ingredients
  • red chili peppers, chopped 1 pound
  • water (for fermented version only) 1-quart
  • salt (for non-fermented version, use only 1/2 tsp) 3 tbsp
  • White wine vinegar 1 1/2 cups

Whether you use it in marinades, pour lashings of it over chicken wings, or dash it over your morning eggs and hash browns, Louisiana hot sauce is a must-have for any self-respecting spice lover. There's nothing like homemade sauces, and this Louisiana hot sauce is super easy to make at home.

There are two methods used to make it: you can either ferment the chilies or use fresh ones. Classic Louisiana hot sauce is made from fermented chilies, and the resulting hot sauce is mellower, more complex, and incredibly flavorful. However, not fermenting the chilies will give you a spicier hot sauce in less time.

The choice is yours. This tangy, spicy, salty sauce is great on so many dishes, so if you like to turn up the heat of your food, you need to make homemade Louisiana hot sauce!

What Are the Best Peppers for Making Louisiana Hot Sauce?

There are a few different peppers you can use to make your homemade Louisiana hot sauce. The type of chilies you choose will affect the flavor, color, and heat level of your hot sauce. The best peppers give good flavor and spice.

Classic pepper varieties for Louisiana hot sauce include cayenne, red jalapeños, and tabasco, but pretty much any pepper will work. If you're a true chili lover, you can use ultra-hot varieties like habaneros or ghost chilis for an extra spicy hot sauce.

How to Make Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce

If you want to make old-school fermented Louisiana hot sauce, you'll need to start off by fermenting the chilis. Place the chilies in a jar, leaving about one inch of room at the top – this is essential because the mixture can expand during fermentation. Pour the salt into the jar, then pour just enough water to completely cover the chilies. This will help prevent spoilage. Secure the lid and store it in a dark, warm, dry place for one to two weeks. Check on it periodically to make sure the chilies haven't spoiled and release the gasses produced during fermentation from the jar.

Once the fermentation is complete, pour the peppers and brine into a large pot. Pour in the vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Let it cool down, then grab your immersion blender and blend the sauce until it's nice and smooth. Pour it through a sieve to strain out the solids, then transfer the hot sauce to bottles. Now it's ready to use!

To make non-fermented hot sauce, simply bring the chilies, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a large pot. Let the mixture simmer and cook it for about 10 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it cool down. Once cooled, blend until smooth, then strain, and pour into bottles.

Tips for the Best Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce

If your non-fermented hot sauce is too thick, you can add a tablespoon or two of water to thin it out. You can also use more vinegar.

You can add other ingredients to make your hot sauce even more flavorful. Try adding garlic cloves, black peppercorns, celery seeds, oregano, basil, shallots, or onions.

If you fermented the chilies you can either add the brine to the hot sauce or leave it out – it's up to you.

For a more complex sauce, you a mixture of chili peppers.

Use distilled, unchlorinated water for fermenting your chilis.

About 55 to 75°F is an ideal temperature for chili fermentation.

How to Store Homemade Louisiana Hot Sauce

Homemade Louisiana hot sauce should last about 3 months in the fridge, possibly longer. The key to a longer shelf-life is ensuring the acid level of the hot sauce is lower than 3.6 ph. You can add more vinegar to lower the ph of your hot sauce.

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Instructions

To make fermented hot sauce

Place the chilies in a jar, leaving about one inch of room at the top. Pour the salt into the jar. Pour in just enough of the water to cover the chilies. Secure the lid and store it in a dark, temperate, dry place for one to two weeks. Check daily to make sure there's no spoilage, and occasionally open the lid to release the gasses which build up during fermentation.

After one to two weeks, the chilies will have finished fermenting. Pour the peppers and brine into a large pot. Pour in the vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. Once cooled, blend until smooth. Strain out the solids and pour the sauce into bottles.

To make non-fermented hot sauce

Place the chilies, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of salt into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. Once cooled, blend until smooth, then strain, and pour into bottles.

Notes

For fermented Louisiana hot sauce, make sure all of the peppers are submerged in the brine. This will prevent them from spoiling.