Homemade Sriracha

By Carey Nershi
December 9, 2013
16 Comments


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

The keys to this much improved homemade Sriracha were the following: A longer fermentation, achieved by increasing the amount of sugar. Using smoked sea salt in addition to regular kosher salt. Thickening with xanthan gum instead of reducing the sauce over heat. And the change that made the biggest difference: mixing in some green jalapeños and serranos. The milder green peppers mellowed out the up-front heat that was 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. And 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. 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. (I didn’t bother with this for a while, but then I had a rogue bit of hot pepper juice splash right into my eye this summer. So yeah, eye gear.) And covering your face with something when you’re washing the food processor bowl and fermentation jar is also a good idea, otherwise you’ll be breathing in hot pepper vapor.
Carey Nershi

Makes: about 2 cups

Ingredients

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

Directions

  1. Place peppers, garlic, sugar, and salts in your 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.
  2. Check the jar every day for fermentation. (This should begin after 2 to 3 days, but 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.)
  3. Transfer the mash to your food processor/blender, add the vinegar, and puree 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.

More Great Recipes:
Condiment/Spread|Vegetable|Summer|Fall

Reviews (16) Questions (0)

16 Comments

George June 29, 2018
I tried this recipe and am waiting on the outcome. I agree with the other person that stated your recipe is hard to follow based on the measurements. If things were more rounded numbers it’d be easier to grocery shop it. I basically doubled everything and walked my own path from your example. I’ve made a few other batches. Each one is different but home made is the way to go regardless. This batch doesn’t look good but hey, as long as it tastes good, what’s the harm? :)
 
George July 7, 2018
Just tried it and I think it’s too vinegary. I would use HALF as much vinegar next time
 
Susan C. December 22, 2017
I think I added the vinegar in the beginning. It was a week ago and the mash rises in the jar and forms a watery layer on the bottom.p every day. I stir it every day. Is it ok with the vinegar going in early? I used brags apple cider vinegar because it was what I had. Do I then blend it after it stops rising every day? Thanks
 
The P. March 29, 2016
Is smoked sea salt mission-critical? Or is regular sea salt (which I have) OK?<br /><br />
 
lekha August 25, 2014
tHE ONLY jALAPENAS I FOUND ARE IN JARS WITH BRINE. ARE THERE ANY SUBSTITUTES FOR SERRANO...I LIVE IN UK. sORRY TO BE SO THICK BUT WHAT IS KOSHER SALT VS ANY OTHER SALT?<br />THANKS LEKHA
 
Poundsteak March 18, 2014
I followed this recipe, using 1# of red jalapenos and 1/2# green. It took 5 days to finish the fermentation process and am completely satisfied with the end result. Very earthy and complex. Great recipe that I will be using as an base to build off of. Thanks!
 
Chef B. January 22, 2014
I finally finished my Sriracha. Didn't get any bubbles from fermentation though. I pureed it and skipped the straining. I like the consistence better. I did add a little agar agar for added body. In my Vitamix it became quite warm so that the mason jars actually formed a vacuum.<br />It may be too sweet but has good flavor and heat.
 
Ruben L. January 10, 2014
My sister and I are making this over the weekend. We will let you know. :)
 
Chef B. January 9, 2014
I really like this recipe and made it the other day…with some variation.<br />I was able to find green Jalapeños and Serranos only and threw in some Red Fresnos for the only red color. For sugar I used 1/4 C brown sugar, 1/4 C Molasses and some Chardonnay barrel smoked salt, not fancy but the only one I had.<br />I used my blender and got the same effect.<br />My Mason jar was full to the brim so I worried about the fermentation expansion. Last night was Burrito night and I couldn't wait so I added some of my pepper mash for flavor. I LOVED IT!; not too hot and nicely sweet. Now, 1/2 C later there is enough room for rampant fermentation.<br />I can't wait for the final product. I hope I don't eat it all before that time comes.
 
Author Comment
Carey N. January 12, 2014
So glad you enjoyed the early tasting! :) I bet the molasses adds a wonderful flavor, and Chardonnay barrel smoked salt...yep...I definitely just googled that. I think I need some in my life. I hope you enjoy the finished product just as much, or even more!
 
rsimpson3 December 29, 2013
When I first heard that the Huy Fong plant might be closed, I started looking for recipes for a homemade version. I tried a couple, but they weren't even close. Now I see what the missing piece to the puzzle is: fermentation. I'll definitely be trying this. Thanks so much for doing the "lab work" and sharing it with us!
 
Author Comment
Carey N. December 29, 2013
My pleasure! The fermentation works wonders, and it's quite a fun process to observe. I hope you enjoy it. :)
 
Luvtocook December 29, 2013
This recipe seems strangely written. Why not X amount of red jalapenos, X amount of green jalapenos, X amount of both colors, x amount of serrano peppers??? This "equal amount of each" stuff is UNNECESSARY, isn't it? I weigh ingredients myself but I see no value in the way the recipe is presented. That doesn't mean that I won't try it...after I rewrite it satisfy my need for recipes that make sense.
 
Author Comment
Carey N. December 29, 2013
I have written it this way because I feel (as I stated in the notes) that the key to achieving the desirable balance of heat and earthiness is the incorporation of green and mixed color peppers. This recipe is more about focusing on the heat profiles of red vs. green vs. mixed peppers and the way they balance each other out, not fussing over exact measurements of each color and variety (especially given the fact that the heat of chiles can vary quite a bit). Frankly, I would find it more confusing to increase the ingredient list by 33%, and it would detract from the way I wish the recipe to be interpreted. All in all, it is more guideline than gospel. It's unfortunate that you're having such difficulty understanding it, so if this makes things easier for you: 1/3 lb (5.33 oz) red jalapeños, 1/6 lb (2.66 oz) green jalapeños, 1/4 lb (4 oz) mixed color jalapeños, 1/3 lb (5.33 oz) red serranos, 1/6 lb (2.66 oz) green serranos, 1/4 lb (4 oz) mixed color serranos.
 
sanurjim December 27, 2013
You state one should "Place peppers, garlic, sugar, and salts in your food processor", but your recipe does not have garlic in it. I think this is an omission, and if so, how much garlic should there be?
 
Author Comment
Carey N. December 28, 2013
Amended! It should be 6 cloves. :)