Today I’m going to share with you my recipe for homemade sriracha. You may know it better as Rooster Sauce, or that ubiquitous green-capped hot sauce that young folks nowadays love so much. At it’s simplest, sriracha is a fermented blend of hot peppers, salt, garlic, and vinegar. Though it’s precise origins are not known, sriracha was used as a condiment in Thai and Vietnamese cooking long before it was popularized by the wildly successful Huy Fong Foods, which made the green-capped, rooster-emblazoned version that we’re all so familiar with.
This homemade version doesn’t taste exactly like the original, but what fun would that be? After all, variety is the spice (ahem) of life. Don’t mind me. I crack myself up. This version tastes a bit brighter, and depending on the pepper type that you use, can be significantly hotter than the Huy Fong version.
This recipe also allows you to customize the level of fermentation. I personally like the complex, umami flavors that are added through the fermentation process, so I usually let mine go through at least several days of fermentation, tasting every day until I find the flavor profile I like. Once you reach that desired flavor, simply add the vinegar, which stops the fermentation process and preserves the flavor as it is in that moment.
Picking Your Peppers
Sriracha is typically made with fully ripened red jalapeños. (Did you realize that jalapeños eventually turn red if you leave them on the plant long enough? Now you know. Knowledge is power, y’all.) However, I am a big proponent of not making things the way they’re typically made, so my recommendation is to experiment with your sriracha recipe until you find the pepper type, or pepper ratio that you prefer.
I happened to have a bumper crop of a special little pepper known as the Filius Blue growing in my garden this summer, so I decided to use those instead of the typical jalapeños. Filius Blues are so named because the peppers start out a beautiful blue-purple color– at which point they are quite spicy– before ripening into a slightly milder, mature red.
Filius Blue peppers are quite a bit hotter than your average jalapeño. Whereas a jalapeño measures in at approximately 10,000 to 20,000 Heat Units on the Scoville scale, a Filius Blue clocks in between 40,000 and 50,000 Scoville Heat Units. If you’re not up for the heat, or can’t get your hands on these relatively rare peppers, try substituting jalapeños, serranos, or Fresno chiles, for a milder heat.
Another trick for using extra hot peppers is to mix them with a milder pepper. In this recipe, I use half Filius Blues by weight, and half sweet, red bell peppers. The bell peppers help to dilute the extreme spice of the hot peppers, while also adding more available sugars for the fermentation process.
A Peck or a Pound? Weighing Your Peppers
One last note on experimenting with hot sauces before I unleash y’all on my recipe. I decided to write this recipe by weight in order to make it both more accurate and easier to customize. The ratio of peppers to salt is fairly important. Generally speaking you want to add 2% salt by weight to your pepper mash, or 2 grams of salt for every 100 grams of peppers. Knowing this ratio makes it very easy to scale this recipe up if you decide you want to make four times the amount, or if you decide to triple the ratio of bell pepper to hot pepper for a milder heat. Just adjust the salt accordingly.
- 100 grams or approx. ¼ lb Filius Blue peppers*, stems removed
- 100 grams red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 grams sea salt
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- Blend peppers, garlic, and salt in a food processor until it forms a paste. Scrape the paste into a clean pint-sized mason jar and cover with a paper towel and rubber band. It will only half-fill the mason jar, but that’s okay. The pepper mixture will rise as it ferments, so it’s good to give it some extra room.
- Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 2-7 days, stirring the contents each day and checking to ensure no mold is growing. Bubbles should form on the surface within 2-3 days, which means your sauce has started fermenting. This where the rich, complex flavor comes from in sriracha. Try the hot sauce each day until it reaches the flavor you like best.
- Once the hot sauce has fermented to your liking, add the fermented pepper paste back into a food processor with the vinegar and blend until uniform in texture. Store the sauce in a tightly sealed container in a refrigerator. It will keep for up to 4 months.
*Filius Blues can be difficult to find if you’re not growing them yourself. Try substituting ripe red jalapeños, serrano peppers, Fresno chiles, or any other hot red pepper for a different heat and flavor profile. Experiment until you find the combo you most enjoy!