Homemade Sriracha

 

Step foot into any Asian market or restaurant, and you’re almost sure to be greeted by a glowing red bottle of Sriracha Chili Sauce. Its vibrant color and unique, piquant flavor have made it a hit, growing in popularity simply by word of mouth. A mainstay in many home kitchens and innumerable college dorms, Sriracha (pronounced “see RAH chuh”) strikes a delicate balance of flavors and sensory experiences that isn’t just appealing, it’s downright addictive. And with a price tag near $3 a bottle, there are certainly far worse habits to adopt.

Thai cuisine has traditionally focused on a delicate harmony of four sensations—spicy, salty, sour, and sweet, all of which are gracefully represented in the celebrated condiment. Blending the sweetness and squeeze bottle simplicity of ketchup with a welcome garlic pungency and just the right amount of spice, the Sriracha sauce known to most Americans is certainly no far cry from the original. The noticeable but certainly not overpowering heat of the chilies and robust pungency of the garlic fuse as the vinegar begins pickling and marrying them. But there are marked differences, and that’s just fine with David Tran, creator of the now ubiquitous Tuong Ot Sriracha, or as it is affectionately called by many, “rooster sauce.” The plastic squeeze bottle emblazoned with a proud rooster (representing the year of Tran’s birth on the Chinese zodiac) is quickly becoming a staple among American condiments and topped with a bright green lid that stands out on restaurant tables and store shelves.

So why on earth would you want to make your own Sriracha? I mean, the bottled stuff is already amazing, and it’s actually cheaper to buy than it is to make. Um, because you can! Besides being delicious and pretty easy to make, there’s that cool sense of pride that comes with the DIY approach that money just can’t buy.–Randy Clemen

LC Some Sriracha On This, Some Sriracha On That Note

“There are those of us who love Sriracha, and then there are those of us who need Sriracha,” observes Randy Clemen, author of this recipe. If, like Clemen, you find yourself in the latter category–which essentially means you rely on the not-quite-incendiary condiment as a tool in your kitchen arsenal–your culinary curiosity probably knows no bounds. Clemen emboldens the flavor of just about everything with a dose of this condiment, stirring it into ketchup, mayo, butter, cream cheese, honey, sour cream, ketchup, deviled eggs, hot wings, chili, grits, mac-n-cheese, Bloody Marys, and, well, we could go on. But we won’t. Because we’re curious to hear what you can add to the list…

Homemade Sriracha Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 7 D
  • Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 pounds red jalapeño peppers, stems removed and halved lengthwise
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar, plus more as needed
  • Water, as needed

Directions

  • 1. To make the sriracha, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the peppers, garlic, garlic powder, if desired, sugars, and salt. Pulse until a coarse purée forms. Transfer to a glass jar, seal, and store at room temperature for 7 days, stirring daily. (It may get a little fizzy; that’s to be expected.)
  • 2. After 1 week, pour the chile mixture into a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool, then purée in a food processor for 2 to 3 minutes, until a smooth, uniform paste forms. If the mixture is too thick to blend properly, feel free to adjust the consistency with a small amount of water.
  • 3. Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Press on the solids with the back of a spoon to squeeze out every last bit of goodness you’ve been waiting a week to get. Adjust the seasoning and consistency of the final sauce, adding additional vinegar, water, salt, granulated sugar, or garlic powder to suit your taste. Transfer to a glass jar, close the lid tightly, and refrigerate for up to 6 months.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Melissa Maedgen

Feb 15, 2011

I made this sauce as written, and patiently waited a week to do a side-by-side tasting with the commercial version. The hardest part of this recipe is passing the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. If you want whole pepper seeds in your sauce, you can skip it, but if you want anything resembling the seed-free original sauce, resign yourself to a nice, long session with your strainer. You really have to work this and mash as much through the strainer as you can—long after you want to call it quits—to get everything out of this sauce. The result? It’s a wonderful sauce that’s brighter, more complex, and less salty than the bottled version. It’s absolutely wonderful. Is it worth it? That’s up to you.

