Homemade Sriracha

homemade sriracha

Note: This post contains an updated recipe after numerous trials and some obsessive tweaking, as well as a note about the updates at the end of the intro, before the recipe itself.

If I had to sum this post up in two words, those words would be “F#@% YES.”

Sorry, that’s a bit of an aggressive way to start off a post! But seriously, can you blame me? I have been obsessing over making this stuff for nearly eight months, ever since Joshua Bousel detailed his experiments with homemade Sriracha on Serious Eats. I planned my entire garden around it, sacrificing what would have been a variety of peppers to grow only jalapeños. And then I waited, and waited, and WAITED for those darn peppers to turn from green to red. Being an impatient person, I also spent my Saturday mornings elbow-deep in Half Pint Farm’s hot pepper bin at the market, collecting every last red jalapeño I could find. It was on one of these days that Spencer of HPF suggested that red serranos might also work well, so I started buying up those too. (A great suggestion, it turns out, as a little more research led me to the fact that serranos were once the pepper from which Sriracha was made, until the company deemed them too difficult to harvest [or perhaps too costly] and switched to red jalapeños.)

peppers

After a couple weeks, I finally had enough peppers to start my first batch. I chopped them all up in my food processor. I endured an epic coughing/sneezing/eye-watering fit as I cleaned said food processor. I tended to the mash for about 5 days, until the fermentation stopped. Then I puréed it, strained it, cooked it down, tasted it, and WHOA, was it spicy!

homemade sriracha

In a side-by-side comparison, the differences between the two sauces are quite clear. Huy Fong’s is darker in color, with an almost earthy flavor and a heat that hangs back for a minute before it kicks you in the teeth. The homemade Sriracha is brighter in both color and flavor, with a heat that hits immediately and burns hotter and longer. I believe the difference in heat intensity is due mainly to the serrano peppers, as I used a fairly even mix for the batch. As for the earthy taste, I don’t exactly miss it in the homemade version, but I am curious why it’s not there. Perhaps Huy Fong’s version undergoes a longer fermentation, or there’s a sweetener with a richer flavor added in at some point (i.e., molasses, barley malt syrup, or brown rice syrup). Regardless, I love this homemade version. I really enjoy watching other people try it for the first time, as I know they aren’t expecting it to pack such a punch. Also, I’m pretty sure this stuff completely cured me of whatever illness I was coming down with last week. I woke up one morning feeling a little tired, and then within an hour was shivering, sniffling, battling exhaustion, and sensing the beginnings of a sore throat. I made myself a garlic omelette (yes, that’s as scary as it sounds) and dipped every single piece of it in homemade Sriracha. By the time I was done, my mouth was numb, I was sweating profusely, and I was feeling CRAZY (like tweaking-out-on-capsaicin-triggered-pain-endorphines crazy). I still didn’t feel that great for the rest of the day, but I woke up the next morning and felt pretty much fine. The next day, I felt even better. I couldn’t believe it. I was definitely getting sick, and then my symptoms just disappeared. Freaking awesome.

homemade sriracha

So, why make your own Sriracha? I realize that the DIY process just might not appeal to some, especially when you can go and buy a perfectly delicious bottle of the stuff pretty much anywhere these days. It’s certainly not any cheaper (unless you grow the peppers and garlic yourself). And it requires attention and patience. But if you read the title of this post and said, “oh hell yes!” without a second thought, then I probably don’t even need to explain why doing this is awesome. You can experiment with ingredients. You can control the consistency of the sauce. You get to make your entire kitchen/pantry reek of spicy, fermenting peppers. And when you’re done, you get to say to people, “that’s right, I MADE Sriracha.”

(Side note: I’d like to thank my mom for letting me borrow her tiny antique rooster, which belonged to the mother of a close friend. [Hi Andrea!] When I first asked to borrow it this past week, right before she and my dad left me alone to house sit for a few days, she flat out refused. I already knew that this thing had to be part of the pictures, so I decided I’d just have to steal it and deal with the repercussions. But then I asked her once more over the phone, and she replied, “I thought about it, and you can borrow it.” She followed that with, “However, you might think what I’m about to say is crazy, but you need to do this if you want to take it. Go to the back room. Get a jewelery box. Put the rooster in the box. Put a rubber band around the box. Put the box in your purse. When you’re done with the pictures, do the exact same thing. DO NOT LOSE IT.” Thanks again, Mom. I’m pleased to have avoided antique theft, and incurring The Wrath of Helen.)

UPDATE: I have made a LOT of batches of this stuff, tweaking things and changing up peppers and the sugar ratio to develop a deeper, earthier flavor. Here is what I’ve found works best:

Using some half-red/half-green serranos and jalapenos, and throwing some completely green ones in the mix as well. My favorite batches have used 1/2 completely red serranos/jalapenos, around 1/4–1/3 of the half/half colored, and the rest completely green. These not-so-hot flavor of the green peppers seems to mellow out the in-your-face bright heat that was present in my first batch.

Doubling the sugar, and going with dark brown. This causes the mash to ferment about a day or two longer. The prolonged fermentation and the molasses-y taste of the brown sugar seemed to add the earthiness I was looking for.

