Fermented Mango Habanero Hot Sauce

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Spicy and sweet all at once, fermented mango habanero hot sauce is a perfect balance of flavor. This fiery condiment combines the exhilarating spice of habanero chili peppers with the lush sweetness of mango for great flavor.

The fermenting process naturally brings out the distinct tastes and aromas of each ingredient, resulting in a rich and unique sauce. Whether you’re looking to add some kick to your chicken wings or dial up the heat on your favorite recipes, this homemade hot sauce won’t let you down!

This easy recipe requires only a few simple ingredients, resulting in the best mango habanero sauce you’ve ever tasted. The sweetness of the mango plays off of the fiery floral habanero peppers creating a great flavor sure to be appreciated by all habanero lovers.

This fermented mango habanero hot sauce recipe is dedicated to sweet heat.

3 bottles of mango habanero hot sauce.

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Tips


  • Treat this recipe like a guide. The end result of this homemade habanero hot sauce is 100% up to your tastes. Don’t be afraid to add some water to cut the heat, more vinegar to get that tang, or brine to increase the salt level. Prefer apple cider vinegar to white vinegar? Use it! Make this spicy sauce perfect for you – and take notes so you can do it again next time!
  • When I talk about burping your ferment, what I mean is to open the lid and allow the carbon dioxide to escape, reducing pressure inside the jar. During the fermentation process, the microbes in the ferment consume the sugars in the mangos, habanero peppers, and other ingredients and excrete carbon dioxide which creates pressure on the jar. If left too long, the jar can burst due to pressure.
  • Fermentation is a really accessible food preservation method, anyone can do it, with nearly any supplies. I have a section below detailing supplies required and easy substitutions that you’ll likely have around home!
  • It is very important to ensure that ALL ingredients in the sauce remain below the brine at all times during the fermentation time – this is the best way to keep baddies at bay and prevent batch-ruining molds or other unwanted visitors to your homemade hot sauce.
  • For the love of all things holy, the integrity of your nose hairs, and the strength of your lungs do not stick your head in the blender jar immediately after pureeing and take a big whiff. Ask me how I know this. HA!
Bottles of homemade habanero sauce.

Key Ingredients

Hot Chilis: Use ripe, fresh habanero peppers for this recipe. Discard any that have blemishes, bruises, or are otherwise damaged. You’ll need 12 habaneros to make this recipe as written. Feel free to use different types of peppers within the same batch to highlight different flavor nuances.

Salt: Choose mineral sea salt for the best flavor profile or coarse kosher salt for the most neutral salt flavor.

Water: Spring water or well water works great in fermenting recipes. Avoid chlorinated water wherever possible as chlorine can affect microbial activity. I use straight well water or well water run through my RO system for all my ferments.

Ingredients for mango habanero hot sauce.

How To Make Mango Habanero Hot Sauce

Prepare Ingredients:

  1. Prepare for fermenting by washing a fermentation vessel, which can be as simple as a mason jar and lid. This recipe requires either 1 half-gallon mason jar or 2 1-quart jars. If using 2 jars, ensure that you’re evenly dividing the ingredients. It does not have to be sanitized or sterilized but should be washed well with soap and hot running water. Set aside to dry. Wash fresh ingredients under cool running water.
  2. Peel and dice 2 mangoes, slice 12 habanero peppers, dice 2 red bell pepper, peel and dice a 2″ knob of ginger, dice 1 medium-large white onion, and dice 8 garlic cloves. Layer these ingredients in the prepared fermentation vessel (s).

Prepare The Brine:

  1. Combine 4 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Stir until completely dissolved.
  2. Pour salt brine into the fermentation vessel until ingredients are covered – if you do not have enough brine to cover the vegetables, make another batch; 2 cups water: 1 tablespoon sea salt.
  3. Weigh down the ingredients before securing the lid tightly. Use fermentation weights, a clean ziplock bag filled with salt brine, or even a crumpled piece of parchment paper to hold the ingredients below the surface.
  4. Set it aside to ferment.

Ferment The Sauce:

  1. Keep your ferment at room temperature somewhere where you’ll see it daily to observe and to open the lid and burp it but keep it away from direct sunlight. If you’re using an airlock lid or pickle pipe, you won’t need to burp your ferment.
  2. After a few days, you should start to notice fermenting activity. There will be small bubbles that rush to the top of the jar when you tap it, the jar may hiss slightly when opened, the color of the ingredients will dull, the brine will be cloudy, and the brine may leak over the top of the jar and run down the sides.
  3. Allow the sauce to ferment for 7-21 days.

