Salsas & Sauces/

Habanero Hot Sauce

Recipe from Season 5 of Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 2cups


  • 5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2cup peeled, roughly chopped carrot (you'll need 1 medium carrot)
  • 1/2cup roughly chopped white onion (you'll need about half of a small onion)
  • 12medium (about 5 ounces)orange habanero chiles, stemmed
  • 1cup apple cider vinegar
  • About 2teaspoons Salt
  • 1/4teaspoon Sugar


Roast the garlic in a skillet over medium heat, turning regularly until soft and blackened in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and peel.

In a small saucepan, combine the carrot, onion and habanero chiles with the vinegar and 1 cup water. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the carrots are thoroughly tender, about 10 minutes. Pour into a blender jar, add the roasted garlic, salt and sugar. Blend until smooth. Thin with a little additional water if you think your hot sauce is too thick. Taste and season with additional salt if you think necessary.

Pour into jars or bottles and store in the refrigerator until you're ready to add some dazzle to a dish.


  1. Is this sauce HOT, you bet it is with 12 medium habenaro peppers, but the flavor is better than any bottle hot sauce you purchase at a grocery or specialty store. Very flavorful, just add little at a time until desired amount and will be amazed on the fresh taste of your own special hot sauce made from scratch. If this is too hot, cut the pepper amount to 8, 6, or even to 2 and it will still bring a dancing tingle to your tongue.

  2. just wandering how long will it last in fridge,2 weeks 2 months 6 months or i guess u could freeze it up to a year???

    1. Mine has lasted for several months, and is just fine in the refrigerator. You can put it up with a boiling bath and preserve it for much longer. Wonderful flavor, and I use it in soups and stews…very versatile.

  3. Hi Mr Bayless!
    I was wondering if you think instead of sugar, could I use pineapple or mango ?
    Thank you for your input

    1. I’m not Mr. Bayless, but I can give you advice based on my experience. First, don’t be shy about doing experimentation with food. Cooking is an adventure. The worst thing that will happen is that it totally fails and you have to put it in the garbage, but that’s rare. Usually what will happen is that you’ll find something you like, but need to tweak a bit for next time, then you just do another experiment. Be bold!! Try it out and report back.

      Now, when you try it, you’ll need to reduce the amount of habs or you’ll never use enough sauce to actually taste the pineapple/mango. I’d cut the habs down to about 3 or 4, then use some orange bell peppers to make up the difference in pulp without adding heat. Ohh… and roast the pineapple or mango. Never pass up the chance to add more flavor.

  4. I love this recipe. Thank you Rick Bayless!!! I grow my own habaneros each year and always make this sauce. I can the sauce so it will last me the entired year.

        1. There’s enough acid in this recipe that, if canned properly, botulism should be no issue. I can hot sauces all the time. Still have some over a year old.

  5. Grew habaneros for the first time this year, so it was great to see this recipe to use them in. It is very hot! I just made it and stuck to the recipe and did not seed the habaneros. I am hoping it will mellow some, but if not I will mix it in other sauces. I love the fruitiness of habaneros, and I don’t think I am a softie when it comes to heat, but this is hot. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I make this every year and find that it lasts with the same great flavor until the next year (perhaps longer!). I just keep it in the fridge.

    2. I made this about a year ago. I’m just now using the last of it. So, from experience, it will last a year if kept in a jar in the refrigerator. It will probably last longer with all the vinegar (acid) and salt. By the way, I have given a lot of this hot sauce and the recipe to others who like hot things. Every one of them has liked it. Thanks Rick!

  6. I made the sauce according to the recipe and, as you would expect, it was right hot. I like it hot. I like to feel my blood after I eat spicy food. But I also like to taste it. It uses 12 of the hottest peppers in the world (or close to it) in about 2 cups of liquid. It was so hot you couldn’t taste anything. It was pure heat. What worried me most was that I used these wonderful Raven’s Beak peppers with a very distinct and lovely smell, but none of the flavor was coming through.

    So I decided to try diluting it. I made the recipe again without peppers or garlic, pureed it, then added about two or three tablespoons of the sauce made according to the recipe. That created a very hot sauce that had some flavor.

