How To Make Your Own Homemade Fermented Tabasco Sauce

by Michelle on October 12, 2009 · 48 comments

in Condiments

For me, making my own food from scratch is really gratifying (and pretty cool too)! It’s really exciting know that you can make something and you don’t have to rely on pre-packaged foods to do that (or anyone else for that matter)! You just need your own two hands and a little know-how!

I worked out the recipe by looking at the official McIlhenny Tabasco Website which states the ingredients: young green chilli Peppers and Salt and then it is fermented for 3 years.

Well I’m here to show you a much quicker and simpler way (but still pretty genuine way) to make your own Tabasco Sauce)!

You will need:

  • 15-20 Chili’s (or less depending on how much you would like to make) (I used red chilis but you can use young green chilis)
  • 2. tbsp. Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  1. Chuck your chilli’s, the vinegar and sea salt in a blender till the juice from the chilli starts to release and your salt is mixed finely with the chilli and vinegar. Caution: Please don’t breathe in the fumes from the blender- it has potential to affect your respiratory mucous membranes. The consistency should be about the same as tomato sauce (thick but still pour-able).
  2. Then put this all into a small saucepan and boil for a minute or two then put on a low simmer.
  3. Add this to a glass container and cap. Leave this for about two weeks to a month and check the flavour every now and again.
  4. Use can use it once the month is over or you can leave it to ferment for much longer (up tp 3 years).
  5. Use as you would Tabsaco sauce.

This Tabasco sauce is much cheaper than the store bought and will last from one to two years, but will depend on your batch. My chillis ended up costing about $3.80  and this makes about 2 or 3 times as much in the original tabasco bottles.

Note: It will eventually start to turn a dark orange colour in time. Make sure you check this as it is a fermented product it may rise above your jar so check it often and maybe even loosen the lid or cap a little bit to let out gasses.

You can see how I used my Tabasco Sauce when I made my Healthier and Tastier Homemade Nachos.

Happy Cooking,



Health Food Lover is Michelle Robson-Garth. Michelle is a degree-qualified Naturopath (BHSc) and Massage Therapist. She is also a passionate writer, recipe-creator and all-round foodie from Melbourne, Australia. © Copyright: 2009-2012 Michelle Robson-Garth. Please ask permission first when using any text or images on Read the disclaimer here. Have a look at the recipe index for more health food lovin’ recipes. Join the Facebook page & follow Health Food Lover on twitter.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Christy October 16, 2009 at 6:52 am

I am making this for a Christmas gift for my daughter’s boyfriend – nothing is ever hot enough for him! thanks for the recipe.


michellesfhs October 16, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Thanks for commenting Christy.
Oh I’m glad! Hope he likes it!

Michelle aka Health Food Lover.


motherhen68 October 16, 2009 at 11:16 pm

This is wonderful! We live not far from the McIlhenny’s place. It’s a sight to see. They actually grow the peppers for the sauce in Mexico, but the seed plants are grown here.

I was thinking just yesterday as I ate some hot sauce “I wonder if I could make this myself”. thanks for the recipe!


michellesfhs October 17, 2009 at 8:45 am

Oh thats so cool! That would be pretty cool to see!
That’s okay, hope you enjoy it!

Michelle aka Health Food Lover


Squeaky Gourmet October 21, 2009 at 10:39 pm

OH! I am going to try this one out as well–and give out as gifts! Thank you!


michellesfhs October 22, 2009 at 8:01 am

Thanks for the comment Maureen! Thats a great idea!




Katie October 22, 2009 at 2:15 am

How long do you simmer? Is the idea to get a thicker consistency? Thanks for the recipe!


michellesfhs October 22, 2009 at 8:03 am

Hi Katie.
Yeah just simmer till it thickens up. So the time really just depends on the heat you use.

Thanks for commenting,



Alyss October 22, 2009 at 8:29 am

I sometimes feel like people look at me like I have three eyes when I say I make my own hot sauce :) I haven’t made a tabasco type, but I did make some sambal last year. I simmered dried chiles and a couple cloves of garlic in homemade vinegar and then pureeed it all up in the blender. It’s my favorite hot sauce in the fridge!

I think I’ll try this one for bloody marys.. yum!


HealthFoodlover October 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Hi Alyss!
Your Sambal sounds great! I’ll have to try it! How did you make your vinegar?

Thanks for commenting,



Christy October 22, 2009 at 1:21 pm

WOW I made this today – I was not prepared for the fumes!!! I cannot wait to give this to the dd’s bf! If this isn’t hot enough than he was born without taste buds!


HealthFoodLover October 22, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Hi Cristy,
Sorry I should have put a warning! The fumes went up my nostrils! It’s quite powerful!

