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10 Best Hot Sauces For 2021

Best hot sauces for chilliheads and Hot Ones fans!

best spicy sauces
  • The ultimate gift for spice fiends and ‘chilli heads’, the strength of hot sauce in your fridge isn’t just a reflection of your personal taste – it’s a statement of your masculinity. If it doesn’t numb every taste bud and have you convulsing in pain… it just isn’t hot enough.
  • From genuinely tasty spiced condiments to full-blown oral nukes, there’s a hot sauce out there to suit every bloke’s need, whether you need a big zing for your curry or just a wee kick in your sarnie.
  • To help you find the best option for you, we’ve picked out a series of lip-tingling hot sauces, with a focus on Scoville chart breakers to blow your head off, as well as a few genuine milder classics beloved by all!
  • We’ve also been sure to include some special sauces from everyone’s favourite Youtube show, Hot Ones, the interview series with a tongue-sizzling twist!

Our Top Picks For The Spiciest Condiments

The Best Tasting Hot Sauces

Why is it that we men always feel the need to order the hottest curry… Or reach for the bottle with the most X’s on it at Nandos, and just generally prove to our peers that we can handle the most sweat-inducing, tear-streaking hot sauces on the planet?

Well, it’s quite simple really, as surviving a seriously hot sauce and living to tell the tale takes courage, daring and a massive set of cojones, something the male species has always prided itself on having since the days of the caveman.

Had spicy sauces been invented back in those prehistoric days, we’re sure our man-ape grandfathers would have slathered it all over their meat too, as the vast majority of we chiliheads can’t make it through a meal without drowning it in some peppery, tongue-tingling condiment and we feel all the more masculine for it.

Let’s face it, a life without hot sauce would be a boring and bland one, and once you’ve earned your stripes with a couple of low-Scoville charters, it’s time to start chasing the dragon and begin sampling sauces so hot they were probably crafted by Beezlebub himself.

Look no further than some of the big hitters on this list, as we’ve selected a fair few sizzlers designed to blow your socks, head and just about everything else clean off…

The Essential Guide To Hot Sauce

Knowing What You Want In A Hot Sauce

Which hot sauce you choose is very dependent on the kind of experience you want and how you plan to use it.

While some people might like to add just a few drops into a recipe every now and then, others may like to pour their sauce liberally all over everything and there are various hot sauces which are better at one than the other.

Below are some of the various thing you’ll need to take into account before plumping for a peppery condiment:

Type of Pepper

By consulting the ingredients list of a hot sauce, you can learn a bit about the chilli peppers that have gone into it. In general, most hot sauces don’t contain much more than peppers, vinegar and occasionally some herbs and spices, so the defining flavour will most often always be the specific pepper used.

It’s important to take note of these peppers, as certain flavours work better in different cuisines.

For example, jalapenos and chipotle chillies are almost exclusively found in Mexican dishes and so throwing a sauce made up of one of them into your Thai curry might taste a bit odd.

When you see a chilli you don’t recognise, research it’s uses and try and get an idea of which recipes or food it will work well with to make sure you’re buying a hot sauce which will fit your favourite flavour profiles.

The type of pepper may also give you an indication of how hot the sauce is going to be, as chilli’s like Ghost and Carolina Reaper aren’t commonly found in cuisine – as they have simply been bred to blow your head off!


For most people, a good hot sauce needs to pack exciting heat, but also bring a fair bit of flavour to the table as well.

Finding a condiment which can balance these two factors is difficult and fairly dependent on your own heat-handling ability, as the tougher your tongue finds the experience, the less likely you’ll be able to pick up background flavours.

It’s again best to look at the ingredients list: are there added herbs, tomatoes and spices? Or is it almost exclusively pepper extract and vinegar?

Knowing your pepper flavours will help you out here too, as you can begin choosing sauce based on pepper flavours you know you love!


Most hot sauces won’t set you back more than £15 and popular brands found on supermarket shelves won’t be more than a fiver!

For independent sellers who promise hotter and rarer chillies or interesting backstories though, be prepared to shell out nearer to £20!

Scoville Chart/ Heat Factor

To properly understand how hot your chosen sauce is going to be, it’s wise to get acquainted with the Scoville chart (SHU), an official accreditation of heat for chilli peppers.

