Fermented serrano pepper hot sauce, an explosion of flavor, is the perfect way to use a garden bounty of peppers during their peak growing season.
Fermented hot sauce is one of my favorite things to make with a garden bounty of peppers. I counted well over 14 pepper plants in my garden this summer. Despite the fact that we’re now officially in “fall” weather, they are thriving.
Our Arizona summers might get a bit warm, but when the fall rolls around, it seems like my plants thrive with the cooler temps. This hot sauce was made with serrano peppers. They are a bit hotter than the fermented Fresno and fermented banana peppers I did a few weeks ago.
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.
Why Serrano 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. You don’t have to use serrano peppers, but I wanted something with a whole lot of kick.
Serrano peppers are perfect if you lie some heat. You can also use cayenne, Fresno, hot banana peppers or jalapeño peppers.
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.
Fermented Serrano Pepper Hot Sauce
To make a simple fermented hot sauce, gather together the chile peppers of your choice, salt, water and time. Go a step further and add a few cloves of garlic to give it a richer and more complex flavor. In this case, I also threw in an onion to add a little extra flavor, too.
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.
Fermented Serrano Pepper Hot Sauce
- wide mouth mason jar
- high quality blender
- fermentation airlocks
- 1.5 lb serrano peppers stems and seeds removed
- 2 Tbsp sea salt
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 onion small, sliced thin
- 32 oz filtered 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 and onions 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.
- Transfer the chiles and brine to a high quality blender. Blend like crazy.
- You have two options: strain the pulp through several fine layers of cheesecloth. Then bottle up and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Or, pour the sauce directly into hot sauce bottles without straining through cheesecloth (it'll be much thicker).
- 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.
- This ferment uses a 3% brine - you are not required to use all of the brine. Once you mix the brine, you can use any extra to make more fermented hot sauce or toss.
Can I can this hot sauce?
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 serrano peppers?
If you give this recipe a try, please leave a comment, and rate the recipe!