The 25 Best Hot Sauces of All Time – Enthusiast Top Picks

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We have a hot sauce problem.

Well, it isn’t really a problem in our eyes. We can stop whenever we want, okay?!

The point is, we’ve tried a lot of hot sauces. Our refrigerator has an entire door shelf dedicated to our ever-shifting hot sauce collection. That, plus a kitchen cabinet constantly filled with unopened bottles.

Today we are listing the very best hot sauce that we have tried to date. These hot sauces are listed in no particular order because some sauces on the list are super spicy, while others are mild and flavorful.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Pepper Geek participates in various affiliate programs, meaning links contained in this article may provide us a commission should you make a purchase on the linked website.

Best Hot Sauces 2020

We’ve included heat level, how to use them, and an overview of the flavor profile for each hot sauce. While your favorite sauce may not have made the list, keep in mind these are our favorites! Of course, feel free to share your favorite hot sauces in the comments below.

Watch Our Top 8 Hot Sauces:

Karma Sauce Carnival

Carnival Hot Sauce
  • Heat: Very Hot
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Seafood, fresh salsa, cheese

Gene from Karma Sauce is known as a mad scientist in the kitchen. His creations often use unique ingredients and flavors, such as cherries or butternut squash.

In the case of Carnival hot sauce, the hot peppers are the star of the show. Scotch bonnets, fatalii, and yellow moruga scorpion peppers all boast serious heat and flavor. This means that Carnival is not for the faint of heart.

Add in some lime, tangy green mango and ginger and the result is absolutely delicious. The name of the sauce says it all – it’s a bright, vibrant and explosive experience on the palate. Carnival competes at the top of Calvin’s all-time favorite hot sauces!

Mellow Habanero Yuzu Heaven

Mellow Habanero Yuzu Heaven
  • Heat: Hot
  • Price: $$$$
  • Uses: Asian soups, sushi, fish

Of all the sauces we have tried, Yuzu Heaven may just be one of the very best. While the flavor of yuzu may be polarizing, it is perfectly paired with delicious habaneros, rice vinegar, and mango.

If you like Japanese food, this sauce will make a good companion for many dishes. The only drawback? It is one of the most expensive sauces we have tried thus far.

Dawson’s Original Hot

Dawsons Hot Sauce Review
  • Heat: Hot
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Cheese & crackers, salsa, pizza

Dawson’s Original hot sauce brings incredible flavor for so few ingredients. The focus here is all about bringing the floral flavor of habanero peppers to the front.

Delicious, fresh habaneros mixed with cane sugar, garlic, vinegar, salt and a touch of olive oil make this sauce smooth and timeless. We also like the elegant and unique packaging with a fancy wax seal.

Considering the higher heat level and the bold flavor, the price is easily justified. Dawson’s also makes several other unique sauces in their lineup.

Pepplish Provisions Pineapple Lemongrass Ginger

Pepplish Provisions Pineapple Lemongrass Ginger Hot Sauce
  • Heat: Medium
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Asian cuisine, cheese plate, fancy tacos

If you are looking for something truly gourmet, you have to try some of the creations from Pepplish Provisions. They put together some truly special flavor pairings that just work.

The pineapple, lemongrass and ginger hot sauce was our favorite, as it has a bright, vibrant flavor that is unquestionably delicious. Pepplish Provisions makes some of the best hot sauce money can buy, so any of their creations is worth trying.

Los Calientes Rojo

Los Calientes Red Jalapeno
  • Heat: Hot
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Grilled chicken, wings, everything

Another marvel from the kitchen’s of Karma Sauce comes Los Calientes Rojo. Branded under the Hot Ones name, this sauce is tropical hot sauce bliss.

Special ingredients bring this sauce to life like culantro (not a spelling mistake for cilantro as we thought at first), apricot and tomatillo. The result is amazing.

We have gone through several bottles and we have backups on hand. If you’re looking for similar flavor and less heat, try the original Los Calientes.

Pirate’s Lantern Bajan BBQ

  • Heat: Mild
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Sandwiches and paninis, hot dogs

Inspired by an actual pirate story, Pirate’s Lantern set out to make ‘pure pirate’s gold’ in a bottle. We have tried two of their sauces (watch here), and we can’t get enough of the Bajan BBQ.

This hot sauce is best used as a mustard replacement. The first ingredient is mustard, but there is also molasses, onion and tomato paste. Delicious on sandwiches and hot dogs!

The heat level is also relatively low, even for non-spicy food lovers, making it a great gift for a home chef.

