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A simple delicious recipe for Fermented Hot Sauce using fresh summer chilies, with no special equipment and only 20 minutes of hands on time! #hotsauce #fermentedhotsauce #chilisauce

Fermented Hot Sauce

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 days
  • Total Time: 120 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups
  • Category: Sauces, fermenting, preserving
  • Method: fermenting
  • Cuisine: American


A simple delicious recipe for Fermented Hot Sauce using fresh summer chilies, with no special equipment and only 20 minutes of hands on time!


Salt Water Brine:

  • 5 cups filtered water, lukewarm (see notes)
  • 6 1/4  teaspoons finely ground sea salt (or Pink Himalayan salt) – use 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, per 1 cup of water.

Jar Fillings:

  • 1 pound chili peppers, sliced in half ( about 67 cups) see notes ( do not use frozen)
  • 1 carrot, very thinly sliced (do not peel)
  • 46 garlic cloves, cut in quarters
  • 12 shallots, sliced (or ½ an onion)
  • optional: herbs (oregano, cilantro, celery leaves)

After fermenting, add optional seasonings to taste. Keep in mind the “heat” will mellow with age.

  • 13 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, (optional- for extra tang and for more healthy probiotics)
  • honey sugar to taste (optional, good if making Sriracha style)
  • If your hot sauce is not hot enough, you can always add cayenne or ground chipotle to taste. Free free to add spices- cumin, coriander, allspice, etc. Make this your own.


Heat the water and stir the sea salt into the warm water until dissolved. Let cool to room temp.

Wearing gloves, slice the small hot peppers in half, and remove stems and seeds if you like (for less heat). I left the seeds in mine. If adding bell peppers to temper the heat, cut into thin strips. Thinly slice the carrot (do not peel), slice the shallots and slice the garlic.

Layer all into a 2 quart jar.  Pour the salt water brine into the jar over the chilies, pressing them down under the liquid. If you need to add more brine, remember to use the ratio of 1 teaspoon salt per 1 cup of water.

Weight the chilies down with canning weights (or use a small ziplock bag filled with water, to weigh the veggies down). You want the veggies completely submerged under the brine. Cover lightly with a lid and place the jar in a pan or bowl to collect any liquid that may spill over.

Place in a cool dark place (or cover with a kitchen towel and leave in a cool kitchen) for 5-7 days or until brine appears slightly cloudy. Tap the container and see if there is any activity, bubbles, or effervescence.

You will know it is fermenting by the cloudy brine ( see notes)  and little bubbling and activity. You can always ferment longer for even more flavor! The longer the ferment, typically the tangier this will become.

After 5-7 days, strain the brine, saving it. Place the fermented peppers, onions, garlic and carrot into a blender. Add 1 cup of the brine and blend until smooth as smooth as possible. Add the vinegar if using, (and sugar if you prefer a sweeter hot sauce like Sriracha), and more brine to desired thickness.

The heat level will mellow a bit with time, as it continues to ferment in the fridge.

Place in a squeeze bottle and store in the fridge.  Do not place in a sealed jar unrefrigerated– this will result in an explosion– and great big mess- as sauce is still fermenting! BE WARNED!

I have the best luck with using in squeeze bottles and leaving the cap off in the fridge. Cover opening with your finger and shake before using.

If transporting to a friend as a gift, it is ok to seal for short periods of time (a few hours) but make sure they “burp” it and refridgerate it pretty soon after receiving.

The flavors will continue to develop and get more complex over time, the heat mellowing.

This will keep up to 12 months in the fridge (probably even longer).

To use, store in a squeeze bottle. Leave tip open in the fridge. Cover tip with finger and give a good shake before using.


Regular tap water may containe too much chorine in it, inhibiting the fermentation process. Try to use filtered water if possible.

I use fine ground sea salt or Pink Himalayan salt . If using course ground salt you may need to add a pinch more.

Use any chili pepper you like, or a blend of different peppers (in the same color palate) . To temper the heat, feel free to add a similar colored bell pepper. Substitute sweet red, yellow or green bell pepper. Keep in mind, you will be blending the sauce, so I perfect to stick with the same color scheme to make a vibrant colored sauce. For example, I prefer not to mix red and green peppers (which equal brown) but up to you. 😉 Also, keep in mind, the fermentation will mellow the heat a little.

If you need more water to cover or fill the jar, use 1 teaspoons salt per cup of warm water.

You could easily halve this recipe or use two, quart-sized jars.

CLOUDY BRINE: A cloudy brine is a natural by-product of the fermentation process-a combination of lactic acid and yeast and is the reason why they call it Lacto-fermentation.

Various strains of bacteria are present on the surface of all plants, especially ones growing close to the ground. Lactobacillus bacteria converts sugar into lactic acid, preserving the peppers.

Lactic acid prevents the growth of harmful bacteria. Over time the cloudiness can settle out of the brine to the bottom of the jar. Some batches are naturally cloudier than others, but all are safe to consume and taste delicious. A cloudy brine is a sign that you have a safe and successful ferment.


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