Testers Choice
Tamiko Lagerwaard

Feb 15, 2011

This gets a thumbs-up for its bright pepper flavour, but it loses points for lacking depth, and for being quite thin. We did a side-by-side comparison to the Rooster brand sauce, which has more body, is thicker, and has a somewhat smoky taste. This recipe also was spicier than the Rooster sauce—I like a little zing, but this was sizzling. As for preparing the sauce, it’s very easy: I pulsed the peppers in three batches, adding the next batch to the food processor when the paste formed to make room for all of the peppers. All told, it’s a good sauce, but it’s not my first choice if I were to pick between it and the Rooster brand.

Testers Choice
Steve Subera

Feb 15, 2011

I enjoy recipes that remind you of how easy it is to make something that you might not think about making. Compared to commercial Sriracha, my homemade version had more heat and more garlic flavor. I’m not a five-pepper, sweat-in-the-corner type of guy, but I enjoy a little pain on the tongue, and the sauce’s heat in relationship to the flavor of the peppers was just right. However, the garlic flavor was a bit too strong, and the garlic powder aftertaste detracted from the overall flavor. I’d consider reducing the amount of powder next time, or just using garlic cloves. The homemade sauce is also runnier, but that’s expected because there’s no xanthan gum in it like the commercial brand. My other quibble is the need to use (and wash) a food processor twice. Would it really harm the recipe to puree the heck out of the mixture in the beginning, and then just strain it after adding the vinegar and cooking?

Testers Choice
Marilyn Canna

Feb 15, 2011

For folks who like to prepare their own condiments, this is a distinctive, amazingly colored hot sauce. But, watch for spills! Though you may enjoy them as blood-red badges of brewing honor, left on the counter or floor too long, they’ll stain. I used Fresno Reds, which are ripened green jalapeños. I halved the main recipe (using 12 to 15 peppers) and used dark instead of light brown sugar. I also wore latex gloves as I prepared the recipe (from experience, gloves save a lot of accidental ocular anguish). The recipe is simple to follow, since the processor and room-temperature storage do most of the work. Processing didn’t create a paste, however, as the recipe indicated, it was more of a slush. Take care when opening the glass jar to stir; whiffs of the stuff can make you cough and sneeze. (You’ll also smell it for hours after you reseal the jar.) I bought a bottle of the original Sriracha with the rooster on the label to compare: The original tasted richer and aged, but strong—a second of sweet pepper taste on the tongue, then a slow burn. I didn’t adjust the seasoning on my homemade sauce; it tasted only a tad milder than the original. Mixing the sauce with Trader Joe’s organic ketchup was a nice balance for me, sweetening the sauce and bringing out flavor over heat. This would be great with fries or scrambled eggs. I tried it with hardboiled eggs, but the taste was lost. It’s probably better as a fry or veggie dip.

Testers Choice
Dan Kraan

Feb 15, 2011

My version of this sauce used cayenne peppers, with the majority of the seeds removed. They worked very well, and yielded a slightly thickened, orangey-red sauce with a fair kick. It has a nice tang to it, and a rich, garlicky heat that doesn’t persist. It’s great for wings or any occasion that requires a good hot sauce. It took a little elbow grease (about 10 minutes worth) to get the last of the hot pepper purée to go through the sieve. I persisted because that’s how I got any thickness to it at all.


Comments
Comments
  1. homemade sriracha or we (Indonesians) call it sambal :)

  2. Greg Bulmash says:

    David,

    This is the kind of article we invented tickertape parades to celebrate.

  3. Janie says:

    Glad you posted this-can’t wait to try it. I just bought a bottle so I can do a taste test…

  4. Ms Pink says:

    Oh good lord this makes me happy! Totally doing this once the farmers markets return to the tundra :)

  5. RisaG says:

    Problem with this is that I can’t get red jalapenos! Maybe if I can pick them at a U-Pick place during the summer OR if I grow Jalapenos, otherwise they are nowhere to be found. All supermarkets sell the green ones. The only red chile they sell are habaneros. I can’t get Fresnos either. I live in the middle of nowhere. I guess I would have to buy some online and send them overnight to make this. It is easier and cheaper to just buy a bottle at the oriental supermarket for $2.99. The ShopRite sells it for $3.79, so does Wegman’s and Foodtown. I also found a Vietnamese brand at the oriental market that sells for 50 cents cheaper than Huy Fuong. It is in a larger bottle too and vinegar is the second ingredient, not sugar.

