How to Ferment Hot Sauce

August 31, 2020
How to Ferment hot sauce

If you are reading this post, I’m guessing that you are either a spicy food fanatic like me, or you have more chili peppers than you know what to do with. My garden has been overly abundant in peppers this year, so it’s the perfect time to show you the ropes on how to ferment hot sauce.

Last weekend I hosted a small barbeque and served this fermented hot sauce along with carne asada tacos to all of my toughest critics (my friends). It was a big hit, especially for the spicy food fans of the group. You always know you’ve made a good hot sauce when your taste testers have a tear running down their cheek or a little sweat on their brow while enjoying it.

If you’re a person that can’t handle a ton of heat, it’s easy to tone it down by adding more tomatoes to the mix or removing the seeds from the peppers. The recipe below only serves as a guide and can be customized to fit your personal needs, so have fun with it and make it your own.

What Kind of Peppers to Use

The type of peppers you use is entirely up to you. My recipe calls for red chili peppers because that is what I had available in my garden. If you are going to use any type of green pepper, I would suggest that you replace the tomatoes in the recipe with tomatillos. When trying the decide which peppers to use based on heat, I suggest you check out this Scoville scale to guide you.

Anaheims are very mild peppers, jalapenos are spicier. If you’re really feeling brave and can find them, ghost peppers or Carolina reapers are downright deadly and delicious. A combination of different peppers can bring a lot of interesting flavors to the table as well.

How to Ferment Hot Sauce

After gathering your ingredients, the rest is simple and requires no more than patience. You can ferment your hot sauce for as long as you want, and the flavor will only continue to deepen and get more complex. I recommend fermenting for at least two weeks and then go from there. Taste your hot sauce every few days to see if it’s where you want it.

It’s very difficult to assign a length of time when it comes to a ferment such as this one because there are many factors involved that will contribute to the outcome. The temperature that you ferment at is a big factor in the length of time it will take. Warmer temperatures will speed up fermentation.

Step 1: Blend up all the ingredients to make a puree.

Step 2: Add a culture. You can skip this step, I usually don’t add cultures to ferments that use raw fruits and vegetables, but some people like to have a little extra insurance to make sure that lactic acid bacteria are able to successfully take over and do their work. Live sauerkraut brine, fermented vegetable brine, or whey are great options for adding active bacteria.

Step 3: Transfer your puree to a jar and loosely place a lid on top, or use an air-locked lid to allow the gasses to escape.

Step 4: Stir or shake daily to prevent mold growth.

Step 5: Taste your hot sauce every couple of days to determine if it the flavor is to your preference.

Step 6: Enjoy, and transfer to a bottle with a narrow neck, this will prevent mold growth in the future.

How to Ferment hot sauce

Tips for Making Fermented Hot Sauce

  • Wear gloves while handling peppers. The capsaicin can really make you miserable if it gets on your hands and soaks into the skin. If you don’t have any gloves, be careful not to touch the seeds.
  • To tone down the heat: Add fewer peppers and more tomatoes. Also, the longer you ferment your hot sauce, the milder it will become. Having a little patience can really change the outcome and the flavor will also be enhanced over time.

Now, you’re on your way to enjoying some probiotic condiments, which is a great way to enhance the nutrients and gut health benefits of all your favorite meals.

Happy fermenting!

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How to Ferment Hot Sauce

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A fermented hot sauce how to, made with chili peppers and other garden vegetables.


  • 2 C Red Chili Peppers (stems removed)
  • 5-6 Roma Tomatoes
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Sauerkraut juice, whey, or other live culture (optional)



Place all ingredients in the blender and puree.


Transfer to a quart jar and place a lid loosely on top.


Ferment at room temperature away from direct sunlight for 2-3 weeks or longer.


Shake the jar or stir daily to prevent mold growth.


Transfer to a bottle with a narrow neck (an old hot sauce bottle or soy sauce bottle works great)


Enjoy with tacos or other foods.


Store at room temperature for a longer fermentation time or store in the refrigerator.

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