The Scoville chart is based on a peppers capsaicin content, a chemical irritant within chillies responsible for the burning sensation you either love or loathe.

Scoville ratings come in a numerical value that equates to the amount of dilution which must take place to entirely reduce this spicy sensation to nothing, but understanding them is a little odd when you don’t have any reference points.

So we’re going to give you some!

A normal bell pepper, for example, would rate at 0-100 SHU, as from experience, you’ll know they have essentially no spice.

A jalapeno, however, is rated at 10,000 SHU.

This is a good starting point for working out your required heat level, as if a raw jalapeno is far too hot for you, you’ll want to look for sauces under 5,000 SHU.

If a jalapeno doesn’t even register a pinch on your palette though, this is when you can begin venturing out for some really hot sauces.

Beware though, not every hot sauce has a Scoville rating, as they must be officially tested to get one.

For those without a Scoville rating, you could instead refer to the ratings of the chilli peppers used in the ingredients to get an idea of the heat factor. For example, a Carolina reaper sauce is going to be hotter than a habanero sauce as reapers are over 1,000,000 SHU, whereas habaneros tend not to be over 350,000 SHU.

Remember though that a sauce made from a 1,000,000 SHU pepper is not likely to rate that highly itself, as condiments tend to dilute these levels down to make them more bearable.

If you’re really not sure – it’s best just not to risk it!

Knowing Your Limits

Unless you’re doing some kind of hot sauce challenge where pain and regret is all part of the game, it’s best to be aware of your personal limits when it comes to chillies to avoid being disappointed with a purchase.

We advise starting low and making your way up the chain of command, that way you’ll eventually find your optimum balance of flavour and heat, without feeling the need to push the limit too quickly and get instant regret!

Cautions & Warnings

While hot sauce challenges and series like Hot Ones make testing your body’s spice limits seem fun and a bit of a laugh, it’s still important to remember that seriously hot sauces can have seriously horrible effects if you don’t respect them.

For example, if a sauce label tells you it’s only to be used sparingly and as a food additive only – please take heed!

Otherwise, you’ll be in for a seriously stressful few hours as your body fights off an overdose of headache-inducing, tongue-numbing, painful spice.

Some cautions are of course just playful marketing ploys though and the trick is being able to spot the difference between serious advice and slogans that are just there to egg you on!


The size of the bottle you buy is dependent on how you plan on using it.

For lower-Scoville hot sauce you plan on using as a condiment, it’s obviously wisest to go with larger bottles or multi-packs to help keep up with your spicey appetite.

If the item, however, is a novelty sauce which only needs a drop to completely blow your head off, you won’t need much more than a dinky 50ml bottle.

Your Burning Hot Sauce Questions

Can hot sauce kill you?

Given some of the dangerously high Scoville scores on this list, it’s a reasonable question and the answer is both yes and no.

Simply put, when a chilli pepper is so hot that it begins to damage and impair your bodily functions, your system will literally begin rejecting and fighting it.

At a low level, this is through things like sweating, but if overdosing on seriously hot stuff, your body will likely induce vomiting to stop a super Scoville chilli overriding your system.

If your body was unable to reject this though and you continued to then eat more mega-Scoville food – you probably would die.

But anything that hot would always make you automatically sick and it’s unlikely you’d ever want to force-feed yourself more after the initial horrendous reaction.

There have been rare cases of people eating very hot chillies ending up in the hospital with injuries and even rarer cases of people dying from a side effect such as anaphylactic shock, but most hot sauces are far too diluted to create that kind of reaction, as they are rarely more than 600,000 Scovilles.

In short, hot sauce isn’t going to kill you unless you actively attempt it, and even then, most don’t pack the Scoville power to do so.

Which hot sauce is hottest?

For super hot, brain-busting hot sauce, look no further than Mad Dog 357, which boasts a frightening 600,000 Scoville units, which is pure unadulterated pain.

You may see some hot ‘sauces’ marketed as even hotter than this, but anything approaching 1,000,000 units or over is usually so powerful that it’s actually less of a condiment and more of a seasoning/additive only.

Although Mad Dog 357 is one of the last genuine sauces though, it’s not like you’d actually want to pour it all over your grub anyway…