Hot sauce made easy


My delicious peppery and tangy hot sauce

Some time ago, while out shopping for ingredients to make pizza I grabbed some Tabasco hot sauce from the supermarket shelf.
I think we all tend to agree that, whatever the toppings, pizza needs two things; hot sauce and beer.
Just before chucking that 2 fl Oz (59ml) bottle into my shopping basket I looked at the price; 499 dinars! (At the time writing this recipe that's 4,24 Euro or 4.95 US$). A quick calculation revealed I would need 17 bottles to fill a liter bottle (in Europe we do things decimal).
17 x 499 dinars comes to 8.483 dinars, or 72 Euros/84 US$ in total!
That gave me the idea to make my own 'Tabasco'
I looked it up; Since 1868, TABASCO brand Original Red Sauce has been handcrafted with just three ingredients: aged red peppers, Avery Island salt and distilled vinegar.
3 Ingredients to make tasty hot sauce, that's all. so, how tough can it be to concoct ones own? I made my way to the local farmer's market, bought a bunch of mixed chilies and a bottle of white wine vinegar. From my last trip to Greece I still had a kilo of some of the best unadulterated (kosher) sea salt.
The sauce I made is not too spicy, has a distinct taste of capsicum peppers and is delicious with almost anything.
Best of all, I have fun making it and I won't have to pawn the family jewels to get my spice kick.
Prep Time1 hr
Active Time2 hrs
marinating7 d
Total Time7 d 3 hrs
Course: any
Cuisine: any
Keyword: condiment, hot, sauce, Spice
Yield: 2 liters
Cost: 8.92 US$/ 7.65 Euro (900 Serbian dinars)


  • food processor
  • oven and oven tray
  • food processor
  • (glass) jar
  • Wire Mesh Strainer
  • A large deep pan
  • Bottles for Storage


  • 5 kg chili peppers I always tend to use a mixture of peppers that are at the lower end of the Scoville scale yet still manage to provide a satisfying level of heat. The types available to me in Serbia are; 'Somborska' (looks like a small bell pepper and is quite mild), 'Rehza' or 'Vezeni' Peppers, specific to Serbia and Macedonia which are mild to medium. (At the bottom of this page you'll find a picture). In order to get some heat I also mix in some chilies of the 'birdseye' variety.
  • 1 liter White Wine Vinegar By all means be creative and use your own favourite vinegar but in my opinion wine vinegar (red or white) is best suited to making hot sauce.
  • 200 grams salt I use course sea salt without additives.


    Visit your local farmers market and buy yourself a selection of spicy peppers.
    Now, I am quite lucky to be living in Serbia where hot peppers are plentiful and cheaper than chips. Here, a kilo of spicy (organic) peppers only costs about 100 dinars! (less than 1Euro/US$)
    The best time to buy hot peppers (in Europe) would be somewhere from the middle of August till the beginning of October.
  • Wash your peppers thoroughly, let them drip dry, then place them on an oven tray (covered with grease proof paper) and roast them, at 200°C (390°F) for about 15 minutes.
    Make sure to occasionally turn the peppers so as not to burn them.
  • Grab a large glass jar (with lid) which should be properly washed and sterilised.
  • Remove the roasted peppers from the oven.
    Detach the storks. This is very important because leaving the storks on can induce fermentation, and you don't want that because then you'll have to sterilize the sauce before bottling, so more work, no benefit.
  • Add vinegar and the salt.
    Place the peppers (with the storks removed) to the glass jar, making sure all the peppers are submerged.
  • Leave the peppers to soak for a minimum of 1 week.
    From time to time shake the jar.
    Now that your peppers have had some time to marinate it's time to start making sauce.
  • Grab your food processor, a large and deep (stainless steel) pan or bowl and a (fine) wire mesh strainer.
    Using the food processor its easy to grind the peppers to a smooth mush.
    Make sure to also use the vinegar in which the peppers have been marinating.
  • Place the strainer over the pan and poor the mush into the strainer.
    Using a ladle press the mush through the strainer.
    When done properly you should be left with pulp and seeds in the strainer and with sauce in the pan.
  • The sauce is now ready for bottling into the sterilised jar
    You should get between 2-3 liters (½ gallon) of delicious hot sauce with a consistency of ketchup. If its too thick mix in a little more vinegar.


Rehza Peppers native to Serbia and North Macedonia

My hot sauce recipe calls for roasted peppers because roasting gives the sauce a better all round taste and will allow you (by killing off any germs) to keep the sauce unrefrigerated, for longer.

Try adding roasted onions or roasted garlic. Add honey for sweetness or herbs such as oregano or thyme (or whatever else you fancy) to create that secret edge.
I suggest to start experimenting with small batches and then, once you have mastered your secret recipe, go on to larger quantities for storing.
Don't discard the pulp. This can be used to make 'Sambal', a condiment used to spice up rice dishes or as a spread on sandwiches. I will let you in on my  method in my next post.
Chili Pulp

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