Blend The Sauce:

  1. Once you’re satisfied with the level of fermentation, strain the contents of the fermentation vessel and reserve the brine.
  2. Blend the fermented vegetables along 1/2 cup of the reserved brine, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1/2 cup water in a high-powered blender or food processor until smooth. I use my Vitamix and it creates a silky sauce. If using xanthan gum, add 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to the hot sauce and blend until completely combined.
  3. Add more brine to increase the salty flavor, more vinegar to increase acidity, or more water to cut the heat until you reach your desired flavor.
  4. Strain the hot sauce through a fine mesh sieve to make it ultra-smooth. It takes a couple of minutes, but it’s worth it.
  5. Transfer the finished spicy habanero hot sauce to small jars or woozy bottles for storage in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

Fermenting Time:

The great thing about fermenting foods is that it’s a personal process, and there’s usually no right or wrong answer when it comes to fermentation time. Most people ferment their sauce for 7-10 days, but you can certainly ferment for longer if you want to develop a deeper, more complex flavor.

The key is to experiment and find what works best for your taste buds. If you’re new to fermented food, start with a shorter fermentation time and then taste the ingredients or brine after a few days to see how it’s developing. If you like what you taste, then you can bottle it up and enjoy it. But if you want a deeper flavor, then you can let your sauce ferment for a little longer next time.

For these photos, I fermented the base for 15 days – Kevy couldn’t wait much longer to test it!

Fermenting Temperature:

The ideal range for fermentation is between 68-75°F.

If the temperature is too low, the fermenting process will take longer and may not be as effective. On the other hand, if the temperature is too high, the fermentation process will occur too quickly and may produce an unpleasant flavor.

Fermenting your hot sauce at the right temperature will ensure that it has a bold, flavorful taste.

Kahm Yeast:

If you’re familiar with fermenting, you’ve probably heard of kahm yeast.

If you notice a white film forming on the surface of your ferment, it’s more than likely kahm yeast – which is generally harmless but tastes terrible.

The presence of kahm yeast will probably affect the outcome of your sauce – though some people say you can scrape it off and continue, I’d advise you to scrap it and start again

Xanthan Gum:

I list xanthan gum as an ingredient in the list. It’s completely optional, but adding a small amount of xanthan gum helps to emulsify the sauce as well as increase its viscosity and create an almost creamy texture.

Another added bonus to using xanthan gum in your hot sauce is that it thickens without heating, meaning that you’re able to thicken while also maintaining all the probiotic goodness of your sauce.

Straining:

This is a personal decision – but I recommend that you do it!

I choose to strain all my homemade hot sauce because I find the resulting texture to be silkier, more pourable, and less likely to clog the nozzles of hot sauce bottles! Another added bonus to straining the sauce is that it removes all the air whipped into the sauce during the blending process.

Bottled homemade sauce.

What Is Lacto-Fermenting

Harness the power of lactobacillus bacteria to transform your veggies with lacto-fermentation! This traditional method of pickling vegetables in a salty brine encourages the growth of good bacteria, resulting in delicious, tangy flavors and longer shelf life. Beneficial compounds produced by these bacteria give fermented foods their characteristic taste, improved digestibility, and improve nutrient availability.

Lacto-fermentation is a natural process that does not require the addition of heat, chemicals, or other artificial ingredients. The beneficial bacteria are found naturally on the surface of plants, so when vegetables are submerged in brine, the bacteria begin to grow and multiply. As they do so, they release lactic acid into the mixture, which lowers the pH and creates an environment inhospitable to other harmful microbes.

Lactic acid also has several health benefits; it is thought to help improve digestion, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation. Fermented foods are also a good source of probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that live in the gut and aid in digestion.

Why Make Fermented Hot Sauce?


Fermented hot sauces are the perfect way to add amazing flavor to your favorite dishes. As the ingredients ferment over time, their natural flavors are amplified and blended together for an intense yet well-rounded taste experience. Fermentation adds a complexity and depth of flavor that cannot be achieved with other sauce-making techniques.

Unlike traditional habanero sauce that relies on vinegar for preservation, fermented hot sauces are self-preserving because lactic acid is naturally produced during the fermentation process which protects the veggies, and gives them a longer shelf-life without cooking, drying, or chemical preservatives.