Cholula Hot Sauce

Cholula Original Hot Sauce
  • Heat: Mild
  • Price: $
  • Uses: Mexican foods, pizza, chili con carne, eggs

As far as grocery store hot sauces go, Cholula is a solid choice. For just a few dollars, you can pick up this simple hot sauce from almost any retailer.

The smooth, rich texture is satisfying, and the unique pepper and vinegar forward flavor is addictive. Paired with the noteworthy wooden cap and the built in dasher top, we always keep a bottle of Cholula on hand in our pantry.

Not only is it delicious, but the story behind the hot sauce is intriguing. Read more about Cholula hot sauce in our article here.

Hot Ones: The Last Dab Chile De Árbol

Last Dab Chile De Arbol Edition
  • Heat: Mild
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Rice dishes, noodles, tacos

The original ‘Last Dab’ was a scorching hot sauce, among the spiciest we have tried. It was somewhat of a shame too, since the flavor was actually very good, but the heat level made it inaccessible to many.

Then, the Hot Ones team dropped The Last Dab: Chili de Árbol Edition, replacing the fiery hot peppers with Chili de Árbol peppers. This reduced the heat to a mild level, but maintained a similar flavor (though it is different).

I was excited to try it, and was not disappointed. The flavor is savory, with notes of cumin and fresh chilies. If you want a new, unique sauce, try this one now.

High River Tears of the Sun

High River Sauces Tears of the Sun hot sauce
  • Heat: Mild
  • Price: $
  • Uses: Cheese and crackers, chips & dip

Steve Seabury, creator of High River Sauces, is a true pepper nerd. This sauce uses one of our favorite specialty peppers, the Peach ghost scorpion, as a main ingredient!

Don’t let the name of the pepper scare you though, because this sauce is the perfect heat level for me at around 70,000 SHUs. It also has amazing tropical flavors with mango, papaya, and pineapple.

Melinda’s Original Habanero Garlic

Melindas Original Habanero Garlic Pepper Sauce
  • Heat: Hot
  • Price: $
  • Uses: Eggs, pizza, pasta

Melinda’s sauces are a staple in many households. Their hot sauces range from mango to scotch bonnet and so much more. I love the simplicity of their sauces and the focus on different pepper varieties.

The Original Habanero Garlic pepper sauce is one of the best hot sauces you can buy. If you love garlic and heat, this sauce will not disappoint. I love the savory balance of habaneros, garlic, onions and carrots for the perfect everyday hot sauce.

Chase The Heat #1 (Pineango)

Johnny Scoville Pineango Hot Sauce
  • Heat: Medium-Hot
  • Price: $$$
  • Uses: Pizza, ice cream

Johnny Scoville is known as a true chilihead. He eats some of the hottest peppers in the world, whole, without skipping a beat.

Now he has brought us his first hot sauce known as CTH1 ‘Pineango.’ As you may have guessed, it has pineapple and mango as primary ingredients. It also has carolina reapers for heat.

We have never had a hot sauce that tastes more like candy than Pineango. It is addictive as a result, and is perfect for sweet dishes, even desserts (like ice cream). Definitely worth a try, though it is a bit pricey with shipping.

Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce

Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce
  • Heat: Medium
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Prime rib, kielbasa, pork tenderloin

Shaquanda’s makes some simple yet surprisingly tasty hot sauces. From the delightful West Indian Curry to this, their original Hot Pepper Sauce. All are good, but this one is our favorite.

This sauce has fresh pepper flavor, a zingy vinegar bite, and a strong presence of horseradish. This makes the sauce spicy in multiple ways, and makes it perfect for slathering on prime rib or pork.

SeaFire Gourmet Reaper Hot Sauce

SeaFire Gourmet Reaper Hot Sauce
  • Heat: Hot
  • Price: $$$
  • Uses: Pulled pork, burgers, fries

SeaFire Gourmet’s Reaper hot sauce is essentially a fiery barbecue sauce. It makes a great dipping sauce or sandwich topper.

With familiar BBQ ingredients like brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and honey, this sauce is sweet. It is also pretty hot, as the second ingredient is carolina reaper peppers.

This hot sauce is a friend of any grill or BBQ lover. Smokey, sweet, and finger-lickin’ good.

Karma Sauce Cosmic Dumpling

Karma Sauce Cosmic Dumpling hot sauce
  • Heat: Mild
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Dumplings, potstickers, noodle dishes

It should be no surprise that another entry from Karma Sauce is on our list of the best hot sauces. Gene O. knows his flavors, and when we saw he was tackling a dumping sauce, we were super excited to try it.

