How To Make Hot Sauce With Dried Peppers

various dried peppers to make hot sauce

Did you know that making your own hot sauce at home is extremely easy? I never thought about making hot sauce until a friend sent me one of his bottles. I expected making my own would take a long time. NOPE! You can make delicious hot sauce with dried peppers in less than one hour.

Ok, you can make hot sauce with fresh peppers just as easy, but since dried peppers are more accessible to most of my readers I’m going to write just about making hot sauce with dried chili peppers for now. Of course, the best thing about using dried peppers is you can pretty much order whatever you want online!

This guide is mostly for a North American style hot sauce. This generally means thin, acidic, and stored in a little dripper cap bottle. Normally I would call it Louisiana style hot sauce, but that is with fermented fresh peppers, while this guide uses dried peppers.

Dried Pepper vs Fresh Pepper Names

Did you know that peppers often have different names depending on if they are fresh or dried?

For example one of the most well known dried peppers is the Chipotle (I’m guessing because of the restaurant). However a Chipotle is just a smoke-dried Jalapeno. Here are a few examples:











Chipotle (if also smoked)







Chile Seco

Newer very hot pepper species tend not to have a fresh name and a dried name. These super-hots as they are sometimes called include peppers like the Carolina Reaper, Moruga Scorpion, or the very famous Ghost Pepper.

If you are a spice fiend then this list of world’s hottest peppers might interest you!

You Have To Soak Your Dried Peppers

Soaking chipotle peppers in water

Simply put, if you try to make hot sauce with dried peppers and you DON’T soak them, your sauce will be terrible. The skin of dried peppers can be quite bitter, so what do we do? We soak the dried peppers in water to somewhat reconstitute them. Don’t worry, it’s very easy.

There are two ways to soak dried peppers – hot or cold water. If you soak using hot water, the peppers can plump up in about 30 minutes. If you soak dried peppers in cold water, expect to wait around 2 hours.

Personally I don’t think it matters what temperature water you soak your dried peppers in, although many people recommend using hot water. I use near boiling water more often than not simply because it takes less time.

What Other Ingredients Go In Hot Sauce?

Traditional Louisiana style hot sauces (Tabasco, Crystal) use only peppers, vinegar, and salt.

If you want to make unique hot sauces you have to get creative. Use ingredients like citrus to replace the vinegar, or fruits to balance the heat are popular choices. For example my homemade chipotle pepper hot sauce uses grapefruit juice instead of some vinegar.

If you’ve ever been to a farmer’s market with a hot sauce vendor, I’m sure you’ve seen some extremely unique (read: hipstery) flavor combinations. You can add things like:

  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Shallot/Onion
  • Berries
  • Melon
  • Clove

and more! Let me know in the comments what you like to add to you hot sauce recipes!

Hot Sauce With Dried Peppers Recipe

Let’s start with a basic ‘guideline recipe’ just so you can get the feel of making hot sauce with dried peppers for the first time. Now, this will not be the only way to make hot sauce – far from it in fact. However, this recipe will serve as a good outline before you go and get all creative.

  • 4 oz (100 grams) Dried Peppers*
  • 1 cup (250 ml) Vinegar**
  • 1 cup (250 ml) Water
  • 1 tsp Salt

* This is assuming you are using relatively mild peppers like chipotle or ancho. If you plan on using something hotter, or even a superhot, then you will greatly reduce the pepper weight.

** You can use any vinegar you like, from regular white to apple cider to even malt. You can also substitute some or all of the vinegar for another acid like citrus juice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Seeds Or No Seeds – What Is Better In Hot Sauce

When making hot sauce with dried peppers, a common question is, “do I leave in the chili pepper seeds?” Truth be told, I always leave in the seeds.

Some people say that seeds can make the sauce bitter. However it’s possible I just don’t notice it. It is true that seeds add heat so if you want to keep your sauce as hot as it can be, removing the seeds isn’t doing you any favors.

Should You Strain Your Homemade Hot Sauce?

Straining hot sauce with a fine mesh sieve

This is entirely up to you. If you want a thin Tabasco like sauce, then yes you’ll have to strain it. However there is nothing wrong with thicker sauces either. All down to personal preference.

If you do decide to strain your hot sauce, you will need a fine mesh strainer to remove all solids. You’ll also want dripper inserts for your bottles to limit how much hot sauce comes out at once.

How To Bottle Hot Sauce Made With Dried Peppers

You can bottle hot sauce made from dried peppers the same way you bottle hot sauce made from fresh peppers! Whether thick or thin, just pour into a clean glass bottle and cap it. You can also use swing-top bottles or jars like what I use for my homemade chili crisp.

I recommend using a funnel because some of those little bottles are quite hard to pour into accurately. I recommend these 5oz resealable glass bottles from Amazon that also come with dripper inserts and plastic shrink bands.

The acid content should keep your hot sauce good for at least a couple months, however if you want it to keep longer, add more vinegar to lower the pH. For extra safety you should boil your bottles before filling.

Why Does My Hot Sauce Keep Separating?

Depending on what you put in your homemade hot sauce there is a chance the end result will separate. This is because fats do not normally mix with water. The issue is most prevalent with salad dressings, but it does affect certain hot sauces as well.

The picture above shows the same hot sauce, but one bottle included lecithin during blending whereas the other did not. Note that there isn’t anything wrong with a sauce that separated, many say shake well before using for this exact reason. However if you don’t want your homemade hot sauce to separate then add between 1/2 to 1 tsp of lecithin per cup of liquid.

Where To Put Your Hot Sauce?

putting morita hot sauce on fried eggs

I’m sure if you’ve made it this far, you are already a fan of putting hot sauce on most everything. However here is a list of some of my favorite recipes to add hot sauce to:

How To Make Hot Sauce With Dried Peppers

various dried peppers to make hot sauce

Hot Sauce With Dried Peppers Recipe List

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