Extreme Hot Sauce From Scratch




About: I'm a middle school science teacher going on 17 years in the classroom. I've taught 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I'm constantly looking to improve my instruction and Instructables is one of the places I sear...

I LOVE hot sauce! My wife says I have no taste buds, but I respectfully disagree. I enjoy trying new hot sauces, but they can be expensive. In order to create my kind of heat in a bottle, you have three options; buy the sauce from a specialty shop, visit your local farmers market when hot peppers are in season, or grow your own hot peppers from seed. There's nothing as rewarding as DIY.

This is a two part Instructable. The first part gives some suggestions and materials for growing hot peppers from seed. The second part includes a recipe for some seriously hot, hot sauce. There is a recipe in step 5 if you simply can't wait and need to skip ahead, but PLEASE read ALL of my warnings! Mistakes with super hot chiles can be excruciatingly painful. I'm speaking from experience.

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Step 1: Growing Hot Peppers From Seed

Disclaimer: Super hot chiles are dangerous! Even if you touch the seeds to plant them, you need to make sure you don't pick your nose or rub your eye without washing your hands with warm water and soap a few times. Fortunately, most people only make this mistake once.

There are plenty of sites you can visit that will give you detailed instructions on how to grow hot peppers. I'm not going to get into it here, but I'll give you the basics.

  1. Choose seeds from a reputable source. I have been ordering from Refining Fire Chiles for the past 8 years and have had great success with germination rates.
  2. Purchase a seed tray. I use a 6x12 flat with 72 cells.
  3. Fill the cells with a high quality seed starting soil.
  4. Use a pointed pencil and make shallow holes about .5 inches deep. (I stop when I reach the yellow paint on the pencil.
  5. Keep an accurate record of which cells have which variety of hot pepper.
  6. Water the soil so that it's moist like a sponge.
  7. Add a little heat to the bottom of the tray to speed up the germination process.
  8. After about a week, you should see your first spouts. I start my plants indoors about 10 weeks before the final frost date for my area. Seeds can get enough light from regular 4' LED or fluorescent bulbs as long as the bulbs are just above the plants (about an inch). Most of my seeds, hot peppers and everything else that goes into my summer garden, are started this way.
  9. When the plants reach about 1”-2" and have their first "true leaves", you can transplant them into a more nutrient dense potting soil. I transplant them into red solo cups with holes punched into the bottom.
  10. After danger of frost has passed, transplant them one last time into the ground or into a large pot with a rich, composted soil.
  11. After about 90-110 days, you should be picking your first super hot chiles and can start preparing your home made hot sauce.

Step 2: Prepare Your Peppers

You are going to want to protect yourself here. It won't hurt you to touch the outside of the pepper, but once you start cutting, the liquid inside can cause problems if it touches your skin or enters an orifice. Wear gloves! Some would suggest doubling up the rubber glove. After you are done, you still need to wash your hands with warm water and soap.

Cut the stems and tops off of the peppers and put into a large pot (all metal).

*Suggestion: Cut the peppers on a paper plate that can be disposed of when you're done.

Step 3: Cook Your Peppers

Warning: Do NOT attempt to cook the peppers indoors! Unless you have a professional hood that vents directly outside, don't risk it. Everyone will run from the house coughing and sneezing and you will never be allowed to make hot sauce again.

  1. Add enough white vinegar to almost cover the peppers. I compare the amounts to making my Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Here's an analogy; Milk is to Cereal as Vinegar is to Peppers. If you want thicker hot sauce, use less vinegar. If you want thin hot sauce, use more vinegar. (The thickness can be adjusted at the end if you need to add more vinegar or boil off some liquid so don't stress.)
  2. Put the pot of peppers on the grill, close the lid, cook on high heat for about 25 minutes. The peppers should be in the boiling vinegar for about 15 minutes.

*Suggestion: Be careful when you open the lid to the grill. A good whiff here might knock your socks off.

3. When the peppers are nice and soft, take the pot off the heat.

Step 4: Blend Your Peppers

You aren't allowed inside yet!

  1. Get an extension cord and run it to your kitchen gadget called a stick blender / immersion blender.
  2. Put on some protective eye wear and an apron if you're manly enough.
  3. Completely submerge the head of the blender and emulsify your peppers. The smoother the blend the better. *Suggestion: Hold your breath when you first start to blend the peppers. There will be an invisible wave of sneeze inducing aroma headed straight for your olfactory nerves. After the initial blend, you may continue breathing normally.
  4. Get ready to add your dry ingredients.

