This Hot Pepper Sauce is a classic Southern recipe. It’s a delicious pepper vinegar that you can put on just about anything to give it a little extra boost of flavor!

how to make Pepper Sauce


Hot Pepper Sauce is one of my favorite southern recipes. It’s so easy to make. Just add a bunch of hot peppers to a jar of vinegar and then let everything marinate for a month or 2. When it’s ready you have a spicy vinegar that you can add to all sorts of things.

My grandma used to always have a jar in her pantry and we’d put it on everything. My favorite is a splash of pepper vinegar on my collard greens.

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southern hot Pepper Sauce

What is Pepper Sauce Made of?

  • Hot Peppers – The peppers are the key. You want something spicy. Traditionally it would be small little hot peppers like tabasco peppers and that is definitely what I recommend if you have them. They don’t sell them in stores in my area and I don’t have a garden so I use jalapenos or, in the case of my most recent batch, Fresno chili peppers. Serrano peppers, habaneros, Thai chili peppers….any of these can work you just want them to be spicy and to fit in a jar.
  • Vinegar – Plain white vinegar is all you need for this recipe. I am sure other types of vinegar would work as well but I’ve never tried it.
  • Salt – Every recipe needs a little salt. The salt helps to pull the flavor from the peppers into the vinegar.

You can play around with adding other whole, dried spices such as peppercorns if you’d like to add a different flavor to the mix.

how to make Pepper Sauce in jars

How to Make It

Fill the Jars – Stuff your peppers into your jars making sure to pack them in.

Boil It – First you combine the vinegar and salt and bring it to a boil.

Pour It – Pour the hot liquid over the peppers in the jar, filling the jar to the top before screwing on the lid.

Wait – Now you wait. Place the container in a cool dark place for 2 months to let the flavors come together.

Pepper Sauce is a southern spicy recipe
What Size Jars Did You Use?

For this recipe I used 2 wide mouth pint jars. Wide mouth mason jars make getting all of those peppers in there so much easier!

Since we aren’t actually canning this sauce you don’t have to use a mason jar. You can use any glass jar that can be tightly sealed.

Is Hot Pepper Sauce the Same as Hot Sauce?

Not exactly. Hot pepper sauce is peppers marinated in vinegar for a few months until the vinegar takes on that spicy flavor making it a pepper vinegar. Hot sauce uses the same ingredients but often has a few other spices added and then everything is blended together into a liquid. It has a stronger pepper flavor and much less vinegar.

Can You Refill Pepper Sauce?

Yes! When your vinegar starts to run low you can top off your jar with a little more white vinegar. The peppers will begin to lose their potency over time but you can keep a jar going for a year or more this way without losing that spicy flavor!

How to Store It

The vinegar is very acidic and because we use so much of it in this recipe you don’t have to store this dish in the refrigerator. Just make sure it has a lid the tightly fastens to keep it sealed and store it in a cool, dark place like your pantry. It will last indefinitely this way.

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Servings: 16
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Wait Time: 60 days
Total Time: 60 days 10 minutes

Hot Pepper Sauce

This Hot Pepper Sauce is a classic Southern recipe. It’s a delicious pepper vinegar that you can put on just about anything to give it a little extra boost of flavor!
how to make Pepper Sauce
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote



  • In a small saucepan combine the vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Divide your peppers between two wide mouth pint jars. Pack them in so the jar is filled (do not break apart the peppers). See note 1.
  • Pour the heated vinegar over the peppers filling the jars to the top.
  • Tightly fasten the lid in place and store jars in a cool, dark place for 2 months.
  • After two months you can use the pepper sauce. Keep it stored in a cool, dark place such as your pantry and when it gets low top it off with more vinegar (no need to boil the vinegar again).


  1. You do not have to use a wide mouth pint jar. You can use any glass container that can be tightly sealed and that your peppers can fit into.


Serving: 1tablespoon, Calories: 5kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 146mg, Potassium: 18mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 54IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 2mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Handwritten signature for Kat & Melinda