And we were not disappointed. Cosmic Dumpling stars with rice vinegar, and blends together jalapenos, tamari, brown sugar, orange juice and sesame oil into a delightful dumpling dipping sauce.

But it isn’t just good for dumplings. It can improve almost any food, from pizza to salmon to pork and more. Karma Sauce offers some of the best sweet and tangy sauces out there, and Cosmic Dumpling is near the top of our favorites.

Chilli Chump Blazing Buffalo Extreme

Chilli Chump Blazin Buffalo Extreme hot sauce
  • Heat: Hot
  • Price: $$$
  • Uses: Wings, Tabasco alternative

From another online personality comes Chilli Chump’s Blazing Buffalo eXtreme. This simple and fermented hot sauce is a take on the classic buffalo style sauces (like Frank’s RedHot or Tabasco Brand sauce).

Shaun is from the UK and shares his sauce making experiences on YouTube. It is a special experience to taste a sauce that was created in a small batch by a passionate sauce maker.

I love the unique flavor of superhots, cayennes and white wine vinegar – it is certainly different from your typical Tabasco! The only drawback for US shoppers is shipping cost.

Pepper North Stargazer

Pepper North Stargazer Hot Sauce Label
  • Heat: Hot
  • Price: $$$
  • Uses: Grilled chicken, fresh salsa

This sauce offers a great smokey flavor with maple sweetness. It also packs a punch from jalapenos and scotch bonnet peppers.

Based out of Canada, Pepper North started with a simple passion for growing hot peppers. Stargazer hits all the right notes – sweet, great texture and respectable heat. A little goes a long way with this one, but the flavor is strong enough to back it up.

The price is fairly high, but the high heat level means a longer lasting sauce. Read our full review here.

Torchbearer Zombie Apocalypse

Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce 2
  • Heat: Hot
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Mexican foods, hummus, pasta

Intentionally delicious, unintentionally healthy – that is the motto of Torchbearer Sauces. We’ve never had a Torchbearer sauce we didn’t like.

Zombie Apocalypse is one of Crystalyn’s all-time most used hot sauces. The creamy texture, sweet carrot and fiery heat are all mouthwatering.

We also like the unique artwork that Torchbearer uses on all of their hot sauces. They stand out on the shelf and make the experience a bit more fun.

Dirty Dick’s Hot Pepper Sauce

Dirty Dick's Hot Sauce 2
  • Heat: Medium
  • Price: $
  • Uses: Pulled pork, beans and rice, jerk chicken

Crass name aside, this sauce is exceptionally tasty. The raisins and banana may sound strange at first, but the flavors blend seamlessly for a truly unique taste.

If you don’t like sweet sauces, you may not enjoy this one. But if you do, you’ll go crazy for it! The heat level isn’t too intense, so you can enjoy this in larger quantities. We can’t make a bottle of this last longer than a couple weeks.

Read our full review of Dirty Dick’s here.

Yellowbird Organic Habanero

  • Heat: Medium
  • Price: $
  • Uses: Pizza, eggs, tacos, everything

Certainly among our favorite habanero hot sauces, Yellowbird’s Organic Habanero is great on anything. The flavor is bright and tangy, with tangerine and carrot blending beautifully with fresh habanero peppers.

For a grocery store sauce, this one has a bite. We would put it around a 5/10 on the heat scale, which is much more than Frank’s or Cholula. The squeezable format meant a short life in our household!

Lucky Dog Year Of The Dog

  • Heat: Low
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Thai food, noodle dishes, spring rolls, Hawaiian pizza

Pineapple. There are a hundred pineapple sauces to choose from, but this one stands out. It doesn’t scream piña colada, but instead keeps the tropical flavor more subtle.

The flavors are well-blended, making Year Of The Dog the perfect companion for Asian foods. We enjoyed dipping spring rolls into Lucky Dog and topping Thai food for a sweet kick.

Dragon’s Blood Elixir Garlic Paprikash

Garlic Paprikash Review
  • Heat: Medium
  • Price: $
  • Uses: The ultimate pizza sauce

Based out of CT, Dragon’s Blood Elixir is always stirring up something new from fresh hot peppers. Well known in the New England area, Doug is a master of flavor and heat.

As the title suggests, garlic and paprika make up some of the ingredient list, but it also contains peach puree and smoked serranos.