Thanks for commenting,


Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free October 26, 2009 at 7:28 am

My dad loved tabasco sauce – he ate it on everything. I am not a big fan but I do make my own ketchup which is a process but gratifying. I understand that feeling of, “I made this, I know what’s in it, and I know it’s good for me.” It’s a great way to live.


HealthFoodLover November 18, 2009 at 10:14 am

Hi Amy,

Thanks for commenting!

Thats great you make your own ketchup! Is that on your blog? Would love to know how to do that!
Yeah it is wonderful knowing you CAN make something! I love it!



Christy July 31, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Hi Michelle,
I went to make this/blog about it and when I found the saved link I was excited to find the recipe here. I will be posting it as my Two for Tuesday link next week and linking here if that is ok.


Michelle July 31, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Hi Christy.

That’s fine. :) Sounds great to me thanks! Looking forward to seeing your post!


Foodie September 11, 2010 at 2:16 am

Thank you for the recipe. Am I correct to assume you place the mixture in the refrigerator for storage?


Michelle September 11, 2010 at 7:12 am

Yes, correct!


Spicy-K December 16, 2010 at 7:00 pm

I have a couple round about questions for the recipe.

Mcilhenny makes a pepper mash from tabasco peppers and avery island salt which then ferments for 3 yrs in reused white oak burbon barrels before the seeds, pulp, and skin is removed, then 10% acetic white vinegar is added and the mixture stired for 28days before it is then bottled.

no heating is involved in there process. Also in order for pepper mash to ferment properly time is required for a 1gal jug you need about 6weeks before the fermenting is done, any added time afterwards is purely for further developing flavor. the peppers used are also a rather juicy chile compared to habaneros or cayenne’s which are not as meaty.

so my questions are more open ended than anything but basically,…

why does your recipe differ so much from the actual tabasco sauce recipe? how much will the differences affect flavor? will your recipe work with other types of chile’s? you used sea salt, while tabasco uses rock salt how much a difference will this make? how does your recipe stay ‘fresh’ compared to mcilhenny’s?

i know ive asked alot of questions but im currently trying to develop my very own hot sauce and trying to use the best recipe for it for both flavor and shelf life. Many of the people who i will be giving this sauce to dont use heat often so its important for it to stay good until they use it all.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. and thank you for making this blog. im currently documenting my own hot sauce making and will eventually put up a blog about it.


Roger June 6, 2011 at 1:21 am

Did you use fresh or dried chilies for the sauce recipe?


Michelle June 6, 2011 at 3:47 am

Fresh chillies.


Art August 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Hi, Tabasco’s website doesn’t say anything about using green chilis.
Just sayin’.


Brenda September 5, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Thank you for your recipe. I will use it on one of my gallon jugs of tobasco peppers. Interesting that the green peppers are used. I have waited for the peppers to turn red before picking them. Also, do you skim the “mold” off the top? Mold kind of scares me but with the acidity so high in peppers as well as the salt and vinegar, I’m thinking it’s okay and won’t ruin the batch. I planted 48 tobasco plants this year and they are going like gangbusters! If I can pick the green peppers, I’ll get a bunch more new peppers before the first frost!


Michelle September 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Hi Brenda,
Yes I think it’s best to skim the mould of the top. That sounds great- I love that you have 48 tabasco plants, wow!

Thanks for stopping by!



John November 25, 2011 at 9:05 pm

The existence of a sea in the Himalayas must the best kept secret ever! How much salt do they extact from it per annum? :)

Seriously though, thanks for the recipe. I have grown a tabasco plant this year and was dissapointed that although it produced lots of fruit, they were all very small, about 1/2 inch long. They are juicy though. I will need to adjust the amount of salt and vinegar. So please can you tell me the average length and diameter of the chillies you used in your recipe?

By the way, a made a lovely-tasting fermented sauce in a similar way to you, but using “tiger claw” habanero chillies, fresh lime juice instead of vinegar, and a local sea-salt. I left it to ferment for 3 months. It has a wonderful fragrance and is a bit hotter than tabasco.

Regards, John, U.K.


Chris February 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm

I have growing in my garden the infamous Bhut Jolokia/Naga Ghost Chilli. however i am not sure as to the best way to make this into a sauce without it sending someone to hospital. Any suggestions? Maybe just adding one to your recipe should be enough?


Michelle February 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Hi Chris. I wish I could say yes or no but I am unfamilar with that variety of chilli sorry! I’m not sure how it would react upon fermentation.


