Homemade Fermented Hot Sauce

How To Make Fermented Hot Sauce

Homemade Fermented Hot Sauce

This experiment in fermentation was fun. Last night I had hot sauce on my dinner. I kept thinking “Will this make me sick?”. We are so brain washed by our culture to believe if it doesn’t come out of a plastic wrapper then it is bad. I’m working on clearing my brain of this kind of thinking, but it lingers. … and no, I did not get sick. It just tasted yummy.

What is it? It’s the first batch of fermented hot sauce that I’ve ever made. True to form, I did not follow an exact recipe. Rather, I looked at a handful of recipes and created my own.

Keep in mind that this recipe is how I did it, not how it HAS to be done. There are a few simple guidelines to follow, but you can be creative with this as well.

First, Pick a peck of peppers. Actually, I’m not sure what a “peck” is, but I’ve heard it somewhere before 😉



  • 1/2 lbs hot peppers ( I used a mix: Peri Peri, Serrano, Jalapeños, Long Red Chilis )
  • 1/2 lbs sweet peppers ( I used a mix: Banana Peppers and Red Bell Peppers )
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum



Remove stems and wash peppers. Do not remove seeds. The idea is that we are creating a “hot” sauce. The seeds contain a good amount of heat. Don’t worry, the final product will not have seeds in it.

Using a blender or food processor (or if you are awesome, just a cutting board, knife and some ninja skills), create a rough mash with the peppers and garlic. Don’t over blend, just mash.

In a large bowl, mix peppers mash with the salt and sugar.

Now that you’ve prepared your goodies, let’s move on to the fermentation process. In this process the bacteria will work with the sugars in the mash to develop flavors in ways that you just cannot get any other way.


If your ingredients are of the same volume as mine, then I will suggest three quart sized canning jars. My experiment initially used only two, but your peppers mash will expand and over flow if you fill the jars too far. Yes, that happened and it was a bit of a mess.

Add one third of the mash to each quart sized jar. Add enough water to each jar to bring the volume just up past one half full. Stir water and mash well in each jar.

Cover each jar loosely with a lid, cheese cloth or some clean scrap lightweight material from the sewing closet. (you know you have extras… just use the ugly stuff)

My cloth “lid” was secured with a length of twine, but a rubber band would be much easier.

Place the jars in a cool dark location like in the back of the pantry. Each day for at least five days take the jars out and stir. Take this opportunity to observe the changes in the peppers. Smell the mix and look for clues that fermentation is happening.

Honestly this was loads of fun for me to come home every day after work and stir the mash. I was a bit concerned about it going “bad” so I was looking for signs of badness. I’m not sure what those signs are exactly, but when I looked up the process I found phrases like “You will know if it’s bad”. Well, there you go… it never looked or smelled bad to me so I’m thinking it’s good.

My experiment went on for nine days. This wasn’t a magical number but more of timing in my household that I could move on to the next step. Nine is nice.

Make the Fermented Hot Sauce

You’ve waited long enough! Let’s do this thing.

Pour the contents of the jars back into your blender and mix it up good. Blend it, but not for too long. Over blending can destroy the bacteria that you’ve worked hard to develop. This is what I’ve read anyway.

Strain the mix. Use cheese cloth or a pasta strainer with fine mesh. The more fine the mesh, the less chunky the sauce.

The chunky mash left behind is an excellent treat for your chickens. They will appreciate the healthy bacteria rich snack!

Place the strained liquid back into the blender. Add the vinegar.

Blend in the vinegar, then add the Xanthan Gum. This is the step that turns the runny sauce into a nice thicker consistency. Blend for a few seconds at a time until you see the consistency change from runny to thick(er). If you like the sauce runny, just skip this step.

Pin it! Homemade Fermented Hot Sauce
Pin it! Homemade Fermented Hot Sauce

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9 thoughts on “How To Make Fermented Hot Sauce”

  1. This is great! I’m wishing now that I had some hot peppers… I’ll need to add them to my list of things to grow in the spring 😉 as I love hot sauce and feel that I really must try making it.

    I’d really love it if you could share it at the Homesteader Bloggers Network’s – Tasty Tuesday Link Up. You can find the link at http://homesteadbloggersnetwork.com/ or on my site http://thequestionablehomesteader.com

  2. It’s December now and I still have Tabasco peppers on the plants. My brother -in-law works in agriculture and he received the seeds from the McIlhenny family when he visited them last year, so these are the real deal. I have two jars fermenting and this is the way I am doing them. I also put a piece of plastic that fits the jar loosely, on the surface, to prevent the peppers from floating, which increases the risk of molding. One of them has been fermenting since the first week of November, the second is about two weeks old. I am planning to bottle them a day or two before Christmas, to give as gifts. We have no danger of frost any time soon, so I may be making sauce for a while longer, but I plan to pick all of the green ones when the frost comes, and making green Tabasco sauce when I do. The smell is amazing, though I will say it’s WAAAAY too hot for me. My daughter tasted it when she visited and it took her breath; I really think it’s hotter than commercial Tabasco. I wish you all great success with your pepper sauce.

  3. I don’t know how you made this page but its really cool. Great job Blake. I’m gonna grow more hot peppers next yesr to give this a whirl. Thanks for sharing, and Merry Christmas.:-)

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