Hot Pepper

The 17 Best Hot Sauces for Fried Eggs, Grilled Cheese, & Bloody Marys

Our favorite cooks and writers gave us the scoop.

February  1, 2022
Photo by Julia Gartland

Sometimes a meal simply isn’t ready to eat without a dash (or five) of your favorite hot sauce. And there are so many varieties out there! Personally, I’ve been cultivating a giant hot sauce collection in the form of gifts for my dad. Every birthday or holiday he gets a funky, fruity, or over-the-top hot bottle of something from yours truly, and we’ve been burning our tongues on them for years.

Because I just can’t get enough, I checked in with some food writers and recipe developers to see which hot sauces they like to keep on hand. Whether we’re talking about livening up avocado toast, grain bowls, and eggs, or just using the condiment to add heat to marinades and dips, there’s nothing better than hot sauce.

What Makes a Good Hot Sauce

The first two hot sauces that probably come to mind are Tabasco and Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce. And we would never, ever tell you not to buy them. Tabasco is great for dripping on burritos, eggs, and of course, a necessary ingredient for a Bloody Mary cocktail. Frank’s, on the other end, is essential for buffalo chicken-everything—wing sauce, dips, and even grilled chicken.

But there’s a fiery world beyond those two well-known hot sauces. We love small batch chili sauce because you know the quality is there (as is the heat). A good hot sauce should have a short ingredients list too: look for chile peppers, vinegar, cane sugar, salt, maybe some fruit purées, and not much else. You want the chile peppers to naturally develop the flavor profile without a whole lotta work from anything else.

Speaking of flavor, you can’t always tell what’s going on when your mouth is on fire. So before you drizzle ghost pepper hot sauce all throughout our egg and cheese sandwich, know what’s on the inside. The type of chile pepper(s) used is the best way to know how spicy the sauce will taste. Hot sauces made with poblano, jalapeno, or Hungarian chile peppers will be on the mild end. Thai peppers, scotch bonnet peppers, and habanero peppers will bring medium heat (though you might want to keep a glass of milk nearby just in case), and anything made with ghost peppers or Carolina reaper peppers will make you sweat, cry, and beg for mercy.

Here are 17 of our expert’s favorite hot sauces to drizzle, sprinkle, and downright pour on everything.

The Best Hot Sauces

1. Brooklyn Delhi Guntur Sannam Hot Sauce

I love the new Brooklyn Delhi Guntur Sannam Hot Sauce. It’s salty and has some fermented funk, and is much, much less acidic than most hot sauces, a completely different style from anything else I’ve tried. I put it on everything—eggs and avocado toast and rice bowls and whatnot—just as I do with all their excellent achaar. Lukas Volger, writer, editor, and cookbook author

2. Pisqueya

I love Pisqueya’s hot sauces. The passion fruit one adds beautiful sweetness and acidity to things like avocado toast, and I also like to put it in cashew-cilantro dip for tostones. Their smoky one has big (but not killer) heat, perfect for perking up basic hummus. Alicia Kennedy, food and drink writer

3. Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce

This one’s my go-to: It has more of a kick than Cholula, but not so much that it hurts. It's made from fruity habaneros, but they also use carrots, roasted tomatoes, and mustard to round out the sauce, so it's got a nice vegetal sweetness and tang. The thick texture makes it perfect for topping huevos rancheros or whisking into a spicy salad dressing or marinade. Kelsey Youngman, Associate Food Editor, Food & Wine

4. Frank's RedHot

Frank’s forever! I’ve never met a hot sauce I didn’t like, but Frank’s RedHot holds a special place in my heart. It’s more vinegary than it is spicy, so you can use a lot of it without damaging yourself. Best use: the buffalo cucumber salad from Parm, in New York City. Becky Hughes, Social Media Manager, NYT Cooking

5. Yellowbird

As a bona fide Austinite, I have to go with Yellowbird hot sauce. My personal favorite is the serrano version, although I do encourage people to try them all, as each one has a distinct flavor profile. I love this hot sauce for its vibrant and tangy flavor, with just the right amount of punch without distracting from the dish. This brand prioritizes organic and ethically sourced ingredients, which is something that directly aligns with my value system. Olga Koutseridi, food writer and recipe developer

6. Siete Hot Sauce

Texas is the birthplace of Siete Hot Sauce, and their chipotle version is my standby for when I need to add a hint of smokiness. Honestly the sauce is so good, it's hard not to use the whole bottle in one sitting—yes, that good. Siete stands out by incorporating nutritious ingredients like chia seeds, flaxseeds, and beets, as well as a wide range of pepper varieties that elevate the sauce to new flavor heights. I dare you to find a better representation of Mexican-American flavors in a jar of hot sauce. —Olga Koutseridi

