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22 May 2015

This extra-hot hot sauce recipe is made fresh from ghost pepper chili peppers, aka the bhut jolokia, but is also has a sweeter side.

Here we go again. More homemade hot sauce! This one is not for Patty, though she’s been enjoying hotter anad hotter chili peppers. This one is more for me, using some nice and spicy ghost peppers, aka the bhut jolokia chili pepper.

Ghost Peppers top 1 Million Scoville Heat Units, which is pretty darned hot. In a good way. That is if you’re like me, who likes it crazy hot sometimes. I’m including a version of this recipe in the superhot cookbook I’m working on.

I’ve made versions of this particular hot sauce recipe with other peppers and it always turns out because of its simplicity. It is a tomato-pepper-based sauce with only 7 ingredients, pretty hard to go wrong.

It works with habanero peppers, Scotch Bonnets, larger sweet peppers, Serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, though I tend to lean toward the more Caribbean style peppers that are sweeter. It also works with dried chili peppers if those are all you have on hand. Just be sure to rehydrate them as needed.

I included a bell pepper here for substance and to balance out the ratio of peppers to tomato. You can omit the bell, but I personally would add in more ghost peppers, or you’re hot chili sauce will have more of a tomato base.

Shake this on everything! I mean everything! Everything you eat, I mean.

Don’t splash it on your neighbor or anything. Bring on the ghost pepper hot sauce!

Safety Advice

When working with very hot chili peppers peppers, including superhot chili peppers, it is important to wear gloves when handling the peppers both in raw and dried forms. The oils can get on your skin and cause burning sensations. See above.

Need help? How to Stop the Chili Pepper Burn On Your Skin.

Also, pepper fumes may get into the air if you are not working in a well ventilated room, so you may want to wear a mask and possibly eye goggles. Superhot chili peppers, truly, are called superhots for a reason.

Homemade Ghost Pepper Chili Hot Sauce Recipe - Nice and hot! Drizzle it over everything.
Homemade Ghost Pepper Chili Hot Sauce Recipe – Nice and hot! Drizzle it over everything.

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.

Check Out Some of These Other Popular Ghost Pepper 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.

Homemade Ghost Pepper Chili Hot Sauce - Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Homemade Ghost Pepper Chili Hot Sauce - Recipe

This extra-hot hot sauce recipe is made fresh from ghost pepper chili peppers, aka the bhut jolokia, but is also has a sweeter side.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 30
Calories: 8kcal


  • 6 bhut jolokia peppers ghost peppers, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper diced
  • 1 14- ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


  • Add all ingredients to a large saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer about 20-30 minutes to soften.
  • Transfer contents to a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Transfer to a container. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.


NOTE: The flavors will grow more intense the longer you wait.
Heat Factor: VERY HOT. Ghost peppers pack a GREAT amount of heat. Enjoy.


Calories: 8kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 48mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 160IU | Vitamin C: 9.7mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Homemade Ghost Pepper Chili Hot Sauce - Recipe



  1. David M. Alicea

    5 stars
    Dee Dee

    Just tried it with scotch bonnets and some cumin for a smiley flavor!! OMG?!

  2. Paula Thompson

    I have been making my hot sauce like this for a long, long time and you are right, it always turns out right!!!! It is a great sauce recipe. I have a pepper that is a cross between a scorpion and the reaper, and is it HOT!!! I have been making some with those. I have also salted them and just let them sit for a long time then made the sauce. Thanks for letting me share with you!!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Awesome, Paul! I love to hear it. Thanks for visiting.

  3. I haven’t made your recipe yet to rate it, but I think I will tonight. I’m not sure exactly how, but I need to multiple it to make a big batch to Can it. I currently have 2 gallon each of ghost pepper, habanero & cayanne. Hmmm…

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Cassie, this recipe will easily scale up. Just multiply each of the ingredients and make it in a large pot. You can start by maybe using only half the liquid and see how thick it is, then add in more liquid as you go to thin it out. Let me know how it goes for you.

  4. Vernon the Northern Chili head

    If you have no tomatoes but have tomato juice, can that work?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Vernon, yes, you can use tomato juice with this recipe. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  5. David M. Alicea

    5 stars
    OMG!! The ghost peper make this truly wicked. I just made a batch and tasted a drop from the side of the bottle and YES!! HOT!! I did tweak a bit by adding about q tsp of cumin powder and regular vinegar but tastes great so far. THANK You. GRACIAS!!

