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28 February 2020

Learn how to make hot sauce from dried peppers by easily rehydrating them. You can make just about any sauce or hot sauce recipe with this method. Very easy!

Hey, everyone! A question I get here on the site quite often is “Hey, Mike, can I make your hot sauce recipes with dried peppers?” The answer is — Absolutely Yes!

You can very easily make hot sauce from dried peppers. In fact, you can make just about of the hot sauce recipes on my site with them, which is great because some times it is more difficult to get your hands on fresh chili peppers. I grow chili peppers in my home garden every year, but with my climate, I only get fresh pods on a limited basis.

To preserve my peppers, I often dry them whole, which allows me to keep them for years if I want. Whenever I want to make a hot sauce, no problem! I just rehydrate and hot sauce in on the way!

It really is a simple process. You only need to rehydrate the peppers, but there are a few other components to discuss to help you make the best hot sauce for you.

Let’s talk about how to make sauces and hot sauce from dried peppers, shall we?

A bottle of spicy red hot sauce

About the Chili Peppers

You can use any dried peppers to make hot sauce. You can also make sauces and salsas, like adobo sauce or chile de arbol salsa, with them. Dried peppers are extremely versatile and hugely flavorful.

When choosing peppers, choose good quality dried pods. Freshly dried peppers are best, but you can still make sauces and hot sauce from older dried pods. They don’t spoil. They can lose flavor and potency, however, as they age.

Hawaiian Sweet Hot Chili Peppers - Dried Pods

Seeding the Peppers. You don’t have to remove the seeds from the dried chili peppers, but most people do. Some people report a slight bitter flavor in the seeds. Also, the seeds can wind up floating in your final sauce, so they become a texture issue. For some, this is not an issue. The choice is yours.

How to Rehydrate the Peppers

The easiest way to rehydrate peppers is to add them to a bowl and cover them with very hot water. The peppers will steep and soften up in anywhere from 20 minutes or longer. Once they are softened, you can use them as desired.

Another method is to simmer the dried peppers in water or a mixture of vinegar and water until they are softened.

Soaking dried chili peppers for our chili sauce

Steeping Water

You’ll notice with some darker peppers that the water used to steep them and rehydrate them turns very dark. This is because some of the nutrients from the peppers leaches into the water. That nutrient rich water can be great to thin your sauces and hot sauce. However, some people feel it is somewhat bitter in flavor.

If you find it bitter, use fresh water or more vinegar or citrus to thin out your sauces.

2 bottles of hot sauce, both made from dried chili peppers

Best Vinegar for Making Hot Sauce

You can use any edible vinegar for making hot sauce. I have made hot sauce with simple white vinegar, champagne vinegar, malt vinegar, apple cider vinegar and more. The key in choosing the appropriate vinegar is to consider the final flavors of your sauce. Some vinegars are sweeter and some are milder.

The best vinegar to use, in my opinion, is a good quality vinegar that you love. A better tasting vinegar will give you a better tasting hot sauce.

A large collection of hot sauces, each made from dried chili peppers

Ingredients for Making Hot Sauce from Dried Peppers

The only ingredients you need for making hot sauce is chili peppers, vinegar and salt. You can make some outstanding hot sauce with just those three ingredients, like this Homemade Tabasco Hot Sauce. However, that is only the beginning.

You can add in all sorts of other flavor building ingredients, like onion, garlic, other peppers. vegetables, herbs and spices, citrus, fruits, juices, alcohol, and so much more.

How to Make Hot Sauce from Dried Peppers – the Recipe Method

FOR METHOD ONE

  1. Lightly toast the dried chili peppers in a hot pan for a minute or 2 per side, until they become slightly pliable and loosen the oils in the skins. This step is optional and develops more flavor.
  2. Remove from heat and add enough very hot water to cover the peppers. Let them steep for 15 to 20 minutes to soften.
  3. Strain the peppers but keep the steeping water.
  4. Add the rehydrated peppers to a food processor or blender along with 1 cup of the steeping water (or use fresh water) vinegar (use anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 1 cup), garlic powder, salt, and other optional ingredients. Process until smooth.
  5. Taste and adjust with salt and vinegar. Strain if desired.
  6. Pour into bottles and enjoy, or simmer then in a pot for 10-20 minutes to develop the flavors even more, then cool and bottle. Store in the refrigerator.