In addition to being self-preserving, fermenting hot sauces has several other advantages: the process mellows the scorching heat of your habanero chilies, allowing their delicate floral flavor to shine through the burn.

Once the fermented hot sauce is blended and refrigerated, its flavor continues to mature – not at the same pace as when left on the countertop perhaps, but still slowly progressing. The beneficial bacteria continue their work from behind-the-scenes; so even if you don’t see it happening with your eyes, over time subtle nuances in taste will manifest as sophisticated flavor notes while the sauce continues to develop.

Diced ingredients in mason jars.

Which Peppers To Use?

Habaneros are one of the hottest peppers easily available at grocery stores, and they give a good spicy kick to this tangy hot sauce, but I encourage you to tweak this recipe to your personal tastes. Feel free to adjust for your desired spice level – if you like ultra spicy food, use ultra hot peppers, like scotch bonnet or ghost peppers.

If you prefer to keep your taste buds intact, use a mix of hot and sweet peppers to make a milder sauce. Here is a great chili pepper scoville scale to help you pick what ingredients you want in your pepper sauce!

I used a mix of orange habaneros and red bell peppers for this recipe and it was PLENTY hot – If you’re not a huge fan of super hot sauce, consider adjusting the number of habaneros or adding more sweet red peppers.

Just remember to watch your color combinations; if you mix green chilis and orange bell peppers, you may end up with an unappealing, muddy hue. Have fun and get creative while creating a custom flavor just for you!

Bottles of fermented mango habanero sauce.

Batch + Storage

Batch:

This recipe makes a large batch! After straining, I yielded just over 1 quart of habanero mango hot sauce.

Feel free to halve this recipe if you don’t need a quart of hot sauce.

Storage:

Keep your delicious homemade hot sauce in the fridge for up to 12 months – if it even lasts that long!

The microbes in your sauce are still live and viable, even though you’ve blended them, they’ll continue to create carbon dioxide and you will create a spicy mango booby trap. In the interest of avoiding a hot sauce explosion, please, please, keep it in the fridge!

More Fermented Recipes To Try!

Fermentation Equipment

As previously mentioned, fermentation is very accessible – it doesn’t require any specialized equipment.

Fermentation vessel: This can be any glass jar that has an airtight fitting lid. A mason jar, an old pasta sauce jar, an old kombucha bottle. Anything you have around will certainly work! It just needs to be airtight and glass. Non-glass materials can be porous and difficult to clean, and/or harbor bad microbes.

Fermentation supplies: I have airlock lids and pickle pipes as well as glass fermentation weights here in the Crave kitchen, but I also don’t have enough of them to keep me in the ferments, SO I often end up using other things from around the house and they work just fine!

While there are specific glass fermentation weights or pickle pebbles, you can use a few different things. A ziplock-style bag half filled with brine placed on top of the ingredients works great. A crumpled piece of parchment paper placed on top of the ingredients also works.

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📖 Printable Recipe

Bottled mango habanero hot sauce.

Fermented Mango Habanero Hot Sauce

Allyson Letal
Spice up your meal with homemade mango habanero hot sauce! This flavorful and easy-to-make recipe only requires a few simple ingredients to create a balanced and delicious condiment. Let the sweetness of the mango pair with the fiery heat of the habanero chili peppers, creating an intense balanced flavor that pairs wonderfully with chicken wings, tacos, and more.
4.60 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Fermentation Time 14 days
Total Time 14 days 10 minutes
Course Preserved
Cuisine American
Servings 64
Calories 7 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 red mangoes ripe
  • 12 habanero peppers
  • 2 red bell pepper
  • 2 inch knob ginger
  • 1 white onion
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum optional

Instructions
 

Prepare Ingredients:

  • Prepare for fermenting by washing a fermentation vessel, which can be as simple as a mason jar and lid. This recipe requires either 1 half-gallon mason jar or 2 1-quart jars. If using 2 jars, ensure that you're evenly dividing the ingredients. It does not have to be sanitized or sterilized but should be washed well with soap and hot running water. Set aside to dry. Wash fresh ingredients under cool running water.
  • Peel and dice 2 mangoes, slice 12 habanero peppers, dice 2 red bell pepper, peel and dice a 2" knob of ginger, dice 1 medium-large white onion, and dice 8 garlic cloves. Layer these ingredients in the prepared fermentation vessel (s).

