⁄2 – 1 cup of boiling water and continue to blend. Let rest for a few minutes to absorb the hot water. Add a com-
bination of fresh or canned tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro and/or puréed carrot and blend. Typically you’ll want to use 2-3 tbs of diced onion, 1 tsp of garlic per bottle and 1-2 tbs of tomato sauce. Add to the mix and blend in the food processor.

• Before adding the other powders, it is best to taste them to get a sense of the flavor and amount of heat each provides. Add the powders a small bit at a time, tasting as you go. Adjust ingredient ratios to suit your preference. To make a hotter sauce, add more pepper. Create a sweeter heat by adding more brown sugar. Add salt to taste.

• Adding some acidity with vinegar, lemon, or lime helps to preserve the sauce and bring the ingredients together and enhances the flavor. We recommend 20-30% vinegar or lemon/lime juice.

• Bring sauce to a boil (120°C/248 °F) and then let rest for 20 minutes before bottling. Use included funnel to pour into glass bottles, cap and let rest for 12 hours. Age 2 weeks

Q: Are there any concerns about allergies or reactions to the peppers if I’m making hot sauce to sell or give to friends?

A: Yes, some people have severe allergies to peppers. However, most people who have this allergy are aware of it and would avoid hot sauce.

We are constantly adding new FAQ’s for this list as they come in from customers. Let us know if you have a question we can answer? Email [email protected]

Be sure to watch our Hot Sauce Making Video

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