Best hot sauce

There are infinite hot sauces out there. There are the classics found on almost any restaurant tabletop. There are the boutique alternatives crafted from farm-fresh ingredients. Then there are the hot sauces with warning labels and liability waivers, sure to singe your taste buds. 

With all this variety, how does anybody decide which hot sauces are best? 

For us, the finest hot sauces have unique, complex flavors and a list of high-quality ingredients. 

We’ve curated a well-rounded list of the hot sauces we call “The Best.” They vary in heat and flavor and promise to level up any meal. Here’s our list from tamest to spiciest:

The Very Best Hot Sauces, From Mild To Blazing Hot

Secret Aardvark Drunken Garlic Black Bean SauceDR6eYTPaaOGFf4KVQBypbQz888Ji6tZBJ798pRPPm8dsu1sQaok0JwQSsAqAkDub6Ancah0NZ7duOLpLl6oU w3Ry12XXQDNMAO7GdW4QOkt 8oQRipfcEzqUh8JQWQVpmFPgOsYnEM61s X

Ingredients: Soy Sauce, Water, Yellow Onion, Apple Cider, Canola and/or Sunflower Oil, Chili Garlic Sauce, Organic Cane Sugar, Black Bean Garlic Sauce, Garlic, Water, Salt, Soybean Oil, Rice Wine, Whiskey, Orange Juice Concentrate, Ginger Root, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Herbs, Spices

Heat: 1,000 Scoville Heat Units

Where to Buy: $20.00 on Secret Aardvark

This one is for hot sauce newcomers, aspiring chiliheads, and connoisseurs with ultra-low capsaicin tolerances. 

While we wouldn’t necessarily call Secret Aardvark’s Drunken Garlic Chili Black Bean Sauce a “hot” sauce, its subtle chili notes and flavor depth make it a solid semi-spicy condiment, marinade, or pasta sauce.

Whiskey, black beans, soy sauce, and garlic render this an umami, succulent topping that works almost anywhere, especially on Asian-inspired dishes.

We recommend stir-frying this one with green beans or tossing it with chicken wings for an impressive entree or side dish. 

Melinda’s Thai Sweet Chili SauceZLpCHY0tfLQL96YmZQwU WA1KtVrC4lCz4IyMFAxBtMyia313IvP6qjydYPtvHtJQSwHXm4JjpynGXMPXqo gFYK9kxX8busFYwglcbX1p 2GfznRJ30ye8YgU4 RM

Ingredients: Sugar, Water, White Vinegar, Cayenne Pepper Mash, Garlic, Salt, Modified Starch, Garlic Flakes, Garlic Powder

Heat: 1,000 to 2,500 Scoville Heat Units

Where to Buy: $6.99 on Melinda’s

Melinda’s offers over a dozen substitutes for Sriracha. Our favorite—and the closest in resemblance to Huy Fong (the one you know and love)—is Melinda’s Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. 

This condiment strikes a perfect balance between sweetness and heat. It’s made with whole, fresh ingredients and offers an approachable spiciness, friendly for hot sauce newcomers. 

Use Melinda’s Thai Sweet Chili Sauce to level up your fried rice, as a dip for vegetable egg rolls, or to glaze slow-roasted meats. 

Cholula Original Hot Sauce

Ingredients: Water, Peppers (Arbol and Piquin), Salt, Vinegar, Garlic Powder, Spices, and Xanthan Gum

Heat: 1,000 to 3,600 Scoville Heat Units

Where to Buy: $9.99 on iHerb

We can’t create a list of our all-time favorite hot sauces without including the classic, the megastar: Cholula. 

We love Cholula for many reasons, from its history and integrity to its ingredients and iconic flavor. Of all the hot sauces you can find at diners throughout the U.S., this tends to be the spiciest and the most flavorful. 

Cholula was created over 100 years ago in Chapala, Mexico, as an ingredient for sangrita, a spicy and tangy tequila chaser. It has since evolved into the widely loved condiment it is today. 

We like to keep a 2-ounce bottle, complete with a miniature wooden lid, on hand at all times, just in case of a flavor emergency. 

Mike’s Extra Hot Honey

Ingredients: 100% Pure Honey, Real Chili Peppers, Vinegar. 

