If you’re new to the world of hot sauces, it can be challenging to know where to start. We’ve put together a hot sauce guide on hot sauce styles to help you find your new favorite flavor!
Louisiana Style Hot Sauces
Louisiana-style hot sauces are thin, bright red pepper sauces. These hot sauce styles can be used as a condiment or cooking ingredient to add a little kick of heat to pretty much anything! Sprinkle some over fried eggs, or drizzle it over baked potatoes instead of ketchup.
Cajun Pepper Sauce
Cajun Pepper Sauce is one of the most popular hot sauce styles. It has a bright red color, and it’s quite thin so it’s easy to pour over food. Because of its thin consistency, you can use it on all types of food without worrying about overpowering them with heat or leaving them too dry after adding the sauce.
Tabasco Hot Sauce
Tabasco is a brand of sauce made from cayenne peppers. While Tabasco is the most popular brand, there are also local brands of high-quality cayenne pepper sauces. Keep your eye out for these in the New Orleans area!
Asian Style Hot Sauces
Asian hot sauce styles are often fermented, which gives them a unique flavor. If you’re not familiar with Asian cuisine, you may want to try Sriracha, Gochujang, or Chili Oil.
No hot sauce guide would be complete without this classic! Sriracha has risen in recent years to become one of the most popular hot sauce styles. This sauce is made from red jalapeno peppers, garlic, and salt fermented in a jar for three months. The final product is a smooth spicy consistency that goes on anything! Sriracha is sometimes called “rooster sauce” because of the now-famous rooster logo on its jr.
Gochujang is a sweet and spicy fermented red chili paste from Korea. It can be used as a condiment or can be an ingredient in other foods to add heat, flavor, and texture. It’s like sriracha but has a deeper flavor profile with less vinegar and more sweetness. Gochujang is also less spicy than sriracha, so if you like sweet-spicy combinations then gochujang will be the perfect addition to your kitchen pantry.
Chili oil is made by sautéing red chilis in oil until they turn bright red and release their oils into the liquid. When the liquid is strained, it leaves behind only the pure spice essence of this beloved ingredient. You can use it as part of marinades for stir-fries where it adds subtle heat without overpowering your dish. It’s especially good when combined with other ingredients such as garlic or scallions.
Mexican Style Hot Sauces and Salsa
The flavors of Mexican-style sauce can vary widely, but they typically include chili peppers (usually jalapeños), vinegar, salt, and garlic. The most popular brands in this category are Tapatio and Cholula.
Technically from California, Tapatio is a sweet hot sauce with a hint of heat. It also has an intense garlic flavor that works well on almost anything. You can use it as a marinade, in soups and stews, or even straight from the bottle on a slice of pizza.
Cholula is a popular brand that’s often used at homemade taco stands all over the country. If you’re craving Mexican food but don’t want to make anything from scratch, this is a good option. It tastes exactly like what you would get from your favorite burrito place!
Valentina is a popular brand in Mexico that has started spreading into the States. It has both tasty flavor and spicy heat, and a nice thickness to it.
Middle Eastern Style Hot Sauce
Middle Eastern style hot sauce is often made with a blend of spices, herbs, and chili peppers. These sauces can be eaten cold as dips or used as an ingredient in many recipes.
The Middle East is the birthplace of harissa, a style of hot sauce that’s been around for thousands of years. Made from a blend of spices, herbs, and chili peppers, this condiment is often served alongside or mixed into dishes like hummus or falafel.
Shito is a spicy hot sauce that is popular in Ghana. It is made from green shito peppers, and it is often eaten with fried plantains, steamed white rice, or vegetables. It has a dark brown color and is commonly used in the place of ketchup.
Caribbean Style Hot Sauce
Caribbean hot sauce styles combine sweetness with a spiciness that can pack a serious punch. Beware, these sauces tend to be super spicy!
Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce
The Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce is a staple for Caribbean cuisine and is often used in Jamaican dishes. It has a fruity, citrusy flavor with a hint of sweetness, but it’s also extremely spicy. Scotch bonnets are one of the hottest peppers on earth—they can reach up to 850,000 Scoville units (the measure for how hot something is). This makes them a hundred times spicier than regular jalapeños! This is definitely the hottest pepper in this hot sauce guide, so proceed with caution.
This sauce is made from habanero peppers and has a strong garlic flavor. You can use it as an alternative to ketchup or mustard on your burger or sandwich.
Spice Up Your Life With This Hot Sauce Guide
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