Aug 20, 2013

Homemade (Hatch Chile) Hot Sauce

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  But, when you buy peppers that are burn-your-mouth-off-so-hot-you-gotta-run-to-Mama… make hot sauce!

At first I was majorly disappointed. Let me back up. At first I was ECSTATIC that I actually found, here in North Carolina, way, WAY east of the Rio Grande, Hatch New Mexico chile peppers! In my Whole Foods store no less. What? I thought I was dreaming…

I lived in The Land of Enchantment for a few years. And when I was there, I fell in love with all things Hatch Chiles. Hatch Chile stews, Hatch Chile burgers (yes I was an omnivore most of my life), Hatch Chile huevos rancheros, Hatch Chile apple pie (yes, they do have that in New Mexico)… I tossed them on salads, into scrambled eggs, on top of bread… I even ate them naked—the peppers, not me!

And there they were, fresh and plain as day, in the produce bin at Whole Foods.

So, while trying to calm down and not look like a total idiot by jumping up and down in glee in the aisle, I pulled myself together and thought… green enchilda sauce. Yes. Perfect. No. Not…

I roasted them ever so lovingly when I got them home. Then started to peel them. They smelled SO good, just like I remembered them to be. Then I tasted one teeny piece. Um. HELLLP!!! Where is the fire hose??? I think that Whole Foods could have warned me that these were HOT chiles. I assumed (big mistakio) that they would be mild or maybe medium. No. HOT. HOTTER than HOT!

So I made hot sauce. And had my man, who loves hot things, taste test it. I like heat but not too much so I will use this sauce as an accent for other recipes. But I assure you, I certainly won’t be eating it plain. One thing that is really great about making your own hot sauce is that YOU control the amount of sodium. Most of the store-bought brands are loaded with salt. It’s so unnecessary.


  • 1 cup roasted hot chile peppers (any kind!)
  • 1 small onion, chopped and water-sautéed until tender
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp date sugar
  • pinch of salt (optional)
freshly roasted Hatch chiles


  • Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth or chunky if you prefer it that way.

Makes about 2 cups. Enjoy (a little at time)!

Here are a few facts that will help you sound like a chile expert:

  • It’s “chile” with an “e” on the end when it’s a pepper. “Chili” is that delicious stew with lots of beans that you enjoy with a football game.
  • Green chiles are also red chiles — they’re just picked before they’ve fully ripened.
  • Green chiles are usually hotter than red chiles (I really should have asked).
  • Nearly all the New Mexico green chile I’m talking about today comes from Hatch, NM (or very nearby). These green chiles are not Poblanos, they are not Anaheims… NM green chiles are a special breed that have their own names and range of flavors. 

P.S. There is an online source for fresh Hatch New Mexico Chile peppers… and it’s Hatch chile season starting…. NOW! Order yourself some here: Hatch Chile Express

Healthy trails, amigos,

8 responses to “Homemade (Hatch Chile) Hot Sauce”

  1. Margie says:

    What do you use this for if not eating tortillas? (wheat)

  2. Helyn says:

    Hi Margie,
    You can use it as a base for a tomatillo (green) sauce to go with enchiladas or tacos. You can also add it to other recipes for flavor and heat. I wouldn't eat it plain. It's very hot! It's meant to be a condiment to be used in moderation, or an add in for other recipes. Hope this helps!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is 1 tsp is the correct measurement for the apple cider vinegar. I added a 1/4 cup and it was still quite thick; almost gelatinous. However, very yummy with nice heat!!

  4. Helyn says:

    Yes, 1 tsp is correct. How many peppers did you use? Not sure why it would be gelatinous…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I used 3 chopped roasted hot hatch chiles. The other variation I made was to add 3 small cloves of garlic to the 2 diced shallots that I water sauteed. Don't get me wrong, the sauce is excellent! You cannot go wrong on flavor and heat when you use Hatch Chiles!! I was just expecting a hot sauce consistency like a Green Jalapeno Hot Sauce; more on the watery side.

  6. Helyn says:

    Oh, I get it. Yes, it is thicker than a usual hot sauce I guess. I'm glad you liked it though! 🙂

  7. Nicole says:

    Am I supposed to take the stuff out of the middle of the pepper like the membrane and seeds or peel them put it all together and blend it?

    • helynskitchen says:

      Nicole, I used the whole chiles, including the membranes and seeds. If you want it less spicy, discard these before pureeing. Enjoy!

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