Small Batch

Homemade Sriracha

By • December 27, 2013 • 15 Comments

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: In this dark time, when the fate of Sriracha is up in the air and the world is up in arms, Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provinicial is showing us how to make the spicy sauce at home. 

I began experimenting with homemade Sriracha two summers ago after discovering Joshua Bousel's recipe on Serious Eats. The first batch -- while tasty in its own right -- was bright and in-your-face hot, but missing the earthiness of the beloved Huy Fong version. I spent the rest of my summer on a quest for a more complex sauce. By fall, I’d found it. ?

The keys to this much-improved homemade Sriracha were a longer fermentation and the addition of smoked sea salt and xanthan gum. The change that made the biggest difference, however, was mixing in some green jalapeños and serranos. The milder green peppers mellowed out the up-front heat present in earlier versions, bringing balance to the sauce. ??The result is a sauce that is a bit hotter than the Huy Fong version, but with all the earthy complexities that make it so darn tasty.

While this is a recipe, it should also be considered a framework. Feel free to experiment with different peppers, adjust the type and amount of sugar, and try other vinegars. Let it become your obsession too. ??

Also, a few tips: wear food-safe gloves when working with the hot pepper mash (some sort of eye protection doesn’t hurt either) and cover your face when you’re washing the food processor bowl and the fermentation jar (otherwise you’ll be breathing in hot pepper vapor).

Homemade Sriracha

Makes about 2 cups

2/3 pound red jalapeños and serranos (even mix), stems removed
1/3 pound green jalapeños and serranos (even mix), stems removed
1/2 pound partially green/partially red jalapeños and serranos (even mix), stems removed
6 cloves garlic

8 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked sea salt
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Place the peppers, garlic, sugar, and salts in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Transfer mixture to a clean jar, then cover and let sit at room temperature.

I use a mason jar with the lid screwed on very loosely. You want to give your mixture a little breathing room, so don’t screw the top on too tight. Alternatively, you could forgo the jar/lid combo and just use a bowl and plastic wrap. Store in a dark, dry place.

Check the jar every day for fermentation. This should begin after 2 to 3 days, but it might take a little longer in colder, drier weather. Once you begin to see some bubbly, liquid-y magic at the bottom of the jar, fermentation has begun. 

Stir the mash each day, until it is no longer rising in volume from the fermentation. This should take 5 to 7 days.

Transfer the mash to your food processor or blender, add the vinegar, and purée until very smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, stirring and mashing it through until all that remains are seeds and larger bits of peppers. Return the sauce to the clean bowl of your food processor or blender and sprinkle xanthan gum over top. Pulse until the gum is incorporated and the sauce has thickened. 

Transfer to food-safe squeeze bottles or an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to six months.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Carey Nershi

Jump to Comments (15)

Tags: small batch, sriracha, DIY, condiments, asian food, sauce, dips, spicy

Comments (15)

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5 months ago duncan

any idea why mould is on the top of my puree after 2 days.

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5 months ago kate

Hello. With your permission, we would like to reprint this sriracha recipe in foodie mag Food & Home Entertaining (we're in South Africa) http://www.foodandhome...
We will obviously credit the recipe as a Food52 one.
We don't get Red Rooster sriracha sauce here, hence we would like to give our readers the opportunity to make this one.
Thanks, Kate from Food & Home mag.

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6 months ago Gerald5001

Were can you get xantham gum and smoked sea salt. I have never seen either when I have been shopping

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7 months ago dhaney888

Sadly it didn't work for me. No fermentation, just mold, on day 5.

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7 months ago Carey Nershi

Sorry to hear it didn't work out. I've found that the fermentation process can be a bit temperamental in the winter, between the cooler temperatures and the lack of humidity. (I've had the fermentation process last for over a week in the summer, and barely two days in the winter.) If you do give it another try, setting the jar in a warmer area of your home close to a humidifier could help a bit.

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7 months ago Shane

What would the consistency on this be without the Xantham Gum? I don't generally add thickeners to sauces unless it's really necessary.

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7 months ago Carey Nershi

Without the xanthan gum, it has a soup-like consistency. This was a little runny for my tastes, so prior to working with xanthan gum, I would thicken it up by simmering it on the stovetop for 15 minutes or so. This method doesn't achieve quite the same consistency, but it's definitely an improvement.

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7 months ago Melanie

Can't wait to try this, and other DIY offerings! Thank you.

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7 months ago Jeff Anders

As Joey mentioned, you forgot a key ingredient in your listing of ingredients - Garlic. You say to add it - but not how much.

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7 months ago Joeybags

You mention garlic in one of the picture captions but it is not listed with an amount on the actual ingredient list... How much garlic??

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7 months ago Carey Nershi

Oops! Sorry about that -- it should be 6 cloves. Full recipe amended. Thanks for the catch. :)

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7 months ago Mike Effin Shapiro

You can substitute the xantham gum with agar agar and once it sets you could re blend it and effectively make a fluid gel.

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7 months ago Carey Nershi

Thanks for the info on subbing in agar agar, Mike. (I've yet to work with it myself, so I appreciate tips from someone who has!)

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7 months ago Cinnamin

Love the idea of homemade sriracha! Is there anything we could substitute the xantham gum with?

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7 months ago Mike Effin Shapiro

You could use agar agar to set the blended and strained mixture into a solid and then re blend it once it is set. This would make it a fluid gel