Recipe Image

Homemade Hot Sauce

  • 30 m
  • 2 h
EatingWell Test Kitchen
“This homemade hot sauce makes good use of the bountiful tomatoes, onions and peppers in your garden or farmers' market. Adjust the heat to your preference: in our tests, two habaneros yielded a pleasantly spicy sauce without excessive heat—take it up a notch for spicy-food fans by adding extra hot peppers.”


    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 cup diced onion
    • 2 medium chile peppers, such as poblano, New Mexico or Anaheim, diced
    • 2-4 habanero peppers, or other small hot chile peppers, stemmed, halved and seeded (see Tip)
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 pound tomatoes, diced (about 3 cups)
    • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1-3 teaspoons sugar


  • 1 Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, chile peppers, habaneros to taste and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • 2 Reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes, vinegar, salt and sugar to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 5 minutes.
  • 3 Carefully transfer the tomato mixture to a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot ingredients.) Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; pour the pureed mixture through the sieve, pushing on the solids with a wooden spoon to extract all the liquid. (Discard solids.) Let the sauce cool to room temperature, about 1½ hours.
  • Tip: The membranes that hold the seeds are the spiciest part of chile peppers (that's where the capsaicin is). The seeds pick up some spiciness by association. You can customize the heat of salsa or hot sauce by using some or all of the seeds along with the flesh of the pepper and tasting as you go. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after chopping hot peppers or wear rubber gloves.
  • To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
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