This easy homemade hot sauce uses fresh hot peppers– like jalapeños, serrano chilis, and habaneros– and turns them into a delicious sauce in the Instant Pot® ! (Stovetop directions included.)
Every spring, without fail, I get a little too ambitious when I’m choosing hot pepper plants.
I start with one or two plants, and then a week or so later, I find a pepper I haven’t grown before, and another one on clearance at a garden center.
And then, around the beginning of August each year, I find that I am overwhelmed by hot peppers.
I mean, really, how many hot peppers can one eat at a time?
Even if you’re my husband– who loves hot peppers and is the reason I talk myself into planting too many peppers each year— there are only so many hot pepper-eating-hours in a day.
And then, one day this past winter, my friend Dee solved my hot pepper problem.
She brought her homemade hot sauce to breakfast, and it was SO GOOD.
Dee’s hot sauce was spicy, flavorful, and I wanted more!
Apparently, I was not the first person to ask for her hot sauce recipe, because she had it saved as a PDF on her computer, ready to share.
And now I’m sharing it with you.
Thank you, Dee!
This homemade hot sauce uses whatever hot peppers you have on hand, plus a little garlic, carrots, vinegar, and lime juice.
I like to make it in my Instant Pot (because there’s fewer hot sauce fumes in my kitchen that way), but I’m also including a stovetop version in the recipe card.
How Hot Will my hot sauce be?
It depends on what type of peppers you use!
The peppers you choose will help determine how hot your hot sauce will be.
Using mild hot peppers— such as anaheim and poblano peppers– will give you a flavorful, mild (not-very) hot sauce.
Medium hot peppers— such as jalapeño, serrano, and cayenne— will make your hot sauce spicy and delicious.
Extra-hot peppers— like habaneros, ghost peppers, and Thai chilies— will make your hot sauce crazy-hot. It’ll be the type of hot sauce you use with caution, one drop at a time.
My favorite way to make this hot sauce is to use a combination of all three heat levels.
Safety with Hot Peppers
This recipe involves slicing and cooking hot peppers.
Some hot peppers require a little extra attention to safety.
If you’re using extra-hot peppers, wear disposable gloves when handling the peppers!
Pepper burns on fingers are no joke– they hurt for days!
I also recommend placing your Instant Pot in a well-ventilated area— such as near an open window or next to your oven’s range hood fan.
If you’re using extra-hot peppers– it’s a good idea to grab a disposable respirator mask to protect your lungs.
How to Make Homemade Hot Sauce In an Instant Pot
Start by adding garlic, salt, and olive oil to the Instant Pot.
Press the sauté button, and stir until the garlic becomes golden.
Strain out the garlic, and reserve it for later.
Cooking Tip: Adding garlic to cold oil and then letting the garlic heat up slowly is an easy way to sweeten the garlic.
Add onion, carrots, and the hot peppers to the Instant Pot.
Cook until they soften.
Add lime juice, apple cider vinegar, water, and the reserved garlic to the pot.
Press cancel to turn off the sauté feature.
Close the Instant Pot, turn the valve to the sealing position, and press pressure cook (or manual). Set the timer to one minute
Some model Instant Pots have a pressure cook button, and others have a manual button. They do exactly the same thing.
It will take about five minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure, and then it’ll start counting down.
When the countdown finishes, your pot will beep and begin counting up.
Let the Instant Pot do a natural release for ten minutes. In other words, don’t touch the Instant Pot– let it do its thing for ten more minutes.
After ten minutes, carefully release any remaining pressure.
Want more Instant Pot ideas? Check out all of my Instant Pot recipes!
Next, use a blender to purée the hot sauce until it’s silky smooth.
Blender shopping? I use (and love) use a Vitamix 750.
Do I Need Hot Sauce Bottles?
The first time I made this hot sauce, I poured it into glass jars, and we dipped small amounts out with a spoon as needed.
That said, I love using hot sauce bottles!
Plus, hot sauce bottles filled with homemade hot sauce make great gifts!
Want hot sauce bottles? I used this hot sauce bottling kit that came with the little hot sauce drip caps and a funnel.
Want more Instant Pot ideas? Check out all of my Instant Pot recipes!
Homemade Hot Sauce
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3 TB olive oil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 9 oz hot peppers like jalapeño, serrano, habanero, or ghost (about 14 small peppers), diced and stems removed Wear gloves while chopping
- ½ cup water
- 4 limes, juiced (~½ cup lime juice)
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 TB maple syrup (optional)
Instant Pot Directions:
- Smash garlic with the back of a chef's knife to remove the peel.Add garlic to the Instant Pot along with the olive oil and salt. Press the sauté button. Leave the adjustable temperature setting at normal.Stir the garlic often while the pot heats up, and use a slotted spoon to strain it out of the Instant Pot as soon as the garlic begins to look golden. Reserve the garlic.
- Add the onions, carrots, and all the peppers to the Instant Pot. Sauté until the veggies have softened.Tip: Turn on the vent hood fan over your oven or open a window during this step. Use a long-handled spoon to stir the veggies, and avoid standing with your face over the pot. If you're using extra-hot peppers, consider wearing a disposable respirator mask.
- Add a splash of the water to the Instant Pot, and stir to scrape up any bits of food on the bottom of the pan (to prevent the burn warning). Add the remaining water, along with the lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and reserved garlic to the pot.Press the cancel button on your Instant Pot (to turn off the sauté function).Seal the Instant Pot lid, and turn the steam valve to the sealing position.Set Instant Pot to pressure cook/manual, high pressure. Set the cook time for 1 minute.
- The Instant Pot will take about 5 minutes to come to pressure, and then will start counting down the cook time. The Instant Pot will beep to let you know the cook time has finished. After the cook time is finished, the machine will begin the natural release process, and the countdown timer will start counting up. Allow the Instant Pot to do a natural release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully quick release the remaining pressure by using the handle of a long spoon (I use a wooden spoon) to turn the steam valve to venting.Tip: Quick release can be messy– the vent will shoot some liquids out with the steam. Lay a kitchen towel over the top to keep your kitchen clean.Wait for the steam to escape and the pin to drop down. Then carefully remove the lid.
- Ladle or pour the mixture into a blender basin, and blend until smooth.Taste the sauce. Add more salt if needed, and maple syrup if you want the sauce sweeter. Add a dash of water or more apple cider vinegar if you'd prefer the sauce to be thinner.Pour the hot sauce in glass jars or glass hot sauce bottles, and store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
- Smash garlic with the back of a chef's knife to remove the peel.Add garlic to a large pot along with the olive oil and salt. Heat over medium heat.Stir the garlic often while the pot heats up, and use a slotted spoon to strain it out of the pot as soon as the garlic begins to look golden. Reserve the garlic.
- Add the onions, carrots, and all the peppers to the pot. Sauté until the veggies have softened.Tip: Turn on the vent hood fan over your oven or open a window during this step. Use a long-handled spoon to stir the veggies, and avoid standing with your face over the pot. If you're using extra-hot peppers, consider wearing a disposable respirator mask.
- Add the water, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and reserved garlic to the pot. Partially cover pot, and simmer over medium heat until the veggies are tender.Ladle or pour the mixture into a blender basin, and blend until smooth.Taste the sauce. Add more salt if needed, and maple syrup if you want the sauce sweeter. Add a dash of water or more apple cider vinegar if you'd prefer the sauce to be thinner.Pour the hot sauce in glass jars or glass hot sauce bottles, and store in the fridge for up to 6 months.