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2 October 2015

This Puerto Rican hot sauce recipe, called Pique, is a national staple, with a different version for every household.

Pique is an interesting hot sauce. You’ll find it in Puerto Rico – it’s a national staple there, with a different version practically for every household. It is one of those hot sauce recipes that defies any specific recipe because it can vary quite a bit. Many of the ingredients come down to personal preference of the household serving it up.

It is not a blended hot sauce.

What is Pique?

At its most basic, Pique is a number of ingredients floating in vinegar. Those ingredients, in particular, chili peppers, infuse the vinegar with heat and flavor, which you can use to dash over anything you desire.

I’ve seen versions with or without lime juice, splashes of rum, culantro leaves, sugar, onion, pineapple chunks or other fruit, peppercorns. So many possible ingredients.

The traditional chili pepper used is the Aji Caballero. You basically chop up the larger ingredients, drop them all into a container, and cover it with your vinegar and other liquids, then let it sit anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks.

The vinegar solution will infuse and you’re good to go. Store it in the fridge if you’d like.

My particular version here incorporates a variety of 7-Pots, Aji Pineapples, and some Moranga Reds, which are a hybrid grown in my garden this year. I have some excellent heat from the 7-Pots and Morangas, and some nice sweet flavor from the ajis. I like this particular version as it helpls to preserve my peppers.

We had such a huge harvest this year – YES! YES! – that preserving them is the best way to go. And isn’t it nice to have a good hot sauce on hand for pretty much anything?

Enjoy, and feel free to mix up the recipe with fun new ingredients!

How Do You Serve Puerto Rican Pique?

Pique hot sauce is meant to be splashed over pretty much any of the foods you are serving. Drizzle some over grilled meats or into soups or stews.

Splash a little onto your sandwich meat, or over fresh or cooked vegetables, basically anywhere you’d like a bit of zing.

Pique - Puerto Rican 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.

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 These Related 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.

Pique - Puerto Rican Hot Sauce - Recipe
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5 from 6 votes

Pique - Puerto Rican Hot Sauce - Recipe

This Puerto Rican hot sauce recipe, called Pique, is a national staple, with a different version for every household.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 d
Total Time2 d 5 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: hot sauce
Servings: 20
Calories: 1kcal


  • 12 small chili peppers/About 4 ounces – I used a variety of 7-Pots Ajis Pineapples, and Muranga Reds
  • 2 cloves garlic slightly crushed
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 4 cilantro stems
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • White vinegar to fill the jar about a half cup or so


  • Remove the pepper stem. Slice the peppers in half or into quarters, small enough to fit into the jar or container you are using.
  • Stuff the peppers into an 8-ounce bottle or jar.
  • Add cloves, peppercorns, cilantro stems and lime juice.
  • Fill the container the rest of the way up with vinegar, leaving a bit of head space.
  • Cap and give it a good shake.
  • Let it sit out anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to allow the heat and flavor to develop. Refill as needed with more vinegar and peppers.


Shake it onto everything!
Heat Factor: Hot (depending on the peppers used).


Calories: 1kcal | Potassium: 13mg | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 1mg



    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Meche, it usually does not get cloudy when I make it, but I can see if some of the ingredients are shredded up or begin to break up and soften a bit, that could cause the liquid to cloud up a bit. Look to the ingredients you used and make sure they were fresh.

  1. chelsea Wallis

    Is there a way to make this into a ferment? could I ferment it in a brine and add the vinegar after a week? or maybe ferment everything, drain and then add vinegar then place on counter for a week to develop flavors? Any thoughts?

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Thanks for spreading the word on our favorite condiment! Some great variations though, as a native of the island, I do not recommend leaving it out in the sun as was posted in a comment.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Jorge. I appreciate your input. I love this stuff!!!

  3. Bill Dain

    One step was left out : the recipe a friend of mine gave me years ago was after assembling the ingredients in the jar, put it in the sun for a week or so until the white mold forms at the top. Remmove the mold and it is ready to use.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Interesting, Bill. Sounds like a ferment, and the mold is more likely kahm yeast. Something I’ll have to look into.

  4. Soo, not water required ? Gathering all the condiments to make it today . Thank you

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      You can use some water if you’d like for sure to tone down the overall vinegar flavor, though if you go with too much water, the sauce should be refrigerated. Let me know how it goes!

  5. Howard Thomas

    I’ve been making Cayenne pepper vinegar for a long time. My grandfather always had a bottle of it around. I grow some nice Cayenne peppers, add a little salt and white wine vinegar. Only white wine vinegar. I’ve used other vinegar including apple vinegar which is nice too. Not the cheap distilled stuff it doesn’t taste as good. I put in an old Cracken rum bottle with the cool little handles. Keeps in the fridge and I add more vinegar as I use it. I actually have two bottles and refill the main bottle from the primary one and the add more vinegar to the primary bottle as I go. This stuff keeps for years and I do a new bottle of it once a year. Great on red beans! Best on cabbage or other greens.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Perfect, Howard! It’s so nice to have on hand. Great flavor for sure!

  6. Hello, I made this recipe, but I didn’t put The Squeeze of lemon juice and the garlic cloves turned blue. Has this ever happened to you?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Chulita, it has not happened to me, but garlic can interact with natural sulfur in some ingredients, which sometimes turns them slightly blue or green.

  7. 5 stars
    I love Pique Sauce. I had not had any since we moved here from San Juan. My dad used to make it all the time. I recently just found Don Ricardo Pique Sauce at my local Bravo Supermarket here in Orlando. Wow, it is amazing. Taste like Puerto Rico in a bottle!

    REPLY: I love this stuff, Linda. So cool that you got to grow up with it. Delish! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      I love this stuff, Linda. So cool that you got to grow up with it. Delish! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  8. nibblicious

    5 stars
    I just made a jar last night. Overnight, the peppers floated to the top, and are partially exposed above the vinegar, any concerns?
    I notice in your picture it looks the same. Do the peppers need to be submerged, especially early on?
    thanks for the article and any advice!

    REPLY: Nibblicious,, as long as the peppers are beneath the liquid, you are fine. Give it a shake every now and then. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  9. where can i find aji pineapple?

    REPLY: Kenny, I bought seedlings online and grew them in my garden. You can also grow from seed. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  10. I’m curious about the shelf life for this vinegar. Does it need to be sterilized first, and if so, what jars/bottles are appropriate to do so? Also, does it need to be refrigerated, and how long will it last? Thanks!

    REPLY: Kim, the vinegar acts as a preservative so you can keep it out a long time, even refilling it with more vinegar and other ingredients as you use it. You can choose to refrigerate it or not. I personally probably wouldn’t keep it more than a few months, but it wouldn’t last that long anyway. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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