Hot Sauces/

Habanero Hot Sauce

Let’s face it: when the habaneros ripen (whether you’re growing them or buying them from the farmer’s market), there are way more than what most of us can use. I’ve had luck freezing them whole, but more likely, the abundance will find its way into this hot sauce. It’s an orange hot sauce to reflect the color of ripe habaneros, which means that it can be made with the same weight of any orange (even yellow) hot pepper you grow or find at the market. This recipe is straightforward, but feel free to embroider it with spices like cumin, allspice or black pepper. In the refrigerator, this hot sauce will keep for months Recipe from Season 5 of Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 2cups


  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2cup peeled, roughly chopped carrot (you'll need 1 medium carrot)
  • 1/2cup roughly chopped white onion (you'll need about half of a small onion)
  • 12medium (about 5 ounces)orange habanero chiles, stemmed
  • 1cup apple cider vinegar
  • About 2teaspoons Salt
  • 1/4teaspoon Sugar


Roast the garlic in a skillet over medium heat, turning regularly until soft and blackened in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and peel.

In a small saucepan, combine the carrot, onion and habanero chiles with the vinegar and 1 cup water. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the carrots are thoroughly tender, about 10 minutes. Pour into a blender jar, add the roasted garlic, salt and sugar. Blend until smooth. Thin with a little additional water if you think your hot sauce is too thick. Taste and season with additional salt if you think necessary.

Pour into jars or bottles and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to add some dazzle to a dish.


  1. Is this sauce HOT, you bet it is with 12 medium habenaro peppers, but the flavor is better than any bottle hot sauce you purchase at a grocery or specialty store. Very flavorful, just add little at a time until desired amount and will be amazed on the fresh taste of your own special hot sauce made from scratch. If this is too hot, cut the pepper amount to 8, 6, or even to 2 and it will still bring a dancing tingle to your tongue.

  2. just wandering how long will it last in fridge,2 weeks 2 months 6 months or i guess u could freeze it up to a year???

      1. Amazing! I used it with home grown habaneros. Mine was running low after almost a year and will make it again. So good. Pretty hot, but you won’t die.

    1. Mine has lasted for several months, and is just fine in the refrigerator. You can put it up with a boiling bath and preserve it for much longer. Wonderful flavor, and I use it in soups and stews…very versatile.

  3. Hi Mr Bayless!
    I was wondering if you think instead of sugar, could I use pineapple or mango ?
    Thank you for your input

    1. I’m not Mr. Bayless, but I can give you advice based on my experience. First, don’t be shy about doing experimentation with food. Cooking is an adventure. The worst thing that will happen is that it totally fails and you have to put it in the garbage, but that’s rare. Usually what will happen is that you’ll find something you like, but need to tweak a bit for next time, then you just do another experiment. Be bold!! Try it out and report back.

      Now, when you try it, you’ll need to reduce the amount of habs or you’ll never use enough sauce to actually taste the pineapple/mango. I’d cut the habs down to about 3 or 4, then use some orange bell peppers to make up the difference in pulp without adding heat. Ohh… and roast the pineapple or mango. Never pass up the chance to add more flavor.

      1. Useful info. Thanks! I am making a batch the cayenne and jalapeños. Will probably add a sweet pepper and some fruit in there as well.

  4. I love this recipe. Thank you Rick Bayless!!! I grow my own habaneros each year and always make this sauce. I can the sauce so it will last me the entired year.

        1. There’s enough acid in this recipe that, if canned properly, botulism should be no issue. I can hot sauces all the time. Still have some over a year old.

  5. Grew habaneros for the first time this year, so it was great to see this recipe to use them in. It is very hot! I just made it and stuck to the recipe and did not seed the habaneros. I am hoping it will mellow some, but if not I will mix it in other sauces. I love the fruitiness of habaneros, and I don’t think I am a softie when it comes to heat, but this is hot. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I make this every year and find that it lasts with the same great flavor until the next year (perhaps longer!). I just keep it in the fridge.