Swap out half the kosher salt for smoked sea salt. This one is pretty self-explanatory. Smokiness = awesomeness.

homemade sriracha

Homemade Sriracha
(adapted from Joshua Bousel’s recipe on Serious Eats; original recipe from The Sriracha Cookbook)

yield: 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 1/2 lbs of jalalpeños and red serranos, stems snipped off, leaving green tops intact:
    — 3/4 lb should be 100% red
    — around 1/2 lb or a little less should be partially green/partially red
    — the remaining 1/4+ should be completely green)
    (Adjust the ratio based on how spicy you’d like the final product to be. I did a 1:1 ratio, and it was quite a bit hotter than Huy Fong’s. The more serranos you use, the spicier the sauce will be.)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 8 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar
peppers

Place peppers, garlic, sugar, and salt in your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. (Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, you could finely chop the peppers and garlic by hand, then mix in the sugar and salt.)

Transfer mixture to a clean jar, then cover and let sit at room temperature. (I put the mash in a mason jar with the lid screwed on very loosely. You want to give your mixture a little breathing room, so don’t screw the top on too tight. Alternatively, you could forgo the jar/lid combo and just use a bowl and plastic wrap.) Store in a dark, dry place.

Check the jar every day for fermentation. (This should begin after 2–3 days.) Once you begin to see bubbles/liquid-y magic at the bottom of the jar, fermentation has begun! (For me, this began after 2 days.) Stir contents each day, until the contents of the jar are no longer rising in volume from the fermentation. (My mash hit this point after 5 days.)

Transfer mash to your food processor/blend, add vinegar, and purée until completely smooth. (To get the mixture really smooth, I let my food processor run for about 10 minutes straight.) Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a heavy saucepan, stirring and mashing it through the sieve until you’ve gotten every last bit of spicy goodness through. When you’ve finished, only seed and large chili chunks should remain in the sieve.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5–10 minutes, or until you’ve achieved a desirable consistency. (I let mine go until the sauce began to “spit” a little.) Transfer to a clean, airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to six months.

(If you know a lot of Sriracha addicts, make as much of this stuff as you possibly can! I’ve already done three batches, and I’m trying to get in one more before the red jalapeños and serranos disappear from the market. Or just make a quadruple batch and keep it all for yourself. I totally understand.)

homemade sriracha

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Comments

  1. says

    Homemade sriracha? Yes, please! This recipe is making me REALLY wish my jalapeno plant hadn’t been completely overshadowed by the tomatoes this year–I have plenty of jalapenos, but none of them have enough sun to get red. Oh well–the farmer’s market will save me! :)

    • says

      Thank god for the farmers’ market! Red jalapeños can be kind of hard to come by in the northeast, especially outside the months of August/September. I was psyched I was able to find so many at the market, especially considering that my peppers really took their sweet time ripening, and also would have only produced enough for about one batch.

    • says

      Oh wow, mine were opposite, my tomatoes didn’t make it but my peppers were AMAZING. I’ve made so much pepper jelly that I didn’t know what to do with the last of the peppers that just came up and need to be picked.

      My husband LOVES Sriracha. I can’t stand anything with peppers… but I love him so he’s going to get this. Thanks!!!

  2. says

    I kind of have a crush on Joshua Bousel. His Sauced and Grilling columns are so great. (I also have a crush on Max Falkowitz, too–his ice cream recipes and his spice hunting adventures are always awesome!) I would love to try this, but it’s that earthy taste of Sriracha that makes me swoon.

    And mad props (no pun intended!) to your mom. I love that rooster!

    • says

      Yes! I’ve been hesitantly eying Bousel’s duck sauce recipe forever now. (I had a bit of a duck sauce addiction several years ago — I would put it on/in EVERYTHING. I’m afraid that if I start making my own, I’ll never be able to stop.)

      Not going to lie — I’m totally obsessing over that missing earthy flavor. I just want to know WHY it’s not there! For my last batch, I’m going to add some peppers that haven’t ripened to a fully red color yet, and I’d also like to try a longer fermentation with dark brown sugar. And I might sub in a little smoked sea salt too, just to see what happens.

      • PK says

        In Malaysia we sometimes add some dried chilies to our chili sauces. Perhaps you can add some and see if you get that earthy flavor. Another variation you can create is add fresh ginger and lemon rind and juice. This sauce is served with Hainanese Chicken, a very popular fast food. The chicken is boiled very gently (with ginger), and the broth is used to cook the rice. But the raw rice must be sautéed first in ginger and garlic. Then use the broth to cook the rice. We also use the broth as soup to go with the meal (add diced scallion before serving). Cut some cucumber into chunks and serve with the meal. We dip the chicken and the chicken in the sauce. My husband also drowns his rice in the chili sauce.
        -PK

  3. Emily says

    Funny that you mention the Rooster…I immediately thought of all the Rooster trinkets, bags and dishes my grandma brought home from Portugal :)

  4. says

    Great recipe! I found you via Bon Appetit. I have been making my own sriracha as well, but have never tried it this way. I’m inspired to give it a shot! Love the tiny Portuguese rooster. My grandmother has one just like it on top of her fridge. :)

  5. Danielle says

    So excited to try this! Is there a reason why you can’t use green jalepenos?
    Or have you tried roasting them first, for a smokey flavour?

    • says

      Hi Danielle! You could definitely use green jalapeños, the end result just wouldn’t be as spicy. (I’m actually quite curious what a green Sriracha would taste like.) As far as roasting them first goes, I’m not quite sure if that would create an issue with the fermentation process, especially since it would remove a bit of the water from the peppers. I have high hopes for the smoked sea salt! I think it would add a really nice flavor.

