This Is The Best Vinegar For Making Hot Sauce

People who like hot sauce tend to really like hot sauce. They'll put it on everything including burritos, eggs, potatoes, and chicken wings, to name a few. The love Americans have for hot sauce is also reflected in the number of choices out there. There are tons of brands — from local vendors to bigger names like Tabasco, Sriracha, and Texas Pete — and a wide range of heat levels, from mild to hot to those made with the world's hottest Carolina Reaper peppers. 

While there are plenty of options to choose from at the grocery store, you can also make your own hot sauce at home with just a few key ingredients. Of course, you need hot peppers to start, but you also typically need vinegar to create the liquid base and give it that acidic undertone. But are all vinegars created equal when it comes to homemade hot sauce? Not exactly. Here's the best vinegar to use if you want to try whipping up a batch of hot sauce yourself.

White vinegar is ideal for hot sauce

Which type of vinegar you choose to use in your homemade hot sauce can drastically affect the flavor. White vinegar is by far the most popular vinegar in hot sauce because it's both inexpensive and has a neutral yet strongly acidic flavor profile. Distilled white vinegar in particular accentuates the taste of the peppers themselves. "The sour taste from the acetic acid produced during processing also complements the heat from hot peppers and, depending on the quantity used, can reduce the SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) of the pepper," Hot Sauce Hell says. Plus, because white vinegar is clear, it won't affect the color of your hot sauce.

That said, while white vinegar is the most common type used in hot sauce, you can get creative and experiment with others. For example, try using apple cider vinegar, malt vinegar, and red wine vinegar for more unique flavors. Any vinegar with at least 5% acidity will do in terms of both taste and preservation.