    2. I made this about a year ago. I’m just now using the last of it. So, from experience, it will last a year if kept in a jar in the refrigerator. It will probably last longer with all the vinegar (acid) and salt. By the way, I have given a lot of this hot sauce and the recipe to others who like hot things. Every one of them has liked it. Thanks Rick!

  6. I made the sauce according to the recipe and, as you would expect, it was right hot. I like it hot. I like to feel my blood after I eat spicy food. But I also like to taste it. It uses 12 of the hottest peppers in the world (or close to it) in about 2 cups of liquid. It was so hot you couldn’t taste anything. It was pure heat. What worried me most was that I used these wonderful Raven’s Beak peppers with a very distinct and lovely smell, but none of the flavor was coming through.

    So I decided to try diluting it. I made the recipe again without peppers or garlic, pureed it, then added about two or three tablespoons of the sauce made according to the recipe. That created a very hot sauce that had some flavor.

    It would take only about a teaspoon of the sauce made according to the recipe to make a bowl of chili so hot that only the most avid pepper eaters could stand it.

    1. We have not experienced that heat level at all. My boyfriend eats this by the spoonfuls on everything!
      I make nearly a gallon of sauce at a time and it only lasts a month!
      None of our friends said it’s too hot either and they all love it! ❤️

  7. I followed this recipe to the T and it came out way to watery. In the instructions it says to add a cup of the vinegar and a cup of water and in the ingredients list the water wasn’t listed. I ended up taking 1/2 the batch and adding some stewed peaches, some roasted tomatillo and lime juice and it came out a bit thicker and more complex flavored. This was super easy recipe and a great way to use up a lot of habeneros. I think I’ll save the sauce to add to other recipies.

  8. I’ve made this several times from store bought, but I’ve harvested around 2 pounds of habaneros and put one batch today with garden carrots and onions as well. I wonder how it freezes? I also have a bunch of ghost chilies as well. I wonder if this would work for those?

    1. We haven’t tried with ghost chilies but this hot sauce freezes very well! Especially if you can vacuum seal it in a bag!

    2. I make a ghost pepper sauce every year that is very good, but beware, it’s very , very hot. I use ghost peppers, garlic cloves, sweet red peppers, vinegar, salt , sugar and even a shot or two of bourbon. Like aw232 stated above, don’t be afraid to experiment. I have to do all the simmering , blending and stuff outside because the fumes will make you evacuate the house.

  9. Great recipe, but I think next time I’ll go a little lighter on the salt. The rest is perfection for those of us that like the heat. I pulled my habanero plants before first frost and let the remaining peppers ripen in my basement. here it is December and I just finished off making fresh hot sauce. I think I used the last of the peppers just in time, they were getting soft. This batch should keep me warm until spring…

  10. I just make some. Wow! Simple recipe with great results. Not overpowering. Very flavorful. Would be great for hot wings. Thanks

  11. I’ve made riffs off this recipe countless times. I usually up the amount of habaneros to 1/2 lb. I’ve also made it with aji limon, jalapeños, and trinidad scorpions (because i had to do something with them)… this recipe is on point. I also add spices, i grind cumin, coriander, oregano and teliicherries (1/2 tsp each) and a few allspice berries. wicked good.

  12. I used the recipe straight forward, keeping it as a thicker sauce that’ll coat the meat, I added some cilantro since my sweetheart loves it. However, it’s way too hot for her, but absolutley delishious for myself.

  13. I found a bag of habaneros at the grocery on the manager’s special rack – they were $.99 so I decided to give this recipe a whirl. I used honey instead of sugar, and a couple more peppers than the recipe calls for – the sauce is a beautiful orange color and has a delightful numbing heat, while still tasting zesty. I’ll definitely make this again — maybe for holiday treats for my friends and family. The only other adjustment was slightly longer cooking time to get carrots cooked through – which could have partially been due to not chopping them terribly finely. Great recipe. Thank you, Chef!

  14. I’m excited to try this sauce but is there anything I can add to recipe so I don’t have to refrigerate it? I want to bottle this and use it as my wedding favor.

