Types of BBQ Sauce: How to Choose the One for You

Among the various styles of bbq out there, we can all agree on one thing; barbecue sauce is the most important part of the process. Whether it's a South African braai or American barbeque, the type of BBQ sauce used plays an integral part in the completion of the dishes.

That's why we'll be discussing in this article everything you need to know about the types of BBQ sauces. That way, you can know which sauce to choose next time you're throwing a barbeque.

The Story of Barbecue Sauces

Barbecue sauce, commonly abbreviated as BBQ sauce, is well known as a sauce that's typically used when barbecuing. Shocker, I know.
However, this special little sauce is what imparts that irresistibly delicious flavor to the cooked meat, making you come back for seconds or even thirds.
Now, barbecue sauce can be used to marinate or baste the meat. It can be used as a simple topping or a condiment. Whichever way it's used, though, the results are sure to blow your mind and have your taste buds dancing for joy.


So, how did this wonderful sauce come about?
Well, the story goes that the practice of barbecuing was inspired by the tribe of the Taino. These were an indigenous group residing in the Caribbean who slow-cooked their meats over a wood grill and they called it barbacoa.
Eventually, the American settlers began calling it barbecue, and the slaves were tasked with cooking the meat and dressing them with sauces made of lemon juice and hot peppers, and that, ladies and gentlemen, was the birth of barbecue sauce.
Accordingly, barbeque sauce appeared sometime in the 17th century, when the first American colonies were being formed. As time went on, Americans continued to make homemade barbecue sauces for their meat until the first commercially-produced BBQ sauce was sold in the 1900s.

What Makes Barbecue Sauce So Magical?

Contrary to what you may think, barbecue sauce doesn't actually moisten the meat or make it juicier. In fact, all the water in the meat and the barbecue sauce evaporate as it's being cooked.
So, why is barbequed meat so succulent and feels as if it melts in the mouth? Well, this wonderful mouthfeel is all due to the barbecue cooking style itself, not the sauce. Cooking meat over low temperatures for a long period will eventually cause the fat and gelatin resent in the meat to break down and liquefy. This results in a sensation of moisture, even if there's no actual water in the meat.
So, what in the world do barbeque sauces do?
Quite simply, add the flavor. That's right. Barbecue sauce is added to the meat to bring out the best taste of the meat. It does so by depositing the seasonings mixed into it once the water in it evaporates.
Still, note that barbecue sauces are only meant for barbecuing. If you try to use BBQ sauces when grilling, the sauce will start smoking and burning, ruining your precious cutlet in the process.

Types of BBQ Sauce - What makes it so magical
What Ingredients Are Used in BBQ Sauce?

Early homemade barbecue sauce simply consisted of salt, pepper, and vinegar. Then, in the 1920s, barbeque sauce started having ingredients like sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup.
Nowadays, though, BBQ sauce has so many other ingredients in addition to the original ones. Some commonly used ingredients include liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard, black pepper, molasses, and even mayonnaise.

What are the 4 Main Types of BBQ Sauce?

Generally, barbecue sauces is categorized into four varieties: tomato-based sauces, vinegar-based sauces, mustard-based sauces, and mayonnaise-based sauces. Each category can have a range of BBQ sauce styles, ranging from sweet and tangy to hot and spicy. So, let's take a look at each category and see some of the types of BBQ sauces that fall under them.


1. Tomato-Based Sauces

The tomato-based sauce is the most common type of BBQ sauce used nowadays.
Typically, the tomato part comes from ketchup, though some sauces use other tomatoey condiments like tomato paste, salsa, etc.
Anyhow, once the tomato/ketchup base is added, different ingredients and seasonings are added in different ratios, giving each sauce a characteristic flavor and consistency.
Kansas City barbeque sauce is the best-known example of a tomato-based sauce. This is a thick, almost syrup-like sauce that has a distinctive sweet and tangy flavor. Compare this sauce to the St. Louis barbeque sauce, which is much less sweet and syrupy. Nevertheless, both these sauces are tomato-based, and they are both delicious in their own right.

2. Vinegar-Based Sauces

Vinegar-based sauces are less about being sweet and more about being spicy and tangy. This type of barbecue sauce is all the rage in North Carolina, as it goes perfectly with the local meat selection, aka pork. This is due to its watery consistency and astringent-like effect, which makes it perfect for a whole hog barbecue.
Still, you should note that just because a BBQ sauce is vinegar-based, it doesn't mean that there can't be a lick of ketchup or tomato in it. Quite the opposite, really. The famous Western North Carolina BBQ sauce contains some ketchup, but the predominant ingredient is vinegar. So, despite the presence of tomato, this sauce is classified as a vinegar-based sauce.
Our Southern Braai - Fermented BBQ Sauce, for example, contains tomato but also apple cider vinegar that gives the sauce meat tenderizing qualities (vinegar is great for this!) as well as gut-health benefits!

3. Mustard-Based Sauces

Mustard-based BBQ sauces aren't really that common. In fact, there are only two, which are the South Carolina BBQ sauce and the Georgia BBQ sauce. These are thin, spicy sauces that may be mixed with Tabasco sauce. That being so, these sauces are regularly paired with pork as the astringent flavor helps balance the heavy fat.
Still, even though there are only one or two sauces in this category, that doesn't make mustard sauce any less delicious than tomato and vinegar-based sauces. Honestly, mustard-based barbecue sauce is truly exceptional, so don't shy away from trying them.

4. Mayonnaise-Based Sauces

Yes, I know. The words mayonnaise and BBQ sauce don't really seem to go together. However, this type of barbecue sauce is truly a work of wonder. I mean, hey, isn't mayonnaise just some oil, eggs, and vinegar? Then, why can't it work with BBQ?
Now, there's not exactly a plethora of mayonnaise-based sauce sauces out there. The Alabama white sauce is perhaps the only mayonnaise-based sauce that we know of. And this creamy sauce is typically paired with chicken rather than beef or pork. However, if you like it enough, you can slather it on any BBQ you want.

Types of American BBQ Sauces

American barbecue sauces are the pinnacle when it comes to the barbecuing culture, even outside of the United States. Whether you're looking for something sweet, salty, tangy, or spicy, you're bound to find something you like. So, let's take a dive into the world of American barbecue sauces now, shall we?



Big Bob Gibson is credited for the invention of Alabama white sauce in 1925 when he used it for his hickory-smoked chicken.
Since then, this sauce has become a must for barbecued chicken (and sometimes pork), and now it's extremely popular in the areas around Decatur. The creamy/milky mixture of vinegar, mayonnaise, and pepper really enhances the flavor of whatever you're eating, and you can use it as a dipping sauce, marinade, or dressing for your meals.

North Carolina

Eastern North Carolina
The eastern North Carolina BBQ sauce is the epitome of back to the basics, and it's totally tomato-free. This sauce is typically made of apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, salt, black pepper, and water. This is very similar to our Southern Braai - Fermented Vintage BBQ Sauce. The spicy and acidic African cuisine from the 1800s is a source of inspiration for eastern North Carolina's BBQ sauce, so this makes perfect sense. Typically, when it comes to soaking and marinating pork, this sauce is used, as it can cut through the greasiness like a knife through butter.
Western North Carolina
West North Carolina BBQ sauce is also called Piedmont or Lexington-style dip, after the city where it was prevalent.
It's similar to its eastern brethren, just with a hint of ketchup and brown sugar thrown in to tame the vinegar tang. Accordingly, it's also excellent for cooked pork shoulder or pulled pork sandwiches. However, this vinegar sauce has more of a reddish tint, with a sweeter taste and slightly thicker consistency.

South Carolina

This barbecue sauce is known as Carolina gold, and it can be used as a condiment or a mop sauce. It's thought to have originated when Germans came to settle in the state, bringing mustard with them.
This Carolina-style sauce is typically made with plain yellow mustard. However, some varieties add vinegar and extra spices for more of a zing. So, if you're looking for something sweet, it's best to look for another sauce altogether cause you won't be getting it with this South Carolina sauce.


While it's not as well known as some of the most ubiquitous BBQ sauces, Florida BBQ sauce is truly unique and flavorsome. It's inspired by the vinegar-based Carolina-style BBQ sauces, but it contains unique Cuban and Caribbean ingredients, bringing a tropical flavor to the sauce. Normally, you'd baste your meat or fish with this sauce and then wait for it to cook.


The Baltimore-style sauce is a twist on the typical BBQ sauces. There's no brown sugar, ketchup, or vinegar in this sauce. It's simply made with a mixture of mayonnaise and horseradish, resulting in a creamy Tiger Sauce.
Now, the horseradish makes the sauce quite spicy. However, you know what they say; the spicier, the more addictive. Normally, this sauce is served with pit beef sandwiches, which are the perfect embodiment of crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Kansas City

Kansas-City-style sauce is what you want when you want a touch of sweetness on your slow-smoked meats.
It's made of ketchup and sweetened with brown sugar or molasses. Then, to give the sauce a richer and deeper flavor, other spices and ingredients are added, like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and vinegar.
As such, Kansas City barbecue sauce is absolutely heavenly on pork ribs. Just make sure to put on this sauce after you've slow-smoked your meat to prevent the sugar from burning.

St. Louis

St. Louis BBQ sauce is one of the tomato and sugar sauces. It's basically the thinner and tangier version of Kansas-City barbecue sauce as it contains more vinegar, less sugar, and a hint of spice. It goes perfectly on the mouth-watering St. Louis ribs, which are famous for their rectangular and flat appearance.


Memphis-style barbecue sauce is a bit obscure, though Memphis-style BBQ itself is well-known.
That's because Memphis is known for its dry ribs that don't require any sauces. However, Memphis also offers wet ribs, which are marinated and covered in a sauce before, during, and after the cooking process. Memphis-style BBQ sauce generally has the thinner consistency of St. Louis and the sweetness of Kansas City Barbecue sauce.


It makes perfect sense that the state of the cowboys would come up with a totally bold sauce, which is the Texas-style BBQ sauce. This sauce is made using meat drippings, cumin, Worcestershire sauce hot sauce, garlic, and red chili powder. However, despite the multiple ingredients, this sauce is pretty thin.
That's exactly why it's used as a glaze for the meat. However, Texas-style BBQ sauces that act as mop sauces will have slightly more ingredients like beef stock, vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Types of BBQ Sauces From Around the World

So, for the previous heading, you'd think that Americans were the only ones serious about barbecue sauce. However, I'm happy to announce that BBQ sauce is a staple in a lot of different cultures, even if they're less popular than the American one. So, where else can you find BBQ sauces in the world?

Central America

In Central America, most steaks come with a spicy tomato sauce on the side called chirmol. Think of it as Mexican salsa, but it's totally different at the same time due to the addition of oil, lime juice, and vinegar. It can come in a cooked or uncooked version depending on the restaurant you're eating in, so make sure you know which one you want before ordering.

South America

Many different sauces go with grilled and barbecued meats in South America. There's Pebre, the herby and spicy salsa from Chile. Chimichurri is also found in Argentina. These sauces are similar, but they still have some significant differences that make each one a separate entity.

South Africa

South African barbecue, also known as a braai, is also famous for having its special barbecue sauce. This sauce is made using fermented chili, white vinegar, cane sugar, molasses, pimento, bay leaves, cloves, and other special ingredients that make it taste out of this world. You can use this sauce as a marinade, basting sauce, and dipping sauce.
The South African Braai sauce is usually served with ribs, lamb chops, steak, and even hot dogs, but it can also be put on poultry, fish, or vegetables.
Braais are more than a simple BBQ, it's a whole day experience and an integral part of South African culture. There is even a national holiday for it!


In Guam, chicken and pork are eaten with a barbecue sauce named Finadene. This is a tangy sauce based on vinegar, onion, and soy sauce with a few chilis thrown in. When adding the sauce to grilled seafood, it amplifies the umami flavor tenfold, making your tongue dance for joy.

Vegetarian Uses for BBQ Sauce

Now, just because you're vegetarian doesn't mean that barbecue sauce is out the window. You can still add barbecue sauce to plenty of plant-based foods to transform them for the better.
Some options you have for BBQ sauce include fried and baked tofu, baked beans as well as roasted squash, and pumpkin. You can also go with pulled jackfruit sandwiches, cauliflower, chickpeas, coleslaw, veggie burgers, and really any veggie dish.


This is a mayonnaise-based BBQ sauce originating in Alabama and regularly served with grilled chicken.

It depends. If it's from the tomato and sugar varieties, then absolutely not. However, if it's more vinegary, then it can be okay for dieting, provided it's not rich in oils. Just be sure to check the labels when picking a diet-friendly BBQ sauce, for example, our Southern Braai sauce is tomato-based with some sugar but is very low in calories.

Any Carolina-style BBQ will go great with pulled pork, be it eastern northern, wester northern, or southern.

The best sauce for chicken is one that can be used as a marinade as well as a basting sauce, so look for something with some vinegar (to tenderize) but also enough flavor to infuse into the meat.

In Conclusion, What type of BBQ Sauce Should You Choose?

