Caribbean hot sauce

Commonly known as pepper sauce, Caribbean hot sauce is made from peppers, salt, vinegar and mustard. With chili peppers originating from Mexico, they soon found their way to the Caribbean and became a popular condiment on the islands.

The versatility of Caribbean hot sauce has meant that it’s become a staple food in most households. This has allowed it to have a huge impact on Caribbean cuisine as it can spice up classic curries, stews and meats to add flavor to all dishes.

History of Caribbean Hot Sauce

The invention of hot sauce started in Mexico in 7000 BC when Aztecs fancied a kick to their food. They decided to mix chili peppers and water to create an extremely hot paste [1]. Since then, the production of hot sauce has only increased.

One of the Caribbean’s most famous hot sauces is jerk sauce. This is made from Scotch bonnet peppers, nutmeg, soy sauce, tasty herbs and seasonings. Jerk sauce roots go back to seventeenth century Jamaica, when a group of slaves escaped to the Jamaican mountains and used spices and herbs to marinate their meats [2].

Since then, Caribbean hot sauce hasn’t stopped evolving. Over time, different variations have appeared, where they’ve included a wider range of herbs, spices and mustards. Favorite brands have developed over the years such as Lottie’s Bajun-Cajun Hot Pepper Sauce and The Spicy Shark, which creates scotch bonnet sauces.

It’s now become a commercialized product, with Caribbean hot sauces sold all over the world. With a huge variation of sauces available it means there’s something to suit everyone’s taste buds. This has allowed the sauces to become popular across North America, Europe and even as far as Australia.

Ingredients and Flavors of Caribbean Style Hot Sauce

The famous Caribbean Pepper Sauce has a sweet taste to it while also being packed full of heat. The sweetness comes from tropical fruits such as pineapples that are included in the sauce and the heat comes from Habanero peppers [3].

Along with the traditional Caribbean Pepper Sauce, there are also other popular sauces such as a garlic pepper sauce, a green pepper sauce and a Trinidadian pepper sauce. The garlic pepper sauce is like Asian hot sauces due to it being created from Thai chili peppers and featuring a large amount of garlic. The green pepper sauce is created from jalapeno peppers, cilantro and lime, giving it a herby flavor. The Trinidadian sauce is on the hotter end. It’s made from scotch bonnet peppers and yellow mustard and is served with most jerk dishes. The Trinidadian sauce is the hottest out of all the above, making it perfect if you want to add some fire to your meal.

Common ingredients that you’ll find in Caribbean hot sauces include mustard, tropical fruits such as mango and pineapple, lime juice and cilantro. These ingredients work to give the sauces different flavorings. The mustard will add a tang, the fruit will add a sweet taste, lime will add notes of citrus and cilantro will add seasoning.

Popular Caribbean Hot Sauce Brands

Alvin’s Hot Sauce

After receiving numerous awards, you know that this is going to be a delicious sauce and one of the best.

It’s been created with a blend of scotch bonnet peppers, red peppers, and yellow peppers. The sauce has been turned into a paste with water, vinegar and additional herbs to make it more flavorsome. Another key ingredient is papaya, which has given the sauce its unique taste [4].

Llewellyn’s Mango Pepper Sauce

Even though this sauce doesn’t originate from the Caribbean, it still features traditional flavors that give it a kick. The sauce started in the U.K., founded by Llewellyn Clarke, who used to be a Chef in the Ivy restaurant in London. He decided to create a range of hot sauces and they were met with instant popularity.

This hot sauce also has a sweet flavor to it thanks to its mango base. Other key ingredients include ginger, garlic and hot peppers to add spice. The hot sauce can be used with a marinade, as well as drizzled over meats and rice.

Original Pickapeppa Sauce

This sauce comes from a Jamaican family recipe dating back to 1921. It’s a mixture of Jamaican peppers, tomatoes, onions, raisins, orange peel and a variety of spices. As the sauce consists of all-natural ingredients, it creates a fresh taste, making it one of the best Caribbean hot sauce brands [5].

You can serve it with hamburgers, jerk chicken or even with eggs.

Caribbean Hot Sauce Recipe

If you feel like being creative then you can make your own Caribbean hot sauce. The ingredients needed include:

  • 6 cups of Scotch bonnet peppers
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • ½ cup of chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lime, juiced

To start with, you should wash the peppers and then chop off the stems. Next, roughly chop up the peppers and garlic. You’ll then need to either add them to a food processor or grinder, along with the cilantro and blend or grind until you’re happy with the consistency.

The next step is to mix the vinegar, salt and lime into the mixture and then pour it into a jar. You can leave the sauce out on the side or store it in the fridge for a longer shelf life [6].

Pairing Caribbean Hot Sauce with Food

You may be wondering what the best food options are to pair your Caribbean hot sauce with, but it can go with just about any food. It’s commonly drizzled over meats such as chicken, especially jerk. You can also pair it with a hamburger to give it a kick or use it as a condiment to pair with fries or chips.

Many people also enjoy cooking with Caribbean hot sauce. It can give dishes such as a curry an extra kick or it can be used as a marinade to add flavor to meats before cooking. If you decide to use it while cooking, it may be best to add a little at a time as Caribbean hot sauce can be hot, and you don’t want to add too much and ruin your food.

Caribbean hot sauces come with many qualities. They have a tropical, spicy taste that can liven up any type of food, whether that’s plain chicken or a bowl of rice. They have a fresh taste and a long shelf life, making the sauces easy to store at home. With simple ingredients, you can even create your own hot sauce. So, why not add some tropical heat to your dishes and try a Caribbean hot sauce?


Side Chef. “Traditional Caribbean Pepper Sauce.” Side Chef.

[1] Whalebone. “The History of Hot Sauce.” Whalebone.

[2] Jimmie’s Jerk Chicken. “The History of Traditional Jamaican Jerk Seasoning.” Jimmie’s Jerk Chicken.

[3] Hotsauces. “6 Of the Greatest Pepper Sauce Recipes of All Time.” Hotsauces.

[4] Alvin’s Hot Sauce. “Top 10 Caribbean Hot Sauces You Can Buy Online.” Alvin’s Hot Sauce, 2021.

[5] Bareuther, C. “7 Top Caribbean Hot Sauces.” All At Sea, 2019.

[6] Side Chef. “Traditional Caribbean Pepper Sauce.” Side Chef.

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