Nearly 27% Think This Is The Worst Hot Sauce

North Americans love their hot sauce, as evidenced by Fortune Business Insights, which observed a market size of $1.13 billion in 2020. Adding hot sauce to a dish instantly amplifies the heat, enhancing anything bland that lacks intensity. Thankfully, there are many options to choose from to satisfy all palates. Even those who prefer things a little tamer will find some mild hot sauces to begin their introduction to capsaicin.

While it's always great to find a new favorite hot sauce, with all the variety out there, it's also worth it to find out whether there is any consensus about which hot sauce to avoid. Mashed decided to survey 639 people in the U.S. to find out what they thought was the worst hot sauce. Based on the poll results, 26.60% of participants would steer clear of Crystal Hot Sauce. Tabasco, another classic, came in second place with 19.41% of respondents agreeing that it was the worst. Tapatio came close behind with 17.06% of the votes. On the less-disliked end of the hot sauce spectrum were Frank's (13.30%), Cholula (12.21%), and Louisiana (11.42%) brands.

What's not to like about Crystal Hot Sauce?

Crystal Hot Sauce's website indicates that the New Orleans-based business has been around for almost a century. So despite the survey results, it's clear the brand has had its share of fans over the years. The hot sauce came to be thanks to "a stroke of pure luck," and the story goes that the owner found a hot sauce recipe in a drawer of a sno-ball syrup company he had purchased. The Crystal website states that they use the entire cayenne pepper, skins and seeds included. Aside from aged cayenne peppers, distilled vinegar and salt make up the balance of the sauce (via Crystal Hot Sauce). While they believe it produces a flavorful product with depth, perhaps the result is too intense for some taste buds.

PepperScale posted a review of the hot sauce, remarking that it was low to medium heat with a good balance of flavor and heat. The source also noted that the spice factor wore out pretty fast, requiring users to keep dousing their food in hot sauce. On the other hand, Crystal made it on a list by EatThis, Not That! as one of the better options available. However, the site pointed out that the salt content was a bit high, which may be a deterrent for subtler palates. Perhaps with the range of hot sauces available to spice lovers, there's more of an interest for varieties that deliver less salt and longer-lasting spice.