With a potential hot sauce shortage upon us, we dive into how to buy hot sauce, from how to find the best hot sauces to how to find hot sauce that work for you.

Spice Level

Hot sauce is measured on the Scoville scale meaning the Trinidadian Scorpion Pepper is much hotter than say the Jalapeño. Most people will live around the bottom end of the scale not going beyond the heat of a habanero. Look for chili (usually meaning red chili or red jalapeño) or verde sauces if you like mild and move up to Caribbean habanero hot sauces or even scotch bonnet. The hotter of these style of sauces are going to still add a tonne of flavor to soups and stews with the milder of the bunch working as a condiment.

On the hotter end is ghost pepper (bhut jolokia) and Carolina reaper. These will blow your face off unless you are a real chili head and use them sparingly.

Simple Hot Sauce Questions:

1) How much do you want to use?

The Hot Sauce Tablespoon Test

Do you want to use more or less than a tablespoon?

Is the sauce a primary condiment or is the hot sauce there to add spice (think adding hot sauce to a burrito with salsa on it vs. adding one drop of ghost chili sauce to a can of soup). If it’s the condiment, spicy ketchup or even sriracha will do the trick. To just add spice, go up further to the top of the Scoville scale.

2) What country’s cooking do you like?

Almost every region has hot sauces from South East Asia to the Caribbean. The use of chili and garlic and allspice and tomato ect. mixed into the sauce is largely dependent on the region. For example, if you have a palate for Indian food, Brooklyn Delhi makes a great sauce.

3) Do you live alone?

Testing your heat threshold is one of life’s great pleasures and if you don’t have to worry about making a dish too hot for the family consider just dousing the pizza pocket in Carolina Reaper sauce and have at it.

If you do cook for a family you’ll want to add sauces at the end rather than cooking with them as chances are your significant other or kids may not enjoy spicy foods.

Hot Sauce Subscription Boxes

Hot sauce subscriptions are a great option for discovering your next favorite spicy sauce that takes your boring eggs or noodles to the next level. A subscription box of hot sauces can help you find sauces you love that you would not have even tried in the first place.

Go To A Local Hot Sauce Festival Nearby

Going to a local hot sauce festival or event is the easiest and fastest way to taste different hot sauces and get a feel for the heat-level, flavor and chili types in hot sauce that you like. For example, the New York Hot Sauce Expo has thousands of sauces to try in a weekend.


Trying to decide which hot sauce can be an expensive endeavor. With most sauces costing $7-8 and shipping being $10+ it can quickly make a 5 oz. bottle of the best hot sauce in America cost you $18. It is best to just find a brand you like with a good library of sauces and order a variety pack. We like Karma Sauce, Dragon’s Blood Elixir, NW Elixir, Torchbearer Sauces and anyone on this list.

PS: At Mantry we put a hot sauce in every box so in a year you will try 6 hot sauces and usually 12 condiments and 36 products from the best food makers in America. We have tasted over 10,000 food products and only put in the best, so if you want to try hot sauces easily along with other products consider subscribing. 


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