11 Best Hot Sauces Worth the Burn

The best hot sauce hurts so good. We tried sweet, savory, and spicy varieties to find the absolute best hot sauce you can buy.

I am a hot sauce fanatic. I put it on every single thing I eat. Instead of wine, people gift me bottles of hot sauce for holidays. It’s the souvenir I buy on vacations. Since I was old enough to eat food, I’ve been eating hot sauce. If this wasn’t already clear: I was absolutely thrilled to compile this list. Equally thrilled to be tasting hot sauces was Santi Massa, creative executive at Mythical and fellow hot sauce enthusiast, who joined us for this taste test.

There are practically as many types of hot sauce as there are people on this planet, so how could we possibly choose just one as the end-all-be-all best? Let me tell yah: It was no easy feat, but we did our best. We gathered all of the best reviewed, most searched for, and most purchased hot sauces you can readily buy to compile this list of the best of the best. Are there other super unique, hyper-regional, and niche hot sauces that aren’t on this list? Absolutely. That said, this is a pretty dang perfect list of the best hot sauces you can easily find on your next grocery run.

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Best Hot Sauce: Sriracha

Best of the Best

Huy Fong Foods Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Everyone who participated in this taste test agreed that Huy Fong sriracha—the classic kind with the rooster on the bottle—is absolutely perfect. It’s a little spicy but mild enough that heat-haters can still enjoy it. It’s affordable and comes in a huge bottle. And, most importantly, it is good on literally everything. Everything! Pho, scrambled eggs, avocado toast, tacos, burgers, pizza. The town of Irwindale, California, where Huy Fong’s sriracha is manufactured, voted to declare the scent coming from the factory a public nuisance, but I think the idea of a sriracha-scented town sounds like a dream come true. Irwindale, here I come!

Credit: Merc / BWalmart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Best extra spicy Hot Sauce: El Yucateco Chile Habanero XXXtra

Best Extra Spicy

El Yucateco Chile Habanero XXXtra Hot Sauce

El Yucateco is the legitimately hot hot sauce of my dreams. Unlike most super spicy hot sauces, this habanero-based sauce actually tastes good. It doesn’t just taste like chemicals and, even though it’s outrageously spicy, it brings so much more to the table than heat. The flavor is a little fruity, slightly peppery, and super savory. This stuff is so hot that I add one drop per bite instead of dousing my entire meal in it like I have to do with other hot sauces. Eat and enjoy with caution!

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

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Best Hot Sauce for Mexican Food: Tapatio Salsa Picante

Best for Mexican Food

Tapatio Salsa Picante Hot Sauce

We tasted Cholula, Valentina, and Tapatio side by side. Some of the team exclusively buys Cholula and some of us swear by Valentina. No one was riding for Tapatio. Needless to say, we were all shocked and humbled to learn that Tapatio is easily, without a doubt, the best of the three. It has so much well-rounded flavor, it’s the perfect thickness, and there’s a good burn at the end. From here on out, I will only be reaching for Tapatio when I’m spicing up a taco, burrito, or plate of nachos.

Credit: Merc / Walmart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Best Jalapeno Hot Sauce: Yellowbird Sauce Jalapeno Condiment

Best Jalapeño

Yellowbird Sauce Jalapeño Condiment

This Austin, Texas-based brand knows how to make hot sauce. Yellowbird landed on our list of the best hot sauces not once but twice! Their sauces are sensationally complex and flavorful, and this particular sauce is garlicky, savory, and a little sweet. The base contains carrots, which I think is the secret to such a unique flavor. This sauce is also pretty spicy for a jalapeño-based sauce. To me, this tastes kind of like a Mexican version of sriracha, and if that doesn’t sell you on it, I don’t know what will.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Best Habanero Hot Sauce: Yellowbird Sauce Habanero Condiment

Best Habanero

Yellowbird Sauce Habanero Condiment

Yellowbird’s Habanero variety has all the deliciousness of the jalapeño version with that iconic habanero fruitiness. They enhance the sweetness of the pepper by adding tangerine juice, but don’t let words like “sweet” and “fruity” fool you: This sauce is hot. The fresh pepper flavor and citrusy zing made it Santi’s favorite hot sauce of the entire taste test. The first time I tried this Texas-based hot sauce brand years ago, I liked it so much that I went to HEB and stocked up on every flavor to bring home. Lucky for you, it’s available nationwide now!

