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17 April 2020

Learn how to make hot sauce from chili powder and a few other simple ingredients with this easy method. You’ll never go without hot sauce again.

It’s hot sauce time in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen, my friends. When isn’t it? As spicy food lovers, hot sauces are a huge part of our overall food love, with bottles of the stuff never out of reach.

There are many, many great artisan hot sauces on the market, and I love many of them, but I also greatly enjoy making my own at home. I usually grow different varieties of peppers each year for this very purpose, to make my own personal hot sauce blends.

I have lots of information here on the site about how to make hot sauce from fresh peppers and how to make hot sauce from dried peppers, but did you realize you can also make hot sauce from chili powders?

One question I get a lot here is, “Hey, Mike, can I make hot sauce from chili powder?”

The answer is yes, absolutely.

Making hot sauce from chili powder is actually rather simple, probably one of the easiest ways to make hot sauce. Knowing how will ensure you never run out of hot sauce again.

Let’s talk about how we make how to make hot sauce from chili powder, shall we?

Hot Sauces made from powders

Ingredients Needed to Make Hot Sauce from Chili Powder

There are only 3 primary ingredients to make a hot sauce from chili powder. They are Chili Powder, Vinegar and Salt. Ratios can vary to your preference, but a good starter is 1 cup vinegar to 4 tablespoons chili powder to 1/4 teaspoon salt. You can adjust from there.

You can add other ingredients to change things up. Let’s discuss.

Hot Sauce Ingrients

  • Chili Powder: 4 tablespoons chili powder of choice. You can use different powders, or a blend of different chili powders. I often like to use powders from peppers I’ve grown in my own garden, dehydrated, and ground into powder.
  • Vinegar: 1 cup vinegar. Use your favorite vinegar here. My only suggestion is to use a good quality vinegar with a flavor you enjoy. A bad quality vinegar will result in a bad quality hot sauce. Try distilled white vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, malt vinegar, apple cider vinegar, a combination of vinegars or others. Vinegar is also important for acidity and preserving.
  • Salt: 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Salt brings out the flavor and really rounds things out.
  • Optional Additions: Your additional ingredients are practically limitless here. Consider adding garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, dried basil, dried oregano, black pepper, dried and crushed carrot, citrus like lemon juice, lime juice, pineapple juice and other juices. You are only limited by your creativity.
  • Water: My base recipe here calls for 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water. I prefer to dilute the overall vinegar taste, which can be quite overpowering, with water. However, this is optional. You can use pure vinegar if you’d like, but it is fine to cut it with water.

How to Make Hot Sauce from Chili Powder – the Recipe Method

  1. Add all of your ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust for salt and vinegar. Add more water or vinegar for a thinner sauce.
  3. You can use the sauce as-is at this point, or heat it in a small pot. Simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors develop even more.
  4. Cool, bottle and enjoy.

Boom! Done! Easy enough, isn’t it? Making hot sauces from chili powders is pretty simple. Questions for you include: Do you simmer yours or prefer it freshly mixed? Do you prefer more or less vinegar? What other flavor building ingredients do you add to your hot sauces?

Let me know. I’d love to hear!

3 bottles of hot sauce

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Play with the Ratios. Consider this a base recipe. Play with the ratios of liquid to powders to achieve your preferred consistency. Want a thicker sauce? Add more chili powder and use less vinegar and/or water. Thicker sauces made with chili powders tend to be grainier. Want a thinner sauce, more like a Tabasco Sauce? Use more vinegar.
  • Experiment. Experimenting with flavors and other ingredients is very important. Start with what you love. I love garlic so almost always include it. Love tomato? Tomatoes are great for hot sauce. Carrots, too. Do you enjoy fruit? Chili peppers and sweet fruit are best friends. Get crazy, experiment, and have fun.
  • Make Your Own Chili Powders. If you are a gardener, or are thinking of starting one, I highly encourage you to grow your own peppers. There are so many types you just can’t get anywhere else. Once they are harvested, you can dehydrate your peppers to make your own chili powders. Then, use some to make hot sauce!

That’s it, my friends. Time to make some hot sauce! Let me know what you wind up making. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!

Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes

Relevant Links

Several bottles of hot sauce made from chili powders

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. 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.

How to Make Hot Sauce from Chili Powder Recipe
Print Recipe
4.92 from 12 votes

How to Make Hot Sauce from Chili Powder - Recipe

Learn how to make hot sauce from chili powder and a few other simple ingredients with this easy method. You'll never go without hot sauce again.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: hot sauce, Main Course, Seasonings
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili powder, hot sauce, recipe, spicy
Servings: 20
Calories: 7kcal


  • 4 tablespoons chili powder of choice yes, you can use a mixture
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Optional Additions: 1 teaspoon or more of onion powder cumin, dried basil, dried oregano, etc.


  • Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Taste and adjust for salt and vinegar. Add more water or vinegar for a thinner sauce.
  • You can use the sauce as-is at this point, or heat it in a small pot. Simmer for 10 minutes to let the flavors develop even more.
  • Cool, bottle and enjoy.



Calories: 7kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 56mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 474IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
How to Make Hot Sauce from Chili Powders


  1. 5 stars
    I’m considering using pure ground Scorpion powder to up the heat on a batch of fermented hot sauce I have going. Would it be better to add the powder during ferment, or after? Maybe it doesn’t matter…

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I would add it in afterward. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  2. Tempest Hartley

    For a better all round flavour. Preheat a frying pan on a medium heat. Dry fry your spices for 1-2 minutes until aromatic and allow to cool completely before blending all of the ingredients. Do not dry fry herbs or salts.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Yes, nice way to develop flavor, though I would caution against the time. Be sure not to burn your spices. I usually dry fry seeds and such before grinding them. Thanks for the input!

  3. Love the recipe! I was wondering, could you substitute some of the ingredients for their fresh versions? For example, instead of using garlic power you use fresh garlic. Or is the general rule that for powder based hot sauces. Stick to powders?

  4. Dominic Hall

    5 stars
    Awesome recipe I love it!!! Anyone tried replacing the water with just vinegar? To make it more like a tabasco

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Dominic, yes, you can totally use vinegar to make more of a Tabasco or Louisiana style hot sauce. Enjoy!

  5. 5 stars
    Hello Michael,
    1. TABASCO® Original Red Pepper Sauce does not list water as ingredient. If you wanted to imitate their result, how much vinegar total would you use for every 4 tablespoons of cayenne powder (don’t have tabasco pepper powder yet)?
    2. Do you have a favorite source/brand for tabasco pepper powder you’d recommend in order to try to imitate original Tabasco sauce? Do you sell tabasco powder?
    Thank you,

  6. Tom Schwieger

    4 stars
    There is a pressure cooking technique where you can cook in canning jars.
    I did this with your recipe.
    I thought it might make the liquid more of a “colloidal” suspension by swelling the powder grains.
    It worked and the power is no longer a sediment that settles out.

  7. 5 stars
    Today I made my first hot sauce.
    2 Tablespoons cayenne powder
    1/4 distilled white vinegar
    1/4 filtered water
    blended it, then 1- min simmer, then through mesh strainer
    I love it! (I then made Turkish-style coffee and was tempted to put some cayenne sauce drops in it, but did not 😉 )
    If you wanted the dish to have both cayenne sauce and mustard, would you mix the store-bought mustard into the cayenne sauce (and, if so, before or after simmering)? Or would you add the cayenne sauce and the mustard separately into the dish?

    Second batch will be with Chipotle Chile powder (smoke-dried jalapeños powder).

    Thank you very much!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Awesome! Sounds great! I would simmer it all together with the mustard to let the flavors blend even more. Wonderful!

  8. Michael,
    Thank you for directing me here from your homemade Tabasco hot sauce article.
    If wanting to make “cayenne powder + vinegar hot sauce”, would you replace the 4 Tablespoons chili powder in this recipe with 4 Tablespoons cayenne powder?
    Thank you again!