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Awesome! Making hot sauce is fun, isn’t it? I love the addition of the mango. Nicely done. Enjoy!

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Stephen, just a tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you prefer. Enjoy! Let me know how it turns out for you.

  6. Mike,

    First, this looks amazing as usual. I need to make some ASAP. I love all of your recipes and have a hard time picking what to go with because there is soooo much to chose from and it all gets me salivating and my taste buds excited to find out what they’re instore for next.

    Now my question(s):

    When you say a small onion and small bell pepper, what do you really mean? This is always one of those things that I debate and ruminate over as it can dramatically affect the outcome of any recipe. Onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, etc. come in such a range of sizes and what one person considers small is medium or even large to others that tend to use less because of particular taste. Many people compare fruits and veggies to things like a baseball, tennis ball or even and apple but even apples come in many sizes and if you don’t have a good mental picture of a baseball you could end up using 10% to 20% less or more onion which can made a dish, sauce or whatever taste completely different than intended if not make it completely inedible to some. I am starting to try to move toward using a digital kitchen scale like I did when I lived in Germany because it allows for so much more accuracy and allows for faithful reproduction of a recipe which you can then experiment with later. Most recipes that I have made or read that come from Europe specify weight in grams and milliliters for volume. This appeals to me big time because I am a scientist by trade LOL! I tend to approach a lot of cooking like a chemistry experiment. I much prefer to try my best to make a recipe as faithfully as possible the first time unless I have to make a substitution or omission because I just don’t have an ingredient.

    As always, thanks a ton for all of your work, advice and delicious recipes! You sir are royalty when it comes to the spicy heat of chili peppers.


    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Jason. I know I do specific weight measurements with recipes that require more precision, like baking or fermenting, but with general cooking, I consider it a bit more of an art. If you’re looking for a good rule of thumb, it’s good to cook recipes like this with equal amounts of onion and peppers, a 1:1 ratio. Figure a small onion should weigh about 4 ounces (113 grams), or yield about 1/2 cup chopped onion. Then you can adjust to your personal preferences. Let me know if this makes sense.

  7. Can you process and seal with either the swing top or hot sauce bottles you recommend?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Lynn, if you are going to process the sauce for longer storage, I recommend using Ball jars with the metal rings and caps that can withstand the hot water bath.

  8. Gretchen Danish

    5 stars
    I always use Carolina Reapers for this recipe, since I always have abundance of them (guess they like NJ shore heat and humidity) and I do bottle it. I have used this recipe before and it worked out great. The longer the bottles mature, the hotter it gets.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sabrina, not at all. Fermented peppers are great to enjoy on their own without the cooking part. I like to cook my ingredients down to let them mingle more, but it’s not necessary. Let me know how you like it.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this for my Chinese wife who is a real pepper head and she loved it. I added two less ghost peppers and added one Carolina Reaper. I also added a carrot for some sweetness and extra garlic.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That’s great, Drew. Glad she enjoyed it. I love the inclusion of the carrot. Definitely adds some sweetness and body. Nice!

  10. 5 stars
    Made this with a scorpion and a viper pepper with some others given to me and OMG it was soooo good! Extra garlic of course. got some more peppers and making some more

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Awesome, Jane! Super happy you loved it! Nice move on the extra garlic. Sweet!

  11. This may sound weird but do you have to wear a gas mask when making this? Is there any protective measures I should take such as opening windows?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Noah, I suggest working in a well ventilated room when working with ghost peppers and other hot chili peppers. Gloves are a good idea as well. Some people like to work with a small mask to avoid the fumes.

  12. Hi. I made this sauce yesterday and it didn’t turn out hot at all. I followed the recipe and even added an extra pepper just cause that’s what I had on hand. I saw in a previous comment that this should make about 20oz and I not knowing how much water to use I got about 48oz out of it. Is this the reason for the low heat levels? Can I do anything to it to make it hotter like making a super concentrated version and mix what I have with that and re-bottle or do I need to just chalk it up to beginners mistake and just try again later? It definitely smells like a stronger flavor from overnight but don’t get an intense heat/pepper smell. I didn’t really get that sense from the peppers when I chopped them in the first place.


    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hi, Andrew. This is super surprising, as ghost peppers are very hot. The cooking process won’t temper the heat in this recipe at all, so it makes me wonder about the ghost peppers themselves. Do you have any left? Are they hot? Definitely not a beginner mistake. I would take a look at those peppers. Let me know.