Well, the answer here totally depends on your preference.
If you want something sweet, then go with a tomato-based BBQ Sauce like Kansas city or St. Louis. For a deep, flavorful BBQ sauce, go with South African Braai sauce or the Baltimore sauce. If you want some more spice, consider even using a peri-peri hot sauce. There are no strict rules when it comes to grilling! Finally, if you're more into a tangy sauce, then the Carolina-style BBQ sauces will do the trick. Just figure out what you want, and you'll be all good.

Can Ghost Pepper Sauce Hurt You?

Ghost pepper, also known as bhut jolokia, is a red-orange, naturally growing pepper in Northeastern India and the neighboring country of Bangladesh. Interestingly, though it's definitely spicy enough to warrant its name, "ghost" is actually a mistranslation. The original Assamese word should have been translated into “Bhutan”, so the name should have literally been “Bhutan pepper”. However, it was mistaken for another word meaning “ghost”, and the name stuck. Can this spooky-sounding ghost pepper sauce hurt you?

Impressively, bhut jolokia once held the Guinness world records for the world's hottest pepper, though other peppers have dethroned it. Nevertheless, the ghost pepper is still so plenty spicy that many people fear eating it, and for good reason. So, should you eat ghost peppers or condiments made with them? And if you do, will you get hurt? Keep on reading to find out all this and more.

What Happens When You Eat Spicy Food?

Whether you throw on some hot sauce or full-on eat a ghost pepper, this is what happens to your body.


1. Intraoral Phase

Basically, chili peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin. This is the component that makes chili peppers hot and spicy. It can irritate the living heck out of the mouth and skin of any mammal.

How it works:

  • Capsaicin binds to the TRPV1 pain receptors on the tongue in addition to free nerve endings responsible for detecting heat.
  • Then, these receptors start sending signals to the brain, telling it that something majorly wrong is happening. Something that's hot and painful.
  • Your tongue is tricked by your brain into thinking that it is on fire, so it tries to put out that fire. That's exactly why you start to feel hot when you eat super hot peppers. It's also why you start to sweat and pant as if you've been through a race.
  • Your blood vessels dilate, and you turn red, then your eyes water, you start drooling, and get a runny nose.
  • Essentially, you turn into a flushed, sweating, slobbering, crying mess. Simply because your body is trying its best to flush out the irritant while also trying to cool itself down.

So, what do you do when this happens?

You look for the nearest glass of water and try to drown out the spicy heat. Now, while you may think that water can help, it actually can't. It can only bring about momentary relief, but once it's gone, the fiery sensation will resume.

But for how long?

Thankfully, the heat won't last for all that long. For about 20 to 30 minutes, though it may feel like an eternity when you're in the throes of spiciness. In this period of time, the receptors will dislodge and neutralize the capsaicin chemical. Leaving your mouth completely unscathed.


Try using ice cream to cool down your mouth!


2. Chest Phase

So, is the discomfort over now? Not really.

After you swallow spicy food and it keeps moving through your digestive tract, your body will continue feeling the effects. The capsaicin may start to bind to more pain receptors in the throat and esophagus. Leading to chest pain similar to that of heartburn, aka acid reflux.

Still, it's important to know that though ghost peppers can feel like they're burning a hole through your tongue and digestive tract, they're not actually causing any damage. They're simply mimicking the effect of an injury. Again, this effect is temporary and will pass, so don't worry too much.

It's worth mentioning that spicy foods can cause hiccups on their journey through your alimentary canal. This occurs if capsaicin finds its way to the phrenic nerve and irritates it. Essentially, this nerve feeds the diaphragm, a muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities and plays a major role in breathing.

So, when the phrenic nerve is irritated, the diaphragm starts spasming, and the hiccups make their appearance. Still, this doesn't happen in all people who eat spicy food, though it tends to occur more frequently when ingesting ghost peppers and other very hot peppers.

3. Stomach Phase

Now, when the capsaicin reaches the stomach, the membrane lining it will start producing gastric mucus and other chemicals in order to begin the digestion process. Since the stomach starts putting in some effort, you may occasionally experience cramps or feel some stomach pain. You may even feel nauseous and start vomiting if the food is extremely spicy. However, unless you've been eating Carolina Reapers for breakfast, you'll probably be just fine.

4. Intestine Stage

Once the food passes to your intestines, the capsaicin starts to increase the rate of digestion. A little too fast, some may say. In a nutshell, it makes your intestine draw in lots of water, leading to its forceful distention and contraction. This ultimately may result in abdominal pain and, possibly, an uncomfortable bathroom experience.

Is Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce Good for You?

Since most hot sauces typically contain some measure of capsaicin, then yes, ghost pepper hot sauce can be good for you.

Believe it or not, capsaicin has cancer-fighting properties. It can bind and lead to the death of prostate cancer cells. Moreover, it can decrease the chance of breast cancer metastasis. Now, you'll only have these great health benefits with high amounts of capsaicin, and what better way to get that than from a daily dose of delicious hot sauce?

Surprisingly, capsaicin has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it's sometimes used as an ingredient in topical analgesic creams.
Moreover, it also has the ability to lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels with the added bonus of boosting your mood and metabolism. That's why many people on their weight loss journey are encouraged to eat spicy food.

All in all, hot sauce can be great for your health, that is, if you can withstand the heat. So, next time you're cooking your dinner, take the plunge and throw some ghost pepper hot sauce in the mix.

Why Do People Like Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce?

Even though capsaicin brings about a spell of pain, it also brings about many benefits and here are some reasons why people love this sauce:

  • Endorphins! That's right. When you eat spicy food, your pituitary gland, and hypothalamus release endorphins, which are your body's pain relievers and feel-good chemicals. Typically, the release of this same chemical happens after pleasurable activities like eating chocolate or having sex. It also leads to the much sought-after "runner's high."Now, who wouldn't want a hit of endorphins by simply dabbing some hot sauce on their food? Sure, any spice newbie will be too overwhelmed by the pain at first. However, as you start building up your resistance to the spiciness, you'll start feeling the effect of the endorphins, and you'll learn to associate that nice feeling with the hotness. That's mostly why tons of people crave spicy food and look forward to eating it when they're stressed or tired.


  • Thrill Seekers. The reason why people participate in hot pepper eating contests? They simply love the thrill of testing and pushing their body's limit to the max.


  • Bragging Rights. Also, for many people, it's a pride thing. Like, they love the fact that they can bear the pain when others can't, or they simply don't like the idea of feeling or looking weak in front of their friends when they fail to withstand the spice level. This explains why so many spicy food dares and challenges flooded the internet in recent years.


  • The Taste. One more explanation for why some people like hot sauce is its appetizing flavor. As simple as that. Others like a good hedonic reversal, which is when you finally accept and actually enjoy the fact that spicy food won't hurt you, even though your mouth feels like molten lava.

So, as you can see, there are various reasons why people can fall in love with hot sauce. So, whatever your reason is for loving the spiciness, make sure to nurture this love and enjoy it to the fullest.

What Does Ghost Pepper Sauce Taste Like?

Ghost pepper in itself is kind of fruity and sweet. This sweetness carries on to the sauce, and we have complemented this with some vinegar for tanginess and the garlic for savoriness.

You'll be able to taste these undertones initially, but after about 30 seconds or so, the heat will kick in. In the first 10 to 15 minutes, the heat will gradually increase until it hits the peak. Then, you'll notice a decrease in the intensity over the next half hour, and your mouth will return to normal and leave you wanting more.

Why Do Some People Handle Spicy Food Better?

Quite simply, spice tolerance is a nurtured ability. Your body gets used to eating spicy food, over time, meaning, with repeated exposure, the capsaicin has a lesser effect on you.

Some believe this happens because capsaicin ultimately kills tongue pain receptors with repetition. That's why an untrained tongue feels much more pain than one raised eating spicy food. That's also why a spice-enthusiast would need more spice to evoke an effect similar to that produced in a hot-pepper-eating beginner.

As such, spice lovers tend to increase their spice levels as time goes by. They simply can't have the full experience with small amounts, so they crank up the heat to get that spice-induced thrill.

How to Stay Safe While Eating Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce?

There really isn't all that much you have to do. But here are some top tips that will help you stay safe:

  • Just put on as much as you can handle and preferably wear gloves if you'll be eating with your hands.
  • If you're tearing up, make sure to avoid touching your eyes, or you'll deeply regret this action. Your eyes can feel pain just as much as your tongue, so be careful. Then take off your gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • If you feel that the spice level is too much for you take a swig of milk or open up that tub of vanilla ice cream. The fats in many milk-based products, as well as a protein called casein, will break down the capsaicin. This leads to an ease in the pain sensation.
  • Some people claim that alcohol is also a good spice diffuser, though this isn't 100% true. It's better to chew some carbs or stick with dairy products. Weirdly enough, acidic ingredients like tomatoes or lime juice are great at dulling the pain. So, remember to pick one of the previous suggestions if you ever feel overwhelmed, then continue on with your meal.
Are there Dangers to Ghost Pepper Sauce?
African Ghost Peppers

So, can ghost pepper sauce hurt you?  Normally, eating a ghost pepper or ghost pepper sauce can't really hurt you. As we said, it only causes a painful burning sensation, but it isn't actually doing any damage.

Nevertheless, it can hurt if you've got an underlying condition or if you eat an insane amount in one sitting.
Candidly, ghost peppers can cause seizures, heart attacks, and even death. However, that's only if you eat more than 1/50th of your body weight, which equates to 3 pounds for the average person, and who in their right mind would eat that amount willingly?

Sure, you may have heard of a couple of people going to the hospital after having eaten pureed ghost pepper or Carolina Reaper. However, these cases are extremely rare and usually happen at ghost pepper eating contests that require participants to eat enormous amounts at insanely high rates.

That means the average joe who likes ghost pepper sauce will be fine as long as he's healthy and sensible. The maximum risk that comes with eating a ghost pepper product is a stinging sensation all over your mouth.

Nonetheless, some people are better off forgoing chili pepper altogether. For example, if you've got acid reflux and heartburn, any and all liquid or powdered capsaicin-rich peppers will only worsen your symptoms. The same goes if you suffer from stomach ulcers, gallbladder diseases, Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, or ulcerative colitis.

When you eat a ghost pepper, you won't end up with a stomach ulcer. However, the past world's spiciest pepper will definitely make it feel a whole lot worse. Likewise, if you have IBS, the spiciness won't result in more inflammation, but your bowels won't like it, and it'll let you know.

To sum it up, ghost peppers are absolutely safe for you to eat as long as you're not allergic or suffering from a gastrointestinal problem.


Ghost peppers, aka bhut jolokia, have a Scoville rating of 1.35 million Scoville units.  A jalapeño pepper is rated 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville units which gives you an idea about how hot that is,. Meanwhile, tabasco sauce has 30,000 to 80,000 Scoville heat units, and a habanero has 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units.

This is no longer the case, although ghost peppers were hailed in 2007 as the world's hottest chili pepper. Several new variates of hot peppers have exceeded it on the Scoville scale, including the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Carolina Reaper, and Dragon's Breath Chile.

The question isn't a matter of can but rather a matter of should. Honestly, you should avoid feeding any child something extremely hot, such as bhut jolokia pepper. Though they'll probably be fine, the experience will be very painful and frightening for them, and they'll be severely traumatized.

Some scientists, in around 2009,  suggested using ghost peppers to make non-lethal, military-grade pepper spray to stop riots. Some also suggested their use in civilian variants for self-defense. Interestingly enough, in India, pepper grenades made from ghost peppers were used to force out a cave-dwelling terrorist!

Final Thoughts

Bhut jolokia, known as ghost pepper in the western world, is a painfully delicious chili pepper that's used in various sauces and dishes all over the world, including our African Ghost Pepper Sauce.

While it's no longer the world's hottest pepper, it's still spicy enough to knock your socks off but not to warrant a hospital visit. At the absolute worst, you may experience a case of the runs, but other than that, you'll be just a-okay.

How Hot Is Ghost Pepper Sauce Really?

From habaneros to jalapeños, hot peppers have become a staple in modern cuisine. Not only do they add a kick to our food, but they also have their own distinct flavor.

Now, if you're a hot pepper enthusiast, then you've probably heard of the legendary ghost pepper. Since its introduction to the western world in the 2000s, this bad boy has been in the spotlight for over a decade due to its addictive taste and spiciness. Accordingly, ghost pepper sauces became especially popular with many spice lovers.

Though it was well-known locally, it was an otherwise obscure pepper to the rest of India. However, ghost pepper exploded in popularity, both nationally and Internationally, when in 2000 the Indian Defense Test Laboratory discovered its Scoville rating. The rating was more than double the existing world champion, the Red Savina. Accordingly, ghost pepper sauces became incredibly popular with many spice lovers.

Still, as popular as ghost pepper sauce is, few really know how hot it is. So, let's dive into the world of ghost peppers and get ready to have your mind blown once you discover the Scoville rating.

What Is Scoville (SHU)?

To truly appreciate how spicy ghost pepper is, you first need to understand what the Scoville scale/Scoville rating is.