FOR METHOD TWO

  1. Lightly toast the dried chili peppers in a hot pan for a minute or 2 per side, until they become slightly pliable and loosen the oils in the skins. This step is optional and develops more flavor.
  2. Add water and vinegar, garlic powder, salt and other optional ingredients. Use less vinegar or water for thicker hot sauce. Simmer the peppers for 15 to 20 minutes to soften.
  3. Add the mixture to a food processor or blender along with vinegar (use anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 1 cup), garlic powder, salt, and other optional ingredients. Process until smooth.
  4. Taste and adjust with salt and vinegar. Strain if desired.
  5. Pour into bottles and enjoy, or simmer then in a pot for another 10 minutes to develop the flavors even more, then cool and bottle. Store in the refrigerator.

The Difference Between the Two Methods: The first method rehydrates the dried peppers with water only, allowing you to add other ingredients later as desired. The second method simmers the dried pods and other ingredients together in vinegar and water, then simply processes it all to make the final sauce. Both methods work great.

Check out my resource on How to Make Hot Sauce: The Ultimate Guide, with a great deal more information on history, hot sauce types, fermenting and more.

That’s it, my friends! I hope you enjoy your hot sauce. Let me know how yours turned out for you. I’d love to hear it!

Try Some of My Other Hot Sauce Recipes

Relevant Links

3 bottles of hot sauce, each made from dried chili peppers

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 Dried Peppers
Print Recipe
4.86 from 7 votes

How to Make Hot Sauce from Dried Peppers - Recipe Method

Learn how to make hot sauce from dried peppers by easily rehydrating them. You can make just about any sauce or hot sauce recipe with this method. Very easy!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: hot sauce, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dehydrator, dried peppers, hot sauce, vinegar
Servings: 120 teaspoons
Calories: 1kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lightly crushed and seeded dried chili peppers
  • 2 cups water or enough to cover the peppers - FOR METHOD ONE
  • 1 cup vinegar or as desired, FOR METHOD TWO
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • *Other ingredients as desired. See notes.

Instructions

FOR METHOD ONE

  • Lightly toast the dried chili peppers in a hot pan for a minute or 2 per side, until they become slightly pliable and loosen the oils in the skins. This step is optional and develops more flavor.
  • Remove from heat and add enough very hot water to cover the peppers. Let them steep for 15 to 20 minutes to soften.
  • Strain the peppers but keep the steeping water.
  • Add the rehydrated peppers to a food processor or blender along with 1 cup of the steeping water (or use fresh water) vinegar (use anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 1 cup), garlic powder, salt, and other optional ingredients. Process until smooth.
  • Taste and adjust with salt and vinegar.┬áStrain if desired.
  • Pour into bottles and enjoy, or simmer then in a pot for 10-20 minutes to develop the flavors even more, then cool and bottle. Store in the refrigerator.

FOR METHOD TWO

  • Lightly toast the dried chili peppers in a hot pan for a minute or 2 per side, until they become slightly pliable and loosen the oils in the skins. This step is optional and develops more flavor.
  • Add water and vinegar, garlic powder, salt and other optional ingredients. Use less vinegar or water for thicker hot sauce. Simmer the peppers for 15 to 20 minutes to soften.
  • Add the mixture to a food processor or blender along with vinegar (use anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 1 cup), garlic powder, salt, and other optional ingredients. Process until smooth.
  • Taste and adjust with salt and vinegar.┬áStrain if desired.
  • Pour into bottles and enjoy, or simmer then in a pot for 10-20 minutes to develop the flavors even more, then cool and bottle. Store in the refrigerator.

Video

Notes

Water & Vinegar. I use 1 cup of each along with 2 cups lightly crushed dried pepper pods. This results in a thin sauce, like Tabasco or Crystal. If you'd like a thicker sauce, use less water and/or vinegar. Also, reduce the amount of vinegar for less tang. You can also use other liquids. See my page on How to Make Hot Sauce for further discussion and ideas.
Vinegar Options. Use your favorite vinegar. However, you'll receive best results with a high quality vinegar.
pH. If you'd like your hot sauce to keep longer, shoot for a pH of 3.5 or lower. If your pH is higher, adjust with more vinegar or add citrus, then retest it.
Other Ingredients. You can add in all sorts of other flavor building ingredients, like onion, garlic, other peppers. vegetables, herbs and spices, fruits, juices, alcohol, and so much more.

Nutrition

Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 1mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Calcium: 1mg
 
How to Make Hot Sauce from Dried Peppers
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