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18 August 2020

Learn how to make classic Louisiana style hot sauce at home, either with fresh or fermented chili peppers. It’s so easy.

There are many Louisiana hot sauces on the market. You probably have your favorite brand. There are numerous artisan blends from smaller brand hot sauce makers, along with the big names like Texas Pete’s, Crystal Hot Sauce, Valentina, Melinda’s, Frank’s, and the biggest name of all when it comes to Louisiana Hot SauceTabasco.

You can usually find them in grocery stores.

If you’ve dabbed the original Tabasco onto your food, you’ve tasted Louisiana hot sauce. It’s a gorgeous thing really, simplicity in its finest form, deliciousness delivered with only 3 ingredients – Chili Peppers, Vinegar, and Salt.

With those 3 simple ingredients, however, there are numerous variations, as you’ve most likely tasted.

  • What types of chili peppers will you use?
  • What type of vinegar?
  • How much salt?
  • What is your ratio of these 3 ingredients?
  • How about a blend of peppers?
  • Using more than one vinegar?
  • What if we introduce other ingredients?

This is where your creativity comes into play, as well as your taste buds. Original Louisiana brand hot sauce used cayenne peppers, though Tabasco uses tabasco peppers, from which it coined its moniker.

You are free to use any pepper you’d like, though red peppers are ideal to retain the enticing red color. Consider red jalapeno peppers or red serrano peppers, which I can tell you from personal experience make EXCELLENT Louisiana hot sauce.

Let’s talk about the biggest factors that will affect the outcome of your Louisiana hot sauce.

Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce - Recipe

Which Vinegar Should I Use?

This is the question with ANY hot sauce, as there are many choices, and each will compliment your chili pepper choice in different ways. Most common is Distilled White Vinegar, which is inexpensive and strong in flavor.

Use this if you are seeking to mimic the flavors of the larger commercial brands. White Wine Vinegar is a bit more mellow, and Rice Vinegar even more so, with a touch more sweetness.

Red Wine Vinegar is made from fermented red wine, which will introduce a slightly fruity flavor to your sauce.

Apple Cider Vinegar is quite fruity, and preferred for when you’re seeking a fruity sweetness. Malt Vinegar has a strong, distinctive flavor from its barley ale beginnings, and well worth experimentation.

There are others to consider, such as balsamic vinegar, coconut vinegar and more. Experiment to your personal tastes.

Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce - Recipe

What Chili Peppers Should I Use for Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce?

As mentioned, traditional peppers include cayenne, tabasco, and red jalapeno peppers, though this style recipe can be made with ANY chili pepper. Carefully selected long cayenne peppers are great.

I have made Louisiana Hot Sauce from superhots and was quite happy with the results. Talk about heat!

Just consider that your end flavor and color will be affected by your chili pepper choices.

Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce - Recipe

To Ferment or Not to Ferment for Making Louisiana Hot Sauce

This is a big factor. Original Louisiana Hot Sauce is made with fermented peppers. Tabasco is famous for this. They ferment their peppers in oak barrels for up to 3 years before mixing the resulting mash with vinegar and salt. I have made Louisiana Hot Sauce with both fermented and fresh chili peppers and can tell you there is a noticeable difference in the final flavor.

Louisiana Hot Sauce made from fermented peppers is mellower and has more fully developed flavor.

That said, Louisiana Hot Sauce made from fresh peppers has a bit more bite to it, and doesn’t take nearly as long to make. I encourage you to make it both ways and see which way you prefer.

Because of this, I am including both ways for you to make simple Louisiana Hot Sauce, with fermented peppers and fresh peppers.

Red Serrano Hot Sauce in a small bowl, surrounded by red serrano peppers

How to Make Fermented Louisiana Style Hot Sauce – the Recipe Method

Ingredients Needed

  • 1 pound red chili peppers (use cayenne, tabasco, red jalapeno or others), chopped
  • 1 quart unchlorinated water 
  • 3 tablespoons salt 
  • ½-1 cup white wine vinegar to your preference

The Method

First, ferment the chili peppers. Chop the peppers then pack them into a jar, leaving at least 1 inch of head space. The peppers may rise a bit when fermenting.

Next, mix 1 quart unchlorinated water with 3 tablespoons sea salt. Pour just enough brine over the peppers to cover them, pressing them down a bit as you go. It is important to keep the peppers covered with brine to avoid spoilage. Check this daily.

Screw on the lid and set the jar away from direct sunlight to ferment for at least 1 week. Ideal temperatures are between 55-75 degrees F. The most active fermentation period is between 1-2 weeks, so be sure to monitor it during this time. “Burp” the jars often by unscrewing the lid a bit to let out some of the accumulating gases. Or, use an airlock or membrane for easier fermenting. See our page, “How to Make Fermented Pepper Mash”, for further instruction.

After 1-2 weeks, the fermenting activity will diminish and the brine will turn cloudy and taste acidic.

Pour the fermented peppers, including brine, into a pot along with the vinegar. Bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can strain out the fermented peppers and discard the brine, then boil the peppers with 1 cup vinegar and 1/2-1 teaspoon salt. Some people prefer to use the brine.

Cool slightly then add to a food processor and process until smooth.

Strain the mixture to remove the solids. Pour into hot sauce bottles and enjoy.

