Hot sauces are like toppings on an ice cream cone—there are so many varieties to choose from, and they change from region to region across the world. Most are created from a combination of pepper containing capsaicin and other ingredients such as tomatoes, cilantro, vinegar, salt and sugar. You can make your own hot sauce using dried peppers and a few other readily available ingredients.

Things You'll Need

Open the pepper, and discard the stem and seeds. Heat your peppers in a hot cast iron skillet or other heavy metal frying pan over a high flame. You don’t want to roast the pepper, just warm it a little. The heat will soften the pepper’s tissue.

Toss the hot dried peppers into your blender, and add 1 cup of hot water. You can use any combination of dried peppers, depending on your taste. Plan on using about five large or 12 small dried peppers per cup of water. Add 1 tsp. of sea salt and 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.

Cover and turn on the blender. Keep it at a medium speed for three to four minutes or until the the peppers are well-blended. The liquid should be a smooth red consistency that will coat the back of a spoon. It should have a strong pepper smell along with a trace of vinegar.

Pour the hot sauce into a bottle sterilized with boiling water. Cap and place in the refrigerator. Don’t use it while the flavor develops during the following week. It will continue to ripen as it ages. Use it on tacos, enchiladas, fried eggs or any other food.


  • Old glass liquor bottles make great containers for hot sauce.

  • If you use cilantro, tomatoes and sugar, you’re making salsa—not hot sauce—that should be eaten fresh, within one or two days.