Quite simply, the Scoville scale is a way of measuring how hot or spicy a chili pepper is. It was created in 1912 by pharmacist Wilbur Scoville and has been the most popular measurement of spiciness.

Now, as you may already know, capsaicinoids, particularly capsaicin, are the components in chili peppers responsible for the spiciness. This means that the more capsaicin there is in a pepper, the more you'll feel like a human flamethrower.

That being so, the Scoville scale works by determining just how much capsaicin is present in a chili pepper, giving each pepper an appropriate number of Scoville Heat Units, aka SHU.

How Are Scoville Heat Units Measured?

Thankfully, understanding how the Scoville test works isn't too complicated.

Basically, you get a chili pepper or hot sauce and see how many times you need to dilute its capsaicin content with a sugar-water solution until you can no longer detect any spiciness or burning sensation. Accordingly, the more you need to dilute a pepper until it's no longer spicy, the more capsaicin and number of Scoville Heat Units it has.

Now, admittedly, the Scoville test is a bit subjective. Since it mostly depends on the feedback from a panel of humans, things can be a bit inaccurate. That's because each human palate is unique and varies rather significantly from person to person. So, what one person can perceive as spicy, another may think it's not.

As such, a different method of heat measurement called high-performance liquid chromatography was invented to eliminate the human variable in the Scoville test.

Nevertheless, to this day, the Scoville scale remains the dominant measurement of spiciness, where it's widely used by both food lovers and experts all over the world.

How Hot Is Ghost Pepper Sauce?

The ghost pepper sauce Scoville rating is pretty dang astounding. Since many sauces aren’t just made with pure ghost peppers, and either make a ghost pepper brine, add sugar or other aromatics, it's usually as spicy and as delicious as the actual fruit without the pure heat. So, how spicy are we talking here?

Bhut Jolokia Scoville Rating

Impressively, the Bhut Jolokia Scoville rating can reach up to 1,041,427 SHU. Yup, you read it right. That's more than a MILLION SHU.

To really prove how spicy that is, look how ghost pepper's Scoville rating measures up against other peppers and sauces. First off, we've got jalapeño peppers with a rating of 2,500 to 8,000 SHU. Next, we have Tabasco sauce at 30,000 to 80,000 SHU and habanero peppers at 100,000 to 350,000 SHU.

This means that ghost pepper is approximately 200 times hotter than a jalapeño, 20 times hotter than Tabasco sauce, and 5-6 times as hot as a habanero.

Of course, the Scoville rating of ghost peppers can slightly vary from one fruit and sauce to another. This is because various factors contribute to the final spiciness, like seed lineage, soil type, humidity levels, ripeness, etc. So, ghost peppers can have a Scoville rating ranging from 855,000 to 1,041,427 SHU.


Proof of Ghost Pepper Spiciness

As you can probably imagine, ghost pepper sauce is not for the weak of heart. In fact, if you're the type of person who coughs and sputters with a dash of Tabasco sauce, then it's better you steer clear of anything ghost pepper.

Truly, ghost pepper sauce is for the true spice badasses. In fact, in 2007, Guinness World Records declared that ghost peppers were the spiciest pepper in the world.

They're so hot that residents of Northern India use them to ward off elephants by smearing the pepper on fences. Did you know that ghost peppers are also used by the Indian military to make non-lethal smoke bombs?

Yup. As weird as it sounds, these chili grenades are actually quite effective at subduing rioters and terrorists. As a matter of fact, these grenades are so irritating and pungent that they were successfully used in 2015 to smoke out a terrorist hiding in a cave.

I mean, hey, the name of this pepper had to come from somewhere, right?

To tell the truth, one time, this pepper almost made an actual ghost from a person.

This happened when a 47-year-old man bit into a burger covered in ghost pepper puree and subsequently started retching and vomiting until he burned a hole in his esophagus. Thankfully though, he was promptly treated and lived to tell the tale. However, the 23-day hospital stay and gastric tube he left with probably made a lasting impact on him.

Hanging ghost-pepper-soaked rags, to keep elephants away
Bhut Jolokia Vs. Naga Jolokia
Members of the Naga Tribe

Okay, so if you've been reading up on Bhut Jolokia (ghost pepper) you may have come across the term Naga Jolokia. So, what exactly is Naga Jolokia, and is it any different from Bhut Jolokia?

To cut a long story short, Naga Jolokia is just another name for our precious ghost pepper.

Bhut Jolokia is cultivated in Bangladesh as well as Northeastern India states, such as Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam, and Manipur. Now, each of these places has its own language, and therefore, the nomenclature of ghost pepper greatly varies.

Fortunately, though, the various ghost pepper names aren't really all that hard to follow. The name Naga Jolokia is after the ferocious warrior tribe of Nagaland. Meanwhile, the people of Assam call ghost pepper Bih Jolokia, aka poison chili, or Bhut Jolokia.

Did you know that many people mistakenly think that the translation of Bhut Jolokia is ghost pepper? Yeah, the Jolokia part meaning pepper is correct. However, Bhut doesn't actually mean ghost.

The Bhut here means Bhutanese, as in arising from the Bhutan area. However, since the Assamese word for ghost and Bhutanese sound very similar, it was mistranslated. That's how "ghost pepper" came to be.

It's worth mentioning that ghost pepper has many other names such as Naga Morich in Bangladesh, Umorok in Manipur, Saga Jolokia, Tezpur chili, Indian Mystery Chili, King Chili, and King Cobra Chili, to name a few.

Are Ghost Peppers the Hottest Chili Peppers Ever?

While ghost peppers were certified to be the spiciest chili peppers in 2007, that is no longer the case. It lost its throne in 2011 when it was superseded by the Infinity Chili.

Following this, several other peppers have appeared to claim their place on the throne, including the Naga Viper, Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Carolina Reaper, and Dragon's Breath Chili.

Just for comparison's sake, Carolina Reaper, the current record-holder of the hottest chili pepper, has a rating of 2.2 million SHU.

This is more than double the ghost pepper Scoville rating of 1 million SHU. So just imagine how painfully hot that is. Honestly, it's unfathomable how some people can have chili-pepper eating contests using this devilish fruit.

Nevertheless, ghost peppers aren't to be taken lightly just because Carolina Reapers are off-the-charts hot. They're still in a league of their own, and your tongue will let you know just how spicy they are.

Ghost Peppers for Health

As scary as we made ghost peppers out, did you know that they are actually great for your health?

Yup, that's right. Ordinarily, ghost peppers don't make holes in people's throats. Sure, it's spicy, but it's not to the degree where they can hurt you in moderate amounts. If you're physically healthy, not only will you enjoy the deliciousness of ghost pepper, but you'll also greatly benefit from it. So, what makes ghost peppers and their derivatives great for your health? Let's have a look, shall we?

SEE ALSO: Is Hot Sauce Healthy?

Why Are Ghost Peppers Good for You?

First off, ghost peppers have several vitamins and minerals that are instrumental to your health.

For example, they contain vitamin C, which has various functions in the human body. For one, it plays a role in immunity and wound repair. Moreover, it's essential for the formation and maintenance of your skin, tendons, and ligaments.

Ghost peppers also contain a multitude of minerals like iron, zinc, phosphorus, and so much more. However, the major reason why ghost peppers are good for you and your health is their capsaicin content.

That's right. The thing that causes you pain is the thing that brings you the most benefit. Believe it or not, capsaicin is an anti-inflammatory and is great for relieving pain. That's why it's used occasionally as a component in topical analgesic creams and lotion.

Additionally, capsaicin has proven to have anti-cancer properties. Not only can it reduce the chance of breast cancer metastasis, but it can also adhere to prostate cancer cells and induce their death.

Impressively, capsaicin can also lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. So when you combine this with the fact that it can raise your metabolism and improve your mood, it explains why many people who are looking to lose weight are encouraged to eat spicy food, provided they can endure the heat.

On the whole, ghost pepper and ghost pepper sauces are beneficial for your body and your health when used in adequate quantities (as you know even medicine can be poisonous if overdosed). So, try to include some form of ghost peppers in your everyday foods, and your body will greatly thank you for it.

What Will You Experience When You Eat Ghost Pepper?

Here's a quick rundown about what your body goes through when you take a bite of ghost pepper:

    1. First off, your tongue and other parts of your mouth will start feeling like a house set on fire. That's because capsaicin binds to the heat and pain receptors of your mouth. This then tells your brain that something damaging is going on. However, despite any pain, you may be feeling at this point, it's important you know that no actual damage occurs.
    2. Your body will start trying to contain the situation going on in your mouth by trying to cool itself down. Accordingly, you'll start sweating and panting, and the blood will rush to your face.
    3. You'll also start tearing up and drooling, in addition to getting an extremely embarrassing runny nose. This happens in order to flush out the capsaicin offenders as fast as possible. You may also get a case of hiccups, but it won't last for long.
    4. Occasionally, when a chili pepper is hot enough, some people can get diarrhea as a side effect. This occurs as a result of capsaicin pulling lots of water into the intestines. Still, the bout isn't too awful, so don't worry too much about it.
    5. Finally, when the peppers are ready to come out the other end, you may experience a slight burning sensation. Just keep in mind that this burning will be much worse if you've got hemorrhoids or a similar anal ailment. So, stave off the ghost pepper sauce until you're feeling better.

SEE ALSO: Can Ghost Pepper Hurt You? 


Bhut Jolokia has about 3-5% more capsaicin than other chili peppers. While that may not seem like a lot, it actually packs quite a heavy punch. That's why we greatly recommend you go easy on your ghost pepper portions if you can't handle your spices.

Avoid eating ghost peppers if you're allergic to them or if you've got a gastrointestinal problem. So, for example, if you have IBS or a stomach ulcer, you should lay off eating anything spicy. That's because your symptoms will greatly worsen, though the state of your disease won't actually change.

If you're ever feeling overwhelmed when eating ghost peppers or ghost peppers sauce, the first thing you should do is reach out for dairy products, be it a cup of milk or a spoonful of ice cream. If you're out of dairy products, then chew on some bread, and you'll have some momentary relief.

Well, you can, but we don't recommend it at all. Water won't reduce the burning sensation. Rather, it can make it worse by spreading the irritating capsaicin molecules all over your mouth. So it's best you stick with fat-containing substances such as peanut butter or milk to soothe the burning.

On average, it takes about 20-30 minutes for your tongue to return to normal. The burning increase in the first 10-15 minutes, but the heat will gradually ebb away as the capsaicin becomes neutralized and dislodged from your tongue's pain receptors.

Final Thoughts

Ghost pepper sauce is ridiculously hot due to the significant amount of capsaicin it contains. However, that doesn't mean it's not palatable.

People may use ghost peppers to ward off elephants, but they also add flavor to any dish. Moreover, they can drastically improve your mood and have numerous health benefits.

So, if you've got a good spice tolerance and you'd like to challenge your limits, then make sure to get yourself a bottle of our very own African Ghost Pepper Sauce. Not only will it knock your socks off, but it'll have you coming back for more due to its tastiness. And if you're not sure how to pair your food with ghost pepper sauce, you can always look for inspiration right here.

12 Weird But Adorable African Animals You Didn’t Know Existed

What are the top 10 weirdest animals you ask? We’ve done one (or two) better and given you 12. Africa is the second largest continent on Earth and is home to over 1000 animal species. Yet, when you think African safari, you tend to think lion, rhino, elephant, or leopard (if you’re lucky enough to spot one), but what about the plethora of rare, strange, and sometimes adorable animals that make up part of the 1000 plus species on the continent?


Not only is African Dream Foods committed to natural African flavors, we’re also dedicated to wildlife conservation and that includes advocating for all the splendor that Africa has to offer in vegetation, landscape, and in this case—rare African animals. We’ve compiled a list of Africa’s most unusual species so next time you’re traveling through the Savanna you can keep your eyes peeled for a little more than the Big Five. Enjoy our list of these weird African animals!
1. African Civet

The African civet has striking black and white spots, a black stripe across its eyes, and its hind legs are longer than its front legs. Safe to say it’s a strange creature in South Africa. African civets are the only remaining member of their genetic group and although they appear cat-like, they are not feline at all but are more closely related to small carnivores like weasels and Mongoose. They are found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa in densely vegetated “jungle” regions and feed on small rodents, lizards, snakes, and frogs but are also known to enjoy berries and fallen fruits.

Fun factAfrican civets secrete a musk (civetone) to mark their territory that has been used in the perfume manufacturing industry for centuries.

2. Guereza Colobus

Guereza Colobus, sometimes referred to as Colobus Guereza, is a specific species of Colobus (African monkey genome) and is distinct for its long shiny black and white fur. They are heavy-bodied animals and adults grow up to four feet including their tails. They are pretty resilient and can survive in both dry and moist forests and are mostly found in Northern Africa. These cute African mammals are herbivores and feed mostly on leaves.

Fun fact—Guerezas only have four digits on each hand. Their thumbs are absent but sometimes have a small nail that protrudes from where there would be a thumb. Evolutionary biologists think this may be an adaptation for quick movement through trees.