Spicy-K February 12, 2012 at 8:29 am

Chris, like you, i have grown Ghost chili’s… the hot sauce i made from it was radiactive in nature… i fermented about 10 ghost peppers together with 100 habaneros and made a 10-1 sauce… 1 drop and you’re on fire !!!

with fermenting you shouldnt be adding vinegar as the vinegar will stop the fermenting… my advice is to use the peppers and salt only and let them ferment for at least 1 month… the longer you let them ferment the less heat they will hold and the flavour will deepen…

@ those who are concerned with the mold… as long as the mold is only on the juice of the fermenting pepper mash you should be ok, but leave it on there until it is time to make the mash into a sauce… removing the mold during the process will only allow for more mold to grow… your recipe may also be lacking in salt… the salt is important for keeping the mold growth down…

when i made a red hot chili pepper mash it began to mold and i tossed my batch out because the mash didnt have that liquid layer on top which keeps the mold from getting to the mash… it also had less salt than the other batch i had going which grew no mold…

if you feel that you may have not added enough salt, you can put a thin layer of salt on the top of the ‘fresh’ mash to give it that lil bit more protection…

IF you didnt get any mold and are left with a bunch of salty spicy liquid from your mash SAVE IT !!!, add a bunch more salt and on low heat with plenty of stiring cook the moisture out of the salty spicy liquid and it will reform into salt… now you have a spicy salt… i have a jar of tabasco-ish flavored salt at home and its nice to sprinkle on certain dishes, adds a lil heat with some saltiness


Harry Lightbourne July 17, 2012 at 4:03 am

To whom this may concern. I enjoy your hot sauce and often use them .Im writing from bermuda a very beautiful island . As you are a sauce company my co-partner and i have 45 wonderful flavors unique to bermuda. We would like to introduce them to your company i think your company will be pleased if u gave us a chances to show you our flavors. I can even come to your company with my flavors.
sincerly Lavon`tMeliqu UniqueSpices


Craig August 27, 2012 at 11:31 am

I love hot sauces from everywhere! SO I decided that I am going to finally make my very own from scratch, just needed an idea how to go about the process of doing so. This is PERFECT! Thank you so much! I will credit you if my sauces ever get famous as my inspiration :)


Michelle August 28, 2012 at 8:41 am

Haha thanks Craig! Goodluck!


Kim September 14, 2012 at 7:54 am

I made a batch of hot sauce with a nearly identical recipe but my recipe never said how to let it ferment for 6 weeks. Mine is sitting in my cupboard right now. So…should I toss it as I was supposed to keep it in the fridge or is it ok?



Anne September 18, 2012 at 2:26 pm

My son tried a similar recipe,but beware of the fumes with asthmatics around, have a well ventilated area, this can harm a lungs lining to someone susceptible to little irritation and eyes also. Actually, my son had dried the peppers first then re-hydrated them (after grinding them fine in a blender)then progressed to the vinegar, salt and simmering…in the fridge now, but I’m going to try your way ~ thank you :)


Michelle September 19, 2012 at 11:22 am

Thanks Anne! I’ll add a caution to the recipe!


jacob October 5, 2012 at 11:28 am

Wondering do you ferment in the fridge?


Michelle October 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Hi Jacob,
You could ferment it in the fridge, the fermentation will just be slower.


Msbrulee January 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

Thank you for sharing this, I’m thinkin of basing my next blog post on your recipe do you mind if I do that? Will definitely credit it back to your site.


Michelle January 20, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Sure thing MsBrulee, go ahead! Thanks for asking and I’m looking forward to seeing your post!


Jack February 3, 2013 at 8:20 pm

You rock tks for this your biggest fan


Michelle February 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Thanks Jack!


Russell Page February 25, 2013 at 7:33 am

Did you mean “young green chilies” at the beginning?
Tobasco only uses red ones and your photo shows red.


Alfred Green April 22, 2013 at 4:26 am

Your receipe and article states that, like Tabasco, you start with green chili peppers. Better check the Tabasco web site agai.n. It states: “Edmund McIlhenny was given seeds of Capsicum frutescens peppers that came from Mexico or Central America, and he first planted them on Avery Island, Louisiana, over 140 years ago. Today, just as then, when the peppers reach the perfect shade of deep red and are at their juiciest, they are carefully picked by hand. (Young peppers are green and then turn yellow, orange and, finally, deep red as they age.) When in doubt, pickers can gauge the color by comparing it to a small wooden dowel, “le petit bâton rouge,” painted the preferred hue of TABASCO® red.”

The McIlhenny Co. uses RED, not green peppers.


Chezron April 26, 2017 at 1:51 pm

What kind of young green chili peppers did you use?


nessa76 March 7, 2018 at 8:25 am

I’m definitely going to make this. I’ve just ordered Tabasco Chilli Seeds, so once grown to red, I will make this Tabasco hot chilli sauce!

Many thanks Michelle for posting the recipe, greatly appreciated.


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