      • Ramblingirl says

        Thanks so much for the recipe, Carey! I have long contemplated trying to make my own sriracha, and this was a great inspiration to give it a shot. I’m actually testing it with green peppers (1:1 jalapeno and serrano mix) as we speak. Will definitely let y’all know how it turns out.

  6. says

    First, I have to say thanks to Bon Appetit for featuring this on their facebook page today. I’m thrilled that it led me to you because you photos are amazing, your writing is awesome and the recipe is brilliant. I adore Sriracha even though I can only handle it in small amounts. I’d definitely have to go with all jalapenos though. I’m a heat wimp through and through. Thanks for sharing your journey through the home made stuff. I look forward to trying it next year!

    (Thanks to your mom too for giving in on the rooster. It definitely made the shot.)

  7. Barb says

    Great recipe! I’m going to check “The Valley” to see if they have any hot peppers left! I’d love to try this!
    Love the article, the photos, the recipe, the rooster……so wonderful for you!

    • says

      Thanks, Barb! I hope you’re able to find some. Barber’s had an amazing array of peppers when I was down there. (Although that was in August, when it was too early for the red jalapeños, so hopefully you’ll be able to find some now!)

  8. Geniveve Carroll says

    Interesting, I am kinda making the same thing (prior to reading this) but using the peppers “cherry bomb” instead. they are currently fermenting.

  9. Philippe says

    2 questions:
    1. Can I use any variant of chili? Especially that serrano is not available in my town (or country).
    2. Will the humidity affect the fermentation process? Should I keep in a dry, dark, draft-free place for it ferment? (just like letting a dough rise)

    P.S. I love this post. Thank you for sharing. :)

    • says

      Thanks, Philippe! You could certainly try experimenting with a variety of chile peppers. The level of heat and subtle flavors will be different, depending on the types of peppers used, but it could be fun to experiment! And yes, definitely keep the mash in a dark, dry place as it ferments (I will add that into the post). It was still pretty humid when I made these batches, and it seemed like the fermentation process moved along quite quickly because of it (especially with the first batch). Good luck!

  10. says

    I’m so excited to have stumbled upon this recipe! My brother LOVES Siracha, and any other hot sauce for that matter. Where most of us keep condiments in our fridge, his is over-loaded with at least 30 different hot sauces. And, since I live in AZ and we can grow peppers basically year round, I have 2 bushes that are completely covered red jalapenos that I had no idea what I was going to do with. This is going to make a perfect Christmas gift for him. I can’t wait! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Eddy says

    If you love that much spice… and HEAT… Drop a couple of Habanero peppers into the mix next time…
    (just a suggestion…) I have friends out here that practically drink this stuff, so making it might be a fun project! I will pass this on! Well Done.

    • says

      Thanks, Eddy! I’m definitely ready to try branching out and experimenting with different peppers in the next batches. Habaneros would certainly kick it up a notch. :)

  12. says

    Love the pic! Glad your mom finally acquiesced and let you borrow that rooster. I just made another batch of Sriracha at home, but since red jalapeños have been damn near impossible to find down in San Diego, I opted for some beautiful organic cayenne peppers from Suzie’s Farm that I stumbled upon. I let it ferment for eight days and it came out mighty tasty but wooooooo is it spicy!!!

    Great post, and cheers to you for DIY-ing it!
    Viva la Sriracha,
    - Randy Clemens -

    • says

      Ahhh! Wow, thank you for the comment, Randy. :) Our red jalapeños are rapidly dwindling up here — I bought up what appeared to be the last of what I’ll find for the season this morning, and I’m excited to experiment with other varieties after this. (I’ve got the DIY spicy, fermented sauce itch now, and I’m not going to let a little winter stop me!)

  13. Ron says

    Love the recipe! Found you via Punk Domestics……trying it now with jalapenos, red habaneros, thai & a couple ghosts. I always wanted a spicier version.

  14. says

    Really nice!! I think i’ll try with Naga Morich peppers!! I got a question for you, schede did you get the beatiful tin (last pic) and the glass jar? Thk

    • says

      Thank you! I actually was able to find those in the bulk section of our local natural foods store. (They have lots of really neat hinged jars and bottles.)

  15. Matt says

    I can’t wait to give your Sriracha a try. I just received a bag of serrano and Hawai’i chiles from a coworker. The Hawai’i chiles are a little hotter than serranos but are the same deep red color and with a brighter, fruitier flavor. I may throw in a habanero, since I’m a heat junkie. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for your post. Very well done.

    • says

      Oooo, sounds awesome. I wish we had more varieties of peppers here in the northeast — I’d love to experiment. Enjoy your sriracha, Matt! :)

  16. says

    For future reference, the rooster is called Galo de Barcelos (Barcelos Rooster) – just google image it and you’ll find a bunch! It’s many times used as an icon in Portugal. It’s origins are in a legend that says that a rooster saved a man from getting condemned in a court. As he claimed for innocence, he told the court that if the rooster sang it would prove him innocent. And the rooster sang…

  17. Sandra Decker says

    Not being in the active workforce anymore , I began to start collecting recipes for canning and bakind . This sauce sounds wonderful ! Do you offer a print friendly version of tghe recipe ? Also , thank-you for pointing out how thoughtless we can be when we discover things that we like and want to share .

