Pepper sauce is a condiment and cooking ingredient made by taking spicy peppers like cayenne, habanero, or chipotle and mixing them with vinegar and salt. The mixture is often aged for as much as few years. Lime, onion, garlic, and even a bit of sugar might also be added.

While this can be made at home (which my wife has done very successfully with our own home-grown peppers), there are a number of commercial varieties. Here are a few of the more common brands, most of which are readily available throughout the United States. Some are marketed world-wide.

  • Tabasco is probably the most well-known brand of pepper sauce. It comes in many varieties, including the original Pepper Sauce, Green Pepper Sauce, Chipotle Pepper Sauce, Habanero Sauce, and Garlic Pepper Sauce. Tabasco is made on Avery Island, Louisiana where they grow all of their own peppers and mine their own salt. Original Tabasco is aged for three years in white oak barrels before being bottled and distributed.
  • Crystal is also made in Louisiana. It has less vinegar than Tabasco, so it has more of the pepper fruit taste.
  • Melinda's specializes in habanero pepper sauce. This is made in Honduras. Habanero pepper sauce is probably a bit too spicy for most folks to be used as a condiment, but it works well in soups and sauces.
  • Panola is also made and bottled in Louisiana. The original Panola Gourmet Pepper Sauce made from cayenne is their main and perhaps best sauce, but they also make sauces from jalapeno and habanero. This sauce may be more difficult to find outside the southern US.
  • Pickapeppa uses cane vinegar along with cane sugar to add just a touch of sweetness. This one is definitely more of a condiment, with tomatoes listed as the main ingredient. This one is made in Jamaica.
  • Cholula is made in Mexico. It comes in a wood-capped bottle, which is nice in and of itself.
  • Tuong ot Sriracha is a Thai-style pepper sauce made by a Vietnamese family in California. It is made from chile peppers and is used primarily as a condiment.
  • Tapatio is a Mexican pepper sauce, originally made in Mexico, but now produced in California. In the southwestern US, it is quite common to see a bottle on the table in many a Mexican restaurant.


Thanks to Chris-O who has enjoyed much more Pickapeppa than I have.

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