3. Klipspringer

Ever find yourself pondering… what are some cute African animals... what is the cutest animal in Africa…what is the cutest animal ever? Us too, and the answer is the African Klipspringer. Klipspringers are herbivores native to Southern Africa. Their name means “rock-jumpers” in Afrikaans and, as their name suggests, they live in rocky, arid landscapes. At their tallest Klipspringers might grow to two feet and they weigh between 18 and 40 pounds.

Fun fact— klipspringers walk on the tips of their hooves as an adaptation to their rocky terrain.

4. Bat-Eared Fox

Just like with the klipspringer, it’s all in the name and bat-eared foxes have enormous ears, especially in comparison to their heads, similar to bats. Native to Southern Africa, Botswana, and Kenya. They primarily feed on termites and are an important part of termite control for the ecosystem. Unfortunately, these beautiful and unusual bush foxes are considered valuable for their pelts and human populations are encroaching on their habitats.

Fun fact— A single bat-eared foxes can eat up to 1.15 million termites per year.

5. Elephant Shrew

What is the smallest animal in Africa? Don’t let the “elephant” in elephant shrew fool you, it might just be the elephant shrew. These tiny creatures have distinctive “trunk-like” noses that help them feast on insects like ants, millipedes, termites, and worms. They generally live in couples and are mostly found in the Democratic Republic of Congo but sadly their population is rapidly declining due to deforestation and lack of access to food because of drought, fire, land division and deforestation.

Fun fact— Elephant shrews share more genetic make-up with elephants, aardvarks, and manatees than with mice.

6. Okapi

Is it a zebra? Is it a horse? A giraffe? Well, it’s sort of all three. The okapi is a strange African animal native to the Democratic Republic of Congo (they used to be found in Uganda as well but are sadly now extinct there). They have horse-like bodies, long giraffe necks, and zebra stripes down their legs. Also, they live in dense forests both dry and wet, and are herbivores that feed on leaves, grass, shoots, and fungi.

Fun fact— okapi have four stomachs and don’t defecate for the first few months of their lives.

7. Black Rain Frog

The black rain frog has a perpetual frown on its face and when threatened it puffs up, enlarging its body to seem intimidating. This frog is found off the Southern Coast of Africa at elevations of up to 3,300 feet. It doesn’t need open water to survive as it is a burrowing species and can create tunnels of up to six inches deep to find water and insects for feeding. This sad avocado-looking creature is definitely a weird African animal!

Fun fact— during mating, females secrete a sticky substance to ensure males don’t slide off.

8. Prickly Bush Viper

They are also known as spiny bush vipers, and are vibrant green vipers are small in size but lethal in toxicity. They are native to Central Africa and feed on mammals, birds, lizards, and frogs. Their claim to fame is their spiky, dragon-like dorsal scales that protect them from predators.

Fun fact—prickly bush vipers have prehensile (capable of grasping) tails that allow them to hang upside down.

9. Gerenuk

The gerenuk, also known as the giraffe gazelle, is an antelope species found in East Africa. They are extremely shy and so little is known about their diet and behavior. What we do know is that gerenuks can stand on their hind legs and use their very long necks to reach into thorny trees. They live and travel in herds and only the males have horns.

Fun fact—“gerenuk” means giraffe-necked in Somali.

10. Lowland Streaked Tenrec

The lowland streaked tenrec is a weird African animal that is part shrew part hedgehog. It’s known for its vibrant yellow and black quills that shoot up like a mane when it feels threatened. These feisty creatures are native to Madagascar and are unique in that they can survive in solitude or groups. They typically feed on worms and so prefer moist regions close to water sources.

Fun fact—lowland streaked tenrecs can match their body temperature to the air to conserve body heat and energy.

11. Dugong

Dugongs are found off the coastal region of the Pacific and Indian Ocean (primarily in East Africa). Dugongs are herbivorous sea-cows and they graze on seagrass. They can live up to 70 years and grow up to 13 feet and 595 pounds. They are thought to have evolved from elephants and are closely related to manatees. Dugongs are extremely rare and sadly due to habitat destruction; their numbers are dwindling rapidly.

Fun fact—dugongs have very small brains compared to their body size. This may be because they did not have to develop complex hunting systems to capture prey.

12. Hammer-Headed Bat

We saved the best for last because this might be one of the weirdest looking animals out there. The hammer-headed bat is a nocturnal African animal and is the continent’s largest bat with a wingspan of 38 inches. These bats feed on fruits like figs, guavas, bananas, and mangos. Unlike other bat species which segregate on sex, hammer-heads work together and take on specific foraging strategies within a group dynamic. They are native to Central Africa and prefer moist forests, swamps, and mangroves.

Fun fact—during mating season male hammer-headed bats produce between 60-120 “honks” per minute to attract females.

On our list of 12 weird yet adorable animals, you might be wondering which animal is only found in Africa? The answer is all of them, except the dugong, are solely found on the African continent making them that much more unique. Each one is part of a complex African ecosystem and if you’re wondering which is the most random animal? There isn’t one. They all play a part in sustaining vegetation, keeping population numbers down, and are integral in balancing natural life cycles.

Sadly, every one of the weird African animal on this list is also under threat. Mass deforestation, land degradation and division, poaching, and climate change are disrupting delicate ecosystems. Take this list as a call to action, if you didn’t know these animals existed imagine how many more species are out there that rely on conservation efforts. African Dream Foods has made it our mission to be a part of wildlife conservation and we hope you’ll join us in our efforts. With every bottle sold we donate between .10 and .40 cents to African wildlife conservation organizations, protecting the planet and its inhabitants has never been this easy (or delicious).

How to Pair Food with Hot Sauce

Believe it or not, there’s an art and science on how to pair hot sauce and food. Chefs and food scientists have spent years deciphering exactly why particular foods work well together and we can use their basic principles to ensure that every time we douse our food in hot sauce, we’re getting the best possible flavor combination with every bite.

For instance, according to chef and author of The Flavor Matrix—James Briscione, chili peppers “have these big powerful fruit aromas” that are often lost because of their heat. So, incorporating fruit into a hot sauce elevates the sweet and tropical undertones of the pepper and eases some of the burn.

The habanero, one of the spicier of the capsicum pepper genus, can be described as “fruity, citrus-like, and floral” despite its heat. It’s considered an “excellent aromatic match” with bell pepper, apricot brandy, and pineapple. Try experimenting with the match by adding our Habanasco-Fermented Habanero Sauce to a pineapple salsa. The combo works because they share molecular flavor compounds, not to be mistaken for molecular taste compounds that relate to smell and not taste… or is it taste and not smell? Confused? So are we.

Basically, you don’t need to be a scientist or a chef to understand how to pair flavors together, and when it comes to hot sauce, as a general rule contrast is your friend. Here at African Dream Foods, we’ve put together some of our own pairings to inspire you on your hot sauce pairing journey.

Fruits and Vegetables in Hot Sauce

Our Jalapeno sauce is vinegar forward making it ideal for cutting through rich foods. We age our Jalapenos for up to 12 months resulting in a sharp, crisp sauce with a mild tang.

Acidity is the best way to offset dense flavors, so try drizzling it over avocado toast or mixing it into guacamole. You could even try this pairing by making our Jalanasco Dipping Sauce that incorporates avocado and yogurt in the recipe. Both avocado and yogurt are rich full flavors that call for the zesty bite of our sauce to add something special.

The hottest in the African Dream Foods repertoire, this sauce is perfect for a blast of heat in dairy-rich or sweet foods that can sustain a tasty kick in the stomach. It’s described as “not for spice amateurs” however, pairing it with creamy mac and cheese will help cushion the blow.

You could also try our Ghost Pepper Spicy Cornbread recipe that uses buttermilk and sugar to cut the heat resulting in a sweet, hot flavor explosion that will appease both Northern and Southern cornbread connoisseurs.

This sauce has a sweet chutney consistency with a tingly hint of spice.

It’s mild and more of a glaze than a hot sauce and so it pairs perfectly with salty foods. It elevates any cheese board but works especially well with briny salty cheeses like halloumi and feta. Its sticky, sweetness also makes the perfect pork marinade. Use it as jam on a bagel, or actually, have it by the spoonful while nibbling on whatever you can find. This one’s so good, we’re pretty sure you can pair it with almost anything.

Exploring the Habanero Pepper

Although habanero pepper lost its 'World's Hottest Pepper' crown in 1999, that doesn’t mean it’s not very hot and spicy. At 350,000 and more Scoville heat units (SHUs), it takes a proud spot in the peppers' hall of fame. So if you're looking for a grand upgrade from your usual spicy meals, the habanero pepper is a pretty courageous choice. However, before using the spicy culprit, you should get to know it first. That's why we're here to help. We'll tell you everything you need to know about habanero pepper. All you have to do is read on!
How Hot Is a Habanero Pepper?

We've already mentioned that habanero pepper can reach 350,000 and more SHUs, but how hot is that?

We'll give you an easy comparison. If you're a spicy food enthusiast, then you've indeed eaten jalapeno pepper before. Well, as shocking as it is, a jalapeno pepper only ranges from 2,000-8,000 SHUs, so you can stop bragging to your friends that you can eat an entire pepper in one bite.

Accordingly, you can figure out how hot a habanero pepper is. It takes up a noticeable space in the extra-hot zone of the SHU scale. However, and this may surprise you, it is still not as spicy as heavy hitters, such as the ghost pepper, like ghost peppers, for example. Those can easily reach one million SHUs. So, you can eat them if you’re up for a challenge.

More so, the habanero pepper is humbled when compared with the hottest peppers in the world right now—for instance, Carolina Reaper and Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, which can reach up to two million SHUs. However, since those are less common in grocery stores, habanero pepper still sits on the throne of the hottest pepper that you can buy on the market.

What Does a Habanero Pepper Taste Like?

We must have teased your taste buds by now. So if you've never tasted a habanero pepper before, let us give you an idea about what to expect. Surprisingly, habanero pepper has a fruity undertone that adds value to many dishes around the world. That's why it's a favorite among chefs.

In addition to the citrusy sweetness, habanero pepper also has a smoky taste that makes it even more unique. Those qualities made habanero pepper a star of fruit-based dishes, especially mangos and pineapples.

If you're courageous enough to taste a habanero pepper, you'll be shocked at first with an intense explosion of flavors hitting your mouth, followed by a severe heatwave. However, cooked peppers lose a bit of their flavor when subjected to heat, so they don't feel the same.

After getting over the initial shock, you'll enjoy the fruity undertone along with a dash of smokiness. If you don't want your first experience to be aggressive, you can eat it cooked instead of raw. People often remove the pepper's seeds and the white inner membranes before cooking with it, and since this is where capsaicin is most concentrated, cooked peppers are much less intense than raw ones.

What Are Habanero Peppers Good For?

Apart from the delicious taste that habanero peppers provide, they also have a few health benefits that most people don't know. Studies even show that people who eat spicy meals frequently have a lower risk of developing diabetes and cancer.

First of all, since they're full of capsaicin, they can lower the bad cholesterol in your blood without affecting the good cholesterol. And the best news is that this fact isn't limited to a specific dose. So you don't have to eat an entire plate of habaneros to enjoy those benefits.

Second, capsaicin can stimulate increased production of insulin-like growth factor-1, which is a hormone that can cause a slight reduction in blood pressure.

Not only those, but habanero peppers can also increase your metabolism, therefore make you lose weight faster than usual. They do that by increasing thermogenesis throughout your body, which is the metabolic process by which we burn calories and gain heat.

Like most spicy food, habanero pepper can give you a mood boost after eating it. This is mainly because our brains release endorphins, which are happy hormones, as a response to the burning sensation that aggressively attacks our mouths. This causes a euphoric feeling that leads many people to become addicted to spicy food.

Last but definitely not least, eating habanero pepper can reduce your chance of getting cancer. To elaborate, habanero pepper contains vitamin A, vitamin C, and capsaicin. Those can play a huge role in preventing the emergence of cancer cells in your body, especially in the prostate.

With that being said, habanero pepper may not be for the faint of heart. But it sure is delicious, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on its taste. So if you plan on incorporating it in your meals, just keep the portions tiny, and enjoy!

Types of Habanero Pepper

Since humans have been inspired by natural evolution since forever, there have been many attempts to modify habanero pepper in terms of taste, shape, and color. So, due to many trials of natural selection and crossbreeding through ages, many types of habaneros rose to fame. Here's a roundup of some exciting varieties of habanero peppers.

Chocolate Habanero


While you may associate its name with sweetness, this isn't the case. Chocolate habanero gets its name from its unique brown color. If you ever decide to plant them, chocolate habaneros can add an elegant touch to your garden. However, don't let the dark brown color trick you into thinking it isn't as spicy as the other habanero types.

As well as the explosive spiciness, chocolate habanero also preserves the characteristic fruity flavor of habanero pepper. However, it’s spicier than most habanero types at nearly 570,000 SHUs. Thus, it adds value to many recipes, for instance, pepper powders and hot sauces.



This habanero pepper is for people who don't want to miss out on the experience of eating habaneros, but they’re a bit scared of the spicy taste. It provides the same exceptionally delicious taste, but without the original habanero's spiciness.