Heat: 2,000 to 3,000 Scoville Heat Units

Where to Buy: $29.99 on Mike’s Hot Honey 

Hot honey is a sauce, right? We think so, which is why we included it on this list. 

You probably know this one. If you don’t, you should. Mike’s Extra Hot Honey offers the same sweet-heat combination as their original recipe, with a significant dialing up of the spice meter.

Mike’s Extra Hot Honey is known for its slow-building heat and ultimate versatility. You can put it on anything, but we prefer to drizzle it onto pepperoni pizza and fried chicken or meld it into a homemade barbecue sauce. 

Use this sweet and spicy stuff sparingly, though. It’s extra hot. 

Acid League Saffron GoldvKW1PBdPJ313uW P1JFisieY9EkxY3dAdx9sW0HmEDBcUuvS YfD3VIoa87uKtyqEIpGJNe

Ingredients: Living Apple Cider Vinegar, Fermented Escabeche Pepper Purée, Honey, Fermented Orange Habanero Pepper Purée, Roasted Garlic Purée, Meyer Lemon Concentrate, Sea Salt, Turmeric, White Pepper, Spanish Saffron 

Heat: 7,000 Scoville Heat Units

Where to Buy: $18.00 on Acid League

Acid League appeals to hipper gastronomes via trendy marketing and ultra-cool products. Whether you’re into stylish condiments or not, we love Acid League because they leverage fermentation to create gut-friendly, creative products. 

Acid League’s Saffron Gold’s combination of tangy heat from fermented habanero and escabeche peppers, depth from roasted garlic, and sweetness from honey make this a complex and unique hot sauce. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, Saffron is an antioxidant-rich, PMS-relieving, seizure-treating, cancer-preventing super ingredient. [1] Its inclusion in this golden condiment adds a healthy boost. 

Use it on fish tacos, calamari, or roasted chicken to raise your cooking to a new standard. 

Mama Teav’s Hot Garlic Chili Crisp

Ingredients: Garlic, Sun-Dried Cambodian Chilis, Onion Powder, Mushroom Powder, Salt, Celery Salt, Salute Santé Grapeseed Oil T9Ndv5XXtFwJTBr6JYu1HXxDbi2xvWUITNJJNzVvw1S5ELDazkgBvvwsVDByBKUhIJuDIz3okEPNlKiZK666YywFxgoqJBT3t0S

Heat: 10,000 to 20,000 Scoville Heat Units

Where to Buy: $16.00 on Larderie

We’re including chili crisp in this article because it is scrumptious, and we’re so grateful it exists. Especially when it’s remarkably spicy and loaded with umami, just like Mama Teav’s Original Hot Garlic recipe.

Mama Teav’s is run by a brother-sister duo, Christina and Anthony Teav. They founded the company to honor their mother’s passion for cooking and Cambodian heritage. 

The Original Hot Garlic recipe is non-GMO, sugar-free, soy-free, sesame-free, and made with no artificial ingredients. The only mistake you could make here is not buying the largest jar possible.  

Shaquanda’s West Indian Curry Hot SaucePJzWJZ P4AoGanI3wmoas789 PuACfgk ajBvs9Mk0Tm0TbzhAEW nD5pMn70wT4krhqkMpH97ybS0ICXBX5wONiqR3inLhejepTPVAPmozLY9H7DmvvpXQpAtEFWONKSUN14aXj4wcBzbXu

Ingredients: Onion, Water, Vinegar, Scotch Bonnet Chili Pepper, Shaquanda’s Curry Powder Blend (Turmeric, Spices, Mustard Seed, Dried Ginger, Cayenne Pepper, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Allspice, Bay Leaf, Dried Thyme), Sugar, Salt 

Heat: 29,000 to 70,000 Scoville Heat Units

Where to Buy: $10.00 on Heatonist

When a hot sauce melds the sophistication of Caribbean curries with the heat of Scotch Bonnet peppers, you can sign us up as number one fans. 

Shaquanda’s West Indian Curry Hot Sauce does just that. This Brooklyn-based hot sauce company is famous for its Caribbean-inspired condiments, each more delicious than the previous. 

This particular blend leverages warming spices like cinnamon and allspice in combination with the fruity, mind-blowing heat of Scotch Bonnet peppers. 