      1. Unfortunately I do not have any left. I bought them at my local produce store. There were 7 in the plastic clam shell package and the brand was Melissa’s (cannot find the peppers on their website). The peppers were multiply colors. They didn’t appear to be going bad or too immature as far as I could tell. I buy habaneros in bulk from the same store and they have always been good. I am tempted to go back and get more and try again, but taste a little bit of the peppers before hand to check for heat levels. I will be growing my own so that way I should get better product!

        The sauce has gotten little bit hotter but not by much. I eat mouthfuls at a time from the bottle and get some heat but once I put it on food I get nothing just a watered down version of a store bought mild salsa. Oh well, no big deal. Live and learn.

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Sorry to hear. You can always add in some spicy chili powder with your sauce to heat it up. I would pour it into a pan with other seasonings and let it simmer a bit, then cool and bottle it back up.

      1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

        Mary, you can remove them if you’d like, though it isn’t required. I do not remove them. Some people feel the seeds can be a bit bitter. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  13. I made this today with our chilles
    From the garden and boy oh boy it is hot! Going to use it as spice in my curries and frozen in ice cube trays

  14. 114 ounces of tomato = 3 kilograms? Is this correct data?

    REPLY: Buran, the recipe calls for 14 ounces – one 14-ounce can. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  15. Glad I found this recipe. Looking for something new to try. When making my sauces I’ve always used carrots. Would you recommend using them in this recipe?
    Again, thanks for the recipe and the replies!

    REPLY: Thanks, Bob. Yes, I use carrots sometimes. They’re great for rounding out many sauces. Go for it! — Mike from ChiliPepper Madness.

  16. I LOVE this hot sauce! I made a ton of it last summer with my abundance of Ghost Peppers! I pressure canned quite a bit as well ⯑⯑ I chopped and froze a ton as well, as I wasn’t able to keep up with them bc I had so many! I wasn’t as blessed this year bc of all the rain, and I ran out of sauce, so I made a batch with some that I froze last summer, and let me tell you, I think they got hotter! Even the sauce that I canned was seriously hot, but thats how I like it! I like it thick like Sriracha, and have also made it thinner. Just depends what you want to have with it. Regardless, it is delish, and thank you for the recipe⯑

    REPLY: Thanks, Kat! Glad you like it! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  17. Paul Muckenfuss

    I have lots of Ghost and Carolina Reepers and want to can, should I add some lemon juice like when canning tomatoe sauce? Also I found using golden raisins and a dust of cinnamon is better over sugar when making tomatoe sauce and will try it with your recipe. Thx.

    REPLY: Paul, unless you are pressure canning, yes, it is good to ensure you are canning at the proper acidity level. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  18. Thanks. I don’t know if I want to change it. My friend made a great point: the thickness is great for dabbing onto pizza. I was throwing it on Cheez-Its today. So good.Maybe I need two versions… What have I done?

  19. Just made this last night. It is a bit thick for the tapatio (small tapatio) type bottles I bought for it. It tastes great. mildly hot for now on the next day anyway. Can’t wait to see what happens next. It filled 5 bottles and if I did it again I would maybe add more water to fill 6 and thin it out a bit. It’s the first sauce I have made out of peppers at all, and these came out of my garden. I have some habaneros coming up. Will probably get them into a few bottles too. Thanks for the recipe!

    REPLY: That’s GREAT, Eric. Thanks. You can easily thin out this sauce with water or even a bit more vinegar to your tastes. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  20. How long does this last

    REPLY: Julia, 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. I have not measured the ph of this sauce, but I won’t have it around very long anyway. If you’re concerned, add more vinegar to lower the ph. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  21. Lyndon Pousson

    Have you ever made Ghost Pepper hot sauce with the green Ghosts?

    REPLY: Lyndon, yes, you can do that. It will have more of a green/unripened flavor, but should still be delicious. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  22. Just made this recipe, still didn’t have the courage to see if it turned out any good, I’ll let it sit in my fridge for a couple days, this was my first try ever at messing with peppers in my kitchen! I can safely say I messed upthe quantity of water, it’s OK though, i did not intend to use it as a dip, but rather add it to other recipes (Such as a delicious Feijoada) where the watery consistency I got won’t really matter. SInce I live alone and the recipe filled a 500ml jar, due to the amount of water, I ended up adding a bit more of Vinegar, hope I didn’t make it TOO acid.