We highly recommend checking out the ever-changing variety of specialty hot sauces on Dragon’s Blood Elixir here.

Dawson’s Cremini Habanero

  • Heat: Medium
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: White pasta dishes, soups, burgers, veggie pizza

Dawson’s makes some of the more elegant sauces out there. This creamy mushroom hot sauce has a velvety smooth texture, and a mushroomy aroma and flavor that are fungi heaven.

This sauce is targeted to mushroom lovers, so if you’re not a fan of earthy flavor, move right along. But if you do enjoy the occasional pasta with mushrooms, this hot sauce will bring those meals to the next level.

With habaneros, balsamic vinegar and of course, cremini mushrooms, this decadent sauce stands out in our collection as something truly special.

Tabasco Habanero Hot Sauce

Tabasco Habanero Hot Sauce Bottle
  • Heat: Medium-Hot
  • Price: $
  • Uses: Mexican foods, pizza, chili con carne

Another common grocery store hot sauce, Tabasco makes a surprisingly wide variety of hot sauce flavors. The original hot sauce is a true classic, but their Habanero hot sauce is a real flavor bomb, with extra heat.

We should say, this sauce tastes nothing like the original Tabasco brand hot sauce. It has a variety of tropical ingredients, including mango, banana, and papaya. They even use Tabasco original as an ingredient.

This sauce is perfect for dashing on top of bland food to bring it sweet, tangy and spicy flavor. Read our full review of this hot sauce here.

Queen Majesty Habanero & Coffee

Queen Majesty Habanero and Coffee
  • Heat: Medium
  • Price: $$
  • Uses: Homemade tacos, omelets

Boasting some of the most beautiful label artwork, Queen Majesty hot sauce makes some of our favorites. The flavor combinations in all of their sauces are unique, and they often don’t sound like they will work together.

But they do. This red habanero and black coffee hot sauce sounds strange, but the flavor is immediately likable and versatile. It does wonderful things to fresh homemade tacos.

We have enjoyed all of the Queen Majesty sauces we have tried, so we highly recommend trying their 3-pack sampler from Amazon.

Mad Dog 357 Gold

Mad Dog 357 Gold 25th Anniversary Edition Hot Sauce
  • Heat: SUPER HOT
  • Price: $$$$
  • Uses: Anything you dare…

Officially the hottest sauce we have tried to date, Mad Dog 357 Gold edition is meant to shock. You know a sauce is serious when it comes with a fake bullet (that hides a tiny tasting spoon inside).

The heat, however, was not the most surprising thing, it was the flavor. Mad Dog was able to curb the flavor of pepper extract and actually make a good tasting sauce. It has fresh onion and garlic, lime juice and of course super hot peppers.

The only issue is that the heat level will scare most people away from using it more than once. However, if you know someone who is crazy about superhot peppers and sauces, this would make a great gift.

Read our full review (and video taste test) in our article here.

Still not finding the best hot sauce for you? Check out some of the best hot sauce subscription boxes – we love being surprised! It is a great way to discover new favorite sauces each month.

Or, try making your own hot sauce with fresh peppers from the garden or store. Our simple habanero hot sauce will blow you away!

I hope you enjoyed our list of the best hot sauces of 2020. Let us know any new sauces you have tried and loved!

Calvin Thumbnail


One of the original Pepper Geeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

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  1. I have tried and own many of the sauces on your list and you are correct. I have a sauce in my fridge called “Pain is Good”. Spicin Foods out of Kansas City, KS make it. First ingredient is Habanero Peppers. While it is hot it has a nice flavor and after taste. Thanks for the growing tips, I’m going to work on my peppers this week.

  2. Really appreciate you writing about the flavors of these sauces. Too many make sauce just for the heat and forget the flavor. You should also use the Scoville scale for heat rating instead of mild or hot! Everyone has their own peception and tolerance for heat.

  3. Hard to believe Dave’s Gourmet Ghost Pepper and Carolina Reaper are not on your list – ever tried them? Ghost Pepper is Ghost pepper – the first ingredient…hot yet great flavor. Carolina Reaper is new introduction – again Dave puts the pepper in first…not water or vinegar.

  4. Eaton’s Scotch Bonnet Hot Pepper Sauce is the best hot pepper sauce in the world. The optimum balance of heat, fruit and the natural sweetness inherent to the Scotch Bonnet. I’ve been sampling and buying hot sauces for 50 years. My. My wife had a successful food manufacturing business specialising in hot condiments. Believe me, I know.

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