If your first habanero to try is the Habanada, then you'll enjoy it. However, if you've tasted the original peppers before, you may find it a bit weird at first because it doesn't hold the same amount of flavor. Habanada is perfect for cooking mild hot sauces.

Mustard Habanero

Mustard habaneros carry a characteristic orange color that ought to warn you about their spiciness. If you ever decide to grow them, you'll get to enjoy a lively color in your garden and a delicious flavor in your meals.

After their name, mustard habaneros are a superb addition to hot mustards.


White Giant Habanero


While it isn't as large as the name hints, the White Giant habanero is definitely unique.

Compared to other white habaneros, it’s only slightly larger. In addition, it preserves the same fierce heat and mild smoky flavor that gave habanero its popularity in the peppers world.

Red Savina

Although all habanero peppers are pretty spicy, they're no competition for the ever-vicious Red Savina. This champion ranks a shocking 500,000 SHUs on the hotness scale. As a result of many years of breeding to get more capsaicin out of it, the Red Savina doesn't disappoint when it comes to intense flavors.

Scotch Bonnet


While many people think that Scotch bonnets are a type of habaneros, they’re only a close relative. This type of pepper carries the same spiciness you would expect from the hot pepper; however, its fruity undertone is much more prominent than habaneros.

The reason they're named this way is that they slightly look like a type of Scottish hat. Scotch Bonnets gained popularity around the Caribbean, and they have an essential role in many Jamaican plates.

Habanero Colors: Which Color Habanero Pepper Is Hottest?
Habanero Pepper

Habanero peppers come in a variety of weird and wonderful colors that make you sweat just looking at them! And since there are many varieties of our beloved pepper, it's essential that you know how to differentiate it according to color. The colors available include white, green, yellow, red, orange, pink, purple, brown, and more.

To start with, green and white habanero peppers are more on the mild side. Although still pretty spicy, they won't burn your mouth as much as the other colors. They're also the richest in flavor as they preserve more sweetness than the others. In addition, although yellow habanero Scoville units can reach 350,000, it still isn't the spiciest habanero pepper.

Given their fury colors, red and orange peppers undoubtedly take the first position as the hottest habanero peppers. Unfortunately, while they're still delicious, many people shy away from adding them to meals because of their overpowering effect.

As for pink and purple habaneros, they’re a bit rarer than other types, so you might not have heard about them before. However, it’s worth mentioning that they aren’t as intense as other types of habaneros, especially the chocolate habaneros ones.

As an ultimate answer to the question, Red Savina is the hottest habanero pepper ever to exist. Make sure not to put it in your meals unless you're up to the challenge.

Cooking With Habanero Pepper


Habanero peppers aren't the type of pepper that you can just put on any meal. They only pair well with a few other foods because of their unique undertones. As a result, you'll need our help if you want to include habaneros in your dishes! Luckily, we have some ideas for you.

First of all, if you don't want to get too adventurous, you can purchase a small bottle of habanero chili salt. It makes for an explosive addition to dishes without overpowering the other flavors. In addition, it adds so much depth to your dish's taste that it may convince you to replace your salt and pepper shakers.

On the other hand, you can get creative with your cooking and try a dish like a habanero hummus. It'll be explosively spicy, to say the least, but it wouldn't harm to give it a try.

Moreover, as we've said before, habanero pepper pairs well with fruits; accordingly, you can incorporate it into sauces and syrups. For a fruity and earthy flavor, you can whip up a carrot habanero sauce.

Finally, habanero becomes exceptionally delicious when fermented. It gives it a unique tangy taste that appeals to many people. And you can look for a ready-made fermented sauce, like Habanasco, for example.

Tips for Handling Habanero Peppers

Suppose you want to add a dash of intense spicy flavor to your food, then there are a few points you should take care of.

Always Wear Gloves

For starters, you should never handle peppers with bare hands, and this isn't limited to habanero peppers. Any peppers that take a high ranking on the Scoville scale also fall under that category. It's always the wise option to wear gloves.
Cutting those spicy vegetables with bare hands can lead to an annoying burning sensation on your skin. Not to mention, if you forget what you're dealing with and innocently rub your eyes, the results will be catastrophic.

Keep Your Portions Tiny

When dealing with pepper as hot as habanero pepper, it's always the best option to use a small amount. Habanero's flavor is intense enough; as a result, you don't need to put a generous amount in your food. Instead, to ensure you don't accidentally make your meal too spicy to eat, taste it many times through the cooking process.

Also, you should know that the spiciest parts of any pepper are always the veins and the seeds. Accordingly, you should remove them before throwing habanero into your dish.

Peel off the Skin

Although habanero's skin is relatively thin, it still can be pretty challenging to chew in your mouth. Consequently, it'd be best if you remove it before cooking. To do so, you can heat your habaneros over a grill for a few minutes or just throw them in the oven. Afterward, it'll be much easier for you to remove the skins as they'll loosen a bit. Don't forget your gloves, though!

Adverse Effects of Eating Habanero Pepper

While there aren't many adverse health effects associated with hot peppers, we'll still give you an idea about them. The real culprit when it comes to spicy food is capsaicin. Capsaicin is a compound found in all hot peppers, and it can trigger heat receptors on your tongue and give your brain the wrong idea that your mouth is burning, literally.

With that being said, capsaicin isn't dangerous in any way. Its effect is merely a mastermind trick that it plays on our minds. But we can't say the same for people who are suffering from digestive issues or ulcers.

Those can be made worse with a meal full of capsaicin. As a result, if you're one of them, you should consult your doctor before taking a lionhearted step like eating habanero peppers.

Can Habanero Pepper Burn Your Tongue?

Due to the excessive heat that results from eating habanero pepper, people started worrying that it might be burning their tongues. However, we're here to prove them wrong.

First of all, capsaicin, which is responsible for the spicy taste, only stimulates the heat receptors on your tongue. It doesn't adversely affect your taste receptors at all. Accordingly, no matter how much agony your tongue is in, it isn't in any way burning. Instead, your mind just thinks it is.

As a result, you can indulge in spicy food as much as you want. But make sure not to go too far if you suffer from digestive issues.

Growing Habanero Pepper

Luckily, growing habanero pepper isn't too challenging. You can easily do it if you have enough patience and the right equipment. The most crucial point to take care of is keeping it out of the sun. It may lead your peppers to dry out and crack. It'd also help if you fertilize them efficiently after they reach six weeks.

In addition, you should keep an eye out for insects. They might harm your plant, but you can quickly get rid of them using water sprays. However, don't spray water all day long because overdoing it can cause fungal diseases.

Habanero Pepper: A Brief History

South America isn't just famous for coffee and football; it's also the place where habanero pepper originated.

Although many people mistakenly think that habanero is Mexican, it definitely isn't. Some people believe it originated in Peru, while others swear it's a Cuban plant. However, regardless of the past, the Yucatan Peninsula remains the biggest producer of those peppers to date.

In terms of being ancient, habanero pepper has been on earth for quite a while. Interestingly enough, archaeological scientists have dug domesticated habaneros that are older than 8,500 years old. Can you believe that it's centuries older than South America?

Over time, farmers mixed types of peppers together to get the preferred color, taste, and appearance. As a result of those trials, many habanero pepper varieties rose to fame, as we've mentioned previously.

Since we've made it clear that habanero pepper belongs in South America, you must be wondering how it became famous in Africa. Interestingly, habaneros spread to the rest of the world through Spanish, British, and Portuguese colonists. Their appearance in different areas of the world has been traced back to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Well, it depends on your ability to withstand spicy food. And note that we aren't talking about the expected level of spiciness that you can find in fast-food restaurants. Instead, we're talking about an intense, hot experience, which is what you’re here for. After all, habaneros are mouth-watering, so it wouldn’t hurt to give them a try!

According to the Scoville scale, they're in no way comparable. For example, Habanero pepper ranks an astonishing 350,000, while the innocent jalapenos never go further than 8,000 SHUs.

Yes, habanero peppers are much hotter than serrano peppers. Serrano peppers have a Scoville value that ranges from just 5,000 to 15,000 SHUs, which is incomparable with habanero's score.

Unless it's furiously shooting out of a gun's barrel, no, a habanero pepper definitely can't kill you. You'll just suffer from a burning sensation that's associated with spicy food. However, this goes for small amounts of the vicious pepper. If you eat a large number of habaneros, you may suffer from stomach issues. Nevertheless, they still won't kill you.

Habanero pepper is named after La Habana, a Cuban city that's assumed to be the origin of habaneros. La Habana is commonly called Havana in English.

Compared to other types of pepper, no, habanero pepper is definitely not expensive. It might be a bit more costly than your usual vegetables, but it won't put a dent in your wallet. Interestingly enough, bell peppers can be more expensive than habaneros.

To Wrap Up

Among the many blessings that South America gave us, habanero pepper is pretty much one of a kind. In addition to its incredibly spicy taste, it also has a fruity flavor that earned it its worldwide fame. While its spiciness is not to kid with, you can incorporate it in meals in creative ways that won't overly burn your mouth. For instance, you can use it in sauces or salts.

Now that you know enough about habanero peppers,you can experiment with adding these to your everyday cooking for an extra punch of flavor!

How to Get Rid of Spicy Taste Step by Step

As well as the explosion of enticing flavors that spicy foods give us, they also give us an unwelcome feeling of hotness and burning. So if you feel like you’ve gone too far with your spicy midnight meal, or you got tricked by your friends into eating spicy peanuts, you’ll need our help!
In this article, we’ll tell you how to get rid of spicy taste step by step. So get ready to say goodbye to the blazing war that’s happening inside your mouth!

Blog Post - How to Get Rid Of Spicy Taste-min.
The Do's

As much as you love spicy food, you’re probably wondering, how do you make your mouth stop burning? Here are the steps you should take if you feel like the spicy taste in your mouth is too much to handle.

How to get rid of spicy taste - eat dairy

Contrary to popular belief, water isn’t your knight in shining armor when it comes to spicy food; dairy products are!
The first thing you should do to get rid of the spicy taste in your mouth is to look for any dairy products, preferably milk. Those are commonly found in most houses, so it shouldn’t be challenging to find one. But why does milk help with spicy food?
A glass of milk will do wonders for the burning sensation in your mouth because, first of all, milk has a protein called casein. One of the most famous roles of casein is breaking down capsaicin, which is the main culprit in spicy food.
Casein works as a cleanser in this case as it attracts capsaicin molecules and washes them away so they can no longer burn your mouth. That’s why we recommend you drink milk, not any other dairy products because some of them don’t contain casein and won’t cool your mouth down. However, some products contain casein, such as yogurt, sour cream, and cottage cheese.
Kindly note that this doesn’t go for coconut milk and almond milk.

How to get rid of spicy taste - eat acidic food

Since some people are lactose intolerant or try to avoid dairy at all costs, we’ll tell you about an efficient alternative to milk. This might be shocking, but acidic foods help with the spicy taste.
The scientific explanation for this is that capsaicin is alkaline, so mixing it with acid will neutralize its molecules. As a result, it’ll take just a few minutes to cool down the hot sensation in your mouth.
Accordingly, for immediate relief, you should either drink orange juice, lemonade, or any juice that contains tomatoes. Of course, you can also eat some tomato pieces as an alternative.

How to get rid of spicy taste - Sip on Olive Oil

Some people drink olive oil as a healthy habit since it’s beneficial for your heart and bones. What most people don’t know is that in addition to that, it also works wonderfully to cool your mouth after eating spicy food.
In terms of science, it has the same effect as peanut butter as it’s full of fats. Consequently, it’ll dissolve capsaicin molecules in no time.

How to get rid of spicy taste - eat honey or sugar

This is quite a famous act against the spice taste. However, while most people think that sweetness has the bigger effect here, it definitely doesn’t. This is because sweetness doesn’t alter capsaicin’s effects. Instead, sugar and honey absorb capsaicin molecules so they can stop irritating your pain receptors.
Consequently, sucking on a cube of sugar will heal the burning sensation in your mouth. Or you can just eat a small spoon of honey or sugar if you don’t have cubes.

How to get rid of spicy taste - eat Carbs

While carbohydrates are mostly marked as foes, they definitely act like friends in this situation. For instance, starch will be your savior if you’re dealing with a burning mouth.
This is mainly because starch is a voluminous food, as most carbohydrates are. This can be highly beneficial because small starch particles will come between your mouth and capsaicin molecules; therefore, they’ll act like a physical barrier.
Among the many foods that contain starch, the ones that’ll probably be in your pantry are rice, bread, and tortillas.

How to get rid of spicy taste - Munch on some chocolate

While most people don’t need an extra reason to munch on a delicious piece of chocolate, we’ll still tell you one!
Chocolates have a high-fat content that comes in handy when it comes to the removal of capsaicin molecules from your mouth. This is because capsaicin is more soluble in fats than in water. Therefore, it dissolves quite fast when mixed with fats. However, make sure to eat milk chocolate, not a dark one, because it has a less fat content.