    It would take only about a teaspoon of the sauce made according to the recipe to make a bowl of chili so hot that only the most avid pepper eaters could stand it.

  7. I followed this recipe to the T and it came out way to watery. In the instructions it says to add a cup of the vinegar and a cup of water and in the ingredients list the water wasn’t listed. I ended up taking 1/2 the batch and adding some stewed peaches, some roasted tomatillo and lime juice and it came out a bit thicker and more complex flavored. This was super easy recipe and a great way to use up a lot of habeneros. I think I’ll save the sauce to add to other recipies.

  8. I’ve made this several times from store bought, but I’ve harvested around 2 pounds of habaneros and put one batch today with garden carrots and onions as well. I wonder how it freezes? I also have a bunch of ghost chilies as well. I wonder if this would work for those?

    1. We haven’t tried with ghost chilies but this hot sauce freezes very well! Especially if you can vacuum seal it in a bag!

  9. Great recipe, but I think next time I’ll go a little lighter on the salt. The rest is perfection for those of us that like the heat. I pulled my habanero plants before first frost and let the remaining peppers ripen in my basement. here it is December and I just finished off making fresh hot sauce. I think I used the last of the peppers just in time, they were getting soft. This batch should keep me warm until spring…

  10. I just make some. Wow! Simple recipe with great results. Not overpowering. Very flavorful. Would be great for hot wings. Thanks

  11. I’ve made riffs off this recipe countless times. I usually up the amount of habaneros to 1/2 lb. I’ve also made it with aji limon, jalapeños, and trinidad scorpions (because i had to do something with them)… this recipe is on point. I also add spices, i grind cumin, coriander, oregano and teliicherries (1/2 tsp each) and a few allspice berries. wicked good.

  12. I used the recipe straight forward, keeping it as a thicker sauce that’ll coat the meat, I added some cilantro since my sweetheart loves it. However, it’s way too hot for her, but absolutley delishious for myself.

  13. I found a bag of habaneros at the grocery on the manager’s special rack – they were $.99 so I decided to give this recipe a whirl. I used honey instead of sugar, and a couple more peppers than the recipe calls for – the sauce is a beautiful orange color and has a delightful numbing heat, while still tasting zesty. I’ll definitely make this again — maybe for holiday treats for my friends and family. The only other adjustment was slightly longer cooking time to get carrots cooked through – which could have partially been due to not chopping them terribly finely. Great recipe. Thank you, Chef!

  14. I’m excited to try this sauce but is there anything I can add to recipe so I don’t have to refrigerate it? I want to bottle this and use it as my wedding favor.

    1. Hello Jessica –
      Adding more vinegar to make this shelf stable really changes the flavor, so we recommend keeping it refrigerated! However it does freeze well, you could make it all ahead of time and freeze them, then right before the wedding bottle it with a cute “keep refrigerated” label?

  15. I make this hot sauce every year and share with family and friends. Looking forward to making it again this weekend with my home grown habanero. You have to try it.

  16. Excellent sauce. The heat is perfect. This is my new favorite sauce. This 2 cup recipe only lasts me a couple of weeks.

  17. I dearly love hot condiments. I had a gift of exactly a double recipe of lovely orange habaneros. Followed the recipe exactly. While cooking, I ate one of the carrots and what a great flavor. Habs have such a unique taste and lingering burn. Carrots are the perfect companion. I’m a huge Marie Sharp fan and this is a fresh reminder and has over the top bright flavor. I disagree about overly hot comments. Not soup, but I’m getting empty ketchup bottles to embellish fish, chicken, beef and all the needy regulars!

  18. i started growing habaneros last year & have found out that if you seed & devein them they have awesome flavor without being to hot. i’m going to try this recipe will tell you how it worked

  19. Awesome sauce. I used 9 Chocolate Habanero’s & 3 Petenero Chile’s. I did not add any water until I pureed it. A 1/4 cup of water gave it the right consistency. The roasted Garlic & Carrot is what makes this so good. A keeper recipe from Chef Bayliss! Thx Chef!

