Fermented Hot Sauce

I think we can all agree that I kind of suck at this whole blogging thing. Well here I am, after a long break, to post a recipe that I am very excited about.

I love hot sauce! I love the tingly feeling it leaves in my mouth, I love the way beads of sweat form on my nose, I love the beautiful peppers that grow like glowing ornaments hanging off of the plants. But… I am not a huge fan of the vinegary hot sauces. For a while I was pretty obsessed with sriracha, a subtle sweetness and a hint of garlic, but reading the label can be kind of off putting, which led me to experiment with making my own version.

I have tried a few different combinations of peppers, and straight up red jalapeños are my favourite. We have been fortunate to find a plethora of organic peppers piled high at our local farmers markets. I have been known to buy them by the bagful, several pounds at a time, in an attempt to make enough hot sauce to last us the year.

I have been playing around with lactic acid fermentation for a little while now. I have pretty much stopped canning food, in favour of fermenting. Whereas canning destroys any living organisms through heating, the process of fermentation cultivates beneficial organisms which help preserve nutrients and prevent spoilage. But in all honesty, I don’t eat this stuff by the spoonful because it’s good for me, I guzzle it down because it’s damn tasty. 

Fermented Hot Sauce
yields 1.5 – 2cups


  • 1 lb. (454g) red jalapeños
  • 2 Tbs. + 2 tsp. (33g or 7.5%) unrefined cane sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. (18g, or 3.5-4%) sea salt
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (unfiltered)

Trim up stems of peppers to remove any browned or shrivelled bits. Roughly chop peppers, keeping healthy green stems on. Blend with sugar, salt and garlic until well puréed.

Transfer to a clean jar, cover with a cloth to keep out dust and bugs, then place in a warm dark place for 4-7days. Check after a day or two and stir. As the hot sauce ferments tiny air bubbles (CO2) will form and the solids may separate from the liquids, just give it a stir and continue to ferment.

As more of the sugars are converted to acids (by the lactic acid bacteria), the hot sauce will become more acidic, developing a more complex flavour. Taste the hot sauce every few days and when it becomes noticeably less sweet and more complex it is ready slow down the fermentation process. If a flat white film develops on the surface, it is likely yeast and you can simply skim it off (if it is fuzzy, it is likely mould which is not a good thing and you should probably get rid of it, this has not happened to me yet).

Blend the fermented peppers with apple cider vinegar and transfer to a clean sealed container. Store in the fridge, will keep for several months.

If you would like a smoother consistency, strain to remove solids.

2 Replies to “Fermented Hot Sauce”

  1. Can’t wait to try making this! Mine will probably get mold with my luck. If this does happen I will send you a photo so you can identify it…

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