Spicy Serrano Hot Sauce
This hot sauce recipe uses serrano peppers that have been fermented, then processed with vinegar, garlic, tequila and lime juice. It is juicy, tart and just the right amount of spicy.
More hot sauce coming at you, my friends. If you can believe it, our garden is STILL producing peppers because of this phenomenal weather we’ve been having. I know cold weather is on the way, but we’ve been a bit lucky here in zone 5 this year and I’m reaping the benefits.
I grew serrano peppers this year and HOLY WOW did they go wild. I only planted a single plant and that plant has produced marvelously. If you’re going to grow peppers, be sure to include a serrano plant. One of the most productive plants in the garden.
The big question, though, when growing serrano peppers is…
What Can I Do With a LOT of Serrano Peppers?
Here’s an idea for you. Make HOT SAUCE.
This is a fermented hot sauce recipe and it requires an entire pound of serrano peppers, which may not seems like a lot of weight, but it takes quite a few serrano peppers to weigh 1 pound.
To Ferment or Use Fresh Peppers?
If you’re not comfortable with fermenting (you SHOULD be, though), you CAN make this hot sauce with fresh serrano peppers. Just skip steps 1-4 in the recipe. Start by processing the peppers in a food processor, then jump to step 5 and make your serrano hot sauce.
It will still be a good hot sauce, for sure, but you’ll have a fresher, greener flavor that is not quite as developed that you achieve by fermenting.
Check out my page on How to Make Fermented Pepper Mash to learn more about why you should be fermenting chili peppers.
Fermented hot sauces are mellower and have a deeper flavor, so I’ve been fermenting a LOT of chili peppers this year for hot sauces.
This is actually a hot sauce for Patty, because she tends to lean toward green hot sauces and seasonings. I tend to favor vibrant red and orange sauces, but Patty loves her serrano peppers.
So here you go, Patty! She loves this one. It is slightly garlicky and tart and distinctive with the addition of tequila, something else Patty loves.
Quick note – After you strain out the solids to thin out the hot sauce, you can throw the solids away, OR — dehydrate them and use them for seasoning.
Those solids still have plenty of life left in them, and hey, what a great way to make some homemade seasonings for yourself? Sprinkle it over foods or use it as a rub. It would be GREAT on chicken. Give it a little ZING, right?
I hope you enjoy the hot sauce! Let me know how it turns out for you.
Check out my other Hot Sauce Recipes, too.
— Mike H.
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. I hope you find it helpful!
Check out These Related Recipes:
- Sweet Habanero Chili Sauce
- Pineapple-Jalapeno Hot Sauce
- Ti-Malice – Haitian Creole Hot Sauce
- Caribbean Style Mango-Habanero Hot Sauce
- Pineapple-Mango Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce
- Homemade Caribbean-Style Sweet Chili Sauce
- Sweet Pepper Chili Sauce
- Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water
- Fermented Hot Sauce Recipe
Try Some of My Popular Serrano Recipes
- Serrano Cheddar Waffles
- Strawberry-Serrano Fruit Leathers
- Smashburgers with Charred Serrano-Blue Cheese Butter
- Spicy Beef Stir Fry with Serrano Peppers
- Texas Chili
- Homemade Sriracha Hot Sauce – PERFECT for serranos!
- Fresh Pico de Gallo
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.
- 1 pound serrano peppers
- 3 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 quart unchlorinated water
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 ounces white wine vinegar
- 1.5 ounces reposado tequila
- Juice from 1 lime
First, ferment the serrano peppers. Process your fresh peppers in a food processor. If you don’t have a processor, use a mortar and pestle or simply finely chop them. 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. Discard or save any remaining brine for another use. 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, sobe 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 serrano peppers, including the brine, into a pot along with garlic, vinegar and tequila. Bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. NOTE: If you feel the brine will make your hot sauce too salty, you can strain the peppers and use fresh water instead, just enough to cover the peppers in the pot. Or, use a combination of brine and fresh water.
Cool slightly then add to a food processor with the lime juice. Process until smooth.
Strain the mixture to remove the solids. Pour into hot sauce bottles and enjoy.