  6. Rachel says:

    I am impressed that you made this at home. The regular stuff itself is fire; I cannot imagine the cooking process for this!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      It’s actually quite simple, Rachel! The only incendiary part is handling the hot peppers, so that ought to be done wearing latex or some sort of gloves, being mindful not to touch one’s eyes or lips during this stage of the recipe! No, that would be bad.

  7. I make many hot sauces (my Scotch Bonnet Sauce is killer), but I keep Sriracha as a staple. I don’t see any reason to make it. Still, kudos to you for doing it.

    • David Leite says:

      Wow, Scotch bonnets, huh? That must be hot. But as someone says above, we make it because we can–like you with your sauce.

  8. Fuji Mama says:

    I’m a huge fan of the “because I can” reasoning behind making things from scratch!!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      So are we, Fuji Mama. So are we. But since you’ll have some sriracha on hand, we’re curious to hear all the other reasonings that you come up with…you know, like dribbling it over pho…embellishing eggs ..dousing sliders…enhancing roast root vegetables…whatever you use it on, we’d like to know!

  9. marla says:

    It is very obvious that I must get my hands on that cookbook. Been seeing it everywhere and have not actually flipped through it. Love Sriracha sauce….making it from scratch sounds beyond fabulous. Bet the flavor is more intense.

  10. TacoMagic says:

    As somebody who grows my own Chilies, I must say that I’ve been looking all over for this very recipe and stumbled on it by accident. I can’t wait to try a few super-spicy versions of this sauce!

    Finally a new use for all my scotch bonnets, trinidad scorpions, and 7-Pot peppers!

    I’ll share my hair-raising results once I get everything put together. It’s likely that I’ll try several batches to see what I can come up with. I have around 20 pounds of frozen and pickeled peppers to play with, so it’ll be fun for sure.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      I envy you those peppers! Do let us know the results…curious to hear which varieties trip your fancy…

  11. Jessica says:

    OMG I am so excited to find a srirarcha sauce recipe! Being gluten free, I have been wanting to make some of my own for ages. Just a note to strict vegans, remember to get vegan sugar specifically since regular white sugar is processed with charred animal bones.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      We, too, know the struggles that go with being gluten-free, Jessica. Well, some of us do. I mean, I do. Let us know what you think of this, everyone we know who tried it raved. And thanks, too, for the advice for those not liking charred animals to have touched their sugar…

      • Tony says:

        yes do make it. that is what us cooks do. it gives you the feel and insight to what is going on. i will keep on buying it, but oh boy, i will feel part of it. james

  12. Joelle says:

    I just have to say that there IS a reason to make this sauce on your own. The store bought brand contains potassium sorbate and sodium bisulfite. Not good for you! You can make your own and it will last 6 months without nasty preservatives. Definitely worth it. I wish the writer would have made note of that. It’s not something you have to do much research to discover, and if food (or sriracha for that matter) is your thing…

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Couldn’t agree more, Joelle. Many thanks for raising a really relevant point.

  13. Karen says:

    Would it be safe to can in small jelly jars? I’m the one that will eat it. And would like to use fresh peppers while in season here. Thanks

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Karen, I asked one of our experienced canning testers and she thinks that you could probably use the hot water bath method for canning as the recipe is fairly acidic. I always recommend that people consult the National Center for Home Food Preservation (http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html) for more detailed information. Remember too that the recipe keeps for 6 months in the refrigerator. Hope this helps!

  14. Kerrie Lee says:

    Does anyone know about how many ounces this recipe yields?

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Kerrie, our testers’ yields varied slightly, but most were just less than 2 cups, which if I am not mistaken translates to about 16 fluid ounces.

  15. Kashkillz says:

    Anyone tried any variations on this? Ginger, lemongrass, tamarind? Can’t wait to get into it….

  16. Bettina says:

    For vegan sugar, most (if not all) of the organic sugars are free of bone char. Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about bone char and vegan sugar. For the faint of heart, skip to the chart at the bottom of the page.

    • David Leite says:

      Thanks, Bettina. I think it’s important for consumers to be aware of what they’re eating. I found this quite helpful.

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