Blog Post - HT Get Rid Of Spicy Taste - Headings-min

Peanut butter is a fatty food that we all indulge in shamelessly for temporary happiness. However, it has quite the benefits when it comes to eating spicy food. The high-fat content in it dissolves capsaicin as a hot knife through butter.
As a result, it’d be best to eat a small spoon of peanut butter if your mouth is burning. This also goes for cashew butter and almond butter. You’ll immediately enjoy the cooling effect in your mouth along with the delicious taste that butter has.

The Dont's

There are some famous myths that are wrongly associated with spicy food, and we’re here to destroy them!

How to get rid of spicy taste - don't drink water

Most of us automatically reach for water after eating spicy food. However, this couldn’t be more wrong. You’d do better with drinking nothing at all.
This is due to the fact that capsaicin is a nonpolar, oil-based molecule, while water is polar. As a rule of thumb, polar compounds dissolve each other only, and the same goes for nonpolar compounds.
Consequently, water most probably won’t affect capsaicin according to the rules that say oil and water don’t mix. Rather, drinking water might make your issue even worse.
If you drink water, the capsaicin molecules will go wild in your mouth instead of calming down. This will stimulate more pain receptors in your tongue, leading to more suffering. Instead of water, you should try any of the options we listed above to get rid of the spicy taste.

How to get rid of spicy taste - don't drink alcohol

We’ve been long led to believe that alcohol diminishes any feeling of pain. This idea cemented in our minds because of movies and old stories where people pour alcohol all over their wounds to numb the pain.
However, when it comes to spicy food pain and heat, it won’t help. The amount of alcohol you need to drink to stop feeling pain is too much for most people and may even be illegal if you aren’t of age. Not to mention, water is the main ingredient in many alcoholic beverages, which brings us back to the oil and water dilemma.

How to get rid of spicy taste - don't drink soda

Most people order soda with spicy food so they can chug it while eating. However, this might worsen the burning pain and heat on your tongue. Aside from the fact that sodas are mostly made of water, they also cause fizzing in your mouth.
This fizzing will overstimulate your pain receptors that are already having a panic attack in your mouth. As a result, your mouth will feel much worse than before. Instead, you should order lemonade or orange juice with your spicy dish.

Why Does Eating Spicy Food Cause a Burning Sensation in Your Mouth?
how to get rid of the spicy taste

Now that you’ve cooled down the heat in your mouth and got rid of the spicy taste, you should know the main reason for your suffering in the first place. As we’ve previously mentioned, capsaicin is to blame here. It’s an active component and irritant that you can find in all spicy foods.
Capsaicin works by binding to a group of receptors in your mouth that go by VR1 receptors. Those receptors are mainly responsible for warning you about burning your mouth. They do that by detecting heat and sending signals to the brain to act up.
Capsaicin stimulates those heat receptors and activates them. But, of course, in the case of eating a dish full of spice, your mouth isn’t burning. Nevertheless, your brain is manipulated to think so.
As a result, your body puts up the defense mechanisms to put out the fire in your mouth. That’s why you’ll immediately feel a rise in your heart rate and tears in your eyes. In addition, you’ll start sweating to cool down your body. Those reactions are a result of your body producing adrenaline.
After reading this, you’ll probably start thinking about the wicked reason that leads people to eat those manipulative foods that cause waves of heat to attack their mouths. However, we have an explanation.
Eating spicy food causes your body to release endorphins in response to pain, which are the chemicals responsible for happiness in your brain. So if you’re feeling down, we highly recommend you cook a spicy dish, but make sure to keep a glass of milk within your reach for quick pain relief.

Can Spicy Food Damage Your Tongue?

Quick! Your hot sauce is on the brink of expiration and you don’t want to waste this spicy goodness! Well here are some ideas on how to use it in your everyday cooking!

  • Add a vinegar-based hot sauce to brownies, yes we know that this sounds bizarre but chili and chocolate is actually a classic combination and the vinegar will react with the baking soda, giving your brownie a little lift and a much-needed kick!
  • Take your favorite hot sauce and add it to meat marinades, if there is vinegar in the sauce this will work to help tenderize your meat!
  • Mix it into dips, or add to your next pot of bean chili for an extra kick.
  • Add your hot sauce to some butter and toss it through your next batch of popcorn.
  • Every time you have guests over, stick it on the table as a condiment on its own, we promise your spicy-loving friends will help you finish off your sauce.

Despite the agony and heat of capsaicin’s effect in our mouths, there’s no denying that spicy food has a kind of magic that manipulates us to keep eating it. As a result of excessive indulging in spicy foods, some people worry about the health of their tongues and taste buds. However, we’re here to reassure you!
Heat and taste sensations aren’t translated by the same receptors in your mouth. And capsaicin only works on your heat receptors. As a result, no matter how hot your tongue will feel, your taste buds will stay intact because they aren’t triggered as much as heat ones.
Not to mention, all the hotness you’re feeling is nothing but a devious trick played well by your mind. You aren’t actually burning. As a result, you can eat as much spicy food as you want without damaging your tongue. Just make sure you have milk in your fridge first!
However, we can’t say the same about the rest of your body. If you suffer from any gastrointestinal issues, especially ulcers, you should stay away from spices. It might worsen your ulcers if you already have them or cause them altogether.

How to Get Rid of Spicy Taste in Food

Actually, you can get rid of the spicy taste in food the same way you get rid of it in your mouth. Of course, it differs according to the dish you’re cooking. You can’t add milk or chocolates to any meal! However, for example, if you’re preparing a delicious chili, you can complement it with a gallop of sour cream on top.
In addition to its beautifying effect, the sour cream will also tone down the spice taste a bit. Therefore, you won’t be sweating loads throughout your whole meal. The same goes for any dairy product you have. For instance, you can add milk to a soup to thicken its texture and balance its taste.
On the other hand, if you’re preparing any sauce, you can add sugar to lessen the spice effect. It’ll add a delicious flavor to your sauce without affecting the dish too much. If you don’t eat sugar for health-related reasons, you can use honey instead.
Finally, one of the easiest additions to any meal you’re cooking is acid. You can add vinegar or lime to nearly any food on the planet. They’ll complement your dish without changing its flavor, and they’ll successfully make your spicy food more edible.
You can also get creative with your spicy meals and add other ingredients like yogurt and tomato juice. If you already finished cooking and aren’t willing to make any changes to your plate, you can simply serve a glass of milk next to your dish to control the pain!

Does Getting Rid of Spicy Taste Decrease Capsaicin’s Health Benefits?

It’s a known fact that capsaicin has many health benefits that people often disregard amidst the spice dilemma. However, it’s been proved that capsaicin can greatly enhance your metabolism and energy expenditure. Not to mention, the fact that it’s spicy prevents you from overeating. Therefore, you’ll have a smaller chance of getting obese.
As a result, some people worry that if they add spice taste suppressants like milk to their meal, capsaicin will no longer be beneficial. However, we’re here to prove them wrong! Using sugar or milk to get rid of the spicy taste in your food won’t affect capsaicin’s benefits. This is because they merely calm down your taste buds while you’re eating till you swallow your food.
But you’ll still fully digest the capsaicin, and it’ll be broken down in your liver. Consequently, you’ll still enjoy the metabolism-enhancing properties that the spicy compound generously provides.

Frequently Asked Questions

Milk ranks among the top foods that can diminish the effects of capsaicin in a few minutes. If the heat is too much for you while eating, immediately take a few sips of milk, and you’ll be okay in no time. If you’re lactose intolerant, take a small spoon of sugar.

To be completely cool, you’ll need to wait for about 15-20 minutes. It’s all about giving the chemical reaction time to work and capsaicin molecules to get neutralized. This will quickly fade the heat in your mouth away and give you your long-awaited relief.

In addition to the heat storm that spicy food unleashes upon us, it often irritates ulcers that are found in our mucosal linings in the small intestine or the esophagus. This may lead to various health issues like peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and acid reflux. As a result, if you eat way too much spicy food, you may suffer from nausea, weight loss, vomiting, and stomach pain.

However, if you enjoy your guilty pleasure every once in a while without overdoing it, the chances are that you’ll be fine.

Acidic foods like vinegar, lime, tomato juice, pineapples, and lemons will all neutralize your spicy food successfully. You just have to choose the suitable ingredient to add to your meal without ruining it.

To Wrap Up

Spicy food is a guilty pleasure that we all like to enjoy from time to time. However, there’s no denying that it causes unfavorable burning in our mouths. To make the burning more bearable or even cool it down completely, there are a few tricks that you can try out.
First of all, you can drink some milk or eat other dairy products like yogurt and sour cream. They’ll alter the spicing effect of capsaicin in just a few minutes. As an alternative, you can munch on a delicious piece of chocolate or take a spoonful of honey.
Second, you can drink lemon or orange juice to neutralize the spicy flavor. Now that you know enough about the topic, you can enjoy your spicy food!

The Ultimate Guide to Hot Sauce Recipes

Hot sauce is one of the most popular condiments in the whole world, and it has become a staple in restaurants. However, because they’re so fiery and versatile, everyone wants to know how to make hot sauces at home. Surprisingly, it’s pretty easy and cost-effective to do so.
So, continue reading to know how to make that spicy sauce at home and everything there’s to learn about its different variations.
How Do You Make Homemade Hot Sauce?
Hot Sauce Recipe Ingredients
equipment needed for making hot sauce

The basics of hot sauces are the same regardless of what ingredients you’ll use. You’ll mix hot peppers, vinegar, salt, and other ingredients that vary from one hot sauce recipe to another, such as citrus juice, vegetables, fruits, and choice of seasonings.

So, here’s everything that you need to make hot sauce at home as a beginner. Let's start with the ingredients.

Peppers - Hot Sauce Recipe

Peppers are the most essential ingredient in a hot sauce recipe. One of the best things about peppers is that there are so many of them. Regardless of the culture or cuisine, you’ll find a local variety of pepper that spices up countless recipes.

Pick the right type of hot pepper according to heat level, which is categorized according to its rank on the Scoville Scale and is measured in Scoville Heat Units or SHU. The higher the units on the Scoville Scale, the hotter the pepper will be and vice versa.

For example, bell pepper is 0 SHU because it’s not spicy at all. Tabasco ranges from 100 to 5000 units, jalapeño ranges from 2500 to 8000 units, cayenne ranges from 30000 to 50000 units, Scotch Bonnet ranges from 100000 to 350000 units, and so on.

Some people also love to use dried pepper in their recipes, while others prefer powdered ones. Each choice has its own fans according to the flavors they want out of their hot sauces. However, note that adding water when using dried peppers is necessary to maintain the right consistency.

In our jalapeño hot sauce recipe, we’ll use fresh green jalapeños. They’re a good place to start.

Vinegar and Citrus Juice
Citrus Ingredient - Hot Sauce ingredients

Just like peppers, there’s a lot to choose from when it comes to vinegar while making hot sauce. You can use white distilled vinegar, apple cider vinegar, malt vinegar, red wine vinegar, and more. The point is you can mix and match however you want in a homemade recipe, which makes it so much fun.

Even better, you can make the hot sauce by adding citrus juice to the mix or even replacing vinegar with citrus juice altogether. Options include lemon juice and orange juice. Each choice adds a different taste so that there’s something for everyone.

In our recipe, we’ll use white vinegar.

Vegetables and Fruits
Fruits and Vegetables in Hot Sauce

What kind of chunky bits do you want in your unique hot sauce recipes? Now, that’s a good question to ask. Veggies and fruits are crucial ingredients that can dramatically elevate your recipe beyond the beginner level.

The most common plants in hot sauces besides spicy peppers are tomatoes and carrots. They’re so versatile, and their constant availability makes them attractive and wanted in most recipes.

While veggies are considered the basics of hot sauces, fruits bring sweetness and character to the overall flavor. The most commonly used fruits are lemons, oranges, tangerines, mangoes, cherries, peaches, apples, blueberries, kiwis, dates, guavas, and pineapples.

Seasonings and Salt
Seasonings for Hot Sauce Recipe

Now is the part where you can experiment with seasonings and salt. There are no rules here; you can go crazy. You can incorporate garlic, onion, ginger, ginger, cumin, coriander, parsley, and even sugar or honey in your original recipes.

Equipment Needed

You’ll need rubber gloves to protect your hands. And the cutting board is essential for you to cut the peppers on. Also, you’ll use the knife to remove the excess membrane, slice, and dice. Plus, you need a saucepan for the cooking part.

The food processor/blender is a must to blend your mix. After blending, you’ll get a strainer to remove the pulp. Finally, the glass bottles, jars, or containers are for storage or serving purposes, of course.

Safety Advice

Handling hot peppers is tricky, especially if they’re super hot. So, it’s good to take a few safety measures to prevent a fun hot sauce-making experience from turning into a hot mess, no pun intended.

If that’s your first time making hot sauce, wear thick rubber gloves while cutting the hot peppers, work in a well-ventilated room, and wash your hands and equipment thoroughly after finishing.

Some people even wear goggles to protect their eyes. If your hands touch your nose or eyes before you wash them, especially if you have contact lenses, you’ll experience one of the worst burning sensations ever.

