This Homemade Sriracha Was Food52's First-Ever ‘Viral’ Recipe

Shared by a community member in 2010.

May  3, 2023

Sometimes you know a viral recipe when you see one—and back in 2010, one was dangled before our eyes. We ran a recipe contest with the theme, “Your Best Condiment,” and Edamame2003, from Pacific Palisades in California, entered a recipe for Fresh Sriracha (aka Homemade “Rooster”).

By 2010, Sriracha had begun to challenge the Cholulas and other hot sauces in the American market. You started to see it more and more on restaurant tables, in your friends’ fridges, and on the shelf at the grocery store. As Edamame2003 wrote in their headnote, “It’s so popular that The New York Times has written about it and the ‘Rooster’ has a Facebook page with over 220,000 fans.” Sriracha comes from Thailand, but the ubiquitous green-topped bottled Sriracha is made by Huy Fong Foods, a company in California started by David Tran, who immigrated from Vietnam.

It wasn’t quite peak Sriracha, but you could feel it getting there. I’d never seen a recipe for it, which felt like a new twist, an element that helps a food concept gain traction.

Kristen Miglore, our founding editor, said I was “emphatic we should test it because it had potential to go viral—and it totally did! Which meant at the time that it got a lot of traffic that was further boosted by features on our partners like Yahoo and HuffPo.” I don’t remember jumping on top of a desk, shouting about Sriracha’s potential traffic spike for our site, but maybe I did. I was younger then.

The recipe requires little more than a knife and a blender. You combine chopped Fresno peppers with some salt, garlic, and vinegar in a jar, then let this mixture sit overnight to mellow the heat in the peppers. The next day, you simmer the pepper mixture with palm sugar for a few minutes, puree it and strain it, and then you can start dousing it on salt-and-pepper pork to your heart’s delight!

Merrill, my co-founder, and I tested the recipe and wrote up our notes: “Warning: Once you make edamame2003's version, you may never be able to go back to commercial Sriracha again. The vibrant color and piquancy of the fresh Fresno peppers, combined with plenty of garlic and a boost of vinegar, make for a zippy, versatile condiment that would be great with anything from banh mi to scrambled eggs.” And with a Sriracha shortage this year, the timing couldn’t be better to make your own.

Have you tried making this homemade Sriracha recipe? Tell us in the comments below!
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Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


Rosiebell May 17, 2023
Here on Vancouver Island in British Columbia I have never seen Fresno chilis at all. Any suggestions as to alternatives? For instance, this year I am growing Anaheim chilis and I can possibly get various types of sweet and hot chilis at our local markets later on in the Summer.
Rachel P. May 18, 2023
Can you get ripe (aka red) jalapeños? Because that is what is in the original sauce - recently did a tonne of sriracha research for my Substack!
Rosiebell May 18, 2023
You wouldn't think it would be that hard to get red jalapenos, but we are usually limited to green and, if we are lucky, green poblanos. On the other hand, I am living in an agricultural valley full of smallholdings, so I think I'm just going to have to keep my eyes peeled later on in Summer for a grower with peppers on offer and see what I can get. I was actually growing orange jalapenos myself this year, but it appears the crop has failed (cat attack!). Thanks!
Amanda H. May 19, 2023
Cat attack?! Must have been a spicy meal for that cat!
Rosiebell May 19, 2023
Well, at the time they were little plant babies but, that said, my most evil kitty, Mr. Butters, has been known to steal dried hot peppers and hide them away in his lair (under the chaise in the solarium) for furtive gloating over.
Rachel P. May 20, 2023
No, it is the same here in the UK unless we grow them ourselves - they're also a lot smaller - less fun for me when a client had me making jalapeño poppers last month! (I'm a recipe developer who does a lot of ghost writing!) Honestly, it's a ripe pepper with a medium heat and a fruity flavour, I think you could sub in a lot of similar. Also: bah, I'm sorry! I just have a bird problem with my vegetable garden...
Amanda H. May 20, 2023
I love Mr. Butters already.
Bernice May 17, 2023
How long can you keep this?
Amanda H. May 19, 2023
You can keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
JasonS May 17, 2023
I think Sriracha anything is just lazy and tired now. It is following the same overused hype as balsamic vinegar. Come on. So basic.
Tracey T. May 18, 2023
I have to agree - even though I use it as a sauce at home. When I see it on a menu it is disappointing. Same with menus that rely on bacon too heavily - lately "bacon jam" for example. As for Sriracha - give me something I don't have in my cabinet already! BTW have you tried yellow sriracha?
Sarah B. May 19, 2023
You could just not make the recipe...?
Jane E. May 20, 2023
So make something else! Some foods are popular because they delicious; imagine that.