    • says

      Thank you, Sandra! Unfortunately I don’t offer printer-friendly versions at the moment, but that is definitely something I will look into. (I see it on many other blogs, and it seems like a very convenient tool.)

  18. George says

    I was just thinking, given that huy fong’s is darker and milder, is it possible that they use DRIED red jalapeno peppers to make their base? Drying tends to darken color and mellow flavors out some. Also given the quantities of product huy fong makes, and the product only being fresh in season infrequently, … I mean, I doubt they can easily make a year’s worth in two months, right? IDK!

    • says

      Hi George! That’s definitely something I’ve considered, and I’ve seen a few recipes bouncing around online that talk about using tried peppers instead of fresh. I am curious how the fermentation process would work with the dried peppers, as they’d contain far less water than fresh. (It does seem that Huy Fong might be using mostly fresh peppers, however, as their wikipedia page notes that most of their mash for the year is produced in two months, during harvest season. It is wikipedia, so who knows — perhaps that’s not entirely accurate.) I have another batch going now with a mix of red and green jalapeños and serranos, so we’ll see how that turns out!

  19. jamie brunner says

    #@%&*!!! I know I shouldn’t attempt to multitask when making a new recipe, but I did it anyway. Now, more than ten days into the process, I get to start over.

    Here’s what happened: While assembling the ingredients I made the mistake of answering the phone (the same phone that held the sriracha recipe on its screen). Instead of stopping, sitting down, and enjoying a nice long conversation with a dear friend I tried to do the awkward talk on speakerphone while reading instructions. At the time I thought it all went swimmingly well. Sriracha made, friend update complete.

    Then, days later, still no fermentation. I struggled to remember everything I did during the process and it dawned on me – I washed the peppers. With soap and hot water. I’m pretty sure this did away with the naturally occurring yeast on the peppers. No yeast, no fermentation. To remedy the problem, I decided to add a neutral-flavored ale yeast to, as the kids say, get the party started. Days later, nothing. Not one tiny bubble.

    So I came back here to see if anyone else was experiencing fermentation difficulties. That’s when saw it – the part of the instruction that said to add vinegar after fermentation. I ran to the jar and stuck my nose inside. After recovering from the painful pepper fumes, I smelled it – distilled white vinegar. A spoon full of the concoction in my mouth confirmed it – the yeast never stood a chance in the inhospitably acidic environment I had created for them. Poor things.

    When I start over tomorrow, my phone will be off. Fingers crossed no one rings the doorbell…

    • says

      Oh noooooo!!! If that had happened to me, at this time of year, I probably would have cried. (We just had our first frost this past weekend, so all the peppers are pretty much done for.) At least you can probably still get your hands on plenty down in TX!

  20. says

    Oh my goodness! This is amazing! I am a strong believer in making my own staples as much as possible (homemade broth, ketchup, mustard, etc) but never thought about sriracha! Love it! And I am totally smitten over your entire blog right now! SO gorgeous!

    • says

      Thank you, Shelly! I love making basic things from scratch, and this experiment with sriracha has definitely opened the door to a new spicy fermented concoction obsession. :)

  21. Amanda says

    Does anyone know: The sugar that you put into the peppers, is that to aid or begin the fermentaion process, or for taste?
    I’m on a completely sugar free diet plan (dr’s orders, so no cheating), and haven’t been able to eat any of my beloved sriracha!! :(
    I’m just wondering if i can use an alternative sweetener. I’d hate to try to make some, only to put it to waste.

    • says

      Hi Amanda — I’m a bit new to the fermentation game and don’t quite know enough about it yet to say anything certain. But what I do know is that fermentation is the conversion of carbohydrates into alcohol or acid. In this case, I believe sugar (glucose) molecules are being broken down and turned into lactic acid during the fermentation process. For this recipe, you’re letting the fermentation run its course. And once it stops, it’s because there are no more glucose molecules left to break down. So my guess would be that, although you begin with sugar, what you end up with is not a sauce that contains sugar (unless you add a sweetener after fermentation is complete). Again, I’m new to this so I might not have a full understanding of the process. Perhaps someone else will be able to offer insight as well!

    • says

      The sugar is likely to be there both for taste and to speed up and/or extend the fermentation process. The peppers will ferment even without the added sugar; cabbage doesn’t have much sugar yet readily ferments to become sauerkraut.

      If you need to constrain your sugar intake, you might want to either forgo the sugar in the recipe or let the peppers sit for at least a week, probably closer to two weeks. The key thing to remember in any extended ferment is that: 1) the stuff being fermented (in this case peppers and garlic) should stay below the surface of the brine in which they are fermenting, 2) the container is covered in such a way as to prevent contamination but not so tightly that things explode when the gas bubbles form (carbon dioxide, by the way), and 3) when in doubt about what’s been created, toss it.

      If you do use another sweetener, avoid any artificial ones since that might disrupt the fermentation process. As would xylitol, for that matter.

      • says

        Thank you! Very helpful. And this reminds me that I forgot to mention avoiding using any sort of artificial sweeteners in my previous reply, so I would like to emphasize that now as well. The chemical properties are not the same, and therefore will not have the same result.

  22. Dafs says

    Hi there, Oh Boy, I want to do this “sauce” so badly. I’m a spiciness freak.

    By the way, my family is Portuguese, that’s a very good looking rooster you got in your pictures, but to the point, you should try (I will) to use Piri Piri peppers (African Bird’s Eye) that will make the sriracha a little bit more in tune with the rooster. hehehe. It will be a lot hotter, though. I love getting chunks of this pepper with my grandmother’s Vinaigrette Cod (I don’t now if this is the appropriate translation for it).