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

Best Vinegar-Based Hot Sauce: Louisiana Hot Sauce

Best Vinegar-Based

Louisiana Hot Sauce

I grew up cracking boiled peanuts into a bowl, dousing them in Louisiana Hot Sauce, and eating spoonfuls of it like soup. If you’re not as freaky as me, don’t worry! There are other uses for this incredible hot sauce. Louisiana Hot Sauce is great on seafood, pizza, soup, and so much more. This is my go-to po’boy hot sauce. It’s better than lots of other vinegar-based hot sauces because it’s nice and thick. And it has just the right amount of vinegar.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

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Best Hot Sauce: Secret Aardvark Habanero

Best Regional

Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce

I first tried Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce when I was visiting Portland because PDX residents insist there are basically no other hot sauces that matter or exist. After trying this roasty sauce, their mania made sense! This hot sauce is very delicious. Obviously, I had to add it to the list of hot sauces to try for our taste test and luckily everyone agreed: Aardvark is really, really good. It tastes a lot spicier than it looks and has a flavor that I think best compliments breakfast dishes and Mexican food. It loses half a spork because the tiny hole in the bottle’s cap is so small that it’s difficult to dispense the amount of hot sauce I actually want. What are you afraid of, Aardvark? Give me a bigger hole!

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

9.5/10

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Best Truffle Hot Sauce: Truff Black Truffle Infused Hot Sauce

Best Splurge

TRUFF Black Truffle Infused Hot Sauce

I couldn’t decide how I felt about TRUFF when I first tried it. It’s certainly flavorful, but it almost reminded me more of BBQ sauce than hot sauce. After a few more licks, I realized I was totally wrong. It’s absolutely delicious. It’s truffly, savory, and a little spicy. It’s super thick and that makes me feel like it would be awesome on wings. I mix it with mayo to make a spicy truffle aioli to slather on my burgers. If anything you’re eating could use a sophisticated spice, this will do the trick.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

9/10

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Best Cheap Hot Sauce: Trader Joe's Habanero

Best Budget

Trader Joe’s Habanero Hot Sauce

This is one of a few products at Trader Joe’s that is actually spicy. On top of that, it’s crazy flavorful. It has a powerful, long burn and fruity habanero undertones. My favorite part is that there are whole pepper seeds in this hot sauce, which add great heat and texture. If you’re a fan of spice and Trader Joe’s, this product is a must-buy.

Credit: Merc / Trader Joe’s

Rating:

8.5/10

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Best Tabasco Hot Sauce: Tabasco Pepper Sauce Green Jalapeno

Best Tangy

Tabasco Pepper Sauce, Green Jalapeno

Our taste test revealed that Green Jalapeno Tabasco is far superior to regular ol’ Tabasco sauce. Chances are that you’ve tried this hot sauce at Chipotle. It’s bright and tangy in a way that cuts through the richness of delectably fatty foods like sour cream, chicken thighs, or extra cheesy pizza. Just thinking about this hot sauce’s zing makes my mouth pucker in the most pleasant way possible. Even if you think you don’t like Tabasco, please give this elite version a try.

Credit: Merc / Tabasco

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

Best Hot Sauce for Eggs: Cholula Original

Best for Breakfast

Cholula Original Hot Sauce

I know I talked a little trash earlier and I stand by what I said: Cholula is not as good as Tapatio. That being said, we all agreed that there’s just something about Cholula on eggs. The flavor of Cholula was literally made for eggs. Any kind: Poached eggs, scrambled eggs, omelets, breakfast burritos filled with eggs. No other hot sauce can compare to Cholula when it comes to breakfast. The flavor and texture are both great in general, but if this were a list of hot sauces for breakfast foods, Cholula would be at the very top.

Credit: Merc / Amazon

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

The rest of what we tasted: Tabasco Pepper Sauce, Frank’s Redhot Original Cayenne Pepper Hot Sauce, Crystal Hot Sauce, Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce, Taco Bell Hot Sauce, Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce, Siete Traditional Hot Sauce, Burman’s Original Hot Sauce, Simple Truth Organic Habanero Hot Sauce, 365 Jalapeno Hot Sauce, Trader Joe’s Yuzu Hot Sauce, Trader Joe’s Green Dragon Hot Sauce, The Pepper Plant Original California Style Hot Sauce, Trappey’s Red Devil Sauce Hot, Texas Pete, Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce, Satan’s Blood Chile Pepper Extract Hot Sauce

Film your own taste test at home and share with us using #SporkedTasteTest for a chance to be featured on our social pages!

Cholula Original Hot Sauce

Like Cotton Candy Randy said, “Breakfast burritos wouldn’t be the same without it.” Rhett & Link chose Cholula as their pick for best hot sauce and the “official hot sauce of the smoking hot sauce yacht.”


