The Best (And Worst) Hot Sauces Ranked
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When it comes to condiments, hot sauce is one of the most versatile. Breakfast tacos? Check. Chicken wings? Check. You could make a case for the spicy tang of hot sauce improving virtually any food on earth. And that even includes dessert—try a drizzle of chili crisp over some ice cream and thank us later.
Just like there are nearly limitless applications of hot sauce, there's a wide variety of styles. Every type of pepper offers a unique flavor profile. Some are smoky, some are sweet, and they're all varying shades of spicy! Brands make their own blends and add other spices and seasonings until their recipes are just right.
With so many possible versions of hot sauce, no two brands are created equal. Some bottles are best enjoyed under very specific circumstances while others are versatile workhorses you can always keep on hand. And that doesn't even factor in how everybody may have their own personal preferences and spice tolerances.
But, still, some brands are better than others. Team Delish is full of hot sauce lovers—we keep several different bottles in our test kitchen at all times. And when those store-bought bottles don't cut it, we make our own!
So we decided to round up every bottle we could think of and rank them from worst to best. We tried some widely available brands and some deeper cuts to determine which ones belong in your home hot sauce lineup. Check out our rankings below and let us know what you think:
When it comes to condiments, hot sauce is one of the most versatile. Breakfast tacos? Check. Chicken wings? Check. You could make a case for hot sauce improving virtually any food on earth. And that even includes dessert—try a drizzle of chili crisp over some ice cream and thank us later.
Just like there are nearly limitless applications of hot sauce, there's a wide variety of styles. Every type of pepper offers a unique flavor profile. Some are smoky, some are sweet, and they all have varying levels of heat. Brands make their own blends and add other spices and seasonings until their recipes are just right.
With so many possible versions of hot sauce, no two brands are created equal. Some bottles are best enjoyed under very specific circumstances, while others are workhorses you can always keep on hand.
But still, some brands are better than others. Team Delish is full of hot sauce lovers—we keep many bottles in our test kitchen at all times. And when those store-bought bottles don't cut it, we make our own.
So we decided to round up every bottle we could think of and rank them from worst to best. While we focused on widely available brands, we also tried some deep cuts to determine which ones belong in your home hot sauce lineup. Check out our rankings below and let us know what you think.
Casa Firelli Italian Hot Sauce
If we're being honest, we had high hopes for this hot sauce. From the gorgeous bottle to the use of Calabrian chili, we thought this would be our new favorite. It ended up being the exact opposite.
Our associate food producer Justin Sullivan said, "It's basically balsamic glaze. Where's the heat, baby?" And our video producer Marc Stauble had a similar, yet more concise response: "Boooo!"
Truff Black Truffle Hot Sauce
Truff gets a lot of hype. From earning a spot on Oprah Winfrey's coveted Favorite Things list to going viral on TikTok, it's safe to say that their truffle-infused recipes have achieved hot sauce stardom.
In the Delish office, however, it's public enemy number one. One of our editors described it as "a little nasty" and many of us didn't understand why truffle should be an ingredient in hot sauce.
Its strong flavor overwhelms anything it's served with, and isn't that delicious on its own either. And for nearly five times as much money compared to other options on this list, it's not worth the price.
Hillside Harvest Sun Kissed Tomato Hot Sauce
Hillside Harvest pairs hot peppers with mild bell peppers and sun-dried tomatoes for a sauce they say is "smooth and savory." But all we could taste was sweet.
Our editors agreed that this hot sauce more closely resembled a barbecue sauce than a classic hot sauce. The general consensus was a resounding pass.
Tabasco Hot Sauce
Gasp! This heritage hot sauce is close to the bottom of our list. We know, we know, this is a controversial take—but it's one we'll stand behind.
Hear us out: Tabasco is always available, but it's never exciting. The heat tastes one note and doesn't add much to whatever dish we're eating. We'll eat it if it's the only sauce around. But are we stoked about it? Certainly not.
Tabasco Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce
Compared to the other sauces in Tabasco's lineup, their green pepper sauce is the most mild. The jalapeño adds some freshness that can brighten up a wide array of dishes.
Many of our editors grew up around this sauce and have nostalgic feelings about it, but it's a little too vinegary for our tastes. There are other jalapeño-based hot sauces that we'd rather reach for.
Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce
Chipotle brings a distinctive flavor that we love, but need to be in the right mood to enjoy it. It's smoky, savory, and strong. But paired with Cholula's already tangy recipe, the flavor becomes a little too overwhelming for our palette.
Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
Shockingly, Tabasco's chipotle-flavored hot sauce was our favorite from the brand. The added smokiness complements the otherwise one-note flavors of Tabasco and makes for a deeply savory sauce.
But do we want all of our food to taste like chipotle? As much as we love the pepper, we need a break from it every now and then. We can see this stirred into a pot of beans or on a burrito–but not much else.
Frank's RedHot Original Hot Sauce
When it comes to wings, there are few sauces that stack up to Frank's RedHot. It's classic, it's spicy, it's reliable. But would we put it on everything? No.
Compared to the other sauces we tried, it's not as versatile or exciting. We're happy with Frank's RedHot staying in its lane.
Crystal Hot Sauce
Crystal is considered a hot sauce darling of the food world. Industry professionals often cite this sauce as their go-to for just about everything. But as much as we would love this drizzled over some freshly fried catfish, we don't see ourselves using it in other applications.
The consistency is on the thinner, more watery side, which can cause it to easier run down our arms when eating a sandwich. For our ideal workhorse hot sauce, we're looking for something more substantial.
Woodstock Habanero Pepper Hot Sauce
Woodstock's habanero-based hot sauce is one of the chunkier bottles we tried, which we definitely enjoyed. Seeing and tasting the pulp made for a more interesting bite.
It also had a nice, slightly sweet flavor that we think would pair especially well with seafood. But we also tried some more sauces that edged out Woodstock's.
Huy Fong Sriracha Chili Sauce
Many brands try to replicate the magic of Huy Fong's Sriracha, but none come close. The thick, savory sauce comes in a convenient squeeze bottle and is our go-to for when we eat bánh mì or mix up a batch of spicy mayo.
Our editors struggled to compare Sriracha to the other hot sauces we tried because it's "in a league of its own." But even when we're not dealing with a Sriracha shortage, we can't see ourselves using the sauce for every meal. It's a staple we always have in our fridge, but it's not an everyday condiment.
Cholula Green Pepper Hot Sauce
Cholula's green hot sauce is mild but mighty. It's fresh, peppery, and tastes almost like a salad dressing—but in the best way. It's versatile and would taste good in just about every savory application.
That being said, choosing a sauce as mild as this one for our top pick would be a bit of a cop out. But its comfortable position in the top 10 feels right to us.
Trappey's Red Devil Cayenne Pepper Sauce 12 Oz Glass Bottle
Trappey's Red Devil topped all of the other Louisiana hot sauces in our taste test. It has the perfect balance of heat and acidity and is full of depth.
One editor said, "Wow! This gives RedHot a run for its money." We firmly agree.
Melinda’s Original Habanero Hot Sauce
If you love, or even sorta like habanero, run to the grocery store to grab this hot sauce. It's smoky, sweet, full-bodied, and in the words of one of our editors, "It rocks our socks!"
The only thing we wish were different about this hot sauce is that more restaurants offer it. This is a sauce that you'll have to go out of your way to buy and carry with you.
Cholula Original Hot Sauce
Ah, old faithful. If someone says they don't like Cholula, they either have no tolerance for spice or they're lying. It's a classic for a reason.
Cholula has the right balance of tang and heat—just enough that we can smother our burritos in it without blowing out our palates. One of our editors took a bite and was "immediately craving breakfast tacos."
Sauces by Jrk! Bonnet Hot Sauce
Sauces by Jrk! is relatively new to the game compared to these heritage hot sauce brands, but it easily coasted its way towards the top of our list. It has just the right amount of heat and a bright acidity that's not too overwhelming.
Our favorite part? The slightly fruity flavor of the scotch bonnet pepper. Our senior culinary producer Natalie Lobel aptly described this sauce as "epic."
Valentina Salsa Picante
What can we say about Valentina besides that it's perfect? Compared to other hot sauces we tried, this has a more viscous texture. So when you drizzle it over your food, it won't get lost among the other flavors.
Yet still, it doesn't overwhelm everything you're eating. It's just spicy enough, just tangy enough, and the most versatile sauce on the market.
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