7. Tabasco

Regular ol’ Tabasco has always been my fave, because I need that tang. Love dipping French fries into it! Eric Kim, writer and recipe developer

8. Maggi Hot & Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce

I keep several hot sauces at home, but most often I reach for the Maggi Hot & Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce, which is an Indian ketchup I grew up with. It works wonderfully well wherever ketchup is appropriate. Nik Sharma, food writer and cookbook author

9. Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Sauce

Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Sauce is my favorite put-on-everything condiment: eggs, veggies, potatoes, chicken, grain bowls, you name it. It’s spicier than you’d expect from a grocery store label, and is just the right amount of tangy. Maddie Flager, Commerce Editor, Condé Nast Traveler

10. Red Clay Hot Sauce

I have an entire corner devoted to hot sauce in my fridge, and adding newcomers brings me great joy. That said, I’m a Red Clay loyalist—their Hot Honey was what got me hooked, but I’m also really fond of their Carolina Hot Sauce. It’s a little sweet, a little smoky, and not overpoweringly hot, so exactly what I look for to top my eggs in the mornings. —Oset Babür, Associate Restaurant Editor, Food & Wine

11. Horseshoe Brand Peach Hot Sauce

New to me: I’m loving Horseshoe Brand Peach Hot Sauce! Such a beautiful, warm flavor, and it makes peach season last year-round. I’ve been drizzling some on top of vegetarian tacos, or on avocado smashes. —Oset Babür

12. Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce

Almost anyone can make a hot sauce that brings the heat. So for me, a great one also needs to burst with flavor—and none does it quite like Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce from Andre Springer, who birthed the brand as part of a drag performance in 2013. Aaron Hutcherson, food writer and recipe developer

13. Humble House Ancho & Morita

Whereas most hot sauces these days are in a competition to see who can singe your tonsils the most, I like that there's an actual balance to Humble House Ancho & Morita. It's a surprisingly versatile team player, with a nice blend of smoky-sweetness, richness, and acidity, thanks to the tamarind. Andrew Bui, food writer and photographer

14. Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce

My favorite brand of hot sauce, without a shadow of a doubt, is Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce. I am this close to drinking it straight. Ella Quittner, writer

15. Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce

Texas Pete is a classic hot sauce that goes with everything, and so I put it on everything. It’s bright and actually provides good heat, but not so much that you can longer taste the food you put it on. It’s just right. —Makinze Gore, Associate Food Editor,

16. Farm to People Bee Sting Smoky Honey Sriracha

It’s just a hint sweet and a little bit smoky. Put it on a breakfast taco and you’ll never look back. I love this stuff so much that I always, always keep a bottle in my fridge. —Makinze Gore

17. Tabasco Chipotle Sauce

I had a whirlwind love affair with Chipotle as a teenager, and the most important thing I gained from that experience was a love of Tabasco Chipotle Sauce. I love the deep, smoky, just-spicy-enough sauce for salad dressings, with roast chicken, or, yes, on burrito bowls. Gaby Scelzo, food writer, Sifted

What’s your all-time favorite hot sauce brand? Let us know in the comments!

This post was updated in January 2022 to include additional recommendations from our editors.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Rebecca Firkser is the assigning editor at Food52. She used to wear many hats in the food media world: food writer, editor, assistant food stylist, recipe tester (sometimes in the F52 test kitchen!), recipe developer. These days, you can keep your eye out for her monthly budget recipe column, Nickel & Dine. Rebecca tests all recipes with Diamond Crystal kosher salt. Follow her on Instagram @rebeccafirkser.