    1. Hello Jessica –
      Adding more vinegar to make this shelf stable really changes the flavor, so we recommend keeping it refrigerated! However it does freeze well, you could make it all ahead of time and freeze them, then right before the wedding bottle it with a cute “keep refrigerated” label?

    2. Pasteurizing the bottles might be worth a shot. Start by sterilizing your bottles in hot water. Bring some water to a boil (enough to cover the majority of the bottle), while you prepare the recipe. Once you take the finished sauce off the heat, bottle and cap the sauce, take the boiling water off the heat, carefully place the bottles into the water (should cover 90% of the bottle in water), then place the lid on and let soak in hot the water for 12-15 minutes. Carefully take the bottles out, and leave them on the counter to cool until they are room temperature.

  15. My favorite hot sauce ever. I did add more roasted garlic on my second batch. I also water bath canned the batch to give as gifts. Fantastic recipe. I’m addicted.

    1. Did you follow the recipe and waterbath or did you add more vinegar. Just want to be sure it’s safe for preserving.

  16. I made this recipe recently and used the exact amounts for each ingredient. However, I ended up with around 4 cups of sauce (two pint mason jars). The recipe said servings would be 2 cups. Did this recipe call for the sauce to be put through a mesh sieve? or curious if the simmering was supposed to reduce the amount of liquid and that did not happen in my case? The sauce tastes very good. Just trying to get consistency and quantity down.

  17. I make this hot sauce every year and share with family and friends. Looking forward to making it again this weekend with my home grown habanero. You have to try it.

  18. Excellent sauce. The heat is perfect. This is my new favorite sauce. This 2 cup recipe only lasts me a couple of weeks.

  19. I dearly love hot condiments. I had a gift of exactly a double recipe of lovely orange habaneros. Followed the recipe exactly. While cooking, I ate one of the carrots and what a great flavor. Habs have such a unique taste and lingering burn. Carrots are the perfect companion. I’m a huge Marie Sharp fan and this is a fresh reminder and has over the top bright flavor. I disagree about overly hot comments. Not soup, but I’m getting empty ketchup bottles to embellish fish, chicken, beef and all the needy regulars!

  20. i started growing habaneros last year & have found out that if you seed & devein them they have awesome flavor without being to hot. i’m going to try this recipe will tell you how it worked

  21. Awesome sauce. I used 9 Chocolate Habanero’s & 3 Petenero Chile’s. I did not add any water until I pureed it. A 1/4 cup of water gave it the right consistency. The roasted Garlic & Carrot is what makes this so good. A keeper recipe from Chef Bayliss! Thx Chef!

  22. Fantastic recipe. Perfect balance of flavors. I used 10 hinkelhatz peppers (an heirloom pepper grown by Mennonites) I got in my CSA box, and it’s smokin’. Curious to see what happens to the consistency and flavor after a few days in the frig.

  23. Just made this to use some of my beautiful habaneros. Fabulous flavor! Came out a perfect consistency. Going to try it to flavor a Bloody Mary in place of Tabasco. Can’t wait to try it in buffalo chicken sandwiches. N
    ext batch is going in the freezer! (Lots of habaneros!) Thanks Rick Bayless!

  24. I like to blend all the ingredients first then cook it. No sugar in my hot sauces. The hotter the better! No carrots but onion works well. Last batch, I used Scotch bonnets and Manzano chiles. Made my friends cry, though happily! Lol! Burn, baby, burn!

  25. Nice base recipe. This leaves room for influence and creativity. Use fruit such as mango, pineapple or papaya as sugar. Agave or honey can also be used to add more character than refined sugar alone. I recommend keeping a thicker consistency and using fesh lime juice and additional water if you need to thin your sauce while blending. Focus on balancing your sauce with acid and sugar. Add herbs and spices to your dish, not the sauce itself.

  26. Great base recipe. I threw in some modifications and exchanged water for a good IPA, the floral fruitiness is complementary and the malt adds a little more sweetness. Juice of a whole grapefruit and doubled the onion and carrot with same amount of habs. Still PLENTY spicy, but with more complexity and a light fruitiness that is delightful. Thanks for the inspiration, this one’s a keeper.

