The 12 Best Hot Sauces of 2019

Add some spice to your cooking

Hot Tabasco sauce in a bowl
Rimma_Bondarenko / Getty Images
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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Tapatio Hot Sauce at Walmart

"Boasts glowing customer reviews and an unbeatable taste."

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Secret Aardvark Habanero Sauce at Amazon

"It’s versatile and balanced enough to pair with a variety of meals."

Best Mexican: Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce at Walmart

"This simple and flavorful recipe has changed little over time."

Best for Tacos: Cholula Original Hot Sauce at Amazon

"Made in Mexico and includes both arbol and piquin peppers."

Best for Wings: Frank's RedHot Original Pepper Sauce at Walmart

"It's tart from the vinegar and spicy from the cayenne peppers."

Best Habanero: El Yucateco Salsa Picante Verde at Amazon

"Adds a hefty kick with a Scoville rating of 9000, but it's still flavorful."

Best Louisiana: Slap Ya Mama Louisiana Hot Sauce at Amazon

"You don’t have to stick to Cajun recipes when you use this sauce."

Best Sriracha: Bushwick Kitchen Sriracha Chili Hot Sauce at Amazon

"Users praise the sweetness and the kick from the peppers."

Best Ghost Pepper: Dave's Gourmet Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce at Amazon

"It has a lot of heat if you’ve only dabbled in the milder varieties."

Best Avocado: Kumana Avocado Sauce at Amazon

"Avocado hot sauces are a tasty alternative to traditional hot sauces."

  • 01 of 12

    Best Overall: Tapatio Hot Sauce


    Courtesy of Walmart

    With glowing customer reviews, an affordable price, and an unbeatable taste, Tapatío’s is the perfect mealtime kick. This authentic Mexican hot sauce is crafted from red peppers and a blend of rich spices, delicious on everything from tacos and burritos to eggs, fish, and more. Tapatío’s is easy to find both in-store and online, and you can purchase the condiment in a variety of sizes, including 5, 10, and 32-ounce bottles, as well as a whopping 1-gallon option. Most importantly, Tapatío’s lands smack-dab in the middle on the spiciness scale. Expect it to be slightly milder than popular brands like Tabasco and Cholula but hotter than Sriracha and Frank’s Red Hot.

  • 02 of 12

    Runner-Up, Best Overall: Secret Aardvark Habanero Sauce

    The secret is out: Secret Aardvark’s Habanero Hot Sauce is downright tasty. While its price tag may be higher than many big-name brands, the item has garnered nearly universal praise, with hundreds of hot-sauce lovers awarding it five stars. A combination of habanero peppers and roasted tomatoes infuses the sauce with a one-of-a-kind zest, inspired by Caribbean and Tex-Mex flavors. The sauce is on the spicier end, clocking in at 5,000 Scoville units, but customers say it’s versatile and balanced enough to pair with a variety of meals. Secret Aardvark even offers a number of recipes that incorporate the sauce on their website, ranging from marinades to, yes, cocktails.

  • 03 of 12

    Best Mexican: Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce


    Courtesy of Walmart

    Founded in Mexico and produced in Mexico, Valentina’s hot sauce perfectly captures the savoriness and zest that has come to define the condiment—and they have been doing it for over sixty years. The simple recipe of chili peppers, vinegar, salt, and spices has changed little over that time, and for good reason. Customers say the sauce is mild as far as spice goes yet packed with flavor. Valentina’s is available in two varieties: hot, which measures 900 Scoville units, and extra hot, which comes in at 2,100 SVU. The bottles are easy to find online and come in two sizes, 12.5 ounces, and 34 ounces.

  • 04 of 12

    Best for Tacos: Cholula Original Hot Sauce

    You’re likely to find Cholula hot sauce on the table of your favorite Mexican restaurant, ready to be added to your tacos, drizzled on your burritos, or sprinkled on your carne asada. Cholula is made in Mexico and includes both arbol and piquin peppers along with vinegar and spices for great heat and complex flavor. Not just a table condiment, you can add it to your rice dishes, soups, stews, and more, or even use it to help a salt rim adhere to your cocktail glass.

    Looking for another condiment to add to the table? Check out our favorite barbecue sauces available online.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Best for Wings: Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce


    Courtesy of Walmart

    Some people argue that the only proper hot sauce for wings is Frank's. It has the tartness from the vinegar and a little bite from the cayenne peppers. It’s not just great on Buffalo wings, though. It can add just the right flavor to spicy meatballs, deviled eggs, or even baked beans. This is a 23-ounce bottle, so you’ll have enough to use it in recipes and as a condiment for tacos, pizza, and more.

