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How to Make a Very Spicy Red Chili Hot Sauce

Updated on November 30, 2010
3 ounces of dried Thai chilies ready for hot-saucifying
3 ounces of dried Thai chilies ready for hot-saucifying

Here’s a recipe for a very easy dried chili hot sauce that’s wickedly potent and as tasty as any you’ll find on the shelves at any store – and as an added bonus, you can make a gallon of this brew for the price of a single 3 ounce bottle of ‘gourmet’ sauce bought elsewhere…

As a hot sauce lover, one variety of hot sauce just isn’t enough. To satisfy my spice palate, I need:

  • A vinegar based Tabasco style sauce
  • A spicy tomato based salsa/sauce
  • A ‘green’ sauce, both in appearance and in taste – with vegetal qualities from the fresh green chilies within
  • A fruity habanero style sauce
  • A brick red dried chili based hot sauce (recipe follows)

No one sauce is right for all occasions, so it’s important to have your bases covered and to stock an array of hot sauces at the ready. Here’s a recipe for a really tasty red chili based hot sauce that’s as easy to make as it is fiery in the mouth!

Red Chili Hot Sauce (to make about 1 quart…give or take a bit)

  • 3 ounces of a small very hot dried red chili pepper, such as a chili de arbol or a small dried red Thai bird chili
  • 2 sweet red or yellow peppers
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Salt
  • A little oil for sautéing
  1. Cut the sweet peppers into strips and heat a Tbls or so of vegetable oil in a heavy fry pan over medium. When the oil is hot, add in the pepper strips and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are softened. Take off the heat and reserve
  2. In another heavy frying pan, heat a couple of Tbls of vegetable oil over medium, and when hot, add in all the dried chili peppers. Cook these, stirring and turning constantly, until they are just starting to toast and color. You have to keep a watchful eye while doing this as these can go black in a hurry if left in direct contact with the hot oil for too long. This will probably take you about 2 minutes or so – just remember to keep the chilies moving constantly and if a few go black on you by the end, just toss them from the batch. While toasted chilies will add a nice complexity of flavor, burnt chilies just add bitterness.
  3. Add all the chilies, the sweet peppers and about 1 tsp of salt to a blender and add in enough vinegar to just cover the chilies and peppers. Process the chilies until very smooth, adding more vinegar if needed to keep the blades turning and the mixture pureeing. I like to keep this in the blender for about 5 minutes, but the timing will vary depending on the strength of your blender.
  4. Now – you have a very potent paste that can be refrigerated for months, perhaps years without spoilage.
  5. What I like to do is keep this concentrated paste in the fridge, and mix it into sauce as needed by scooping some into a jar to about 1/3 full, topping the jar off with water and then adding salt to taste for seasoning. This will still keep for a couple of weeks at least, and by keeping the bulk of the mixture in concentrate, I don’t lose so much fridge space to my hot sauce addiction!


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    • profile image

      Kate 6 years ago

      Thank you so much! A family friend gave my mother bags of dried chilis that he had grown and dried himself and I've been looking for a way to use them. Now if I can figure out exactly what kinds they all are!

    • John D Lee profile image

      John D Lee 7 years ago

      It is kind of an addiction isn't it?!

    • chirls profile image

      chirls 7 years ago from Indiana (for now)

      Aha- a fellow chili lover, I see! I will definitely be trying out this recipe, although Thai bird chilis have made me cry on more than one occasion. I'm totally addicted to spicy food these days. Thanks for sharing!