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.
Here are 17 hot sauces to drizzle, sprinkle, and downright pour on everything.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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, Delish.com
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
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