Today I was out in my Urban Garden watering it and tending to my herbs.  Then I noticed that my Cayenne peppers were ripe.  I had about 25 peppers.  Besides the Cayenne peppers I had about 15 Jalapenos and Serranos.  What could I use 40 peppers for I asked?  Hot sauce.  This time I was going to make a bright red traditional sauce.  The cayenne peppers would be the base and I would add a few of the other peppers for flavor and spice.

The Urban Garden in action
The Urban Garden in action

Look at all of the ripe peppers.

Homemade Cayenne Hot Sauce

  • 1/2 lb cayenne peppers
  • 4-5 other peppers for spice and flavor – Yep each pepper supplies a nice flavor along with heat.
    • Below is a list of peppers that you could use for flavor and/or heat
      • Jalapenos add a nice flavor with a good kick if you pick them while they are small
      • Serranos add heat and freshness
      • Poblanos add a earthy flavor with very little heat
      • Habaneros add pure heat
  • White Vinegar 1-2 cups.
  • 3-4 tsp salt

Wash and cut off the stems of peppers.  Next add the peppers to the blender.  Then add the salt and enough white vinegar to cover the peppers.  This amount varies so it isn’t an exact measurement.  Sorry to all of you that love exact measurements.

Cover with vinegar
Cover with vinegar

Blend for 2-3 minutes until it is smooth and bright red in color.

It is a tad bit foamy, but it is bright red, trust me.
It is a tad bit foamy, but it is bright red, trust me.

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once at a boil, reduce and let simmer for 2o minutes.

Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for 20

Remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes.  Then strain the sauce through a fine strainer to get rid of the large particles.

Strain to extract the spicy red sauce
Strain to extract the spicy red sauce

Then pour into your favorite glass container.

The Sauce
The Sauce

I happen to have a old bottle that I sanitized in the dishwasher.  Make sure to either run the bottle through the dishwasher or boil it before filling.

The bottle was a lot bigger than I thought.
The bottle was a lot bigger than I thought.

I need to develop some labels for my sauce.  It is very spicy.  Since I failed to water my garden daily, the direct sun baked the soil.  This left the plants without the moisture that they needed to grow big and tall.  Luckily this also starved the peppers giving them a crazy concentrated heat.  Almost as if the peppers knew that I was going to eat them and they wanted to pay me back for not watering them.

I love hot sauce.  It is quick and easy to make.  If you have a ton of peppers in your garden, maybe the gift of homemade hot sauce could be in your friends future.

Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


    • Thanks for the tip Chris. Definitely need to get some labels made. Looks like everyone is getting hot sauce for Christmas.

  1. Hello, how long is this sauce good for if you refrigerate it? I’m kind of freaked out to try to can it because of the whole botulism thing…

    • As long as you use a vinegar with at least 5% acidity you should be safe from any botulism. Vinegar naturally cures foods and prevents the growth of bacteria. Standard household white vinegar is 5%.

  2. Thanks for the recipe! My Boyfriend and I LOVE Cayenne Pepper Hot Sauce and I just started growing some so we could make our own! Fantastic!!!!! I'll let you know how it turns out!

    • Jessica, This was one of my best recipes. It was simple and delicious. The flavor is so much better than store bought hot sauces. It was the basis for my award winning chicken wing sauce.

  3. Just finished making this hot sauce with probably around 35 peppers total and I have to say it taste GREAT :)! Im surprised how simple and tasty this is! Thanks!

  4. What a wonderful sauce!!! I'll be keeping this one for future crops. Seriously – one of the best hot sauces I've ever tried. Thanks so much!

  5. Brian Krupski Reply

    Hmmm, how much would you say a half pound added up to? I have about a gallon size freezer bag full of cayenne peppers…

    • I would say that you probably have about 1 pound or more. I would start with about 1/2 the bag and go from there. The recipe is not exactly precise and will work with as many peppers as you can fit into your blender. Fill it up and then top with vinegar. Salt and then taste. It will mellow a little after you cook it.

      • Brian Krupski Reply

        Thanks! I think you were right. It turned out great and HOT! It was a little more orange than red. I'm wondering if that was because my peppers didn't have time to get a deep red this year because of the late spring. I did notice that the jar in the fridge separated a bit. Have you had this happen? Too much vinegar?

  6. The color depends on the color of the peppers. You will get a little separation, but nothing a quick shake before using can't fix. Hope you like it.

  7. Any tips or uses for the left over pepper mash? I feel bad tossing it.

    • Rex Reply


      I completely agree with you. That mash is like gold. You can add the mash to sauces, rubs, marinades. I would even mix it with some peach or apricot jelly and then toss it with some chicken wings.


  8. Have you ever tried using ghost peppers to make hot sauce? I planted one plant and have lots of red ones. I’m going to try making it if my nose can stand it.

    • Rex Reply

      I have never tried to make one with ghost peppers. However, I bet it would be delicious!


  9. Is it possible to use Star San, a product home beer brewers use, to sanitize the storage bottle rather than boiling?

    • Rex Reply

      Keith, I am unsure about the Star San. If Star San is used to sanitize beer bottles, it sounds like it might work. However, I have no experience with this. Sorry that I don’t have a definitive answer.

  10. Amanda Lacey Reply

    How long does sauce last? Does it have to be refrigerated or can it go in a cabinet?

    • Rex Reply


      I kept the hot sauce in the fridge. Mine lasted about a month before I used it all up. I would try to use it up within a month.


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