Habanero Hot Sauce

VegetarianOne Pan

habanero sauce.jpg

Last week I promised you a recipe for habanero hot sauce, but I ended up getting side-tracked by a few exciting (and top-secret) projects and didn’t have time to post it. But here you go! I made this sauce to go with the tamales that we had a few nights ago, but I’ve also used it in a few different ways since. It’s a great way to jazz up a frozen burrito, and its also pairs nicely with eggs. I’m planning to use it later this week in a squash hash as well. You might want to scale down the recipe a little – that’s a 12-ounce bottle you see up there – but this is a really nice condiment to keep around.

Remember a while back, when I made Dosas, I wrote about how my habanero plants were producing faster than I could use them? Well, since then they’ve really taken off! This recipe used about half the habs shown below… and in the week since I made it, my stock has been replenished and then some. We actually have a theory that they cross pollinated with the jalapenos that I had planted – we got about 4 jalapenos early in the season and each was bright red and fire-hot inside. Since then, no more jalapenos but more habaneros than I know what to do with. If you know of any recipes that use lots of these little guys, please pass them along. And if you want a few let me know and I’ll mail you some. Seriously.

a bounty of habeneros.jpg

Anyway back to the sauce. I was looking for a way to use up some of these peppers, when Rick Bayless tweeted a recipe for habanero hot sauce. I immediately knew that I’d have to try it.

I have to warn you – this sauce is HOT. A few drops are all you need to get a nice, spicy flavor without killing your tastebuds. I’ve found that for me, about 4 drops is enough to flavor one plate to the point of being spicy without being overkill. More than that and you might feel like your mouth is on fire. (I was actually thinking of calling this “fire sauce” but that sounds too much like Taco Bell and ruins it. This is way better than anything you’d ever get at Taco Bell.) And “death sauce” sounded too extreme. I don’t want t scare you all away!

I was actually a little scared of this before I tried my first taste. I made the mistake of taking a big, deep smell while the hot mixture was still in my food processor. BAD IDEA. I immediately started coughing and sneezing from the heat. Once it cool down the flavors mellow but you’ll still want to be cautious until you learn how much you can handle.

I’m not an expert on food safety but from what I could find by googling, this should keep for at least 6 months in the refrigerator. It does separate a little when it sits though, so you’ll want to give it a good shake before using it.

roasted habs.jpg

Habanero Hot Sauce

Habanero Hot Sauce


  • 8 habanero peppers*
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 5 Tbs water
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat the broiler. Place hot peppers and garlic on a piece of tinfoil. Broil for about 5 minutes, or until the peppers begin to char.
  2. Transfer peppers, garlic, and all remaining ingredients to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Allow to cool completely before use.
  3. *I left the pepper seeds in my sauce. For a milder - but still very spicy - version, you can remove and discard the pepper seeds before roasting.

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By on October 13th, 2009

About Lauren

Hi, I'm Lauren! I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook.

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12 thoughts on “Habanero Hot Sauce”

  1. Is the habanero hot sauce just as hot without the seeds? I saw where the seeds can make the sauce bitter.

  2. I just want to make sure I did it correct, when I made it it made only maybe a 1/4 cup or less, is this correct?

    • I added more water to make it come out of a squeeze bottle more easily as well as a couple of tablespoons of white distilled vinegar to make it more shelf stable. Both these combined will add volume to you sauce. Only add water to the point of getting the consistency you want.

  3. Kelly- I did know you’re going! Can’t wait to meet you!
    Chili- I thought of you when I posted this – glad you like it! I didn’t taste any bitterness from the seeds in mine, but I also don’t use very much. Might be something to keep in mind for next time though. Thanks!
    Reeni- I’ve been adding it to pretty much everything lately! It’s wonderful.

  4. What a tasty condiment to have on hand. I can think of lots of things to add this to!

  5. You know I like this. I find that habaneros are the easiest hot pepper to cook with because the heat level is fairly predictable and controlable. The level of piquant tends to fluctuate more in other peppers depending on when you use them in the life cycle from harvest to decay.

    I also like to discard the seeds not because of the extra heat they add but because they can impart just a hint of bitterness.

    Have a good time at the festival!

  6. YES! I ♥ habanero and all things spicy. This sounds delicious. Yet another awesome and creative recipe from you. Thanks so much!

  7. I’ve bookmarked your recipe and will search for habaneros at the green market this weekend. I plan to make a bottle of this for my son-in-law and schlep it to him when we visit at Thanksgiving. Congratulations regarding the Foodbuzz Festival. I just read the list of activities and it sounds wonderful.


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