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6 April 2015

A spicy hot sauce recipe made with fiery roasted habanero peppers and plenty of garlic, ideal for dousing many of your favorite foods.

While writing and developing new recipes for my new “superhots” cookbook, I worked on upgrading an older garlic-based hot sauce of mine, tweaking it, adding some new flavors, really just developing it a bit more to my own personal preferences.

I used yellow scorpion peppers and wow, talk about heat. Scorpion peppers reach over one million Scoville Heat Units and they pack that famous “scorpion sting,” a fiery blast that instantly bites into your tongue and holds on.

They’re perfect for a hot sauce, really, though admittedly, the audience is somewhat limited for the superhots. Still, I had to write the book and hope to see it available soon. I will certainly make an announcement!

I wanted to do a slightly milder version that others could enjoy. I chose the habanero pepper. Habanero peppers are no slouch. These babies pack around 300,000 SHU, and that is still plenty hot enough for some, even too hot for many, though it is somewhat tamped down in this recipe.

You will certainly get the heat and fruity habanero flavor, but the garlic is quite pronounced and somewhat vinegary with nice citrus tones. I was very happy with both versions. This is more of an everyday sauce, something you can splash on just about anything that needs a bit of moisture and would benefit from some garlic flavors, as well as heat.

For me, everything needs a little bit of heat and zestiness.

I would encourage my superhot loving readers to try this with scorpion peppers. 7-Pot chili peppers would be nice as well, with their gentler blooming heat that builds to a powerful crescendo, though habaneros are still plenty good here, and they’re much easier to find.

We will be growing several superhot varieties again this year and I looking forward to several more superhot recipes.

Garlic-Habanero Hot Sauce

Frequently Asked Hot Sauce Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions I get on other sauces:

How long will this sauce keep?

It should keep a few months easily in the fridge, or even longer. It’s all about the acidity. To be technical, target level ph for shelf stable foods is below 4.6 ph, but should probably be lower for home cooks, around 4.0 or so, to account for errors. If you’re concerned, add more vinegar to lower the ph. Sauces made with fermented chili peppers will last even longer.

The best ph meters that I recommend are from Thermoworks. Get yourself a ph meter from Thermoworks today. I am a happy affiliate.

Where’d you get that sauce bottle?

I find them locally sometimes, but I also order through Amazon. Here is a link to some bottles I like (affiliate link, my friends!): Swing Top Glass Bottles, 8.5 Ounce – Set of 4. If you like the smaller bottles that most hot sauce makers use, here’s another link: Hot Sauce Bottles, 5 Oz – 24 Pack.

Can I process this hot sauce for longer storage?

Absolutely. Just be sure to use proper canning/jarring safety procedures.

What should I do with hot sauce?

Aside from drizzling it over anything you please, here’s a post I did about How to Cook with Hot Sauce. As if you need even MORE reasons to eat hot sauce. LOL. I hope you find it helpful!

Check out more Hot Sauce Recipes or learn more about How to Make Hot Sauce.

Try These Other Popular Habanero Hot Sauce Recipes

If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

4.85 from 26 votes
Garlic-Habanero Hot Sauce Recipe
Garlic-Habanero Hot Sauce - Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
55 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
A spicy hot sauce recipe made with fiery roasted habanero peppers and plenty of garlic, ideal for dousing many of your favorite foods.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: habanero, hot sauce
Servings: 64
Calories: 13 kcal
  • 6-8 habanero peppers stemmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 20 garlic cloves peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  • 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Set peppers on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  3. Roast in the oven 15-20 minutes or until soft and skins begin to blister.
  4. Heat a large pot to medium heat and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer about 20 minutes, or until onion and garlic soften.
  5. Add roasted peppers and simmer about 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Alternatively, use an immersion blender and puree directly in the pot.
  7. Simmer another 5-10 minutes.
  8. Serve, or strain into sterilized bottles until ready to use.
Recipe Notes

Should keep about a month.

Heat Factor: Hot.

Try Yellow Scorpion peppers for this recipe if you're looking for some REAL heat.

