Fermented hot sauce, a fiery explosion of flavor, is the perfect way to use a garden bounty of peppers during their peak growing season.
Fermented hot sauce is a fiery explosion of flavor. It’s fun to make with your garden bounty of peppers in the summer on into the early fall.
Or if you don’t garden, scour your local farmers markets for cayenne, Tabasco, Manzano, serrano, even Fresno chiles. Sometimes your local grocer might have a wide array of peppers as well (though the unique peppers don’t ever last long!)
Fermented hot sauce is easy to make. Toss some sliced peppers into a jar, add a brine, wait a good 10-12 days, then blend and strain to make hot sauce.
Fermentation is a wonderful way to give hot sauce an additional boost that enhances the complex flavors of the peppers. Not only does it encourage richer flavors, it does so in a way that it boosts beneficial bacteria that’s superior for essential gut health.
What Kind of Peppers?
Picking peppers for your own fermented hot sauce is simple – anything you have works well. Remember though that the type of pepper you choose will reflect in the final sauce.
Peppers like cayenne, Fresno chiles, hot wax peppers, Manzano, serrano and even jalapeño peppers are great for fermented hot sauce.
Or go a step further and blend two chiles of the same color to add a balance of heat. Just make sure you pick two chiles that are similar in color so you can capture the vibrancy in the final fermented hot sauce.
How to Make Fermented Hot Sauce
To make a simple fermented hot sauce, gather together chiles, salt, water and time. Go a step further and add a few cloves of garlic to give it a richer and more complex flavor profile.
When fermenting chiles, push the contents of the jar down under the brine so that everything is nicely submerged. I like to use jelly jars for this, but you can also use fermentation weights.
Once the peppers are submerged, top with your airlock. That airlock will allow the carbon dioxide build up that’s in the fermentation vessel without letting oxygen in (which can destroy your ferment).
Fermenting peppers to make this fermented hot sauce is a bit different than fermenting other veggies. Peppers can develop a white film on the surface of the ferment (known as Kahm yeast). It’s completely harmless but is a sign that you need to make some adjustments to your ferment.
To avoid a fuzzy appearance (like kahm yeast) on the surface of your fermented hot sauce:
- Keep your ferments in a lightly sealed jar.
- Fit your ferments with an airlock
- Ensure that the item being fermented is packed tightly under the brine – whether one that you mixed up or the natural brine.
After the Ferment is Done
Once your fermented hot sauce is done, puree. Then strain though a tightly woven cheesecloth. Separate into jars and refrigerate.
Your hot sauce at that point will be rich in enzymes and nutrients. Store in the refrigerator to slow down (not stop) the fermentation process.
Fermented Hot Sauce
- mason jar
- fermentation airlocks
- high quality blender
- fermentation weights
- quart-size wide mouth mason jar
- 1.5 lbs yellow wax chiles or your favorite chile: Manzano, cherry bomb, Cayenne, etc.
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 C warm water
- Pull the stems off the peppers and wash. Slice them down the middle with a sharp knife. Pack them into your wide-mouth quart mason jar as tightly as you can. Push the garlic in there.
- Stir the salt into warm water until dissolved. Allow the water to come to room temperature, then pour the water over the contents of the jar, taking care to cover the peppers completely.
- Place a fermentation weight over the chiles and garlic to hold them under the brine. Or push a jelly jar in the mouth of the wide mouth canning jar (removing a bit of brine may be required).
- Place the fermenting lid and airlock on the jar and seal tightly. Allow the jars to sit at room temperature for up to 10 days. The peppers should start to bubble around the end of day 1.
- Strain the brine, set aside. Transfer the chiles to a high quality blender. To the blender, add just under a cup of the brine you previously set aside. Blend like crazy.
- Strain the pulp through several fine layers of cheesecloth. Then bottle up and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Recipe above will make a generous 17 oz of fermented hot sauce - though the final amount will depend on how much reserved liquid brine you add during the blending stage.
- Fermented hot sauce makes wonderful gifts for family and friends. Pick up hot sauce bottles and divide between for easy gift-giving.
Can I can this recipe?
I would not suggest canning anything that has been fermented. Canning your fermented hot sauce will destroy the probiotics created during fermenting.
Find more popular ferments:
- Easy Fermented Salsa Recipe
- Fermented Brussels Sprouts Relish
- Simple Fermented Curtido
- Fermented Radishes
Have you ever thought of making fermented hot sauce with your choice of peppers?
If you give this recipe a try, please leave a comment, rate the recipe and be sure to tag me on Instagram!