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hot sauce

Fermented Hot Sauce Recipe

  • Author: Giggi Mitts
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: ½ gallon 1x


This is a fermented hot sauce in brine containing cooked tomatoes, Serrano peppers, and chile peppers that add tons of flavour and spiciness to the recipe. It is fermented twice and takes about 10 weeks to get ready. Be patient, the results are worth it!


  • 1 ½ lb stemmed chillies – Serrano and cherry make a fantastic combination
  • Coarsely chopped red onions – 1 or 2 medium
  • 3 garlic heads – peeled and chopped coarsely
  • 1 quart brine. To make this, use a quart of filtered, un-chlorinated water. Add 3 tbsp pickling salt or sea salt to it and dissolve completely

You will need the following ingredients once the fermentation part is over (after about 4-6 weeks).

  • 6 roasted tomatoes 
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • Cayenne pepper – 1 tsp. This is an optional ingredient. You can use it if you like your sauce spicier.


  1. In a fermenting vessel or a crock, add onions, chillies, and garlic, and cover them completely with brine.
  2. Set the mixture in a clean, dark place at room temperature to ferment for about 4-6 weeks. Keep an eye on the contents of the crock. You must make sure that the ferment is completely submerged in brine.
  3. Once the fermentation is complete, strain the peppers, onions, and garlic, and reserve the brine.
  4. In a food processor or blender, add the strained onions, garlic, and peppers along with a little bit of the brine and process until smooth. This might take some time since the peppers have seeds. You might have to add brine a few times to ensure smooth grinding. Ideal consistency to look for is a paste that is thinner than Sriracha but thicker than Tabasco. Now it is time to add some tomatoes.
  5. Roast 6 tomatoes. Add them to the blender/food processor with the pepper and onions and process until smooth.
  6. In a saucepan, add the tomato-pepper mixture, cider vinegar, and brown sugar. Add the cayenne pepper if you want your sauce to be spicier. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for 45 minutes. Stir to prevent burning.
  7. Remove the sauce from heat, cool it and add the remaining brine. Stir to mix well.
  8. Pack the sauce in a mason jar with a lid, leaving about 2 to 3 inches of headspace. Store in a cool place and leave to age for about 2-3 weeks. The sauce will ferment slowly and you might have to burp it from time to time.
  9. After 3 weeks, transfer the sauce to the refrigerator. The sauce lasts for about a year.


How to store fermented hot sauce

Store the fermented hot sauce in the refrigerator. You can transfer a small quantity to a jar and keep it outside at room temperature for daily use. The sauce lasts about a year.


  • Make a small quantity first. When you make ferments in small batches, do keep an eye on them. You want to make sure that the chillies, onions, and garlic are submerged in brine.
  • Always use non-chlorinated water for the brine since chlorine tends to affect fermentation.
  • The heat index of this hot sauce recipe depends on the chillies used. So choose as per your taste.
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes