How to Grow Tabasco Sauce Step 2

How to Grow Tabasco Sauce, Step 1, included information on growing Tabasco pepper plants from seed. Step 2 is an illustrated guide for using the fresh peppers to make your own Tabasco sauce.

After the Tabasco peppers have ripened to the perfect color of red, pick them from the plant, wash, and carefully remove the stems and green caps. Chop peppers and place them in a saucepan. It’s always a good idea to wear kitchen gloves whenever handling fresh peppers.

Add about 1 1/2 cups or more of white vinegar to the pan of chopped Tabasco peppers. Mix in 1 teaspoon of salt. Heat the mixture until it just begins to boil and then turn heat down. Simmer for 5-7 minutes. Allow the pepper and vinegar mixture to cool completely.

Carefully pour the pepper mixture into a blender. Make sure the lid is on tight and puree. Pour the mixture into a jar and tighten the lid. Place the jar in the refrigerator and allow it to steep for 3 weeks.

Strain the mixture and use a pestle or other kitchen utensil to separate all the liquid from the pepper seeds and pulp.

Pour the Tabasco sauce into a bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Properly refrigerated, the hot sauce should keep indefinitely. Use it to spice up any recipe that needs more zip like egg dishes, Spanish rice, salsas and curries. Homemade Tabasco sauce also makes delicious Buffalo wings.


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I’ve just taken my first batch of Bargain Basement hot sauce out of the fridge and tried a test ‘smear’, the amount adhering to the tip of ones’ index finger. Yikes!!!
First the tip of my tongue went numb, then the back of my tongue ‘tingled,’ and finally a hot river of sensation ‘flowed’ down my gullet, to my stomach. Truly, I suspect that this stuff would make a ‘road kill’ special palatable!
I decided to try some Apple Cider vinegar in the mix. Not sure what effect it had yet. My mouth is still recovering from the “heat” so no more sophisticated analysis yet.
We got a second crop of peppers, from the greenies left on the bushes before. We had a hard freeze, so, all, green to red were harvested this time. My question being; what’s the prognosis on a mixed red and green pepper sauce? Well, we’re going to try that now. Talk to you in another month, and, as always, thanks for a wonderful site.

It’s always so much fun to read about your pepper experiments–thanks a bunch! It sounds like your pepper sauce is on the right track…and I think a combination of red and green chile peppers will make a nice combination–more mellow and a deeper flavor than either one alone.

BTW, I watched a segment on the news about how they make the real Tabasco sauce in Louisiana. It was such a surprise to learn they make a mash out of the peppers that’s aged 3 years in oak barrels! The company bottles over 700,000 of hot sauce every single day. Wow.

tried your above recipe. worked great. it was so hot my south of the border neighbor would only try it. also made some from the end of season peppers. all colors. added garlic. the all red pepper sauce and the multi color sauce were great. both are very very hot.
thanks! cant wait to make a bigger batch this year.

Great to hear from you–thanks for trying the recipe!

Here’s to a great hot pepper gardening season,

Well, after “the course of events” kicked all my plans to the curb for a while, I finally processed the second batch of mixed red and green tabasco peppers in apple cider vinegar. They have been fermenting in the back of the fridge for a while. Surprise surprise! This batch has a “sweet and sour” quality, something I prefer. The ‘heat’ assaults the tip of my tongue while the apple cider vinegar does a ‘sweet’ dance on the back of my tongue. I’m very happy with it.
I have been fighting some sort of head/sinus cold this spring, and the original ‘all red’ sauce has been doing yeoman duty ‘encouraging’ massive nose runs. Medicinal hot sauce!!
Finally, two of my pepper plants have resprouted from near the base of the old stock. Anyone here know about this? Happy growing!

Thanks for sharing your idea for using apple cider vinegar for the pepper sauce! That’s a terrific idea, and I can imagine it does make for a different tasting hot sauce. What a nice description you wrote of the sweet and sour aspect to it.

I really appreciate all of the comments and adaptations to my original recipe. It’s been a fun experience to hear from so many other hot pepper lovers!


Can you use the pulp and seeds that are left behind after straining for anything?

How about adding to the compost pile? Placing in the garden to scare away squirrels?

Maybe someone else has a more creative idea for recycling the pepper pulp and seeds…

Thanks for the question!


I’m a bit leery about the compost pile idea, since I’m always getting ‘surprise’ enjoyment from the volunteers that spring up out of the compost. (This year we’re marveling at a tomato plant, (though we didn’t put any tomato ‘stuff’ in last year!,) several squashes, a bunch of avocados, a giant beet, (from a rotten one from the back of the fridge,) and one of the chili pepper roots that re rooted and grew on the edge of the pile.
I believe one can soak the pepper sauce pulp in water and use it as a spray for caterpillars. (We’ve never tried this before, but now that I think about it….)
I do remember reading about the inventive chap somewhere down in Acadiana who perfected a ships’ hull paint incorporating hot pepper oil. Barnacles will not grow on it, saving big ship owners serious money from the lowered necessity for cleaning hulls of encrustations. The U.S. Navy uses it. (Your tax dollars at rest!)
It’s full Spring here, verging on Summer. We’ve been getting high eighties lately! Anyone else experiencing early planting seasons yet?
Cheers, ambrit

Thanks for your suggestions and interesting info!

Enjoy your nice spring weather–it’s still cold and snowy around here.

Hi instead of putting in the fridge for fermenting the sauce in cool dark place?tnx

Thanks for your question. I’m always extra cautious about food safety issues, and fermenting the hot sauce in the fridge seems the safest to me. However, use your own best judgment for fermenting unrefrigerated. Then please let us know how it goes.

Ambrit mentioned Acadiana (home of tabasco hot sauce capital in Avery Island) and the home of my pepper patch where I’m growing some Tabasco, Habanero, Jalapeno, Ghost, Bell and Bird’s Eye pepper. Thank you for the tabasco sauce recipe. Do you know how to roast the Tabascos? Also, how much do you know about Bird’s Eye peppers? My plant does not have any flowers yet and it’s almost a year old.
Thank you,

Thanks for your questions about peppers. I’m unsure about roasting Tabascos–the ones I grew were too small to put on the grill, and I imagine would be too difficult to peel. But you could give it a try, I guess.
Also unsure about the Bird’s Eye peppers because I’ve never grown them. A year sounds like much too long to flower to me. There may be better pepper experts online, if you look around.

Sorry I couldn’t have been more help,

Semi reply to Quentin Carlson;
I remember that birds eye peppers are somewhat finicky. A source, see below, mentions that birds eye peppers cannot endure temperatures below 60 degrees F or above 90 degrees F. Could a cold spell have hardened off your flower buds? Anyway, these sites are of some use.
Also see:
Growing things, as our esteemed hostess can attest, is sometimes more art than science.
BTW, were now getting 90’s every day. I grew up in South Florida, and now the Florida climate looks to be following me north to central Mississippi.
Thanks for supplying us all a wonderful platform to share our hard won knowledge on Mz Torpey.

Thanks a bunch for answering the question about bird’s eye peppers–I love it when I can learn from other gardeners, too!
That’s great information, and I really appreciate that you did the research and posted the links.

Here’s to great (pepper) gardening wherever you grow,

How many Tabasco peppers are in your recipe

Thanks for getting in touch. Sorry to say, I don’t have an exact number of peppers–but I used all of the peppers that are shown in the image, perhaps 1 cup total. If you have fewer peppers, use less vinegar; more peppers, use more vinegar. It’s all a bit of an experiment because each crop of peppers is slightly different.


I have just green peppers. Last year my mom only harvested a few reds ones from this same plant. It does look as though they may have some purple on them?!?! So I am going to try to make the sauce with these and apple cider vinegar. Will let you know what happens. Thank for the SCV suggestion.

Hi Jen:

I’m glad you have some delicious plans for your peppers! It does take a while for peppers to turn color–sometimes a month or more from when they reach their mature size. Perhaps you can get an earlier start next season to get them to the ripe red color.

In the meantime, please do let us know how your sauce turns out.

Best wishes,

I just cooked my first ever batch of Tabasco peppers. I wore gloves to pick and prep them so no problem there. However, beware the fumes – aerosolized hot pepper oils – during the simmer/pickling and blender phases! I recommend you do those steps either outside on your patio or close to a strong kitchen exhaust fan – and don’t get downwind!

Even though I’m still coughing and my lips still slightly sting, I like the warm peppery taste on the back of my throat so I’m looking forward to finishing the process in 3-4 weeks. I added some green and orange peppers to the reds and some sliced garlic. That lovely brew is sitting in my frig till then. Since I’m from Mississippi, I plan to make collard/turnip/mustard/kale greens with a meaty hamhock as soon as the sauce is ready.

Hi Mary,

Thanks for the warning about pepper fumes while the sauce is cooking. It’s good advice to use the exhaust fan or cook outside. Keeping a lid on the pot and wearing a respirator-type cover over the mouth and nose might also help reduce the effects of the pepper “gas.”

I’m glad to hear the coughing and stinging haven’t dampened your enthusiasm for turning peppers into a “lovely brew.”

Appreciated hearing from you,

I bought a tabasco plant Summer 2015.It lived on the deck all summer with only a few blossoms.Was so pretty a plant that I moved it inside for my winter houseplant.On the deck this year it has thrived and has many red peppers..After reading all your comments,I’m debating whether to take the next processing step…It may be too much trouble to wear gloves and a face mask..Will think about it.

A question. How many peppers to 1 1/2 cups of vinegar? I have mucho peppers ripening. Love your work.

Ah, come on Jan! What kind of gardener is afraid of the plants they grow? Having garden-fresh Tabasco sauce is worth it!