  20. Fantastic recipe. Perfect balance of flavors. I used 10 hinkelhatz peppers (an heirloom pepper grown by Mennonites) I got in my CSA box, and it’s smokin’. Curious to see what happens to the consistency and flavor after a few days in the frig.

  21. Just made this to use some of my beautiful habaneros. Fabulous flavor! Came out a perfect consistency. Going to try it to flavor a Bloody Mary in place of Tabasco. Can’t wait to try it in buffalo chicken sandwiches. N
    ext batch is going in the freezer! (Lots of habaneros!) Thanks Rick Bayless!

  22. I like to blend all the ingredients first then cook it. No sugar in my hot sauces. The hotter the better! No carrots but onion works well. Last batch, I used Scotch bonnets and Manzano chiles. Made my friends cry, though happily! Lol! Burn, baby, burn!

  23. Nice base recipe. This leaves room for influence and creativity. Use fruit such as mango, pineapple or papaya as sugar. Agave or honey can also be used to add more character than refined sugar alone. I recommend keeping a thicker consistency and using fesh lime juice and additional water if you need to thin your sauce while blending. Focus on balancing your sauce with acid and sugar. Add herbs and spices to your dish, not the sauce itself.

  24. Great base recipe. I threw in some modifications and exchanged water for a good IPA, the floral fruitiness is complementary and the malt adds a little more sweetness. Juice of a whole grapefruit and doubled the onion and carrot with same amount of habs. Still PLENTY spicy, but with more complexity and a light fruitiness that is delightful. Thanks for the inspiration, this one’s a keeper.

  25. Love this recipe. I just found new (unused) hot-sauce bottles on Amazon and bought 2 dozen. No more buying Tapatio and pouring it out, to get bottles.

  26. Made many batches of this at the end of summer with habaneros from my garden. It is my favorite hot sauce — as others have said, the carrots and roasted garlic are perfect companions to the peppers. I was intrigued by JD’s review, and added allspice and peppercorns to one batch. I preferred it to another batch I made that followed the recipe with no alterations. I thought the cumin and oregano might interfere with the carrot/garlic/habanero combo, but I may try adding them the next time I make this sauce.

  27. I was wondering about the garlic. I’m very sensitive to garlic in dishes, I usually put whole cloves in during cooking and take them out when the dish is done. I’m not sure about roasted garlic.Wondering if you have any ideas how I could make this work for me?

    1. Well then roasting the garlic is your new answer!!! Roasting garlic removes the pungent – sometimes bitter flavor and brings out the sweetness. Roast the garlic slow and low for a delicious flavor that will not be overpowering.

  28. I made this as written and I really didn’t care for the taste. It was very strong vinegar tasting and the roasted garlic taste didn’t fit in. The heat is pretty good though. I would maybe try this again but reduce the vinegar and use raw garlic.

  29. I tried this with homegrown habaneros, mine grew bright red and are quite hot! For me what worked was 2 habaneros seeded, 3/4 of a orange bell pepper, and 1/2 cup water. Also used agave nectar instead of sugar. The sauce is thicker, very spicy with a sweet citrus taste up front followed by a mild burn. I like spice more than most, but my version is plenty hot enough for me!

  30. Made this with about 30 habs. Used a 1/4 cup brown sugar, added about a half a green bell pepper, cut the vinegar in half, added juice from a half a lime and added a dash of clove. It made about 1.25 pints. I’m still sweating from the sample. I think maybe a bit of orange peel in there would be good. Once it rests a day the flavors will come out. Right now it’s just bloody hot.

  31. I halved this recipe, and I just love it. It’s hot, naturally, but not overly so. I put about a teaspoon on a taco, and it had just the right heat. I should note though, that to get it to pour, I added another third cup of water to the blender. Also, I left out the sugar. The carrot provided all the sweetness it needed.

  32. I have made this sauce several times over the last couple years. My best results come when I follow the recipe closely. I have and use sauce that has been refrigerated for over 1 year. Today I am making both Habanero and Serrano sauces.

  33. Awesome sauce!! Nice and hot. I actually use about 20 scotch bonnet peppers and it comes out super hot. Everyone loves it.

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