    Cheers, keep the great recipes coming. Love your site, the style, the pictures, Ok I need to go eat now. Cheers.

    • says

      Thank you for the pepper tip! Now that I’ve gotten through a few batches, I’m definitely read to start branching out and experimenting with other ingredients. :)

  23. msue says

    I bookmarked this page when I saw a link on Twitter (Bon Appetite perhaps?). At least for now, I have access to red jalapenos here in Texas. I just started a batch yesterday, and hopefully another one tomorrow. BTW, the house smells verrry spicy in a good way! Question: do you have any experience canning the final product in a water bath? I thought that it might make a good gift for Christmas, along with some similar sauce using green jalapenos.

    And regarding the earthy flavor, I wonder if subbing some of the fresh jalapenos for roasted ones would work? I’m not sure how the process of roasting would affect the fermentation stage. I could try that method with the next batch, but I’m a little hesitant until I know more.

    Anyway, my hat is off to you for this great recipe! Thanks :)

    • says

      Hi Mary! I’m sad to say that I actually don’t have much experience with canning at all. (It’s always seemed like a project that my awkward kitchen isn’t really suited for. Which is a shame because I’d really like to get some hands on experience.) Anyway, I think that between the vinegar and the lactic acid from fermentation, the sauce has enough natural preservatives in it to keep it from spoiling for quite a while (although perhaps not at pantry temperature). But if you did want to go the extra mile and can it, I imagine it would work with a process similar to canning applesauce.

      I like the idea of incorporating the flavor of roasted jalapeños into the sauce, but I’m curious what it would do to the fermentation process. I actually just bottled up another batch that underwent an 8-day fermentation from doubling the sugar and used smoked sea salt in place of plain kosher salt, and it is AMAZING. I’ve got a couple green pepper batches going right now following the same formula, plus one with a few Chinese lantern peppers thrown in that’s undergoing a triple fermentation. The ones that contain mostly green jalapeños smell extremely fruity right now, and I’m curious to see how they’ll turn out.

      • msue says

        If your page counts have been up lately, it very well might be me – I keep referring back to your recipe as I’m working on several batches of this incredible Sriracha. I hope to report on the outcomes of each version after they’re done.

        Meanwhile — may I ask your opinion about the longer fermentation process? I have a smokey version in progress right now using red jalapenos. About 1/3 of the peppers were roasted, and I used smoked salt. It appears to be fermenting the same way as the first batch I made exactly per your recipe, so I don’t think the roasting step hurt fermentation. But in reading your reply, I realize that for your smoked version, you doubled the sugar and allowed an 8-day fermentation. In my smoked version, I did not double the sugar. Since it is still in progress, how do you think adding the extra sugar NOW would impact fermentation? I can’t see how it would hurt, but I also don’t know that it would help. FYI, I’ve decided to throw in a few chipotle peppers into the final puree step.

        Also – the original recipe is freaking awesome. My house smells like fire hot peppers & garlic. Not a single vampire came by my house last night on Halloween :)

        • says

          Yay! I am so glad you’re keeping me posted. :D

          It’s good to know that the roasting didn’t affect the fermentation process — that might be something to try the next time for me. As far as the sugar goes, I think you’d be fine adding more in right now. (As long as sugar is present, the fermentation continues, so it’d just be feeding the mash. At least that’s what it seems like to me.) I have since made a number of different batches, and here’s what I have to report myself (I’m actually thinking about doing a follow-up post, since I’ve learned a bit since this!):

          — Longer fermentation = awesome. In the batch where I doubled the sugar, the flavor is definitely a bit deeper and more complex, and also a bit tangier. I love it. I have a couple batches going now with triple the sugar, and I can’t wait to see how those turn out.
          — Using smoked sea salt is killer.
          — I also just bottled up that I made using mostly green serranos and black Hungarian peppers, as well as a few green jalapeños and some red Chinese lantern peppers (to add a little heat). I wasn’t sure about it at first, because it smelled very fruity from all the green peppers. But I finally had a taste today, and it is delicious. The black Hungarian peppers are a little bit like a milder, smokey jalapeño. And combined with the smoked sea salt, they gave the sauce an almost meaty taste. It actually tastes like a hybrid of sriracha and bbq sauce. (That one was also a doubled sugar fermentation.)
          — I also brought a little batch of it to a sandwich vendor at our farmers’ market who makes a killer hot sauce. We got to talking, and he told me that he’s actually spending the winter working on sauces. His method, however, is to actually ferment ingredients separately (so he’d have a batch of fermented onions, a batch of fermented garlic, batches of various fermented peppers, and so on), and then he can mix all of these various components together to make a variety of sauces. GENIUS.

          Keep sending the updates! I love talking about this stuff, as you can tell. :)

          • msue says

            Hi, again! I hope I’m not a pest, but I wanted to let you know the ongoing sriracha (can I even call it that anymore?) testing.

            In progress:
            1. a smoked sriracha using brown sugar and smoked salt. To this sauce, I will incorporate some to-be-determined amount of chipotles in adobe.

            2. a green jalapeno ‘sriracha’. For this I used white sugar, a double dose, and am trying for an extra long fermentation period. The mash is still bright (!) green, which I hope to maintain.

