Best Carolina Reaper Hot Sauce Recipe

Let me preface all of this information with a warning. Beware of Fumes! Nothing will make this experience worse than basically pepper-spraying yourself with pepper fumes while making hot sauce. However, if you like spice and heat, this recipe is definitely for you.

article image
by Adobestock/grinchh
about 12 ounces SERVINGS


  • 3/4 pound of peppers (your choice)
  • 3-4 large garlic cloves
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt


  • Bake the peppers and garlic until there is a slight char on the skins. Be careful not to burn them, and most importantly, BEWARE OF FUMES! Approximately 350 degrees at 30 minutes is good. You can adjust as needed for your area and desired outcome. Baking them brings out the flavor. For a more even charring, flip each one halfway through baking.
    Pro Tip: to avoid fumes spreading inside your home, use a grill outside and away from people and animals.
  • Add the peppers, garlic, and basil to a food processor. While mixing, or between bursts of mixing, add the vinegar. Once again, BEWARE OF FUMES! This can spray up as you are mixing, so stand back while doing this.
    Pro Tip: If you are able to take your processor outside, this will help keep fumes out of your home.
  • Stir in the salt. Use a strainer, food mill, or cheesecloth to strain away the larger chunks. Add more vinegar or water to get your desired consistency.
  • Put into a bottle or jar to enjoy!

Learn to make the best Carolina reaper hot sauce recipe using a vinegar-based hot pepper sauce recipe made with a variety of peppers from Carolina reaper, ghost, scorpion, jalapeno, habanero, or serrano peppers.

A few years ago we discovered a Carolina Reaper plant at the local Farmer’s Market. This was not something we had grown before and some of my family enjoys the spicier things in life, so we gave it a try. The gentleman we purchased it from recommended we put it in a 5-gallon bucket because it was pretty late in the season to plant pepper plants in the Midwest. We just brought it inside when it began to get cold out. Three years later, that plant is still producing peppers in the summer, and quite abundantly I might add. We have preserved some by dehydrating them and grinding them into a powder and given some to friends, but needed more options for using the hottest pepper in the world (officially at least). Why not try a hot sauce recipe?

Since we were using Carolina Reaper peppers, it was challenging to find a combination of ingredients that would actually have flavor and not just burn your mouth. For those who enjoy spicy things take a pause after a bite with one drop on it. Yet, those in my house, keep going back for bite after bite.

I have grown a wide variety of peppers that we will be trying different hot sauces with in addition to the Carolina Reapers that include Scorpion, Ghost, Habanero, Jalapeno, Banana Pepper, Sweet Cherry Pepper, and Poblano peppers. Next on the list is to find a fun and flavorful combination of some of these peppers.

For more info on growing your own peppers, read Growing Peppers from Sowing to Harvest or Growing Peppers 101 and start your very own adventure. If you’re unsure or just not ready to do that, I would recommend visiting your local Farmer’s Market to find the freshest batch of peppers available.

There is a wide range of ways you can use hot sauce also. It can be more than an afterthought for your burrito or eggs. Try finding ways to cook with the sauce. Some ideas could be adding it to your hamburger meat as flavor for making patties, make a spicy mayonnaise to boost your tuna salad, mix with caramelized onions and top your spicy burger, add to pulled pork for a spicy pulled pork taco, and add a few drops to some simple syrup and toss with your favorite fruits to add pep to your fruit salad.

Note: This hot sauce recipe will last a few months in the refrigerator. Shake well before using each time. The ingredients will separate some when sitting for long periods in the fridge. If you want to make a shelf-stable hot sauce, make sure the ph level is at least 4.6 or lower. Then process them using the standard preservation guidelines.

For less spice and more flavor, try this combination of ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound peppers (try peppers that are less spicy such as a jalapeno or habanero)
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt

Use the same instructions as above, but add the onion with the peppers and garlic while baking. Mix, strain, and bottle as mentioned.

This recipe was adapted from Chili Pepper Madness.

Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368