Habanero Hot Sauce

Habanero Hot Sauce
courtesy of Rick Bayless


5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 medium carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped
12 medium orange habanero chiles, stemmed
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar


Roast the garlic in a skillet over medium heat, turning regularly until soft and blackened in spots, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and peel.

In a small saucepan, combine the carrot, onion and habanero chiles with the vinegar and 1 cup water. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the carrots are thoroughly tender, about 10 minutes. Pour into a blender jar, add the roasted garlic, salt and sugar. Blend until smooth.

If the hot sauce is too thick, add additional water. If it is too thin, blanch and peel a medium tomato and blend into the sauce.

Taste and season with additional salt if you think necessary. Pour into jars or bottles and store in the refrigerator.

makes about 2 cups


This isn’t just “burn your face off” sauce. It has depth. The roasted garlic, in particular, really shines through. The first time I put the sauce on something was that taco above and I was so pleasantly surprised with how rich the flavor was and how little my mouth burned when I was done. I’ve always been a chile head, but only when I learned to value complexity, as opposed to just heat heat heat, did I truly start to appreciate how awesome chile love could be.

The first time I made this recipe I tripled it based on the fact that I bought a basket of about three dozen habaneros at the farmer’s market. But then triple the liquid meant the end result was too thin. That’s why I put that note in the recipe above about adding some tomato, if necessary. Honestly? I encourage you to do it anyway. It thickens it only slightly, but the extra sweetness and tang it adds really, really works. If you make a batch x8, as I did recently, add two or three tomatoes. Mix of red and yellow ones, if you can get ’em.


21 thoughts on “Habanero Hot Sauce

  1. Who teased you? Who? πŸ˜‰ 12 habaneros…you must have a huge supply of rubber gloves. That jar sure is pretty – it would look nice on my fireplace mantel.


  2. Sure thing, Natashya!

    Amy, it was 36. πŸ˜‰ And I DID wear gloves.

    J&J – it definitely helped balance the heat with sweet.

    Pam – Figures you'd home in on the taco. Hehe. You should make some for the hub!


  3. Very tempting. My colleague brought in a bunch of large peppers that he grew in his garden. I took three and don't really know what to do with them. Apparently the peppers are medium hot. They look like a green cayene pepper. Do you think this recipe would work for them?


  4. PG, I almost said yes, but… wait, no, not really. Habaneros have a distinct sweetness and need the carrot and apple cider vinegar to complement/enhance that, but for green chiles, I would suggest white onion, garlic, possibly cilantro, and for acid, lemon and white wine vinegar. Different kind of flavor profile.

    If you want to whip up a quick sauce with the chiles you have, try looking for a hot sauce or salsa that uses serranos and you're probably good!


  5. I'm with you on the “I love spicy food”. I need to make this. I am actually picturing a few happy people who would love to be the recipient of a bottle as well. Looks beautiful.


  6. So let me ask…do you have to refrigerate this? If I wanted to include it in a Christmas food gift basket can I just bottle it and gift it as is?

    AND…if I wanted to tone it down a bit do you recommend another pepper that would work? Help me girl! πŸ™‚


  7. You do need to refrigerate it because of acidity level. You'd have to professionally can it to make it sterile enough to be on the shelf. When I gave it to people, I took it out of my refrigerator and gave it to them the same day, within hours.

    As for other peppers, you could certainly make a good hot sauce with others like jalapenos or serranos, but then you might want to omit the carrot and use bell pepper or tomatoes. The carrot is a great match for the habanero but not necessarily for the others.

    That reminds me, I tried to throw together a Frankensauce recently with all the leftover peppers I had and it didn't quite work. Wasn't terrible, per se, but I think I need to learn more about sauce ratios. πŸ˜‰


  8. Great thing is, this hot sauce has depth and so much flavor. We just don't want to burn our faces with a not-so-flavorful hot sauce. And this can also be a perfect gift idea for your friends who love eating spicy dishes! =))


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