The Best Hot Salsa for a Spicy Time

The best hot salsa is not just spicy, but flavorful! It should fill your mouth with flavor and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up from the spice. Spicy salsa can be red or green, roasted or fresh. It can be made with a variety of peppers. It can be in the refrigerated section of your grocery store or it can be shelf stable. What I’m saying is, the best store bought spicy salsa can be anything.

I love spicy salsa—the spicier the better. And it’s always been that way. When I was a child, people would run over to our table to stop me, a baby, from dunking a tortilla chip into the hottest salsa on the table. My parents would reassure them it was fine, but they didn’t believe it until they watched me eat it and reach for more. At this point, I’m about 70% spicy salsa. Trust me when I say that this is a list of the absolute best hot salsa you can buy, hot green salsa and spicy red salsa included.


best hot salsa

Best Budget

Pace Thick & Chunky Hot Salsa

Pace salsa tastes good and is affordable. Plus, you can buy it almost anywhere. I’ve literally purchased Pace salsa at a gas station before. That rules! Who doesn’t love an accessible product? We already included Pace’s restaurant style salsa in our favorite store bought salsa ranking, and their hot salsa deserves to join the list, as well.l. And yes, we tried the Ghost Pepper Pace. That one is hotter, but this one is better. If you’re a fan of the nostalgic taste of Pace but craving more heat, this is the best hot salsa for you.

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best hot salsa

Best Refrigerated

Trader Joe’s Extra Hot Habanero Ghost Pepper Salsa

I have a controversial take on refrigerated salsas: They’re typically not very good. They can be super watery. Trader Joe’s Extra Hot Habanero Ghost Pepper Salsa isn’t watery at all, though. It has great heat and you get the flavors of both fruity habanero and ghost pepper. Trader Joe’s salsas don’t always hit, but this spicy red salsa is great and you should buy it.

Credit: Merc / Trader Joe’s

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best spicy salsa

Best Smoky

Patricia Quintana Authentic Mexican Chile de Arbol Salsa

I loved multiple of Patricia Quintana’s salsas. They’re so tasty. This chile de arbol salsa is labeled as “extremely spicy.” While I don’t agree with that, I do think it has a nice kick and is super delicious. The guajillo chili peppers give it a smoky flavor and the cilantro adds freshness. I wish the jar was 100% times bigger because this spicy red salsa is great and I wanted more of it.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best store bought hot salsa

Best Verde

Herdez Guacamole Salsa Medium

Not only is it our best avocado salsa and now the best hot green salsa, it’s one of our favorite spicy salsas in general. This hot salsa verde is great with chips, but my favorite way to enjoy this is to air fry a frozen burrito and then smother it in this spicy green salsa (wet burrito style!). This stuff is creamy, herby, citrusy, and spicy, of course. You can buy it in a two-pack at Costco and I recommend you do exactly that. You will definitely want two bottles of this spicy avocado salsa.

Credit: Merc / Target

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

best spicy salsa

Best XXX

Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Salsa

Mrs. Renfro’s Ghost Pepper Salsa is, first and foremost, a delicious salsa. It has the perfect level of chunkiness and seasoning. The best part is the heat, though. This spicy red salsa is one of the best hot salsa options for anyone who can handle heat. It’s really spicy and that shot it to the top of our list. I love it. I would absolutely buy this again.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

best hot salsa

Best of the Best

Mateo’s Hot Gourmet Salsa

Mateo’s literally never misses. We love their products. Their spicy salsa is the best store bought spicy salsa because it is actually spicy but also flavorful. It’s fresh. It’s acidic. There is nothing wrong with this salsa. The first two ingredients on the ingredient list are tomatoes and jalapeños and you really get that. There are no weird additives or preservatives. If you are looking for the best spicy salsa, or any delicious salsa in general, Mateo’s will always be a safe bet. They really are top tier.

Credit: Merc / Instacart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Other Products We Tried:
Sprouts Hot Salsa, Lucky Habanero Hot, Desert Pepper Hot, Casa Sanchez Hot, Patricia Quintana Authentic Mexican Roasted Tomato & Jalapeño Salsa, Green Mountain Gringo, O Organics, 365, La Mexicana Hot, Casa Martinez Habanero


About the Author

Jordan Myrick

Jordan is an L.A.-based writer and comedian who believes all food should come with extra sauce. When they're not writing for Sporked, Jordan is at the movies or sharing an order of french fries with their elderly chihuahua.

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  • I have to say that I think that your review was biased. We have been making salsa for over 20 years. I will put our salsa against anyone’s, and would be happy to send you samples of any of my salsa to back up my claim. My mild salsa features 7 fresh peppers, and by using fresh we guarantee great taste, and since we use no msg or artficial preseratives we provide a much superior product. So please get in touch. Arizona Salsa Company, Mesa Az

    Reply
  • Y’all are sleeping on the Great Value chunky salsa!

    Reply
  • Your thoughts on Mateos habanero hot vs Mateos hot? I have only tried habanero hot but will definitely give Mateos hot and others on this list a try!

    Reply
  • Hmmn, methinks this article was actioned off to the highest bidders :/

    Reply
    • Nope. We don’t take money for rankings and we would legally have to disclose that information within this article if we ever did.

      Reply
  • There was a time when Pace was a good salsa. But not anymore. Although they are many name brands sauces out there, few are worth the monetary investment. I’ve tried a lot of them and no longer purchase them. I have found that the greater value salsa is far superior to a lot of well-known products. I purchase the medium as the hot is a little more spice than I want and the mild was just not enough. Yet, when it comes to purchasing salsa the brookshire store brand of salsa in Texas is good and it was my preferred brand when I lived in Texas now that I no longer live in Texas I have started using the greater value brand and it has proved to be more than satisfactory

    Reply
  • If I am correct, my recollection of the guacamole salsa would be exceptional as a steak sauce. I tasted it and I was surprised, then I thought this needs to be on a steak. Not a good steak, but if you are elevating a grocery store steak.

    Reply
    • This sounds awesome! Great suggestion!

      Reply