            Next up:

            3. Another red jalapeno based sauce, possibly with a substantial amount of onions as well as garlic.

            4. A Vesuvius heat level sauce made with 1/2 Manzano peppers, 1/2 yellow habaneros, white onion, garlic, and possibly – not sure yet – pineapple in place of all or part of the sugar. If luck holds, the sauce will be bright yellow.

            As an aside, I just made a salsa negra using smoked & dried morita peppers (dried chipotles that are reddish in color), onion, garlic, and orange zest. OMG. Seriously. OMG. A little drizzle on top of guaco – you’ll roll your eyes back and be glad you were alive to taste it.

            The experiments continue. Thank you for the inspiration :) My husband is a very happy man.

          • msue says

            Thought I’d share a final report about the sriracha trials. After making your delicious original recipe, I’ve tried many variations. The hottest by far is one made with 1/2 yellow habaneros, 1/2 manzano peppers, a big gob of ginger root, and some onion, plus double the sugar and an extra long fermentation. Yowie zowie it is so hot that it will have to be served with an eyedropper!

            I also made a ‘green’ sriracha using green jalapenos. It was good, very spicy, and will make a wonderful addition to soups, etc.

            My favorite of the experiments is the ‘smoked’ sriracha. OMG. I roasted about 1/3 of the red jalapenos before making the mash, and added extra sugar about half way through the fermentation period, and also used smoked salt. What put it over the edge was adding a small can of chipotles in adobo sauce to the fermented mash just before emulsifying it in the food processor. It is one awesome sauce.

            I’ve made other variations, but these were the standouts IMHO. A friend owns a Mexican restaurant, so I shared the sauces with him, as well as a black salsa that uses morita peppers. He shared really great feedback, including encouraging me not to be shy with the salt. I also shared some with the nice lady at the farmer’s market who let two pepper plants ripen to the red stage for me!

            Again, thanks for sharing your wonderful recipe. It was fun to play with it and to see what could happen :)

          • says

            Hi Mary! Thank you thank you for the updates. (And my apologies — I just realized that I never responded to your previous comment. That’s one of the bad things about me having a smart phone — I see emails late at night, and then forget about it by the time I’ve woken up the next day!)

            All of the sauces sound awesome. Especially the smokey one! I love love LOVE the idea of adding adobo chipotles. I have a few new batches that are just about ready to blend, so I think I might have to do that for at least one of them.

            The comment about using an eye dropper for the habanero/manzano sauce (which sounds super fiery!) reminded me that I’ve been meaning to make a hot pepper tincture for cocktails also. It’s probably pair well with summery things (like rum + pineapple), but I bet I could find something wintery to do with it too!

    • Monica says

      I was just wondering the same thing about canning it so that it could be preserved at room temperature on a shelf for gifting later. I did a little research. It can be done, but has to be canned in a PRESSURE canner. For pint jars it needs to process for 35 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. If you try to can it in a water bath, it will spoil and not be safe to eat.

  24. Jason says

    I subbed out the serranos with Thai and Holland chiles because I couldnt find any red serranos and didn’t want a brown sauce. In the fermentation phase now, will report back as to how it came out.

      • Jason says

        The holland/habenero/thai chili sauce came out great, but probably too hot for mainstream consumption. It’s nice if you put a dash of it on something, but it will numb your face for about 10 minutes if you have too much. :-)

        I am trying a new batch using red serranos but after sampling one I am afraid that this might be even hotter. So far the most flavorful and mellow was the batch I made using green serranos.

        • says

          Yeah, those red serranos are hot little bastards! I think I had the best results using 2/3 red and 1/3 green, which gives it a good amount of kick, but the fruitiness of the green peppers tones it down a little bit. Also, I’ve found that if you double or triple the sugar to prolong the fermentation, the extra lactic acid does a nice job of toning it down too.

    • says

      I bought a random assortment of jars from the local natural foods market. The 4 oz. mason jars are pretty easy to come by, but I haven’t been able to find another one of those hinged jars anywhere (including at the store where I bought it in the first place). I was able to find these online, which are similar in size and shape.

  25. Stacey says

    This is just what i needed to rid my garden of all the red peppers before the frost and my gardener hits LOL !!! Im going to pick them now and start this recipe ..Thanks for posting i cant wait!!!!

  26. Stacey says

    Just made a double batch with all the peppers left over from the garden took 3 days to bubble but yummmmmm!!! Delish!!! Thanks for posting we did the side by side with the store bought and this is way tastier and hotter!!! I will be making it again next year as I will be planting twice as many plants!!! Yay thanks again

  27. Jason says

    Also, I used plain white vinegar before but am thinking about using japanese brown rice vinegar for this batch. Good idea? Bad idea?

    • says

      I was very curious about how this would taste with vinegars that actually have a little bit of flavor to them. I say give it a try, maybe with half the batch. :)

  28. Hot n saucey says

    I love sriracha! I actually have a sriracha tattoo ;) I am making a green jalapeño and a red Serrano and jalapeño version to give away in pairs for christmas !! Between the Mexican markets in my neighborhood and the china town stores their are plenty of cheap peppers available in san Francisco even in December!

  29. says

    I just started to make this and was wondering how much it changes, volume-wise? Just want to make sure the jar I have it in is big enough…not that a sriracha explosion wouldn’t be awesome but… : )

      • says

        i’m so sad – i just checked on mine this morning (it’s been 5 days) and while it’s bubbling a little at the bottom, i think i see mold at the top! something fuzzy and white… :( i wonder why mine is taking so long!