The curried flavor is front and center, making it a perfect sauce for an end-of-summer BBQ or an enhancement to cozy winter stews. 

Cry Baby Craig’s Habanero & Garlic Hot Sauce

Ingredients: Distilled Vinegar, Habanero Peppers, Water, Sugar, Garlic, Spices, Pepper, XanthumLFZFVlqCUkpD2zBPvy2Mxb9O NSEIqVVT286Yhfz9c3eNJuTIwgwy5NlO6kUw6OAuPGfwEuwH3W3Itbo9q8ZVXUalt7l1uZbRPE

Heat: 100,000 Scoville Heat Units

Where to Buy: $8.00 on Corazon

Cry Baby Craig’s is a small-production hot sauce maker out of Faribault, Minnesota. We’ve heard their sauce described as a “less astringent, artisan Tabasco,” and we’re here for it. 

Yet another habanero-centric hot sauce on our favorites list, we love this one because it’s a simple recipe with farm fresh, organic ingredients that delivers a fresh, tangy habanero-induced heat. 

Despite its name, Cry Baby Craig’s Habanero & Garlic Hot Sauce delivers a medium heat and is approachable for intermediate chiliheads.

We put this on pizza, avocado toast, and breakfast burritos for ultimate impact. 

O’brothers Organics Habanero Pepper Sauce ​​7iDWMRfvQxAixfn522KORgcSY2ZoQnpVjVtDaPXoRORKJK3J897swwLzH4SnV Jv DVKFKWcyWXukkAWGkTH T KLVTBMzw5H78rZHBWFeqNgHtWl27ryI8hsMEoCl5pljagbkj ql1Jkg8Y

​​Ingredients: Organic Red Jalapeño Peppers, Organic Red Habanero Peppers, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Salt, Organic Vinegar

Heat: 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units

Where to Buy: $5.25 on obrothersorganics.com

O’brothers Organics is celebrated for its commitment to simple, organic ingredients. They use the highest quality peppers to deliver unforgettable hot sauces. 

Their Habanero hot sauce is sourced and bottled directly from partner farmers in México. They swear by traceability, quality, and tradition. All O’brothers products are certified organic, plant-based, and gluten-free. 

With a rating of 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville heat units, this hot sauce is neither for the faint of heart nor for the hot sauce novice. 

We like to splash O’brothers Organics Habanero Pepper Sauce onto our breakfast tacos and mix it into homemade BBQ sauces for added heat. It’s scalding and very delicious. 

Elijah’s Xtreme Reaper Hot SauceykjT77qFxzTS3qVlbWlc RxzQ89j897N9mhpJsjuyaA9HV6WuNgGRSL5NqBup2NihpwVMiet7NFZyCDSteVt5KVtbwDXHVsnu3AWIPevNUb4zZ3ACovaQ34SycrBnby

Ingredients: Black Cherries, Brown Sugar, Tomato Paste, Cranberry Sauce, Carolina Reaper Peppers, Kentucky Bourbon, Onion, Vinegar, Water, Vanilla Extract, Sea Salt

Heat: 350,000 Scoville Heat Units

Where to Buy: $11.99 on Elijah’s Xtreme

This one is for the extreme chiliheads, capsaicin fanatics, and rehearsed hot sauce lovers. Any condiments concocted with Carolina Reaper (the world’s hottest pepper) are for the most daring of diners. 

Elijah’s Xtreme Reaper Hot Sauce made it onto our list because of its creatively sweet, painfully spicy, and boozy recipe. Packed with black cherries, cranberries, and Kentucky bourbon, this hot sauce melds complex flavor combinations perfectly. 

It’s a 15-time award-winning Carolina Reaper hot sauce for a reason. We put it on pulled pork sandwiches and sugared doughnuts. Eat it at your own risk. 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to hot sauce, we don’t discriminate. We love the mild, black bean-packed options as much as the tear-jerking scorchers. Our favorite hot sauces, the ones we call “The Best,” span the multifaceted hot sauce universe, and we’re happy to have them listed here for you. We wish you delight—and luck—as you try them all. 

Source

[1] “How Saffron Could Benefit Your Health.” Cleveland Clinic, 2022

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