“There are those of us who love Sriracha, and then there are those of us who need Sriracha,” observes Randy Clemens, author of this recipe. If, like Clemens, 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. But it should know how to make this hot sauce from scratch.–David Leite

A jar of red homemade sriracha hot sauce on a black background. A spoon nearby.
: Corinna Haselmayer

Homemade Sriracha Sauce FAQs

Why do you ferment hot sauce?

Sure, you can just whiz up all those ingredients and start slapping it on everything. But a 7-day ferment does a couple of things. If you’ve been paying attention to the recent fermenting craze, you’ll know that it adds another layer of flavor, extra depth, and complexity.

Fermentation also tends to mellow out the heat of the peppers, so the sauce isn’t just about the heat but about the melded flavors, too.

And finally, there is the argument that fermentation is just better for you, your guts specifically. Patience is a virtue, indeed.

How do you use Sriracha sauce?

You can embolden just about anything with a dose of Sriracha, stirring it into ketchup, mayo, butter, cream cheese, honey, or sour cream. We also love it mixed into Sriracha deviled eggs, slathered on hot wings, and tossed with sweet potatoes. The options are truly endless.

A jar of red homemade sriracha hot sauce on a black background. A spoon nearby.

Homemade Sriracha Sauce

4.85 / 63 votes
This homemade Sriracha sauce, made with everyday ingredients including hot peppers, vinegar, garlic, and salt, is easy to make, incendiary in taste, and less salty than the traditional version.
David Leite
CourseCondiments
CuisineThai
Servings16 servings
Calories34 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Ferment7 days
Total Time7 days

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

Instructions 

  • 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.)
  • 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. [Editor's note: If you'd like to preserve the gut-friendly bacteria that has been brewing in your hot sauce, skip the simmering step and purée the pepper mixture and vinegar together in the next step.]
  • Let the mixture cool and then purée it in a food processor for 2 to 3 minutes, until a smooth, uniform paste forms. If the mixture is too thick to blend properly, add a small amount of water.
  • 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.
  • Taste and 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.
The Sriracha Cookbook

Adapted From

The Sriracha Cookbook

Buy On Amazon

Nutrition

Serving: 2 tablespoonsCalories: 34 kcalCarbohydrates: 8 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 442 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 Randy Clemens. All rights reserved.


Recipe Testers’ Reviews

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.

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 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 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?

My version of this sauce used cayenne chili 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.

I made this sauce as written, and patiently waited a week to do a side-by-side tasting with the commercial version. 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. 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.

This gets a thumbs-up for its bright pepper flavor.

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.

But it loses points for lacking depth and for being 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 although this was sizzling. It’s a good sauce, but it’s not my first choice if I were to pick between it and the Rooster brand.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


Hungry For More?

Homemade Yellow Mustard

Why make your own mustard? Because you can, dammit! And if that’s not reason enough, there’s no comparison between this and the store-bought stuff. Enough said.

1 hr 45 mins

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

So satiatingly superlative, this cheese sauce is going to whisper seductively to you to ladle it onto everything. And we do mean everything.

15 mins

Garlic Confit

Cloves of garlic are slowly simmered in oil until unthinkably tender, intensely aromatic, subtly sweet, and insanely irresistible.

1 hr


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




107 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe— I’ve made it twice now. Here are a couple of my notes that I hope can help future cooks:

    While the recipe doesn’t explicitly say when to add the water, I did so during the first step, just enough that my blender would have enough liquid to blend the peppers up.

    Also, make sure you store it in a jar with extra room at the top to allow for the inevitable swelling of the ingredients as they start to ferment (I learned my lesson after the first batch).

    After sieving out the sauce, I reserved the paste and have it in a jar in the fridge, spooning some here and there into recipes like soup, curries, quiche… anywhere you want a little extra spice. It’s delicious, and no waste!

    I’m in EU and the sriracha shortage is real here. We have one sacred bottle of the classic rooster brand, an off-brand, and now this homemade sauce. Doing a blind taste-test, this one won out for me and it’s also significantly spicier than even the rooster one. That obviously is just subject to which chilies you use. I suppose you could “dilute” a batch with red bell peppers if you wanted a milder version while keeping the consistency the same.

    All in all I’ll continue to make this every couple months! It’s not much work and yields a great flavor. Plus a really cute gift for the sriracha lover in your life:)

    1. Molly, thank you so much for sharing your experience. Those are all excellent notes and very useful to your fellow readers.

  2. 5 stars
    How would one go about making it so it wouldn’t need to be refrigerated until opened? I’d like to make some, but store the unopened jar in my pantry

    1. Edward, you’d need to water bath can the sriracha in order to do this. We haven’t tried canning the sauce, so we can’t say if it will differ from the refrigerated version, but it would be safe to store after water bath canning for 15 minutes.

        1. Susan, I haven’t tried canning the sauce so I can’t comment on any difference in flavor. I wouldn’t expect the canning process to change it, though.

    1. Michael, removing the seeds will result in a much milder sauce. Is that what you’re after?