  27. Love this recipe. I just found new (unused) hot-sauce bottles on Amazon and bought 2 dozen. No more buying Tapatio and pouring it out, to get bottles.

  28. 1/4 teaspoon of sugar to 12 habanero chilies ? That’s almost funny
    I’m going to try this recipe tonight, as I just picked my chilies.

    I have lots of Tabasco chilles to pick yet, and may try something similar.

  29. Made many batches of this at the end of summer with habaneros from my garden. It is my favorite hot sauce — as others have said, the carrots and roasted garlic are perfect companions to the peppers. I was intrigued by JD’s review, and added allspice and peppercorns to one batch. I preferred it to another batch I made that followed the recipe with no alterations. I thought the cumin and oregano might interfere with the carrot/garlic/habanero combo, but I may try adding them the next time I make this sauce.

  30. I was wondering about the garlic. I’m very sensitive to garlic in dishes, I usually put whole cloves in during cooking and take them out when the dish is done. I’m not sure about roasted garlic.Wondering if you have any ideas how I could make this work for me?

    1. Well then roasting the garlic is your new answer!!! Roasting garlic removes the pungent – sometimes bitter flavor and brings out the sweetness. Roast the garlic slow and low for a delicious flavor that will not be overpowering.

  31. Habeneros grow easily in Florida so I always seem to have many more than needed. Have made this recipe several times. My tastes prefer hotter foods but could tellI this would be way too hot for me, so increased the amount of carrots and only use 4-5 smallish peppers. Sauce is still very hot (hotter than Siracha) but tolerable in small teaspoon quantities. When I blend it, tends to be thick so I add hot water until it’s the right consistency. I store in a plastic water bottle with a hole drilled in the cap – goes pretty fast since it’s not so hot.

  32. I made this as written and I really didn’t care for the taste. It was very strong vinegar tasting and the roasted garlic taste didn’t fit in. The heat is pretty good though. I would maybe try this again but reduce the vinegar and use raw garlic.

  33. When you go to the store and buy 2 pounds of habaneros you get a lot of strange looks at the cash.

  34. I tried this with homegrown habaneros, mine grew bright red and are quite hot! For me what worked was 2 habaneros seeded, 3/4 of a orange bell pepper, and 1/2 cup water. Also used agave nectar instead of sugar. The sauce is thicker, very spicy with a sweet citrus taste up front followed by a mild burn. I like spice more than most, but my version is plenty hot enough for me!

  35. Made this with about 30 habs. Used a 1/4 cup brown sugar, added about a half a green bell pepper, cut the vinegar in half, added juice from a half a lime and added a dash of clove. It made about 1.25 pints. I’m still sweating from the sample. I think maybe a bit of orange peel in there would be good. Once it rests a day the flavors will come out. Right now it’s just bloody hot.

  36. I halved this recipe, and I just love it. It’s hot, naturally, but not overly so. I put about a teaspoon on a taco, and it had just the right heat. I should note though, that to get it to pour, I added another third cup of water to the blender. Also, I left out the sugar. The carrot provided all the sweetness it needed.

  37. I have made this sauce several times over the last couple years. My best results come when I follow the recipe closely. I have and use sauce that has been refrigerated for over 1 year. Today I am making both Habanero and Serrano sauces.

  38. I made this exactly as the recipe called for. It was fantastic. It is hot but not too hot for me. I started adding a little to my food but have increased it quite a bit! Great on eggs or in soups too.

  39. Awesome sauce!! Nice and hot. I actually use about 20 scotch bonnet peppers and it comes out super hot. Everyone loves it.

  40. I roasted everything first (garlic, 6 seeded and halved peppers, onion, carrot and my own addition, about a 1/2 sliced mango). I only used 1/2 c of water because I didn’t want a runny sauce. I cut the salt in half, added a bit of cumin and omitted the sugar. It turned out perfectly! Hot, but not crazy hot and very flavorful!

  41. The sauce is a little runny but otherwise amazing. To thicken add Xanthan gum a 1/4 tsp at a time while blending. I usually end up using about 1-1 1/2 tsp total and the consistency is much better for my preference.

