This Might Be The Easiest Way To Thicken Up Hot Sauce

If you like your food muy caliente, you're probably really into hot sauce. Whether you're a Frank's RedHot fan who puts that s*** on everything or you dream of appearing on Hot Ones and spend days preparing for The Last Dab, there's a hot sauce to suit every spicy food fan. You may have even experimented with using hot sauce in unusual ways such as stirring a spoonful into cookie batter or shaking a few drops into a cocktail or beer. But have you ever tried making your own hot sauce?

While you may not be able to duplicate the exact taste of your favorite store-bought hot sauces, the DIY approach is still relatively easy and fun, provided you don't chop super-hot peppers without gloves on. All you'll really need is peppers, salt, and vinegar. Still, if you stick to these 3 ingredients alone, your hot sauce will be on the thin side. This isn't necessarily a bad thing — Tabasco is a thin hot sauce with plenty of fans. But if you want something you can shake all over your sandwich or wings, you might want a sauce with a little more body. In this case, you'll be needing some method of thickening. Why not start with the easiest way first?

This may be the simplest approach, but it still has its pitfalls

The easiest, or at least the simplest, way to thicken up any sauce is to keep heating it until some of the liquid cooks out. As the water in the vinegar evaporates, this will reduce the volume of your hot sauce and leave you with what is known in cooking terms as a reduction. This method will not only make your sauce thicker, but also more concentrated and flavorful.

Making a hot sauce reduction might be a pretty time-consuming procedure, however, depending on the amount of sauce you're making and how thick you'd like the finished product to be. You'll need to cook the sauce over a very low heat for quite some time, and you should also keep stirring it so the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom, burn, or boil over. One other potential downside to this method of hot sauce thickening, as Baking Kneads points out, is the fact that it will reduce the overall volume of sauce you're left with.

You can also thicken sauce by adding ingredients

If you don't choose to use the reduction method to thicken your sauce, Baking Kneads lists several additional thickening methods, all of which involve adding extra ingredients. If you want to keep things all-natural, you can always thicken your hot sauce by blending in some fruits or veggies. This method may involve some extra cooking, though, to reduce any extra liquid that might dilute the taste. These additions tend to temper the heat from the peppers, and they will certainly add some flavor of their own. Choose your ingredients wisely if you decide to go this route.

You can also thicken your hot sauce with the addition of powdered arrowroot, a thickener that's recommended over cornstarch for use in hot sauces. Mix 1 teaspoon of arrowroot with 2 teaspoons of water, then stir this slurry into 1 cup of hot sauce while gently heating it. If you make a lot of jelly, you might have some pectin on hand. Just ⅛ teaspoon of pectin should thicken up a cup of hot sauce; simply boil the sauce for 30 seconds after adding it in. Xanthan gum can also thicken your hot sauce without requiring additional cooking, although you should use a blender to prevent lumps from forming. Hot Sauce Hell suggests using ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum for a quart of sauce, or ⅛ teaspoon if you're just making a 2 cups.