  9. 5 stars
    OK…so how do I tell when it goes “bad”? Is it a matter of simply testing the Ph regularly? Is there a rule of thumb (2 months??)…I have an abundance of pepper dust made from my garden peppers I would love to try this out with, just have no idea the life of the end result….Thanks!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Mike, you’ll know it’s gone bad if there is visible growth on the sauce, like mold or fuzz, and if the taste is just off and/or a bad, rotten smell forms. If you use vinegar, it will last a very long time, especially in the refrigerator. If you make a non-vinegar sauce, like an enchilada sauce, it should keep a week or longer, depending, though you can easily freeze that. I hope this helps! Enjoy!

  10. just tried my first hand at this. kind of a hybrid cholula/old bay, with Paquin, de arbor, garlic, old bay, lime juice, etc. Wow, what a kick! much hotter than cholula. very happy with it! thanks for guidelines.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great to hear it, Mark! I love it. Glad you are enjoying it.

  11. 5 stars
    I just made a Jalapeno aji amarillo hot sauce with the recipe. I used half apple cider vinegar and half water. I added a touch extra garlic, a bit of onion powder and some cumin.
    The heat hits and sticks with you. The flavor is good. It’s thick, potent and just what I was looking for.


    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Great, Charles! Happy to hear it! Sounds wonderful.

  12. 5 stars
    I loved this! I went a bit crazy with the modifications, I thought I’ll try some things and see what happens. I used 2 tablespoons peri-peri powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, half cup apple cider vinegar, half cup brown malt vinegar, half cup water, a splash of wine (why not haha), a minced garlic clove and a tsp of guava jam! It sound like a wild mix but it’s absolutely delicious! The smokey sweetness from the guava and paprika really balanced the spicy. And the wine gives it depth. I simmered it for 10 minutes to get the flavors going. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Very nice, Lila! I LOVE the addition of the guava jam! What a nice touch of sweetness. I’ll have to try that!

  13. Hi, great recipie.

    Im going to try this with Korean chilli flakes and as Korean food and fermentation go hand in hand, I was wondering if you could go down the fermentation route with chilli powder rather than simmering.

    What do you reckon?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Scott, honestly I’ve never tried to ferment a powder and I don’t know if that will work. It would be difficult to keep all the powder beneath the brine. You might try it with a mix of powder and fresh peppers to get thing started. I know you can ferment dried pods.

  14. I have a problem, i feel that the vinegar flavour is always way too overpowering and i only used half the amount of vinegar you suggested, i used standard malt vinegar. Anyone have any advice, should i use even less?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      You can definitely cut back on the vinegar and even omit it if you’d like. The only issue is if the acidity is not how enough (low pH), it won’t last as long, even in the refrigerator. If you want it to last longer without vinegar, you can always try citrus. Let me know how yours turns out! Enjoy!

  15. Dave Krassowski

    Looks great!! I will make this today. Does it need to be refrigerated?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hello, Dave! Ah, the ultimate hot sauce question! There is big disagreement in the hot sauce world, with people falling on either side. To refrigerate or not to refrigerate, that is the question. I personally refrigerate my hot sauces. Anything can go bad eventually. If you have enough acidity (vinegar, citrus), the hot sauce will last much longer and will resist spoilage. Shoot for a pH of 3.5 or lower for home keeping. Anything above that really should be refrigerated. 3.5 or lower is really up to you. Again, I personally refrigerate. I hope this helps!

  16. 5 stars
    Thanks for the great idea.
    I have just started growing peppers so will use them. But will use the powder I have at home as I want to give it a go sooner rather than latter

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Sure thing, Simon! Glad I could help! Yes, no reason to wait for great hot sauce!

  17. 5 stars
    Winner! Made this 2 hours ago – used your exact recipe – I grounded dried Japones for the pepper spice. AH-MAZING! Used it on Burgers tonight. Thank you SO much for posting!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, Maura! So easy, right? Making hot sauce is something wonderful. Glad it helped.

  18. 5 stars
    Recipe looks fabulous, Mike! I’ve made hot sauce from peppers I’ve grown, but never from powder. I’m anxious to try this now. Thanks so much!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Peg! People ask me how to do this all the time, so I finally got a post online and video for it! I hope you enjoy the hot sauce.

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