Also, after you make your hot sauce, keep it in the fridge. This isn’t only to keep it from spoiling but also to prevent it from fermenting to the point of literally exploding.

Easy Hot Sauce Recipe

Fresh green jalapeños (or your choice of chili peppers)


Vinegar or citrus juice

1/2 cup - 1 cup

Choice vegetables and fruits


Seasonings and salt

1/2 tsp - 1 tsp

Fresh garlic

To taste


Optional with fresh pepper, necessary with dried




Thick rubber gloves


Cutting board






Food processor/blender




Glass bottles, or containers



  1. First things first, you need to wash the peppers if they’re fresh.
  2. Use the paring knife to remove all the excess membrane, then use the chef’s knife to chop off the peppers. Some people like to deseed the peppers in this step.
  3. Add the chopped-up jalapeños, vinegar, fresh garlic, salt, and water to a saucepan.
  4. Leave the ingredients to simmer for 10 to 20 minutes on medium heat so that they soften and become easier to blend later. The heat is also necessary for the flavors to blend beautifully.
  5. Check the consistency of the ingredients from time to time and add water if the ingredients become thicker than anticipated, which is common.
  6. Take the ingredients off the heat and let them cool down before you process them.
  7. Once they’re cool enough, add them to your food processor and blend them to the desired consistency. Some people blend their hot sauces until they become creamy, while others prefer to feel the chunky bits. This is where you experiment according to your personal taste.
  8. Once you’ve reached the desired consistency, strain out the pulp with the strainer and pour the mix into a glass bottle or jar for storage if you want to keep it in the fridge. You can also serve it right away with your food. Enjoy!
Fermented Hot Sauce

The difference between fermented and non-fermented fresh recipes is that fermented ones last longer and are believed to be even healthier. The most popular chili peppers that people ferment are jalapenos and habaneros.

Benefits of Fermenting Hot Sauce

There are countless benefits to hot sauce made by fermentation, but what does fermenting hot sauce even mean?


Benefits of Fermented Hot Sauce

Fermentation is the decomposition of food by microorganisms, such as lactic acid bacteria, or enzymes. It’s an ancient technique of preserving food.

It’s so healthy because when you ferment food, you create an anaerobic environment that helps beneficial bacteria thrive, and bad bacteria starve.

The good bacteria, also known as probiotics, is the lactic acid in this process because it feeds on the carbohydrates and turns them into acid, which preserves the hot sauce for much longer than fresh hot sauce.

Because the lactic acid digests the carbohydrates while the hot sauce is being aged, fermented hot sauce is much easier to digest.

In addition, fermented food, including healthy hot sauce, boosts the immune system, thanks to being rich in all kinds of nutrients. The probiotics involved in fermentation have also been linked to reducing blood pressure.

It also has a deeper, more complex flavor that fresh hot sauce may lack.

How to make Fermented Hot Sauce

Destemmed Chili Peppers



1/2 cup - 1 cup


3 Tbsp


1/4 cup



Thick rubber gloves


Cutting board






Food processor/blender




Glass bottles, or containers


Mason Jar(s)



  1. Pack the washed and chopped-up peppers into a mason jar, leaving at least an inch at the top of the jar because fermented peppers tend to rise.
  2. In a separate container, mix ¼ cup of water with 3 tablespoons of salt. Then, pour the brine over the peppers to ensure that they’re fully covered with it. Push them down as needed.
  3. Screw on the lid of the jar and keep it away from direct sunlight to ferment for a minimum of two weeks. The ideal temperature for fermenting hot sauce is somewhere between 55 to 75 degrees F.
  4. Monitor the jar within the two weeks to do what’s needed. For example, you may need to let out the accumulating gases.
  5. After two weeks, drain the peppers from the brine and set the brine aside.
  6. Add the peppers to a food processor/blender with ½ to 1 cup of your vinegar of choice. Pour as much of the brine as you want into the mix.
  7. Process the mix until it reaches the consistency you like.
  8. Pour the mix into your saucepan and let it simmer anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, which will bring the fermentation to an end.
  9. You can strain the fermented hot sauce to remove the pulp or leave it as is.
  10. Pour the fermented hot sauce into the bottles, jars, or whatever kind of containers you like to store the homemade hot sauce in.
Types of Hot Sauce Around the World

There’s an abundance of styles of hot sauces all over the world. Learning about international hot sauce styles enables you to experiment with your menu by using ingredients in your kitchen that you didn’t know would make a delicious hot sauce.

These recipes use local varieties of pepper with different levels of heat, and each recipe brings an ingredient or two that another one doesn’t use at all.

Hot Sauce from around the world map
North America

Louisiana Style
When it comes to hot sauces, it doesn’t get more American than that. The Southern staple utilizes fresh or fermented, traditionally red peppers mixed with white wine vinegar and salt. Americans pair it with anything, from pizza and eggs to meat marinades and stir-fry.

Buffalo Sauce
Buffalo wings make no sense without their best friend, buffalo sauce. It incorporates cayenne peppers, vinegar, garlic, and butter to create a juicy classic staple in the world of chicken wings.

Most lovers of Mexican food are here for the spices. As a result, Cholula definitely belongs on the list. It uses some vinegar with red hot Arbol peppers or Piquin peppers, which are 5 to 8 times hotter than jalapeños, thanks to measuring at 30000 to 60000 units on the Scoville Scale.

Salsa Picante
Of course, we couldn’t mention only one style of hot Mexican sauces. Chipotle, habanero, jalapeño, and pequin chilies all play a role in this hot sauce. It has a thinner consistency than its American counterparts, as it puts a larger emphasis on peppers than anything else.

Hawaiian chili pepper water is basically Hawaiian chili peppers, ginger, vinegar, garlic, and water. It’s an interesting choice for anyone who wants a thinner consistency but still a little bit of heat in their kitchen.

South America

Ají Amarillo
The most popular item in Peruvian cuisine, the Ají Amarillo paste needs the Ají Amarillo or locally available yellow chilies, garlic, olive oil, and salt. After you make the paste, you can use it as is or mix it with mayonnaise, sour cream, tomato paste, shallots, lime juice, salt, and pepper.

Here comes the famous Chilean recipe, Pebre. It uses Ají, green, or red hot peppers. In addition, you’ll need coriander, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cilantro. A little bit of Chile on your scrambled eggs can definitely upgrade your breakfast.

The Caribbean

Scotch Bonnet
Scotch Bonnet peppers are crucial in Jamaican cuisine. They’re full of different flavors that will make you feel like a chef in your kitchen. Besides the peppers, the recipe uses salt, vinegar, garlic, onion, lime juice, cumin, carrot, cucumber, chayote, mango, and pineapple.

If you want a little taste of Belize, try the Belizean habanero chili sauce. What sets it apart is the reliance on carrots, along with Habanero peppers, garlic, lime juice, vinegar, salt, onion, tomatoes, and olive oil, of course.


The most famous sauce in Thailand and Vietnam, Sriracha, is a staple in every Asian kitchen. It’s a little bit mild because while it uses a paste of chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and salt, it also uses sugar for a classic vinegary sweetness.

If you haven’t tried Korean chili sauces, you’ve been missing out. Besides chili powder and salt, it stands out with fermented soybean paste, sticky rice, and a sweetener. As a result, its viscosity and sweetness make it memorable.

The Middle East and Africa

The Middle Eastern spread or dip also plays on this unique hot yet sweet aspect. Muhammara is roasted red peppers, garlic, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, toasted walnuts, breadcrumbs, cayenne, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Once you taste it, you’ll know what it means to get lost in the sauce.

Harissa, commonly used in North African sauces, dishes, and stews, will change your kitchen once you taste it. It’s made of roasted ground red chiles, cumin, garlic, dried mint, coriander, paprika, lemon, salt, and olive oil.

Shatta is an Egyptian sauce that you’ll commonly find in North Africa and the Middle East. It has a thicker consistency because it consists of ground chiles, olive oil, tomato paste, parsley, and coriander.

What Can You Do With Extra Hot Sauce?

You can do so much with leftover homemade hot sauces that goes beyond just using them as a condiment in your recipes.

If you want to make your burgers more interesting, you can drizzle a little bit of hot sauce on top. Hot sauces also bring life to salads, so why not add them to vinaigrettes or ranch? If you’re feeling bolder, you can use leftover chili sauce in making Mexican hot chocolate to keep you warm.

As you can see, nothing is stopping you from making your own hot sauces at home. There are basic ingredients that most people use, and you can make the rest your own.

You can serve the pepper sauce right away or even age it for a more complex taste, more health benefits, and longer shelf life. There are plenty of world recipes to take inspiration from. From Mexico to Egypt, you can bring a piece of any type of cuisine you love into your kitchen.

6 Mind-Blowing Facts On How To Keep Your Hot Sauce Fresh

Whether you’re an every day, every meal hot sauce connoisseur, or simply enjoy the occasional dab of spice here and there you’ve probably wondered “Does hot sauce go bad?” The short answer—yes. See this as a PSA: hot sauce, like most foods, goes bad.

But don’t give up on your beloved condiment just yet, there are many ways to prolong the life of hot sauce. Although we know that most hot sauces won’t stay unopened and unfinished for long, we’ve broken down the tips, tricks, and ‘rules’ to storing hot sauce safely and to ensure it lasts until the very last drop.

Why does food go bad?

Let’s face it, all food spoils eventually (except for honey, so crazy!), but some foods have a longer shelf life than others. Everyone knows that the fresh punnet of strawberries from the local farmer’s market will spoil more quickly than those canned peaches in the backwaters of your pantry, which you will definitely use one day. The point is, different foods spoil at completely different rates, and a lot of this depends on storage conditions.

4 Reasons for Food Spoilage (and how to prevent them)

1. Oxidation - As soon as your food comes into contact with air, oxidation starts to occur. This means that the food immediately starts to break down and decay, affecting the taste color, and nutritional value of the food. So make sure to whip out that Tupperware, or better yet, glass jars, for some airtight storage solutions. When it comes to hot sauce, you will notice a change in color when oxidation occurs, stick it in the fridge to help with this!
2. Enzymes - Ever wonder why your bananas seem to brown overnight, while your carrots last in your fridge for ages? Well, this is something to do with their enzymatic structure which determines how food ripens and how it affects their flavor and coloring. That is why hot sauces that contain fruits tend to have shorter shelf lives than those that don’t. There is, unfortunately, no way to prevent the natural process of food ripening, but by learning the proper storage methods of various foods it definitely helps! Some tricks of the trade include keeping your food in good containers, storing cooked food above raw food, and eliminating moisture from your fruit and veggies.
3. Temperature - Changes in temperature can speed up the decaying process 10-fold! Your yummy treats stored in pantries should be kept between 50 and 70 F, while refrigerated goods should be kept between 34 and 40 F. Items kept in your freezer should remain below the freezing level until you are ready to cook with them. We don’t recommend freezing your hot sauce, but keeping it in the fridge will prevent temperature changes, and then it will last longer. When food reaches higher temperatures, they deteriorate exponentially quicker due to the growth of microorganisms (such as molds, yeast, and bacteria).
4. Physical Damage - Store a half-eaten avocado in the fridge and it will spoil much quicker than a whole one, and this same logic applies to almost all ingredients. If you break or damage the exterior layer or break the food’s surface, you introduce the risk of bacterial growth. So make sure you handle your ingredients carefully and that they are appropriately packaged to prevent breaking that physical barrier. When it comes to your favorite sauce, the physical barrier is the lid, so make sure you keep that cap tight on your bottle as soon as you are finished using it.

Now let’s get to the six hot tips of keeping that hot sauce as fresh as can be

1. Keep it in the fridge


An often debated topic is whether to keep hot sauce in the fridge or not. Generally speaking, unopened hot sauce doesn’t need to be kept in the


fridge because capsaicin, the active component in chili peppers, keeps bacteria at bay. However, there are still several factors to consider. Namely, the ingredient list.

Sauces that are vinegar, salt, and garlic heavy don’t necessarily need refrigeration as these ingredients are natural food preservers. While sugary, fruity, or especially egg-based sauces (think Sriracha mayo) are more susceptible to spoilage and should be refrigerated after being opened. We do however suggest checking the label as each sauce has its own guidelines and recommendations.

There are many benefits to refrigerating your hot sauce:

  • Pantry stored unopened hot sauce can last up to six months, while refrigerated unopened hot sauce lasts up to four times longer. A general rule depending on the sauce’s ingredients.
  • It will keep your hot sauce looking good. If you don’t store your hot sauce (opened or unopened) in the fridge it will darken in color due to oxidation and nobody wants a potent, bright red sauce, turning to a dull maroon, or your beautiful habanero yellow hot sauce taking on a greyish hue.
  • Although, many spice-heads consider this a worthy trade-off as they swear that keeping hot sauce in the fridge reduces its flavor. It is important to note that there is no scientific backing to this and it has been proven that the Scoville Scale (the heat scale used to determine the spiciness of foods) is no different before or after refrigeration.
  • It will keep your sauce tasting fresher. An obvious one, yes, but definitely worth mentioning! Hot sauce kept out of the fridge may not spoil, but it can most certainly taste ‘old’. By this, we mean that certain nuances of flavor can be lost. Flavors of the different peppers used, of the additional ingredients, and even of the specific vinegar could all be lost by being out at room temperature. Nobody wants a dull, vinegary sauce only reminiscent of hot sauce being poured over their eggs!
  • It helps if you are a slow hot sauce eater. If you aren’t one of those people who slather hot sauce on your plate every meal, then you run the risk of your sauce being forgotten or lost. So, simply stick it in the fridge for safekeeping and maximum freshness ready to whip out when your spice-loving friends come to visit.

