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There are many hot sauces on the market but not many that are more well-known than Tabasco. With a unique tangy flavor, it has become a fan favorite over the years. As a pepper grower I get a lot of people asking me about how to make Tabasco sauce. The recipe we’ll be discussing here is a non-fermented version.
You may not be surprised to know that the sauce is actually made from a specific pepper, the Tabasco pepper (Capsicum frutescens). Yes, the sauce took its name from the pepper variety.
How to make Tabasco Sauce: Ingredients
There are really only a few ingredients in Tabasco sauce. You will of course need some Tabasco peppers that could prove difficult to acquire. We grow our own. If you’re interested in growing them, we actually sell the Tabasco pepper seeds in our shop. They look beautiful in the garden when the chilis start turning their various shades of yellow, orange, and red.
Other than peppers, you only need salt and vinegar. Of course, the official brand of Tabasco sauce uses a particular salt from Avery Island but any quality salt will be sufficient. As far as vinegar is concerned, we use distilled white vinegar and get excellent results.
One other thing I’d like to mention is that the official brand ferments their peppers for two years in oak barrels before turning it into sauce. The process of fermentation is possible to do at home but is beyond the scope of this article.
We made the sauce with and without fermenting the peppers and honestly, I don’t notice a tremendous difference either way. Perhaps because I’m not doing it in oak barrels? At any rate, the fermentation step can be omitted and still achieve a flavor closely resembling the official brand.
Tabasco Pepper Seeds: Perfect for Hot Sauce Lovers
Making the sauce
In most hot sauces the seeds are removed because they tend to add bitterness to the final product. The small size of the Tabasco peppers will make seed removal beforehand an all but impossible task, each chili is only about 1.5″ long and 1/4″ in diameter. The easiest way to remove the seeds will be at the end of the sauce making process.
Since we’re not worrying about the seeds at this point you can just toss the peppers, stems removed, into a saucepan with the vinegar and salt. Simmering will help soften the peppers to ease blending.
Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding the mix to the food processor and blend until smooth.
The seeds and pulp can now be strained out with a common kitchen strainer. Make sure you use a bowl that’s large enough to hold the sauce. It’s ok if some pulp gets through the strainer, the main objective here is to remove the seeds. Use a kitchen spatula if needed to move the mixture around in the strainer lightly pressing the pulp until all the liquid has drained into the bowl.
At this point the sauce can be to woozy bottles or stored in canning jars. If needed, you can add more vinegar to thin the sauce. If you prefer thicker sauce, try reducing the amount of liquid by simmering again in a saucepan. Best to be on the safe side and keep your fresh batch of homemade Tabasco sauce refrigerated unless you use a pH meter to verify that the acidity is low enough for shelf storage. And that’s it, simple right?!
- 10 ounces Tabasco peppers stems removed
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes
- Allow to cool then add the ingredient to a blender or food processor
- Strain out pulp and seeds
- Bottle or can the strained sauce. Refrigerate when cool.
- Use additional vinegar to thin as desired.