  42. So I made this sauce yesterday with my home grown habaneros. It’s amazing!!! I had enough habanero to make 6 batches. I just extrapolated the recipe accordingly. Also I added 10 jalapeños for the nutty flavour (also home grown).

  43. Made as directed the first time and enjoyed it enough to make a second batch… Smoked red, yellow, and orange bell peppers to replace the carrots, increased the garlic, added a few Anaheims and jalapenos and really liked it, but it was too thick so I thinned with cheap blended scotch…

    The smoke is perfect! Have had nothing but major raves over it ever since.

  44. I used red savina habaneros. I doubled the recipe and ran the sauce through a medium mesh strainer. Heated it back up and added a quarter cup of fresh lime juice and bottled it in seven woozy bottles. Took it easy with the blender to reduce the foam. Sauce came out just like Marie Sharp’s. Perfect Christmas gifts.

  45. Made this last week on Christmas Eve. I used red habaneros from my garden and doubled the recipe (10 ounces of peppers).

    I made this about a year ago and I over-blended it in a high-speed blender. It came out very frothy. So this time I cut back on the carrots a bit and took it easy in the blender to prevent froth and bubbles. I ran the sauce through a medium mesh strainer back into the pot with 1/4 cup fresh lime juice. Heated the sauce back up for 15 minutes and bottled in seven 5oz woozy bottles.

    I used it for Christmas gifts the following day and it was a huge hit. It came out looking and tasting just like Marie Sharp’s. The sauce continues to thicken in the refrigerator, so I think next time I’ll add another cup of fluid (water/apple cider vinegar).

  46. Can you keep this out of the fridge until it is opened? So if we are giving as gifts it will be not refrigerated for a while but sealed?

  47. Preserving fresh peppers – – – I had some fresh Anaheims and simply dropped them into my freezer, spread out none touching.. No processing at all; skins on. They kept perfectly well, and didn’t freeze “ice cube” solid. You could take one out and munch it for a snack.
    With habaneros, of course, they’d be too hot to munch, but would work perfect to preserve them for cooking. I could never understand why anyone would bother removing skins from peppers; thats why we have teeth. And if you’re going to run them through a blender, no problem anyway.

  48. Love this sauce!! I make a big batch 1-2 a year and freeze some of it. It lasts a long time in the fridge. I give to friends and family and they just love it. I actually make it hotter by adding a few other Jamaican peppers and sometimes I’ll throw in a couple of fresh mangoes for sweetness.

  49. I make a huge batch every couple of years, to use and give as gifts. I smoke 4-6 lbs of habaneros, juice 5 lbs of carrots, roast 10 lbs carrots and 20-30 heads of garlic. In the pot I add cumin seed and lightly toast the seeds then add my oil and onions to sweat a bit. After the onions and cumin mix is ready I add a little salt, vinegar and all the ingredients and let it shimmer till the carrots are soft, add juice of lime, Meyers lemon then use the immersion blender. Taste and add salt if needed. I usually keep half at full strength and then add more carrots, letting it simmer and blend for those that like a milder sauce, usually adding a sweetener like tamarind and mangos. Water bath and can. It’s a thicker sauce but awesome!


  51. I add some crushed allspice berries and cloves to give it a hint of jerk. It’s fantastic. Thanks Rick!

  52. Wow! Incredibly flavorful with alot of depth, will definitely make again as more peppers ripen! I used a mix of Habanero, Serrano, and Jalapeño peppers because they were ripe in my garden! Instead of sugar I used peaches-peeled and cooked them with other veggies, I also had fresh pineapple in my fridge so I tossed that it. I roasted all of them and then covered them with the vinegar and water.

    I tripled the recipe, used 3 peaches and a slice of pineapple.

    I printed the recipe off and will keep in my ‘favorites’ cookbook! Thank you Rick and Frontera!

  53. Great recipe – I make it about once every two months. It’s almost as good as your Cochinita Pibil recipe which I dearly love to make, and eat. Thanks for the great recipes.

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