  • 06 of 12

    Best Habanero: El Yucateco Salsa Picante Verde de Chile Habanero

    El Yucateco is one of the hot sauce brands you’ll find on heavy rotation in most Mexican restaurants. Made from habanero peppers, this green sauce adds a hefty kick and has a Scoville rating of 9000, but the flavor still comes through and the heat disappears fast enough that you’ll be going back for more...and more! If you can’t handle the heat of using this as a drizzle on your tacos, you can add it to your salsa or mix it into your guacamole. It can also add a delicious kick to your ramen or pho, or add a drop to your barbecue sauce to give it a kick.

  • 07 of 12

    Best Louisiana: Slap Ya Mama All Natural Louisiana Style Hot Sauce

    Do you remember when jalapenos used to be considered a very hot pepper? Now, compared to the hotter varieties of peppers, jalapenos are pretty tame, but they’ve still got a little bit of a kick along with great flavor. While this is a Louisiana style sauce, you don’t have to stick to Cajun recipes when you use it. Feel free to drizzle it on all your favorite foods, from tacos to jambalaya to your grilled chicken, smoked ribs, or oven-roasted meats. It’s also great in your red beans and rice or your black bean soup.

    Looking for a new grill to use outside? Take a peek at the best charcoal grills.

  • 08 of 12

    Best Sriracha: Bushwick Kitchen Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha Chili Hot Sauce

    This sriracha and gochujang sauce from Bushwick Kitchen has a delicious and unique taste that lends itself to a variety of dishes. Users praised the subtle sweetness, the fermented flavor, and the kick from the peppers. However, this isn't the hottest sauce on our list, which means you can add more to get the flavor you crave on eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, stews, marinades, and more. The only complaint users have is that they wish it came in a larger bottle (it comes in a 10.5-ounce bottle) because they used it up so fast!

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Best Ghost Pepper: Dave's Gourmet Ghost Pepper Jolokia Hot Sauce

    Dave’s Gourmet makes a wide variety of sauce, salsas, and condiments, like this ghost pepper salsa. Ghost peppers, also known as Bhut Jolokia, are one of the hottest peppers you’ll face, but they’re tempered somewhat in this sauce so you’ll still have taste buds left after you try it. Still, it’s a very hot sauce if you’ve only dabbled in the milder varieties, so if you don’t want it full strength, you can add a little to your slow-cooker chili or add just a drop to your salsa. This is a slightly thin sauce, so it’s easy to drizzle just a drop at a time if you don’t want extreme heat. Besides the heat, it has a mildly smoky flavor. If you’re really adventurous, add a drop to your frozen margarita or Bloody Mary cocktail.

    If you don't have the time to make a cocktail from scratch, try one of our favorite margarita mixes.

  • 10 of 12

    Best Avocado: Kumana Avocado Sauce

    Avocado hot sauces may not be familiar—yet—but they’re a tasty alternative to more traditional sauces. This trio of avocado hot sauces from Kumana includes the original version that’s spicy (but not excessively spicy), a sweet version, and a hot version. The avocado tempers the heat and adds a creamy texture that makes it great on tacos, omelets, tomato salads, burritos, or just about any dish that needs a little bit of heat.

  • 11 of 12

    Best Variety Pack: Yellowbird Hot Sauce Combo

    When everyone in the family likes a different heat level, this three-pack of hot sauces will make everyone happy. It’s great for parties and potlucks, where guests can sample all three and then choose their favorite. This variety pack includes a red jalapeno hot sauce, a green serrano hot sauce, and an orange habanero hot sauce. This includes three 9.8 ounce squeeze bottles, with one of each flavor.

  • 12 of 12

    Best Kit: The Chili Lab Homemade Hot Sauce Kit

    The Chilli Lab Homemade Hot Sauce Kit
    Courtesy of Williams Sonoma.

    If you love hot sauce, why not make your own? This handy kit includes two different spice blends that will let you make two different 4-ounce bottles of hot sauce. Once spice mix is fruity and smoky, while the other has citrus and herbal notes. It only takes a few minutes to prep the hot sauce mix, then it needs to age for three days, so you’ll have your own hot sauce blend in no time. The bottles with corks are included, along with a fine-mesh strainer and a stainless steel funnel, so you can continue experimenting with your own spice mixes after you’ve made and used your first batches.

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular hot sauces on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 18 different hot sauces overall, screened options from 12 different brands and manufacturers, read over 19 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 4 of the hot sauces themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.