Nutrition Facts
Garlic-Habanero Hot Sauce - Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 13 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 40mg2%
Potassium 14mg0%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 10IU0%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 4mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



  1. Christian Rapallo

    I just discovered this recipe, when I made it the sauce came out very thin and very acidic, any idea why?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Christian, this is definitely a thinner hot sauce, and there is a lot of vinegar in it, which is acidic. You can adjust the recipe to use half of the liquid or even less. Much depends on your taste preferences and preferred thickness. Here is one way to adjust – proceed with the recipe as-is, but when it comes time to simmer in the pot, add only 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup vinegar. Simmer, then puree the mixture. Do not strain. Test it for thickness. Is it too thick? Add in more liquid (water or vinegar), then process until you achieve your desired thickness. You can also save what you made and use that to make several other thicker batches. Just use it in place of the vinegar for the recipe, but only use a portion. Please let me know if this helps.

  2. 5 stars
    I halved the recipe since I only had three sauce bottles left and it came out really good. The last few sauces i made were to thick so i strained this one and kept the pulp for a spice, how would i go about drying that? I have a nesco fd-1040. Wouldnt just putting it on one of the trays just make the stuff fall through?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Tim! For dehydrating the pulp, yes, you can use your Nesco, but the unit should have come with some solid tray liners where you can spread out the pulp so it doesn’t slip through the grating. You can order those if you don’t have any. Just freeze the pulp until they come in. Or simply use parchment paper. Let me know how it turns out for you.

      1. Mine did come with those trays didn’t even realize I could just use those. Going to load it up right now, thank you!

  3. Hi, Just wondering about roasting the garlic with the chillies, instead of just boiling them, to get better flavour from the garlic. Any reason not to do this?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      David, absolutely, you can roast the garlic with the peppers. I LOVE roasted garlic. I do that with a number of my hot sauce recipes. Give it a go and let me know how it turns out for you.

      1. 5 stars
        great recipe and so much fun to make…how can you tell when the hot sauce goes bad? will it taste weird? smell weird? look weird? thanks!!

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Sharon, usually you’ll notice a bad smell, or you might see infected growth on it. YUCK.

  4. I would like to add some fruit to this recipe. any suggestions? I am thinking pineapple?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Mango and/or pineapple pair very nicely with habanero. If you use it, you MIGHT want to dial back or skip the garlic, if you’re not a fan of that combination. I think it would be great. Let me know how it turns out for you.

      1. On reflection, what about reducing the vinegar by 1 cup given that pineapple is quite acidic? I just need to use up most of this batch before the pineapple version. I really like it as it is but I love to experiment. 😉

  5. 4 stars
    I like the sauce but when i made it i feel its lacking something. I have some star fruit that i was thinking of adding in. Not a lot just a bit to bring out the flavors a bit more. Any ideas?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      Shank, feel free to experiment with flavors you enjoy. Personally, I’m not sure about the combination of garlic and star fruit, but it’s worth experimenting. Most of my hot sauce recipes here are meant to be adjustable. Check out some of my other Hot Sauce Recipes for other flavor combos. Good luck on the next batch!

  6. Hi, I’m Mike was wondering how much does this recipe make want to make I have 200 habaneros out of 3 plants and still growing more

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Mike, this should make you a good 5-6 cups, depending on how much moisture evaporates during simmering, and whether or not you strain. It’s a very thin sauce. Let me know how it turns out for you. You can very easily add in more habanero peppers for a more pronounced habanero pepper flavor. Instead of 5-6 habaneros for the recipe, try using 20 and see how it turns out. I think that would be GREAT.

      1. 5 stars
        Michael making this tomorrow will let you know. This definitely sounds good to add to chili and other foods thanks again

          1. 5 stars
            Hey Michael,
            Made it this morning I changed 2 things. I used 1 tsp of ground cayenne instead of cumin. And instead of 1/2 cup of lime juice I added a half cup of apple cider vinegar as substitute. Used 10 habaneros instead of the 20 to make sure would like it. Absolutely loved it next batch being made Sunday but would like to thicken it up. Thanks for the responses and recipe love it ordered a case on 10oz bottles this morning

          2. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

            Sure thing, Mike! Glad you love it, and super glad to help! Enjoy your hot sauce! Have a good one.