Step 5: Dry Ingredients

The rest of the ingredients are dry except for the honey. Add the ingredients and mix into the sauce with your immersion blender. You can adjust the recipe to taste, but be warned that it will be very spicy. You will need to wait approximately five minutes between each taste test because your mouth will be on fire. The sauce is sweet at first followed by a building heat.

Step 6: Bottle Your Hot Sauce

Carefully pour the hot sauce into a container. I usually make enough to fill a gallon sized bottle or two. I then dispense as needed for myself, give it away to my friends, or sell it to people brave enough to try. It keeps in the fridge indefinitely and mellows with age.

There are three different sauces that I make.

  1. 13th Labor (Brick Red color and includes all ingredients in the picture.)
  2. Diabolus Sanguis (Blood Red color and only includes red peppers [Ghost Pepper, Moruga Scorpion, Carolina Reaper], I also substitute white sugar for brown and leave out the darker colored spices.)
  3. Screamin' Deacon (Golden color and only includes yellow / peach peppers [Yellow 7 pot, Peach Ghost, Devils Tongue, Fatali], I also substitute white sugar for brown and leave out the darker colored spices.)

*Warning: When it's time to clean up, rinse everything that touched hot peppers with COLD water first! Next, wash everything with COLD water. Finally, wash one more time with hot soapy water but be careful not to breath in any steam coming off the hot water.

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    15 Discussions


    Question 5 weeks ago

    Do you seed your peppers? Or will they blend after they’re cooked?

    1 answer

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    I do not seed the peppers. For the most part, they get blended up pretty well.


    Question 11 months ago on Introduction

    I made a salsa comprised of 42 habanero, 4 Serrano, 4 thai chili peppers. the heat doesn't last and disappoints me. Any suggestions? I don't think I'm ghost pepper prepared yet!


    2 years ago

    Great recipe and clear instructions this is was awesome and is the red hot poker to the eye a borderlands 2 reference lol.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I am still burning my mouth regularly with a bottle that I made last year. I actually had a bottle that was two years old and it was still good. I keep mine in the fridge so I'm not sure about the shelf life of a bottle that sits out at room temp. Great question.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks for the answer, good way to preserve my scotch bonnet.


    3 years ago

    3 alarms, call the fire dept! That looks so good!


    1 reply

    3 years ago

    You don't mention which peppers you are using (or did I totally miss it?).

    I did a batch of "Mouth Bleading Chilli" which was my usual chilli with about a dozen scotch bonnet peppers. I couldn't eat it. Stuck it in the freezer and then gave it to my mom and her husband. They didn't think it was that bad (I am sure that the freezer cooled off some of the heat).

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Good point! I have a picture of some of the seed packets with a few of the varieties I normally grow, but the varieties I like to use include Bhut Jolokia, Moruga Scorpion, Yellow 7 Pot, Carolina Reaper, Fatali, Devil's Tongue, Caribbean Red, and some hybrids of those chiles. Scotch Bonnets are pretty darn spicy! I also make dried pepper flakes with the left over peppers at the end of the growing season. My mother-in-law added a teaspoon of my crushed dried peppers to her pot of chili and made it too spicy (for her)... I got a pot of chili :) You should make an ible on your Mouth Bleeding Chili.


    Reply 3 years ago

    LOL I just might do that. Give me an excuse to make Chilli (but I'll be more careful with the peppers).


    3 years ago

    I'm looking to make hot sauce this year since I did extra hot pepper jelly last year. We made the mistake of cooking it up inside, so the upstairs of the house had every window open and sneezing attack were plentiful. I look forward to trying out your recipe, although I will have to make some sort of changes to make it my own of course!. Thanks for sharing!


    3 years ago

    All of your warnings should be needed, DAMHIKIJKOK. I've been banned from cooking with hot peppers in my house as well. The rubber gloves are a great idea too, I use them anytime I'm working with hot peppers, I don't like the feel of a red hot poker jammed into my eye!

    The recipes look good too. I'll give them a try as soon as I get some fresh peppers.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    The biggest mistake I ever made was when I tried to dehydrate peppers in the oven. I over cooked them and the whole family had to run from the house into the front yard! Your description of a hot poker to the eye is spot on.