Cayenne Pepper Sauce [Homemade BBQ Hot Sauce]

5 from 3 votes
5 from 3 votes

Homemade cayenne pepper hot sauce for a delicious kick of spice. This easy BBQ sauce recipe only has a few ingredients and is loaded with heat and flavor.

Cayenne Pepper BBQ Sauce

Cayenne pepper hot sauce is a popular hot sauce option that’s increasingly on-demand.

If you’ve been looking for this recipe, you’re in luck because we will be making cayenne pepper hot sauce today.

This recipe only requires two main ingredients: cayenne peppers and white vinegar. The rest is just water, salt, and brown sugar.

The best thing about making your own hot sauce is the creativity it offers you. You control the flavor and the heat, and it’s made with fresh ingredients.

cayenne pepper sauce

How hot is this sauce?

This sauce’s Scoville Heat Units (SHU) is between 30,000 and 50,000, making it one spicy homemade sauce.

Your mouth will be burning for hours if you eat it, so you must be acquainted with eating spicy food if you plan on trying this.

The sauce is only for the experienced and could make you sick when taken in large quantities or incorrectly prepared.

chopped cayenne pepper lightly cooked in frying pan skillet


The main ingredients for making cayenne pepper hot sauce include:

Cayenne peppers

When picking the cayenne peppers to use in this sauce, make sure to pick out the best quality you can find.

You will need about 20-30 cayenne peppers for this recipe, which should make enough hot sauce to last a while.

It’s best to use fresh peppers instead of cayenne powder as the powder will not have the same rich flavor, but if you use cayenne pepper be sure to grind it into an excellent consistency.

White vinegar

White vinegar is the ideal choice for this recipe because of its acidic properties.

Other types of vinegar can be used, but they’re not as strong and will require a longer time to season properly.

Use about 50% more white vinegar than water to get an extra punch of flavor when making cayenne pepper hot sauce. You can always find white vinegar from your local supermarket.

Distilled water

The water is used to dilute the acidity of the white vinegar so that it doesn’t become too overpowering, but adding more will result in a milder hot sauce with less flavor.

Many people like their hot sauce on the spicier side, which means you may want to use half as much water as vinegar.

However, if you want a milder hot sauce with more flavor than just heat, use about 50% more water and half as white vinegar.

Garlic powder

The amount of garlic powder you add will depend on your taste.

Garlic has a strong flavor, so adding too much may cause the hot sauce to be too overpowering and slightly bitter.

Add about three times as much cayenne powder as garlic powder for an equal ratio (e.g. if you use one teaspoon of garlic powder, use three teaspoons of cayenne powder).

Onion Salt

Onion salt is an excellent choice if you want to add some extra flavor.

The amount of onion salt you use will depend on your taste — however, it’s best to start small and gradually increase the quantity until desired results are achieved.

closeup of combined smooth cayenne pepper sauce mixture in kitchen blender

What to serve this hot sauce with

This hot sauce is delicious on almost everything! Some of the more popular food items that it goes well with are:

  • Hamburgers and smoked hot dogs (in fact, this is a favorite condiment for both) go well with this sauce because it adds a little bit of heat to the beef.
  • If you are looking for something more exotic, try this hot sauce on Indian food! Cayenne pepper powder can add an exciting kick to your favorite dishes while maintaining its unique taste and texture.
  • BBQ pork ribs are other perfect matches for this sauce because it adds the perfect amount of heat without being too overwhelming.

There are endless possibilities, so feel free to experiment with anything you want! Remember that this sauce goes best on foods where it will be evenly distributed throughout each bite.

cayenne pepper hot sauce in small mason jar

How to make cayenne pepper hot sauce

Making a perfect cayenne pepper hot sauce demands that you follow the proper steps. The following are some of the effective steps you can follow:

Gather ingredients

The first step is to gather all of your ingredients. You will need the following: Cayenne peppers, white vinegar, water, garlic powder, and salt.

Remove stems from peppers

After gathering your ingredients together, the next thing you want to do is remove the stems from your peppers. You can easily tear off each stem and then discard it.

Get chopping

After you have removed the stems from your peppers, it is time to chop them. This is also the time to chop the garlic and mix them with the chopped pepper.

Boil the mixture

The next step is simple, add two cups of white vinegar and one cup of water to a large pot on medium heat. Heat the mixture to a boil, then let it cool.

Blend the sauce

Now you will need to blend the cool mixture of pepper, garlic, water, and vinegar. Blend the mixture with a hand blender or food processor until it is smooth. If your sauce is too thin, you can thicken your BBQ sauce by reducing it in the saucepan for a few minutes or add a tablespoon of cornstarch.

pouring smooth cayenne bbq sauce into mason jar for storage


After you have the sauce to your desired consistency, pour it all into a glass jar with a cover and store it in the fridge for up to six months.

You can equally store your spicy sauce in any place that is dark and cool. It will last for about two months before needing to be replaced if kept out of sunlight.

cayenne pepper sauce

Cayenne Pepper Hot Sauce

5 from 3 votes
Homemade cayenne pepper hot sauce for a delicious kick of spice. This easy BBQ sauce recipe only has a few ingredients and is loaded with heat and flavor.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • food processor
  • fine mesh sieve


  • 1 lb cayenne peppers rinsed and chopped
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp brown sugar


  • In a pan or skillet over medium-low heat, add the chopped peppers and minced garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until they start to soften.
  • Add white vinegar and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until peppers have softened.
  • Pour peppers into a food processor. Add sugar, salt and water. Blitz until smooth.
  • Strain sauce through a kitchen sieve. Pour the resulting sauce into a mason jar for storage.


  • If your sauce is too thick, carefully add more white vinegar


Calories: 22kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.02g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 296mg | Potassium: 21mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 0.4IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.1mg

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.

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