ssapp February 11, 2022
Marie Sharp's from Belize! Carrot-based, it is not vinegary but has an almost sweet undertone. As our kayaking guide replied when I remarked at breakfast one morning that Marie Sharp's goes with everything, "No, here in Belize we say, 'Everything goes with Marie Sharp's'"!
Corina H. February 11, 2022
That one is my favorite as well.... Everyone who tries it at my house ends up loving it and getting their own bottle!
Larry L. February 11, 2022
Salsa Huichol and Firelli's. Not easy to find, but neither are several on the list. Huichol is made in the Nayar mountain region of Mexico and Firelli's is Italian. I didn't even know the Italian's made hot sauce. Both are very good. Huichol can be found in many grocery stores in Arizona and can be purchased on Amazon. Firelli's is a little harder to find. I have only found it in one store in South Carolina, but it was very expensive ($8.00 a bottle! I think). It is also available on Amazon ($5.00 in the Whole Foods section), but I get mine online at Kroger ($5.00).
Jeff T. February 10, 2022
You forgot the Louisiana favorite Crystal
Redqueeneating February 10, 2022
From my new hometown and winner of many years in my old hometown’s mega quirky grocery store worth taking a devoted trip to, please please please taste some Papi Joe’s hot sauce! EXCELLENT. Also visit Jungle Jim’s grocery store Weekend of Fire for world class hot sauce
rod N. February 10, 2022
bohrnsenw February 10, 2022
Bullwhip from Alaska! The addition of kelp is magical!
Peter L. February 10, 2022
One of my new favorites lately is Gringo Bandito. The super hot one. Nice heat and lots of flavor!
hankgoodman February 10, 2022
Having 'Texas Pete' on your list takes away any credibility you have concerning hot sauce. Any restaurant with this on the table gets minus 5 black stars. I've lived in Texas and North Carolina. 'Texas Pete' is made in North Carolina.
ellicia February 10, 2022
I like Cholula because there is flavor, not just heat. I like it on scrambled eggs and also add a few drops to a Margarita for a little zing.
FrugalCat June 2, 2021
Tabasco Green is my top choice. I know it's not super spicy hot, but that flavor can not be beat. I mix it into sour cream or ranch for dips, it's fantastic on fries, eggs, tacos, even mac & cheese.
sadenis May 20, 2021
Besides Tabasco and Chipotle Tabasco, my go to is Rancho Gordo Rio Fuego Very Hot Sauce, The inclusion of roasted pumpkin seeds lends a nice nuttiness and thickness that allows it to cling to your food, and despite its given name, it's not very hot (at least by my standards).

If you're lucky enough to belong to the Rancho Gordo bean club, I highly recommend ordering a bottle or three to go along with your next delivery.
EmMa October 20, 2020
Hank sauce! Was surprised it wasn’t on the list here — it can only be found on shelves in the NJ/PA region, but they ship (and don’t be dissuaded by the bulk size’s a great deal and you’d be surprised how quickly you can go through it)...
Andrea October 19, 2020
Try Samba Sauce (sold online), a creamy (but no cream) sauce from Brazil. Completely unique in texture and complexity. No blistering heat. The flavor changes on the palate much like slurping fine wine: sweetish to peppery. From the website: "A secret mix of six Brazilian peppers, the original Samba Sauce is clean: majority vegetable matter - no dairy, no mayo, no gluten, no chemicals, completely vegan and uniquely delightful."
Catiethegreatie October 18, 2020
Old Grumpy Mark's hot sauces out of York, PA are my favorite sauces. I put Cuban Missile Crisis on everything. Great sauce names and everything is made super fresh and handmade.
Lane October 18, 2020
Having lived in Mexico for a few years, my favorites from there is La Valentina. Available in almost every grocery store in the USA. Great on everything, but especially on very crunchy thick potato chips. I'm eager to try some of the others reviewed here.
hankgoodman February 10, 2022
Very strong on red chili flavors and not too picante. The best for a michealada.
kigm October 18, 2020
Have you tried FatCat hot sauces? You should!
cindynegley October 18, 2020
Torchbearer also has some great sauces & they ship.
Nancy October 7, 2020
A lot of these are new to me, and now on my search list.
Like the taste of Huy Fong.
Have recently discovered that homemade jalapeno hot sauce (zhoug) goes very well on roasted sweet potatoes and regular ones. So imagine that Trader Joe's jalapeno sauce would be good there too.
gandalf October 8, 2020
Sun Hot Sauce and Jerome's Hot Sauce are made in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and come in two versions: red (using habanero and/or Scotch Bonnet peppers) and green (using jalapeno peppers). Here is a link to where you can order them:
Nancy October 8, 2020
Thanks, gandalf.
AntoniaJames October 7, 2020
I don't use hot sauce, but my L.A.-based sons and all his friends swear by Valentina, which is made in Guadalajara, Mexico. I think it's popular on the food trucks in LA. My SF-based son also likes it. I've been told that Valentina is not as vinegary as, and therefore somewhat more flavorful than, Tabasco. ;o)
Lane October 18, 2020
I agree.
Gordon October 7, 2020
While visiting Kuala Lumpur in Malayusia I was introduced to Lingham's Hot Sauce, it also comes much hotter. It is a unique sweet chili sauce that's heat will grow over time. It is sweet and spicy. This was the original sauce that Trader Vics offered with Crab Rangoon. It is not vinegary, nor does it have any garlic in it. It is not as sweet as regular sweet chili sauce either. It is very popular in Kuala Lumpur, and they LOVE HEAT there.