You might be one of the millions of people who absolutely love hot sauce. If you love hot sauce enough, then you might not just be buying it from the store any longer. Many people have taken to making their own and you might even have your own variation on classic recipes.
However, getting the sauce thick enough has been a bit of a problem for some people. If you’re trying to make your hot sauce turn out great, you might be disappointed if it’s just too thin for your liking.
What can you do to try to fix this without ruining the sauce or changing the flavor?
Keep reading to discover the best way to thicken hot sauce reliably. Once you’ve learned the trick to doing this, you won’t have to worry about dealing with thin hot sauce again.
Problems with Thickening Hot Sauce
Before getting started, it’s good to learn a bit about why thickening hot sauce can be tricky for people to learn. You might know how to go about thickening standard sauces, but maybe your methods haven’t worked out well when trying to thicken the hot sauce.
This is likely due to the fact that hot sauces contain many acids that will mess with the properties of thickening agents that most people will use.
Essentially, the standard thickening methods that you might use for thickening sauce won’t work as effectively with hot sauces. They’re just too acidic and this winds up making it impractical to thicken sauce using certain things.
However, it’s still going to be possible to get your hot sauce thickened when using methods that are known to work well.
1 – The Reduction Method
The simplest way to get your hot sauce to thicken up is to reduce it. What you need to do is take the time to simmer your hot sauce so that some of the moisture will evaporate. This should help it to become substantially thicker and it might even make the flavor a bit more potent as well.
You will want to be somewhat careful when you’re trying to do this, though, since you don’t want your hot sauce to get burned. Reducing it without burning it isn’t too difficult, but you will need to pay attention to how you’re doing things.
Use a lower flame for reducing your hot sauce so that you can control the heat source and continue to stir it during this time.
If you constantly stir it while it’s under the low flame, you’ll be able to reduce it even if it takes a bit of time. The only downside to this is that you will be getting less sauce than you might have intended.
Even so, it’s better to have a thick sauce that is potent than it is to have thin and watery hot sauce.
2 – Add Some Fruits and Veggies
Another interesting method for thickening your hot sauce is to add some fruits and vegetables to it. This will definitely give the sauce a thicker quality and it has the potential to make the sauce more flavorful as well.
Some people like to add fruits that will give the sauce a sweet quality because it goes well with the heat, but you can choose which flavors might work well with your recipe.
To do this, you’re going to need a blender and whatever fruits or vegetables that you want to add to the sauce. You blend them up nicely and then add them to your sauce so that it can become thicker.
Just be sure to choose your fruits and vegetables wisely so that you don’t alter the flavor of your hot sauce in a bad way.
When you’re trying to use this method, it’s going to be pretty common to also use the reduction method mentioned earlier. You can reduce the hot sauce while also adding in this new element.
The end result should be a thicker sauce that will still give you quite a bit of sauce due to you adding these new ingredients.
3 – Consider Using Arrowroot
You might not know much about arrowroot, but it can be an effective thickening agent for a hot sauce that won’t have an impact on the taste of the sauce.
You can use this in place of cornstarch and it makes a lot more sense for hot sauces. You just need to make a slurry using arrowroot and then add it to your sauce while it’s being heated on a low setting.
You could use around one teaspoon of arrowroot with two teaspoons of water to get solid results here. If you’re making more than one cup of hot sauce, then you might need to use more than that.
Just use your best judgment to try to determine how much you need and you should thicken things up quite nicely.
4 – Xanthan Gum Can Work Too
Xanthan gum is something that you might not even be aware of and it probably sounds sort of strange.
This is a type of gum that is made from a strain of bacteria and it is often used in retail products. You can use it to help thicken up your hot sauces and it works so well because it doesn’t impact the taste.
The best method for thickening your hot sauce using xanthan gum is to add some to your sauce while you’re blending it. If you just put some in a sauce that isn’t being blended, it could make your sauce turn out to be thick and lumpy rather than smooth.
This xanthan gum will give you a pretty instantaneous thickening reaction so you need to be prepared for this by blending your sauce and getting it to the right state to have xanthan gum added.
5 – Pectin Is Useful
Pectin is useful for getting hot sauces to thicken up if you have some that you can use. This is made from fruits and it’s a carbohydrate that people use for thickening hot sauces fairly regularly. It isn’t unusual to see pectin being utilized in various types of jam or jelly products either.
You only need to add around one-eighth of a teaspoon of pectin for each cup of hot sauce that you have. Once you add the pectin, you’re going to need to boil it for around half of a minute.
Just be mindful that you don’t want to use too much pectin since it will change the consistency of your sauce too much and it won’t turn out quite right.
Appreciate Your Thickened Hot Sauce
The methods above are all going to work out really nicely when you’re trying to thicken your hot sauce.
Which one of the methods you’re going to want to make use of will really depend on personal preference. Simply go over them all and then choose which one makes the most sense for your situation.
It’s just good to know that having your sauce turn out a bit too thin doesn’t have to spell disaster. You can turn things around and thicken it so long as you exercise a bit of patience and use the right methods.
Once you’ve finished things up, you can take the time to appreciate your thickened hot sauce and enjoy it on one of your favorite dishes.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.