15 Hot Sauce Recipes That'll Spice Up Any Meal

Calling All Heat Seekers

Ranchera sauce

The Spruce 

Visit any grocery or specialty store sauce aisle and you'll find a whole array of hot sauces in every heat level and style. But if you've never tried making your own, you don't know how much fun it can be to create your very own house blend. Creating your own hot sauce at home isn't just easy, it can also be more cost-effective than buying multiple bottles to suit every occasion and cuisine. Homemade hot sauce also makes a great gift for your heat-seeking friends, so consider picking up some pretty bottles for sharing your wares.

  • 01 of 15

    Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

    Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

    The Spruce

    This sauce—called nam chim kai in Thailand—is sold in many Asian grocery stores at different levels of sweetness and spice. By making it yourself, you can eliminate preservatives or artificial flavorings and control the level of heat. Best of all, you likely have most of the ingredients in your pantry already.

  • 02 of 15

    Caribbean Hot Sauce

    Hot Pepper Sauce

    One Green Planet

    You can generally find a bottle of homemade hot sauce in most abodes throughout the Caribbean and at many homestyle restaurants. This simple hot sauce recipe uses just three ingredients, so you can put it together quickly and easily. If you're sensitive to heat, consider wearing gloves while chopping up the peppers—whatever you do, don't touch your eyes!

  • 03 of 15

    Creamy Jalapeño Sauce

    creamy jalapeno sauce and chips

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    While different from your typical hot sauce, this creamy jalapeño sauce makes a nice change from the usual salsa or queso for a party dipper. It tastes great with chicken wings or drizzled over tacos, burritos, or quesadillas too. For a thicker dip, replace some of the buttermilk with sour cream.

  • 04 of 15

    Green Schug Sauce

    Schug

    The Spruce / Anita Schecter

    This Middle Eastern hot sauce may not look like your typical spicy topping, but it really packs a punch. Made with green or red peppers, cumin, garlic, and coriander, it also usually includes parsley or other fresh herbs. That gives it a lovely, complex, fresh-tasting flavor that you can adjust to your own tastes. Drizzle it over meats, eggs, or vegetables to add depth and spice to any dish.

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  • 05 of 15

    Chinese Hot Chili Oil

    Chinese hot chili oil

    The Spruce

    If you can't get enough of the spicy oil served alongside many of your favorite Chinese dishes, try making it at home. It uses just a few ingredients and lends itself well to raising or lowering the heat level to your preferences. Feel free to double, triple, or quadruple the recipe if you use a lot of it.

  • 06 of 15

    Salsa Ranchera

    Ranchera sauce

    The Spruce 

    Used in a whole array of Mexican preparations, this hot and tomato-forward salsa ranchera will quickly make its way into your repertoire, too. Seed the Serrano or jalapeño chiles for a milder sauce or leave the ribs and seeds in for a more powerful flavor. Add some dried chile to create an even more complex spice note.

  • 07 of 15

    Malaysian Sambal Sauce

    Malaysian Sambal Sauce

    The Spruce

    Popular in Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia, sambal has a complex earthy, spicy, and herbal flavor that comes from both fresh and dried spices and aromatics. If you have one, use a mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients together, which releases the essential oils well. You can also use a food processor or blender, for a quicker and easier process.

  • 08 of 15

    Mexican Hot Sauce

    Homemade Bottled Mexican Jalapeno Hot Sauce

     Robin Grose

    Green or red hot sauce appears on a whole range of dishes in Mexico, from fresh fruit to chicharrones to quesadillas and tacos. Making your own lets you control the spice level and you can make a big batch so you can give it away as a unique homemade gift. Once you start sprinkling it on everything, you won't ever want to go back.

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  • 09 of 15

    Mango Hot Sauce

    mango hot sauce in white bowl on wooden surface
    Garrett McCord

    With sweet mango, spicy habanero peppers, tropical orange and lime juice, and tongue-tingling ginger, this unique hot sauce tastes great with fish, chicken, as a chip dip, or even a Bloody Mary ingredient. If you like a spicier sauce, leave the ribs and seeds in the pepper or use more of them. But don't go too crazy; habanero peppers have quite a zip.

  • 10 of 15

    Homemade Falafel Hot Sauce

    Serve with falafel

    The Spruce

    As the name implies, this Middle Eastern hot sauce tastes awesome on vegetarian falafel, but it also goes wonderfully with chicken, gyro, or even as an assertive dip for pita. Peppery harissa, lemon juice, and tomato paste give it a spicy, fruity complexity that can also play well with hummus or tzatziki. Serve it hot, cold, or at room temperature for a versatile topping.

  • 11 of 15

    Hot Pepper Barbecue Sauce

    Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce
    Regarding BBQ Inc.

    Use this spicy barbecue sauce as a topping or marinade for your favorite barbecued protein or serve it on the side for dipping. It tastes best after it rests for 24 hours, which allows the flavors to meld and deepen. Store it in the refrigerator for up to a week after making.

  • 12 of 15

    Dumpling Dipping Sauce

    Chinese dumpling dipping sauce

    The Spruce

    This sweet and spicy sauce goes well with dumplings because it cuts through the soft wrapper and rich umami filling. It also tastes great with stir fry, Chinese noodle dishes, drizzled over fried rice, or even on eggs or steamed vegetables. For a different flavor, try using Sichuan peppercorn oil. It will give it a tongue-numbing quality that tastes really unique.

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  • 13 of 15

    Jamaican Jerk Sauce

    Jamaican Jerk Sauce

    The Spruce

    With Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice, thyme, garlic, and a range of other ingredients, Jamaican jerk sauce has an assertively spicy flavor that tastes like the island. While the peppers will mellow a bit during the cooking process, don't shy away from them—the sauce should come out tinglingly hot.

  • 14 of 15

    Jezebel Sauce

    Jezebel Sauce on Cream Cheese

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Made with pineapple preserves, apple jelly, horseradish, and mustard, this hot and sweet sauce has a unique flavor that you'll quickly fall in love with. Try spooning it over a block of cream cheese as a cracker dip, as a burger or grilled chicken topping, or with ham or pot roast. Chill it for a day before using for best results.

  • 15 of 15

    Comeback Sauce

    Mississippi Comeback Sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    This zesty, creamy sauce tastes similar to Thousand Island or Remoulade sauce with a little extra zip. The name came from getting diners to "come back" for more, and you'll find yourself returning to it again and again. The chili paste in this recipe can be found near the ketchup at the grocery store.