  23. A little late for this batch but was wondering if you drain the can of tomatoes, do you chop them up and if you don’t chop them up do you put in enough water to cover the whole tomatoes?

    REPLY: Curt, no need to drain the tomatoes. Also, the tomatoes will break down a bit while cooking, and you will be processing them, so no need tochop, but you can break them apart with a wooden spoon to assist with cooking. I hope this helps! Best, and good luck! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  24. Going to make this and gift it in bottles for christmas – how much will it yield? Thanks in advance!!

    REPLY: Great, Roxanne! This should yield you roughly 20 ounces or so. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  25. Teena Smith

    I have my first batch of this on the stove now. Hopefully it will be the perfect sauce that my husband and father in law will love!

  26. Just made this recipe… I will be honest and say that this is HOT!! I found it a bit bland and added 2 more tbsp of sugar and about 1 tbsp of Himalayan rock salt and the zest and juice from one lime. Great recipe for a true HOT sauce!

  27. Love you recipe, i did use Trinidad scorpion and habaneros, it turn out super delicious for my son, I’ll probably die if i have some

  28. Can you use Carolina Reaper peppers? Yes I did grow them, and now not sure exactly what to do with the scary little things

    REPLY: Absolutely! Get the extra heat. Let me now how it turns out. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  29. I’d like to make this sauce using a bunch of ghost chili’s my father-in-law gave me. Some of the peppers are red but some are still green. Can I still use the green peppers or are they too immature? Thanks!

    REPLY: Hi, Joe, yes, you can use them. They MIGHT taste a little green, but you’ll still get flavor and heat. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  30. Im going to make this sauce today and was wondering that when you chop the ghost peppers do you leave the seeds in or take them out?

    REPLY: Julian, you can remove them if you’d like, though it isn’t necessary. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  31. Would it have a longer shelf life if put in canning jars?

    REPLY: Daniel, yes, it would keep much longer if your processed the sauce with proper preserving techniques. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  32. Just made your hot sauce. I used fresh tomatoes & ghost peppers from our garden. Wasn’t sure about amount of water. Used 2 cups but will use less next time. Excellent recipe!! Very HOT!!!

  33. Tim koeglet

    I make sauces at home primarily a jalapeño tomatillo lime, Datil pepper sauce , scorpion ghost sauce, Jamaican jerk marinade, and habanero blend with pineapple or mango. I put my jars in a water bath(canning pot ) to seal them. They keep on the shelf for up to a year.

  34. Mark Daigneault

    i make something similar with purple or red habanero peppers. i usemore garlic though. it’s the ultimate condiment!

  35. Possibly a silly question, but what would the shelf life be for this sauce recipe? Don’t want to poison my family haha!!

    REPLY: Not silly at all! I usually keep mine in the fridge around a month or so, though it can last longer because of the ingredients. I eat it pretty quickly, though. – Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  36. I went with this recipe as a base to start from. Play with the vinegar and sugar a little. Used white wine vinegar 3 tbspns and two of sugar.. aded rwo of salt and butter. Came out better than great

  37. Pasty, I make mixed pepper sauces all the time. Some blend together so nicely. Try mixing and matching not only different flavor styles, but different heat levels for a nice balance. Also, yes, some do not need to be cooked. You will get a fresher, more raw flavor, but sometimes that is the ultimate goal. They’re much quicker to make!

  38. I’ve recently started reading up on making hot sauce as my peppers are maturing in the garden and I came across this. This year, I’ve got some Naga Vipers, cayenne, mazzetti, and jalapenos. What are your thoughts on making a mixed pepper sauce? Also, I’ve come across some recipes that don’t require cooking, but just assembling via food processor. Would you know what the effects/benefits of cooking via raw? There are so many recipes to try.. 🙂

  39. Phil Veverka

    I like the simple recipe (maybe minus the sugar). We had a lot of red jalapeno’s last year and discovered making a mash with them. Really awesome!! This year we are growing Ghost peppers as well as a host of other hot peppers (serrano, lemon pepper,hot lantern, habanero, cayenne, tobasco, jalapeno) wife also found a Carlina Reaper and a Trinidad Scorpion at a local nursery. Of course we have the bells, carmans, cubanelle, pablano, new mexico, etc.. We put a serrano in bottle of Vodka to kick it up.

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