2. Optimal Conditions


So you have read your label and it states that the sauce only needs to be refrigerated once opened, and who has space in their fridge for condiments that don’t need to be there! So, if the fridge is unnecessary how on earth do you keep your hot sauce in optimal condition? Three words—cool, dry, and dark. Ideally—your pantry. Direct sunlight and heat promote spoilage and will speed up discoloration.

3. Cap Hygiene

This one sounds obvious but is often overlooked on all condiments! Clean your caps! Some crusty gunk on the lid of your hot sauce is inevitable, especially if it is shaken up regularly. This crusty gunk that accumulates could decrease its shelf-life as it's exposed to air and light making it more susceptible to bacteria. Simply rinsing your cap under some warm water should do the trick, but if you have an especially messy cap, it may be best to attack it with a clean wet sponge. Avoid using soap as you don’t want to risk having a soapy sauce!


4. Pour, Don’t Dip


Yes, hot sauce is one of the greatest condiments of all time. Yes, you want to slather this spicy goodness over everything and so you should! But what you should not do, is dip directly into your bottle of hot sauce!
Say you wanted to dip your mozzarella stick directly into the hot sauce bottle, well, there is a chance that residual mozzarella stick will be left behind, and will spoil quicker than your sauce, potentially ruining the whole batch! And what a waste that would be! Also, make sure you are using clean utensils to spoon out your sauce.

5. Refraining From Licking

Don’t lick your bottle. Just don’t. Even if there is a drip. Don’t do it. Tell your roommates, tell your family and let’s all agree to not lick the condiment bottles! Not only is it gross, but your mouth is also full of bacteria that are not good for the preservation of foods.


6. Check the Ingredients and Expiration


Firstly, it’s important to distinguish between a “best by” date and an “expiration” date.

Best by dates tell you when your food is no longer in perfect

shape, it is still edible but may have lost some nutrients and flavor. Expiration dates indicate the last day a product is safe to consume. When it comes to hot sauce, an unopened bottle can typically last up to two years past its best by date. But this is just a general rule of thumb, and you should always be extra cautious before consuming something that’s been around for a while.


When it comes to ingredients, simple pepper, and vinegar-based sauces can last around 3 years! Sometimes even longer. But as soon as you start adding different flavor components, such as fruits or vegetables into the mix, then the shelf life changes quite drastically. So it is recommended to check the expiration dates AND the ingredients list, to get the best idea on when your sauce is on its way out.

All of these tips play a large part in the preservation of your precious sauce, but what happens if you are already past the point of no return? Here are some answers to the burning questions you may have about your current hot sauce situation.

Restaurants Leave Their Hot Sauce Out, Why Can’t I?




Yes, restaurants leave their hot sauces on the table and everything is fine. Well, no matter how much hot sauce you think you eat, restaurants go through their stock quicker, which means that shelf life isn’t an issue for them.

What Happens to an Older Hot Sauce?

Okay, so you’ve left your hot sauce past its best by date, what now? You might be thinking, does hot sauce lose its potency? Does it get hotter over time? Do I need to taste it to find out?
This is a tricky one because it could go either way. Hot sauce may get hotter over time or the complete opposite might happen and the longer it sits the blander it becomes. Although, the answer is most likely somewhere in between. Chances are, your sauce will get hotter after the first few months, as the flavors really settle in, and then a few more months down the line they may start to fade. Unless, of course, you opt for a fermented hot sauce because fermented products become tastier (and more nutritious) over time.


Give your hot sauce a good shake before opening it as flavorsome sediment may have settled to the bottom leaving the top slightly dull in flavor.

How to Tell if Hot Sauce is Expired?

You’ve done everything right; stored your unopened hot sauce appropriately, checked the best by date, noted the ingredients, and given the bottle a good shake up but you’re still not sure how to tell if your hot sauce is bad?
This is where it’s about relying on your senses. Look for strange textures, black dots, or fuzzy mold. We wouldn’t blame you for wondering, how hot sauce can even get moldy, especially considering that so many are made with vinegar? Well, while the vinegar slows decomposition significantly, it doesn’t prevent it entirely. If you can’t spot anything suspicious visually then give it a whiff. Does it smell like hot sauce or is it slightly sour? Finally, a taste might be your only option. Ingesting a little bit of spoiled hot sauce doesn’t have severe health risks and you’ll know if it’s bad immediately as humans developed to dislike rotten food as a protection mechanism.

Does Homemade Hot Sauce Go Bad?
Does hot sauce go bad - Homemade Hot Sauce 2

When making your own hot sauce, you can’t just revert to the label for longevity guidelines and so some precautions need to be put in place to extend its shelf-life.
Firstly, sterilization is key. This includes all of the utensils you use to make the sauce and especially the jar you plan to bottle it in. Ingredients matter, remember the more fruits you include the faster it will spoil. If possible, avoid using oils as this is more likely to cause food-borne botulism. Botulism is a disease that can occur when home-canned goods aren’t canned correctly and oil stored in a low-acid and low-oxygen environment (i.e.— a jar) favors the growth of this bacteria. Not to worry though, this is only really an issue for homemade and home-bottled sauces. Store-bought hot sauces containing oils have gone through rigorous processes to prevent this risk. Finally, make sure you cook your sauce for at least 20 minutes and then store it with an airtight lid. All this should result in a six-month shelf-life (a cool and shady shelf) and a good rule of thumb is recipes that 20% vinegar will have a ph level safe for preserving. All of this being said, just to be on the safe side, we suggest keeping your homemade sauce in the fridge.

How To Use Up Your Hot Sauce Before it Goes Bad

Quick! Your hot sauce is on the brink of expiration and you don’t want to waste this spicy goodness! Well here are some ideas on how to use it in your everyday cooking!

  • Add a vinegar-based hot sauce to brownies, yes we know that this sounds bizarre but chili and chocolate is actually a classic combination and the vinegar will react with the baking soda, giving your brownie a little lift and a much-needed kick!
  • Take your favorite hot sauce and add it to meat marinades, if there is vinegar in the sauce this will work to help tenderize your meat!
  • Mix it into dips, or add to your next pot of bean chili for an extra kick.
  • Add your hot sauce to some butter and toss it through your next batch of popcorn.
  • Every time you have guests over, stick it on the table as a condiment on its own, we promise your spicy-loving friends will help you finish off your sauce.
It is Expired, Now What?

Well maybe hold off on throwing it away just yet. If your vinegar-based hot sauce has reached its expiration date (and is showing no visible signs of mold but you just can’t bring yourself to taste it), then it can be used as a useful tool to remove rust. Hot sauce is a great alternative to using pricey heavy chemicals and especially penetrating oils. The trick is to use a hot sauce that’s vinegar-forward because the acidity is what eats through the rust. So go and grab some steel wool, your expired bottle of hot sauce and scrub away rust on tools, crockery, or even your grill. Making sure you give them a good rinse afterward. Easy as pie… or actually, easy as hot sauce.

How Long Does Your Favorite Hot Sauce Last?

Well, that depends on your favorite hot sauce! But it is reliant on so many factors, such as the bottling process, the quality of ingredients, and the actual ingredients used, that we can’t say for sure. It is recommended that you check the expiration date, have a sniff, have a little taste and if everything seems fine, then you know what, it probably is!

So at the end of the day, only you will know if your hot sauce is inedible or not, but to help prolong your beloved bottle’s life, make sure you keep it in the fridge (or unopened in a cool space), clean the cap, don’t dip directly into the bottle, check the ingredients, and, for the love of all things spicy, don’t lick it!

What Loving Hot Sauce Says About Your Personality

What do you call people who love hot sauce? Sadists? Off their rocker? I mean, picture this… You’re hunched over your plate, sweat dripping from your brow, your mouth is numb, and your eyes are watering. You can’t do anything about the tears streaming down your cheeks for fear of burning your eye-balls. Your mouth is on simulated fire, and still, you reach for another chicken wing, the last bite of your burrito, an extra douse of hot sauce. Sound insane? That’s because it is, yet, some people do it every day. Granted, this is an extreme example, people welcome spice into their lives at varying degrees, if at all, the question is—why? Is it an innate personality trait? If so, what does liking hot sauce say about your personality?
What does it mean if you love hot sauce?

There are several theories on why humans love hot sauce, one of which is that it comes down to your personality. That being said, personality is

I love hot sauce


complex and while some traits are innate, others are conditioned. Evidence suggests that liking hot sauce falls somewhere between these

two ideas. However, unlike with personality, there is no Myers-Briggs test to determine your spicy personality traits and research is mostly anecdotal.


According to Dr. Paul Rozin, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, people eat spicy food as a thrill-seeking activity. He calls this type of thrill-seeking “constrained risk” or “benign masochism”. Similar to enjoying roller-coasters, scary movies, or even listening to sad music, benign masochism allows people the excitement of a ‘negative’ or ‘dangerous’ experience with the comfort of knowing that everything will be fine.


Now, anyone who has tried our African Ghost Pepper sauce may not appreciate comparing the experience to “listening to a sad song,” but the truth is eating chilli is relatively harmless.


Despite this, “can chilli kill you?” and “can I eat hot sauce every day?” are some of the most googled chilli related questions on the internet.

According to Paul Bosland, professor of horticulture at New Mexico State University and Director of the Chile Pepper Institute, death by chilli pepper is possible in theory but is extraordinarily unlikely in people with well-functioning digestive systems. He states that “people’s bodies would falter long before they reach that point” and it would take a 150-pound person consuming 3 pounds of extreme chilli, in one sitting, for the possibility to occur. In fact, evidence suggests that eating hot sauce has health benefits like boosting your immune system and metabolism and promoting weight loss.

Culinary Thrill-Seeking


All that being said, what if you’re someone who hates roller coasters, doesn’t like watching scary movies, but still find yourself asking “why do I like hot sauce on everything?” It could be that you have a high sensitivity to rewards. When our bodies sense pain, like our tongues burning, neurotransmitters send a signal to the brain and when capsaicin is responsible for the pain signal (substance P) the brain responds by releasing endorphins and dopamine. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain reliever and dopamine produces a sense of reward and pleasure. This is why some people describe eating hot sauce as a “rush” and people who are sensitive to rewards (the rush) keep coming back for more.


This “rush”, however, is only one answer to the questions “why is spicy food so addictive?” and “why is hot sauce so addictive?” It’s quite simple, really. Part of the reason we can’t get enough of hot sauce is due to desensitization and tolerance building. The more you eat hot sauce, the more accustomed you become to it and subsequently, the more you crave it. This is why people from countries that traditionally consume and grow chillies are more likely to enjoy the hottest varieties of chilli. Thankfully, this means that if you don’t typically enjoy hot sauce, you can train yourself to join the movement.


According to Chef Bill Phillips, a spicy food expert and associate at the Culinary Institute of America, starting “low and slow” by incorporating mild peppers is the best way to work your way up the spice ladder. A sauce like our Southern Braai BBQ sauce is a great place to start because its flavor packed with only a mild zing. You could also ease into it by trying our Habanasco Spicy Brownies recipe. It may sound like a surprising combination but the chocolate masks the intensity of the heat while the hot sauce cuts through the richness.

Loving Hot Sauce and Genetics

In addition, scientists have also speculated that liking hot sauce may have something to do with the nature part of your personality—your genes. Unlike with cilantro, there is no spice-loving or spice-hating gene but tolerance to spice can be inherited. Dave Dewitt, a chilli historian, says to think of it as an allergy. Just as some people find pollen an irritant, some people are more susceptible to capsaicin as an irritant. This explains why some of your friends seem to chug the hot sauce bottle while others only need a tiny drop to get their fix.


Gender also plays an interesting role in our love for hot sauce. Although gender does not make you more or less likely to call yourself a chilli-head, it does dictate why you might. According to a study in Food Quality and Preference, women tend to like spicy food for intrinsic purposes like the stinging sensation and flavor. Men, on the other hand, are more drawn to spicy food for extrinsic factors like machismo and bravado. This plays into the idea that strong men can handle spice. That being said, despite the science, when it comes to hot sauce, nurture beats nature every time. Exposure, be it cultural or social, is still the greatest determinant of whether someone indulges their spicy personality.


Basically, your love of hot sauce could come down to your natural thrill-seeking proclivities, your sensitivity to reward, your genetics, or your culture and none of it really matters. All that matters is that you’re on the hot sauce train and you’re not getting off anytime soon.