        • says

          Oh no! Hmmmm. It’s strange that there would still be fermentation bubbles and mold. It’s possible that the fermentation will progress slowly (and be less vigorous) if you’ve been experiencing some cooler winter weather. (I know once the temperature dropped into the 60s here, the fermentation on my final few batches took a little bit longer to begin, and wasn’t near as bubbly as it had been during the hot, humid summer weather.) Still the mold is odd. If you’re stirring the mash every day and still seeing bubbles, then the lactic acid that’s being distributed from stirring should be enough to keep any sort of mold at bay. I did have one batch that wasn’t fermenting as much as I thought it should have (this was right when our weather started to get cooler here) that ended up going bad. It wasn’t bubbling much and there was one day when it didn’t appear to be doing anything at all, so I let it sit for one more day. When I checked on it the next day, it had developed mold and I had to throw the whole thing out. So it seems that, one the fermentation is over, mold can creep in pretty quickly. It’s a real bummer to have to throw the whole thing out, though. :\

          • says

            oh my gosh. i totally forgot i was supposed to stir it! crap! do you think it’s ruined or can i just pick the mold off the top? haha sorry if that’s really gross…

            • says

              Ahh, rats! (I’m glad we figured it out though!)

              So with that one batch that went bad, I actually tried taking a good portion of the icky part away from the top, hoping that everything else below was still OK. I stuck it in the fridge to hopefully keep it from molding any more, and then took it out the next day to see what was going on. There wasn’t any more mold, but it smelled horrible. (It had that gross, sickly sweet mold smell to it.) That was when I decided there was no saving it and threw it out.

              So, in short, if there wasn’t that much and you can get rid of it asap, it might be OK. I like to err on the side of caution when it comes to things like this, though. (Especially since I’m relatively new to fermentation and definitely do not understand all the happenings that go on yet.) It’s a shame to throw out a batch, but it might be the safest bet. :\

  30. Greg says

    Making a 100% Orange Manzano Pepper version. Was excited to stumble across this while trying to figure out what I was doing with all the rest of the peppers left on the plant. Will update all if its good- if not i will disappear for a bit and attempt again with the remainder of the peppers.

        • says

          Hehe, gotta love autocorrect! The reason that the homemade sriracha is a bit thin (and doesn’t really develop the body of store-bought even when you cook it down) is because of the lack of xanthum gum. Adding xanthum gum helps the sauce gel a bit. I don’t have any experience working with it myself, but if you want to trying thicking your sriracha to normal consistency, that’s definitely the way to do it!

  31. Ren says

    I am so excited to try this! You’re photography is fantastic, I’m sure this will taste as good as the shots look.

    • says

      Yes!! You’ll totally love it — it’s a whole new level of spice and awesome. :D

      (Also, when you decide to make it, you should shoot me an email. I have a couple updated tips that have yet to make it into the post, and that make the end product even better!)

  32. says

    fabulous post and pictures and I love your blog!
    I did three variations that really made a difference for me with the “earthy” taste we love so much.
    I used 4 ounces dried Thai chili peppers ground in with the red jalapenos, raw cane sugar and Bragg’s apple cider vinegar..WOW it is amazing.
    It is great to follow along with you, love your photos!
    Cathy

    • says

      Thanks so much, Cathy!

      And oh my gosh, thank you SO much for detailing your tweaks to the recipe. I had a few other people recommend dried chilies, and I love the idea of switching out the white vinegar for some Bragg’s (which holds a permanent place on my shelf). Can’t wait to try this out in my batches this summer! :D

  33. Andrea says

    I’ve seen other thai chili sauces (not the US made Huy Fong brand) list fish sauce as an ingredient, and that would change the flavor profile (maybe add earthiness?). Maybe the earthiness comes from using some amount of dried chiles – dries serranos toasted a bit over flame, then deseeded, soaked and added to the mix. Totally seen green chili sauces too listed as sriracha, but only in thai grocers.

    • says

      Ooo, I could see that. It would definitely be interesting to try a batch with a little bit of fish sauce. A lot of people have suggested the dried chiles, which makes a lot of sense to me too. So many great ideas to try this season! :)

  34. CL says

    Mine looked like it started bubbling after about 10 hours – should I leave it a bit longer? I mixed it up and re-covered this morning – tiny bubbles everywhere!

    • says

      Yup! As long as it’s bubbling and the mash continues to rise in the jar from the bubbles, the fermentation is still going on. Stir it once a day and keep an eye on it. As soon as it stops bubbling and rising, it’s time to blend it up with the vinegar. :)

      • CL says

        Ah, yes, I should have read the directions better. So excited for blending – I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  35. Bruce Shapiro says

    Heat and color differences are do to oxidation. To reduce heat of your Sriracha you can leave it with the lid off for a day or two (longer if you like it milder). The color will change to a darker hue though.
    Don’t forget to cover the jar opening with a cheese cloth secured with a rubber band.

  36. Molly & Nick says

    Hatch Chilis were in season in Texas a couple of months ago. They are delicious and we were out of our last batch of sriracha we made using your recipe … a light bulb went off. We made hatch-racha, using rosted hatch green chilis and its been a hit with our friends. It is the epitome of earthy, delicious sauce. Its definitely thicker than the jalapeno/serrano mix – something we’ve been trying to accomplish by adding xantham gum to our batches. Next summer I highly recommend it.

