Chipotle Pepper Hot Sauce

Chipotle Pepper Mash and Sauce

What’s better than homemade hot sauce? Homemade chipotle pepper hot sauce! Smokey hot goodness in a bottle.

Last year I sold various fermented items at my local farmers market and my hot sauces sold like wild fire. Even though I’m not selling at the market this year, I still have people asking  begging for more hot sauce. It’s good stuff. My most popular sauce was this chipotle pepper hot sauce. It sold faster than I could make it.

It’s hard to keep up with demand up north here because peppers aren’t not the easiest thing to grow during our short warm season.  This year has been especially trying since it’s been abnormally cold. So far, most of my ripe peppers have come from gardens with hoop houses and high tunnels. I ended up picking all of my peppers a couple weeks ago. We had 2 nights where it dropped to 32F killing my plants. I put the green peppers in paper bags and they’ve been ripening up just fine. Enough for me to make a few small batches of red pepper mash.

What Kind of Peppers Should I Use

You can use most any hot pepper to make hot sauce. Jalapeños are great because they are a very fleshy pepper and make a nice thick sauce. Thai peppers and similar smaller peppers don’t work quite as well because they have thin flesh. Using a mix of different peppers works great. Scotch Bonnets or Habaneros make a great sauce too (remove seeds for a less fiery sauce if you would like).

For the chipotle peppers, this is the kind I have, Frontier Whole Chipotle Peppers. They are whole, dried chipotle peppers. You can substitute chipotle chili powder or canned chipotle peppers just fine. Chipotle peppers are smoked red jalapeños. Because they are smoked, they have no live lactic acid bacteria on them to help the ferment get started. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure your pepper mash contains about 3/4 fresh peppers and only 1/4 smoked peppers. So if you want to scale the recipe up or down, keep that ratio in mind; 1/4 smoked peppers to 3/4 fresh.

How Much Salt?!

My pepper mash and chili sauce has more salt than most recipes I see out there. Peppers are much more prone to mold than other veggies so to keep mold at bay, you need more salt. And because there is so much more salt, it takes longer to ferment. You might not see the signs of fermentation that you normally see. The mash sometimes doesn’t heave and you might not see a lot of bubble activity.

The rule of thumb I use for pepper mash is 1 oz of salt per 1 lb of peppers. So if you have 2 lbs of peppers, use 2 oz of salt. Easy peasy. Now my recipe below might not be exactly 1 lb. Don’t shoot me. If you are concerned about the recipe being exact, weigh your fresh peppers with the rehydrated chipotle pepper. The potential difference in weight I felt wasn’t enough for me to adjust the recipe. Keep it simple.

Chipotle Pepper Hot Sauce


  • 1 oz unrefined salt (sea salt or himalayan salt is best)
  • 3/4 lb hot peppers
  • About 4-6 dried chipotle peppers, rehydrated (can sub 2 tbsp chipotle chili powder)
  • boiling water, about 1 cup


  1. Put on gloves. Don't forget the gloves!
  2. Put chipotle peppers in a small bowl and add boiling water, just enough to cover them. Cover and let set until peppers have cooled back down to room temperature. Reserve the liquid.
  3. Prepare you peppers by trimming off the stem. You can leave the tops on. For a more mild sauce, cut peppers in half and remove seeds and veins. You can adjust the heat of the sauce by add peppers with or without seeds. For a good medium sauce, use about 1/4 peppers with seeds, 3/4 without seeds.
  4. Roughly chop peppers and rehydrated chipotle peppers and add to food processor with salt and reserved liquid from chipotle peppers. Process until smooth.
  5. Pack pepper mash into an airtight jar (preferably with an airlock). There will a lot of air from the blending process so use a spatula to press it down, removing as much air as possible.
  6. Seal jar, don't forget to add water to your airlock if using one. Let set at room temperature for about 7-10 days.
  7. Move to cold storage, 32-55F.
  8. Now the hard part. The best sauce has been allowed to age at least a year. You can use the pepper mash sooner than a year but I would suggest letting it age as long as you can stand.
  9. Use pepper mash as is or run through a food mill to make chili sauce.
  10. Sauce will keep for at least another year or so refrigerated.

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