Prepare The Brine:

  • Combine 4 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of sea salt. Stir until completely dissolved.
  • Pour salt brine into the fermentation vessel until ingredients are covered – if you do not have enough brine to cover the vegetables, make another batch; 2 cups water: 1 tablespoon sea salt.
  • Weigh down the ingredients before securing the lid tightly. Use fermentation weights, a clean ziplock bag filled with salt brine, or even a crumpled piece of parchment paper to hold the ingredients below the surface.
  • Set it aside to ferment.

Ferment The Sauce:

  • Keep your ferment at room temperature somewhere where you'll see it daily to observe and to open the lid and burp it but keep it away from direct sunlight. If you're using an airlock lid or pickle pipe, you won't need to burp your ferment.
  • After a few days, you should start to notice fermenting activity. There will be small bubbles that rush to the top of the jar when you tap it, the jar may hiss slightly when opened, the color of the ingredients will dull, the brine will be cloudy, and the brine may leak over the top of the jar and run down the sides.
  • Allow the sauce to ferment for 7-21 days.

Blend The Sauce:

  • Once you're satisfied with the level of fermentation, strain the contents of the fermentation vessel and reserve the brine.
  • Blend the fermented vegetables along with 1/2 cup of the reserved brine, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1/2 cup water in a high-powered blender or food processor until smooth. I use my Vitamix and it creates a silky sauce. If using xanthan gum, add 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum to the hot sauce and blend until completely combined.
  • Add more brine to increase the salty flavor, more vinegar to increase acidity, or more water to cut the heat until you reach your desired flavor.
  • Strain the hot sauce through a fine mesh sieve to make it ultra-smooth. It takes a couple of minutes, but it's worth it.
  • Transfer the finished spicy habanero hot sauce to small jars or woozy bottles for storage in the refrigerator.

Notes

Fermenting Time:

Most people ferment their sauce for 7-10 days, but you can certainly ferment for longer if you want to develop a deeper, more complex flavor.
The key is to experiment and find what works best for your taste buds. If you're new to fermented food, start with a shorter fermentation time and then taste the ingredients or brine after a few days to see how it's developing. If you like what you taste, then you can bottle it up and enjoy it. But if you want a deeper flavor, then you can let your sauce ferment for a little longer next time.

Fermenting Temperature:

The ideal range for fermentation is between 68-75°F. I do all my ferments at room temperature.
If the temperature is too low, the fermenting process will take longer and may not be as effective. On the other hand, if the temperature is too high, the fermentation process will occur too quickly and may produce an unpleasant flavor.

Kahm Yeast:

If you're familiar with fermenting, you've probably heard of kahm yeast.
If you notice a white film forming on the surface of your ferment, it's more than likely kahm yeast – which is generally harmless but tastes terrible. Some people suggest scraping off the kahm yeast and carrying on, but I find it can negatively affect the flavor so I recommend scrapping the entire batch and starting fresh.

Xanthan Gum:

Adding a small amount of xanthan gum helps to emulsify the sauce as well as increase its viscosity and create an almost creamy texture. I won't make hot sauce without it!

Straining:

I choose to strain all my homemade hot sauce because I find the resulting texture to be silkier, more pourable, and less likely to clog the nozzles of hot sauce bottles! Another added bonus to straining the sauce is that it removes all the air whipped into the sauce during the blending process.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 7kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.05gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 220mgPotassium: 29mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 204IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 0.1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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8 Comments

  1. Hi! Love the recipe! Just one question, after you strain the sauce, do you use the liquidy part or the thick paste on the strainer?

    1. Hey Gabriel, I’m assuming you mean the second strain?

      The second straining is optional, but I like to do it to make my sauce super smooth, like store-bought. If you do pass your sauce through a sieve a second time, you’re going to want to use the liquid portion, the pulp is too thick to make sauce. Though, you could certainly use the pulp in other ways!

  2. I have my fermentation ready to be blended but if I wanted to adjust the flavour by adding in a citrus component, say oranges, is it okay to add them in to be blended without having them fermented with the other ingredients?

    1. Hey Danielle, that’s a great question. I think that in moderation it should be ok, because the beneficial microbes in the hot sauce will consume the sugars and starches in the orange even if it’s in the fridge. That said, I would take off a portion of the hot sauce to test that way in case it does go bad it’s only a few oz and not the whole batch!

  3. Hi Ally,
    Thanks for the Recipe!
    since mango isn’t in season in my area now, do you think I could use defrosted mango or should it be fresh? 🙂

  4. Hi! This looks enticing. Have you ever tried canning your any leftovers to make them shelf stable?