(P.S. I didn’t delete your comment…I’m just a little slow to get around to answering.)

Thanks for your question, Steven. Oh how I wish I would’ve been a better recipe maker to keep track of exact amounts. My best guess would be about a cup of peppers to that amount of vinegar. But please feel free to experiment–the more peppers will give you a deeper red color and a more flavorful finished product. I think 🙂

Good luck! And if you figure out exact measurements, please let us know.


Hi Jodi, I may have missed a step, but how many peppers or cups of peppers are in this recipe? Thank you

Sounds like some of you are having success with getting multiple years out of 1 plant. How did you do that? Bring inside for the winter or cut it off at the ground and cover with straw for the winter?

Hi Chris:

My recipe isn’t exact–so feel free to experiment with the amounts. I think it may have been about a cup of peppers or less to about a cup of vinegar.

I have a feeling the sauce will turn out great even if the amounts aren’t precise.


Hi Chris,

Pepper plants are perennial by their nature–and they’ll keep growing outside if you live in a tropical climate. I brought the Tabasco plant inside to allow the chiles to ripen fully because the growing season is so short around here. If the plant survived indoors over winter, it could be moved back outside next season. However, that’s a big “if” around here because there isn’t enough sunlight and heat to keep it going (without artificial lights and all).

The best thing is to start with a new plant early next year. Because pepper plants like hot, humid weather I don’t think it will survive a winter outside. But you can try!

Thanks for your question,

Could Carolina reaper peppers be used instead of Tabasco peppers? I have some on hand and I’m not sure what to make with them.

Hello–and thanks for your question. From what I’ve read, Carolina Reaper peppers are one of the hottest (if not the hottest) peppers around. I’d be very very careful using just peppers (unlike the Tabasco peppers) to make a hot sauce–you could end up with something that could actually cause burns to your tongue, throat, etc.

Instead, I’d suggest Googling “Making hot sauce with Carolina Reaper Peppers” to read other recipes or watch some YouTube videos to get more pepper-appropriate ideas. The ones I’ve seen use a few peppers combined with other ingredients to mellow some of the heat.

I hope you find something that works for you,

I haven’t tried it YET but it sounds like it’s right up my ally well my husband’s. My tabasco peppers are screaming to be picked. Lol I have a question. Can this be canned?

Just finished my first batch of tabasco sauce. We will have to use it sparingly!! It’s really hot. We have a ton of tabascos still so I am planning on making some with the apple cider vinegar as well as adding some garlic. I was even thinking about adding some honey or sugar for a “sweet heat” for buffalo wings.

Yes, the sauce can be canned–although I haven’t tried it. Be sure to process according to recommendations from your county’s extension service.

…and enjoy!


Hi Karen:

If you search online for hot pepper sauce recipes, you’ll find some recipes that include other ingredients to either tame the Tabasco sauce or add a sweet flavor.

When you find something delicious that works, please let me know and I’ll share it here.

Best wishes,

Hi folks, I made this same recipe last year, and it turned out great, and way hot. I must admit a little too hot for me so I only used sparingly. I just picked the pepper from my tabasco plant, and would guess that I have around 500 peppers. So glad I read this site, because I’m going to make three varieties. I was thinking about adding some brown sugar to one, because I love sweet and hot mixed.
I have also canned jalapenos sliced and layered with pineapple chunks {fresh}.
Stay strong people.

Oops, I almost forgot, another cool thing to with your tabascos is to pierce 5 or 6 or more and drop them in a vinager, and or oil bottle with the spout and add a little heat to anything your little heart desires.

Hi! I’m wanting to try this out. I have 2 cups i off peppers so I think I can make several batches using 1/2 cup peppers each? Would that be ok? Also for long term storage is canning the only method? Did you water bath small hot sauce bottles? I’ve only ever water bathed mason jars of tomatoes. This would all be new to me. Thanks!

Hi Alyssa:

Thanks for your questions–I think you can experiment with your peppers to see what suits your taste. Some folks here have found the sauce too hot; and others found it just right. It’s difficult to give specifics because chile peppers can vary in their heat level.

Why not get in touch with your county’s extension office to ask about ways to preserve your sauce for long-term storage? I’m sure they’ll be able to help.


Hi Jodi,
I am thinking of making my own low sodium Tabasco sauce mainly to use in spicing up my own Kentucky beer cheese. How important is the teaspoon of salt in your recipe and/or do you think using a salt substitute like ‘No Salt’ would work as well as real salt?



Thanks for the question, John. Although I’m not familiar with using salt substitutes in recipes, I’d say to try making the sauce without it. From what I’ve read, salt substitutes have a metallic taste that might make the Tabasco sauce taste funny. Instead of salt, maybe you can experiment with other spices or try it without. You might get more pepper flavor that way.

Please let me know your results. I’m sure other folks would like a low-sodium/no sodium recipe, too.


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