  7. I’m going to make this later can I use cider vinegar instead and how much honey do you use instead of sugar? Thanks I can’t wait to get on the go!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Tony, yes, you can use cider vinegar, or pretty much any other vinegar to your choice. I would use a tablespoon of honey, though you could easily add 2 or 3 tablespoons, again to your preference. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  8. 4 stars
    Do you have to strain the sauce or can you leave the “chunks” in the sauce?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Patrick, you can skip the straining step and keep this sauce thicker, no problem. I do that all the time. It’s more of a personal preference and will depend on how you want to use it. No issues!

  9. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe! I made the sauce last night following the recipe exactly. It’s amazing and my husband is going crazy for it. I also canned four jars as gifts for family. I can’t wait to make more!

  10. 5 stars
    I made this with red chili peppers and jalepenos from my garden. I put about 6 of them on the pan to roast then followed the directions listed above. The only difference is I used half of everything – mainly b/c I didn’t have enough vinegar. I’m glad I halved it b/c it still made a lot! Plus I added some of my own spices – Adobo and Cajun from Penzey’s. This sauce turned out amazing. It’s hot. But not tooo hot and the flavor is great. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    REPLY: That’s great, Mandy! Thanks for sharing. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  11. Hi there.
    Nice sauce but mine keeps splitting in the jar. Any tips for solving this problem?

    REPLY: Kerrin, this is common with homemade sauces that use a lot of vinegar. You can use less vinegar, or just shake up the bottle before using. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  12. Is this sauce supposed to be runny?I was wanting a thicker sauce .

    REPLY: Mike, yes, this is a thinner sauce. You can easily thicken it up with more peppers or by adding other ingredients, like tomato or carrot. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  13. i have frozen habanero’s can i use them?

    REPLY: James, yes you can. Just be sure to thhaw them completely first. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  14. It sounds great, except for the sugar. I never understand why people feel the need to add sugar to everything.
    After all, it’s a hot sauce, not a sweet sauce.

    REPLY: It’s very easy to omit the sugar. I enjoy just a touch and use honey often. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  15. 5 stars
    This is an awesome recipe! I’ve made it twice and both times I roasted the peppers in the oven whole. Am I doing this right or should I slice the peppers open before roasting them in the oven?

    REPLY: Greg, you can roast them that way, no problem. I like to slice them in half and roast them skin sides up. Works great! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  16. 5 stars
    Yummy! It is perfect with the habaneros so I made an even hotter one with ghost peppers. Thank you so much this it’s going to be a great Christmas present. It makes 6 8oz wine bottles full. Once again I wanted to thank you so much.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      That’s awesome, Grant! Glad you enjoyed it. I love that you made a ghost pepper version. Nice.

  17. How much does this make? I want to make sure I have enough bottles sterilized and ready to fill.

    REPLY: Steve, you’ll get 5 cups or so. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  18. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe. Yummy!!!!! I just finished making a batch. Can’t wait to eat dinner now!!!!!!

  19. Where do you buy your bottles from?

    REPLY: Pat, I get them from Amazon. I added a link (affiliate) to the post above. Let me know if they work for you. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  20. Is it possible to can this?

    REPLY: Katy, to safely can foods, make sure the ph level is 4.6 or lower, and follow safe canning procedures, like pressure canning. This recipe uses a lot of vinegar, so it should be fine to can, though be sure to measure. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness

  21. Potassium sorbate solution using a 1 teaspoon for 1 quart liquid will keep for months, if refrigerated.

  22. Is there any way to can this sauce for a longer shelf life?

    REPLY: Amber, there is a lot of vinegar in this recipe, so it should keep quite a while. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  23. How about with ghost peppers? They have that nice blooming heat as well. I think I’ll try it and let you all know.

  24. 5 stars
    I made a hot sauce usingyour older recipe. I used a few varieties of ‘hot’ chillies. I really love it, use it on just about everything.
    Will make this one next. Thanks guys.

  25. 5 stars
    That recipe sounds delicious! I’m definitely going to replace habanero with Carolina Reaper though 🙂

    When is this “superhots” cookbook coming out??

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