“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 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

4.84 / 62 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

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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.


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101 Comments

  1. I just made a batch of sriracha and poured it into the jar to begin fermenting, when I realised I’d added in the vinegar already. Major oops as I don’t have any more chilis on hand to start again. I did use raw apple cider vinegar (instead of white vinegar). Do you think it’ll ferment? Can the recipe be saved? If it won’t ferment I was thinking maybe I should boil and bottle it today, essentially skipping the fermentation step. I really don’t want to waste all those chilis! Keen to hear your thoughts.

    1. Amber, I’ve shared your query with a number of home cooks who have vastly more experience with making homemade hot sauce than I do so that they can weigh in while I do some research on the science and safety of your situation. Stay tuned…!

    2. Amber, if I were you, I would go ahead and boil and bottle your hot sauce. I did a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation, and I feel the concentration of acid in your combined pepper/vinegar mixture will be too high for you to get a good quality fermentation. Not that it will be in any way dangerous to eat, but the bacteria that initially start the fermentation process cannot thrive in that acidic an environment. Your sauce will still be delicious without the fermentation step! Remember most hot sauces are not fermented. Enjoy your sauce, and next time try the fermented version for a real treat.

  2. I had a question. I see the testers comments and some say that the sauce was too garlicky. However the recipe calls for only a few cloves of garlic (I am assuming cloves and not heads). Which is very less considering 1 3/4 Lbs (800g) of peppers. Can someone please clarify. Also I am going to try this out with Indian red chillies and see the result. Thanks in advance.

    1. Dkj, yes, the recipe calls for a few cloves of garlic and definitely not heads of garlic. I think the trick is that cloves of garlic vary dramatically in size. I suspect that those who found the sauce too garlicky relied on larger cloves. Looking forward to hearing what you think of the finished sauce!

      1. Thanks for your prompt feedback. I’ve already put it in a mason jar to age, stirring daily. However today a few specks on white fungus have formed on the top wall of the jar. Does this mean the mix is going bad? Today is the third day.

        1. Hi Dkj, I reached out to Melissa, one of our testers very versed in canning and preservation. This is what she had to say; “Fermenting vegetables is one of the very safest methods of preserving. A little bit of white mold is not a problem. Just skim any off the top, and use a clean cloth or paper towel moistened with a bit of vinegar to wipe any off the sides and the underside of the lid of the jar. It is important that you use the full amount of salt called for in the recipe, and keep your ferment at the proper temperature. If your house is warm, much over 70 degrees, it can encourage mold growth. For your sriracha, I recommend cleaning it up as I just described, and then check it every day, and continue to remove any mold that forms. If your house is warm, you may not need to go the full seven days. Once you get to the next step of the recipe, where the fermented peppers are boiled with vinegar, it will stop the fermentation process and should acidify the mixture enough that no more mold will form. Before you proceed with this step, take a good sniff of your fermented peppers, and if they smell good, take a little taste. If all seems well, you are good to go.”

  3. If the straining process is taking to long for you, just add enough water to the point where it goes through the strainer faster. Then just simmer it back down to the correct consistency.

    1. Interesting, Ben! Thanks for the tip. I’m sorta surprised that doesn’t alter the taste or texture, but swell to hear!