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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  • There will always be room in my fridge for Cholula and Tapatio both, as they both have their uses. Also Cholula Green Pepper, which is a dynamite sauce, everything good about salsa verde in a bright, tangy shaker bottle.

    I like when my pantry/fridge is so Sporked-approved, like it is here.

    Reply
    • Agreed. But to not have Marie Sharp’s Traditional listed makes this review a bit underwhelming.

      Reply
  • Cholula Green Pepper and also Crystal hot sauce are favorites of mine. A favorite hot sauce not mentioned in this article is Yucatan Sunshine. It is great also!

    Reply
    • Cholula Green Pepper Gang!

      Reply
    • I grew up with Crystal always in my house, but was surprised that it was way less flavorful than Louisana in a side-by-side taste test. Still a great hot sauce, though!

      Reply
  • I would like to cautiously submit the addition of Melinda’s Creamy Style Ghost Pepper Wing Sauce (and Condiment) to this list. It is comparable to Yellowbird and is readily available in my local supermarket. There is very little I won’t put it on.

    Reply
  • Had cholula, but not the GOOD cholula??? Dag, yo. You need the chipotle!

    Reply
  • You lost all credibility and therefore my attention when you picked Sriracha as the best hot sauce. Sriracha is the tilapia of the hot sauce world in that it is hot sauce for basic people who don’t like hot sauce. Therefore Jordan, I can only assume that you are basic.

    Reply
    • Hi Billy! Sriracha is #1 because it is flavorful, versatile, readily available, and affordable. And please keep in mind that it is 2022 and calling someone basic is, in fact, the least interesting insult. I recommend using more specificity and creativity next time. Have a good day!

      Reply
      • When you make a list that isn’t basic I’ll put proper creativity into insulting you.

  • All of these hot sauces are good but very confused on the numeration

    Reply
  • I love a good Jalapeño sauce

    Reply
  • Never understood the sriracha hype, but to each their own. I know I’m just the contrarian weirdo because it’s so popular, but the flavor of it is so distinct, making it much less versatile, despite the “sriracha makes everything better” thing. I don’t think it’s bad and I’ll still use it, I just don’t get it’s massive popularity. Aardvark is awesome and pretty hot, too. Crystal is my go-to basic sauce, but I’ll have to pick up a bottle of Louisiana. I’ve only ever had it in little ketchup-like packets, but I remember liking it. And Chipotle isn’t Chipotle without the green Tabasco.

    Reply
    • I forgot I posted this, but to whomever comes across this reply, today I picked up a bottle of El Yucateco Chile Habanero (the regular toxic green sludge looking one, not the xxxtra in the article) and it is now my go-to hot sauce. The flavor is delicious and universal, and the heat is perfect for me. Hotter than a table sauce, but not a death sauce. Comparable to Aardvark in heat, but way more versatile.

      Reply
  • Dang, I’m going to have to pick up some Tapatio! Maybe it’ll replace my current Mexican hot sauce, Cholula. I gotta say, though…no Frank’s? For me you could have left out all of the “Louisiana style” sauces. I’ve never tried one that I thought was edible. You could probably use them to strip the paint off a battleship, though. Also, Sriracha is overrated. I currently keep Cholula, Frank’s, and plain old sambal in my fridge. (Yes, the fridge!)

    Reply
  • I love, love, LOVE Sweet Baby Ray’s hot sauce. It’s become the standard in our house.

    Reply
  • I am surprised that Frank’s did not make the list! However, I love using their dry seasoning mix in recipies too, like using it when breading and frying up chicken!

    Reply
    • This is a great suggestion and I will definitely be trying it!

      Reply
  • Not sure how I missed this the first time around, but was sad to see Marie Sharp’s not listed. Granted, that could be because they have at least a dozen varieties of Habañero sauces. Their Beware is a great addition to an Italian Beef or Cheesesteak.

    Reply
  • Sriracha is a no go for hot sauce connoisseurs due to its flavor profile, and that its not hot. Was sad to see that there are no craft sauces on your list like Ca John’s, or Marie Sharp’s. And Louisiana beats Texas Pete? not in the human world!!! Texas Pete is the go to for a wing sauce, has way more flavor, and has the thickness people like on their wings. Restaurants that don’t use Texas Pete have to formulate their own sauce using a Louisiana style mixed with butter and some other sauce lol usually Sriracha and seasonings like cayenne.

    Reply
  • Did you try the white Truff? It is crack to me and I think you will find it far superior to the black Truff which scored a ranking. It’s stupid expensive but I’ve managed to make it last 8 months so far. Blend it with the Hellmann’s vegan mayo and a hint of ketchup for the best french fry dipping sauce!

    Reply