    Thanks so much for the updates – we’re trying an apple cider vinegar version now too!

  37. Monty says

    Hi. Just tracked this back through Bon Appetit. I am one of those pepper freaks, grow all the super hots but also some milds down around the habenaro range:) I normally make sriracha with Thai or Yatsafusa peppers then ferment for 3 to 4 months (airlock) at this point the ph is really low and I do not add vinegar. Vinegar brightens the taste, straight ferment is very earthy (mostly because of the garlic). I also use ginger plant for my fermentation starter, gives a quick boost to fermentation process. I just got through starting a batch with Maya peppers and shallots from the garden. Will not be Sriracha but who knows might be good. To keep sauces from seperating I use Acacia Powder (Gum Arabic), lots cheaper than xanthan. Looking at all the posts and you can tell there are as many ways to make sauces like this as there are sauce makers. It is all good!

  38. Claud Y. says

    This recipe looks awesome.. I’ve been reading thru the recommendations and changes in the comments and have an idea of what I want to try.

    I think that I might let the original mash do it’s thing during the week of fermenting, but when I go to blend, I might want to add either a few dried Chipolte Peppers to bring in the smokiness and a small flavor balance. Once that is blended, then cooking the mixture will help blend those flavors.

    ONce question I have is: How full do you fill the initial jar to make sure you have room for fermenting? Near full, 1/2 full? I’m using Quart Mason Jars if that helps..

    • says

      I usually fill my jars about halfway. (You could probably go up to 3/4 of the way full, but I like giving them a little extra breathing room.) Love the idea of adding in some chipotles for smokiness!

    • says

      Hi John. To be completely honest, I’m not quite sure! :) This was noted in Bousel’s recipe, so I repeated it here. Perhaps it just contributes to the ease of snipping the stems off and not having to worry about removing the tops as well?

  39. Shane says

    I have made this several times this summer with different peppers/Vinegars. I noticed the recipe changed. Looks like more salt and sugar plus throw in some green peppers? Is that correct? I made a batch last night according to the new recipe (Plus 3 Scorpion chilies). I do sub cane syrup for the brown sugar, which adds a good base flavor. Good stuff, can’t wait to see how this updated batch comes out!

    • says

      Yup! I updated the recipe a couple months ago to reflect the better results of my experiments last year. :) Let me know what you think of the new recipe when your batch is ready!

  40. Dan says

    I’ve been eyeing this recipe for the better part of a year and have finally stocked up enough red/green jalapeños to pull the trigger. Quick question though, to avoid spoilage I have kept most of my 4 pounds of peppers in the freezer (maybe 4 months). Does not look like too much moisture loss and no freezer burn. Any reason why frozen and defrosted chilies would not work or not ferment? Thanks for all of the great info!

    • says

      Hi Dan — None that I can think of! Let me know how it works out. (The red jalapeños and serranos are difficult to come by outside of July through October. It would be nice to know that I can stock up and then use them as needed.) :)

  41. Sherry Johnson says

    When you have made this has it ever taken longer to begin fermenting? How long do you think would be safe to still use it? Thanks!

    • says

      The most it has taken to show signs of fermentation for me is 3–4 days. This usually happens around this time of year (up here in the northeast, anyway), since it’s cooler and less humid. I would just keep stirring it and keep an eye out for any signs of mold (or any sweet moldy smells). If it goes more than 5 days, I’d maybe toss it and start over. :\

  42. Dan says

    One more quick question RE the mash:

    Can I put the mash into a large glass bowl covered in plastic wrap, or does it need to be in a Jar? I am doing a triple recipe. I can put it all into 16oz ball jars to ferment, but that’s a lot of ball jars! The large bowl would work better for storage purposes, but do not know if the plastic wrap cover would be adequate for fermenting.

    Thanks!

    • says

      A large bowl would work great! The plastic wrap is totally fine, especially since it’s only fermenting for about a week’s time in total. :)

  43. jeanseb roux says

    I found strange that you would do Sriracha with jalapeno, since jalapeno aren’t found in asia, and the Sriracha takes is origin in Thailand. for getting the taste closer to the real Sriracha thailand made (importes bu Cock brand), and not the us version, you need to replace your jalapeno by small thai pepper. it will definitivly change the taste. jalapeno have specific taste more about mexican found.

  44. gretchen says

    Hi Corey,

    I used a vitamix to blend my sauce. There were no seeds or other chunks left after blending and i was left with a rather thick sauce that i could barely get through the strainer. Also i could only blend it for a few minutes before the blender started cooking it. There was a slight graininess to it that i didn’t like. Any tips? (I used Red Flame Serrano’s and holy cow it’s spicy!!)

    • says

      I’m betting the vitamix is to blame! I think this is one of those rare cases when its ability to seriously pulverize anything actually isn’t ideal. :) A food processor doesn’t have enough blending power to break up the seeds and incorporate them into the rest of the sauce, but since the VM does, those seeds probably added a lot of body/graininess (and heat) to the sauce. Perhaps running it through on one of the lower speeds in the VM would keep the seeds intact.

  45. msue says

    This post has been on my mind lately, what with all the Huy Fong factory shut down news in the air, so to speak. I’m sorry about the shut down, but so relieved to have learned how to make sriracha due to your post way back when. I’m delighted to discover you updated the recipe to reflect what you learned in countless tests.

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