Home & Garden, Recipes

Homemade Hot Sauce

When a good friend and I decided to take a trip to Root’s Market, I was looking forward to seeing the variety of produce.  Our pepper plants did not produce this year, so I wanted to get some hot peppers to experiment with.  I was looking through my pins on Pinterest from last year, and I found some hot sauce recipes.  Hmmm, that would be cool to try!

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with hot peppers.  I really enjoy canning different things containing hot peppers.  However, they burn my skin so easily!  I wear double latex gloves, as well as wash my hands many times using Dawn and cold water (so my pores do not open, like they would with hot water).  I recommend using some sort of precaution to save your skin when you are dealing with hot peppers!

I read several hot sauce recipes, and gained as much knowledge as I could.  There were so many different variations, I decided to go my own way.  I basically just used whatever peppers I could find at the farmers’ market!  I knew I wanted my sauce to have a red color, so I chose as many red peppers as I could.

There was a stand with inexpensive large baskets of hot cherry and hot banana peppers.  There was also a stand that had ghost peppers.  I avoided them!  I thought it was interesting though, because I’ve never seen them at a market before.  I bought serrano and jalapeño peppers from that same stand.  I also purchased one large red bell pepper to cut some of the heat and add more red color.

I ended up with 36 hot cherry peppers, 9 large (and I mean large!) hot banana peppers, 6 jalapeños, and 20 serrano peppers.

My food processor was not large enough to hold all of the peppers at one time.  So, I divided the entire recipe in half, and processed it in equal parts.

I began by seeding and roughly chopping the peppers.  If you want an even hotter sauce, you can leave all or some of the seeds in.  I took out as many as I possibly could, just because I did not know how hot it was going to be.  I am not a fan of really, really hot foods!

I added half of the red bell pepper, half of a yellow onion, and half a clove of garlic to the food processor and began chopping the vegetables.  I sprinkled salt in as it was processing, and then poured in 1 ¼ cups of apple cider vinegar as well.  I let the food processor run for a little while on high.  I did not time it, but I know it felt like an eternity!

After I processed both batches of peppers, I poured all of the contents into quart jars to store in the refrigerator overnight.  I was surprised at the outcome.  My expectation was a completely smooth product.  What I got looked a little like relish with a bunch of liquid settling at the bottom of the jar!  I let it sit in the fridge overnight and considered my options a bit.

The following day, I experimented with some more liquefying methods.  First, I scooped some of the peppers into a fine mesh strainer, and used a spatula so press out as much liquid as possible into a bowl.  I then took the left over pepper bits, and tried some new things.

I got out my immersion blender, thinking that would work to chop up the peppers even more finely.  It probably would’ve worked pretty well, but it was splattering hot pepper juice all over me!  It was up my arms, on my neck, and on my toes!  I basically took a bath in the kitchen sink with cold water and Dawn after that fiasco!  It ended quickly, as you can imagine!

I put the bits of peppers back into the food processor and ran it for quite a while.   I then scooped it into a fine mesh strainer and pressed the liquid out again.  A little more juice came out, but not a great amount.

I put the pepper bits into a mason jar, thinking I would do something with it.  I was basically left with a jar of pickled fiber!  It is still in my refrigerator, waiting to be used.

I suppose I had a misconception about what would happen when I ran raw peppers through the food processor.  In my mind, I thought it would liquefy them.  Wrong!  I am planning to try this again next summer, and I have a few different ideas I’d like to experiment with!

After I had all of the juice pressed, I began cooking the sauce.  I simmered the sauce for about 20-30 minutes, trying to let it thicken.  It did a little bit, but it was still fairly runny.  The two quarts of juice I began with reduced to about one quart.

Up until the time I began cooking the sauce, it smelled like ground peppers.  But when I began the simmering process, it smelled more like actual hot sauce!

Once I thought the sauce was sufficiently reduced, I canned the sauce in half pint jars.  I used a water bath canner, and processed the jars for 15 minutes.  (This is an “at your own risk” adventure!  The processing time has not been approved by any official entity.  If you are unsure about the acidity of this sauce, you can use a pressure canner.)  For canning processing procedures, check out this post.

This sauce has some heat to it!  My husband loves hot food, and he even admitted that it had some kick to it!  The amount of heat this sauce contains is easily adjusted by the peppers used.  For a milder sauce, I would replace the serrano peppers with less potent peppers and add more bell peppers.  If you are interested in some hotter sauce, replace some of the hot banana peppers with habanero peppers.  There is a lot of freedom for interpretation and personal taste!

This is a great recipe if you have way too many peppers in your garden!  I am excited to use this sauce for buffalo chicken wraps or sandwiches, wings, dipping sauces, and a variety of other foods!

Hot Sauce Recipe

36 hot cherry peppers

9 large hot banana peppers

6 jalapeños

20 serrano peppers

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow onion

1 clove garlic


2 ½ cups apple cider vinegar

Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to divide this recipe into two or three batches.

Take the seeds out of the peppers.  Leave some seeds for extra heat.

Roughly chop the peppers, onion, and garlic and put them in the food processor.

As the food processor is running on low, add salt to taste, and 2 ½ cups apple cider vinegar.

Process peppers on high until there is a lot of liquid.

Scoop peppers into a fine mesh strainer.  Press with a spatula to extract liquid into a separate bowl.

If desired, put leftover pepper bits back into the food processor for additional time.  Press through fine mesh strainer again.

Simmer sauce until desired thickness is reached.

Can in water bath canner, processing 15 minutes.  (Or use a pressure canner if you are unsure of acidity levels.)

Yield: Approximately 4 half pints

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