How to Make Non-Fermented Louisiana Style Hot Sauce – the Recipe Method (with fresh peppers only)

Ingredients Needed

  • 1 pound red chili peppers (use cayenne, tabasco, red jalapeno or others), chopped
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar to your preference

The Method

Add the chili peppers, 1 cup vinegar and 1/2-1 teaspoon salt to a pot and bring to a quick boil. Be sure you are only using 1 teaspoon of salt.

Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to soften everything up.

Cool slightly then add to a food processor and process until smooth. If it is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time and process until smooth.

Strain the mixture to remove the solids. Pour into hot sauce bottles and enjoy.

Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce - Recipe

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. Target level ph for shelf stable foods is below 4.6 ph, but should probably be lower for home cooks, around 3.5 or so, to account for errors. If you’re concerned, add more vinegar to lower the ph. 

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.

Check out These Related Recipes:

You can also mix it with butter to make a great wing sauce. See my Homemade Buffalo Sauce recipe.

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

Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce - Recipe

If you try this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #ChiliPepperMadness on Instagram so we can take a look. I always love to see all of your spicy inspirations. Thanks! — Mike H.

Print Recipe
5 from 14 votes

Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce Recipe (fermented and non fermented)

Learn how to make classic Louisiana style hot sauce at home, with fermented chili peppers. It’s so easy.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Fermenting Time7 d
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili peppers, hot sauce
Servings: 20
Calories: 8kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound red chili peppers chopped (use cayenne, tabasco, red jalapeno or others)
  • 1 quart unchlorinated water (for fermented version only)
  • 3 tablespoons salt (for the non-fermented version, use only 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to your preference)
  • ½-1 cup white wine vinegar to your preference

Instructions

  • FOR THE FERMENTED VERSION
  • First, ferment the chili peppers. Chop the peppers then pack them into a jar, leaving at least 1 inch of head space. The peppers may rise a bit when fermenting.
  • Next, mix 1 quart unchlorinated water with 3 tablespoons sea salt. Pour just enough brine over the peppers to cover them, pressing them down a bit as you go. It is important to keep the peppers covered with brine to avoid spoilage. Check this daily.
  • Screw on the lid and set the jar away from direct sunlight to ferment for at least 1 week. Ideal temperatures are between 55-75 degrees F. The most active fermentation period is between 1-2 weeks, so be sure to monitor it during this time. “Burp” the jars often by unscrewing the lid a bit to let out some of the accumulating gases. Or, use an airlock or membrane for easier fermenting. See our page, “How to Make Fermented Pepper Mash”, for further instruction.
  • After 1-2 weeks, the fermenting activity will diminish and the brine will turn cloudy and taste acidic.
  • Pour the fermented peppers, including brine, into a pot along with the vinegar. Bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can strain out the fermented peppers and discard the brine, then boil the peppers with 1 cup vinegar and 1/2-1 teaspoon salt. Some people prefer to use the brine.
  • Cool slightly then add to a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Strain the mixture to remove the solids. Pour into hot sauce bottles and enjoy.
  • FOR THE NON-FERMENTED VERSION
  • Add only the chili peppers, 1 cup vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt to a pot and bring to a quick boil. Be sure you are only using 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to soften everything up.
  • Cool slightly then add to a food processor and process until smooth. If it is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time and process until smooth.
  • Strain the mixture to remove the solids. Pour into hot sauce bottles and enjoy.

Notes

Makes about 2 cups of sauce or so.
For storage: Vinegar affects acidity levels. Homemade sauces should be kept at 4.0 ph or below to keep longer term. If your hot sauce is not acidic enough, add more vinegar or citrus to bring the ph down. Keep in the fridge for freshness and longer keeping. You can also bottle your sauces with proper procedures.
Heat Level: Medium, though you can up the heat factor with hotter peppers.

Nutrition

Calories: 8kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Sodium: 1051mg | Potassium: 71mg | Vitamin A: 215IU | Vitamin C: 10.1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce – Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 14 votes

Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce with Fresh Peppers – Recipe

Learn how to make classic Louisiana style hot sauce at home, with fresh chili peppers. It’s so easy.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: hot sauce, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili peppers, hot sauce
Servings: 20
Calories: 8kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound red chili peppers use cayenne, tabasco, red jalapeno or others
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon salt or to your personal taste
  • ½-1 cup white wine vinegar to your preference

Instructions

  • Roughly chop the chili peppers and add them to a pot with the salt and vinegar.
  • Bring to a quick boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Cool, then add to a food processor. Process until smooth.
  • Strain the solids out through a strainer and discard (or keep them for dehydrating – they make great seasonings).
  • Pour into bottles and use as desired.

Notes

Makes about 2 cups of sauce or so.
For storage: Vinegar affects acidity levels. Homemade sauces should be kept at 4.0 ph or below to keep longer term. If your hot sauce is not acidic enough, add more vinegar or citrus to bring the ph down. Keep in the fridge for freshness and longer keeping. You can also bottle your sauces with proper procedures.
Heat Level: Medium, though you can up the heat factor with hotter peppers.

Nutrition

Calories: 8kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 61mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 213IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

NOTE: This post was updated on 8/18/20 to include new information. It was originally published on 9/29/17.

Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce - Recipe

 

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