Tabasco Sauce Recipe - How to Make Tabasco Sauce

Want a Tabasco sauce recipe or to learn how to make Tabasco sauce? You've come to the right place. Uncle Daddy gives a "hat tip" to the old classic sauce from the McIlhenny Company. Today we've got thousands of pepper sauces to choose from, but Tabasco played a big part in getting the ball rolling.

Tabasco sauce is made from tabasco peppers aged 3 years in white oak barrels. However, you don't have to wait 3 years to make some good sauce with fresh tabasco peppers.

If you DO want to use aged peppers you have two choices. You can buy aged pepper mash or you can learn how to make pepper mash. Either way, cayenne peppers are more commonly available and are an excellent substitute for tabasco peppers.

OK, here's how to make homemade Tabasco sauce!

Tabasco Sauce Recipe (fresh peppers)


12 Tabasco or cayenne peppers
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt


1. Boil the chiles and vinegar in a small nonreactive saucepan until chilis are tender.

2. Puree in blender with the salt. Strain if desired. Dilute this paste with more vinegar until it is the consistency of rich cream.

3. Pour into a hot, sterilized bottle leaving 1/2 inch headroom and run a sterlizied knife around the inside of the bottle to release air bubbles. Wipe the rim clean and seal with a scalded top.

4. Allow to steep for two weeks. Refrigerate after opening.

Note: If you add a garlic clove to this recipe it's fairly close to Frank's Redhot sauce. You can also add a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar if you wish, but Uncle Daddy prefers his without.

Tabasco Sauce Recipe (aged peppers)


12 tsp tabasco or cayenne pepper mash
1/2 cup white vinegar


1. Boil the mash and vinegar in a small nonreactive saucepan for 10 minutes.

2. Puree in blender. Strain if desired. Dilute this with vinegar to the desired consistency.

Note: No salt is added to this recipe because the pepper mash already contains around 12% to 15% salt.

Just in case you were wondering, here is a summary of the original Tabasco process.

Original Tabasco Process

After harvest, whole tabasco chiles are crushed in a hammer mill. Salt is added in the amount of 8 pounds of salt for every 100 pounds of chiles. This mash is placed in Kentucky white oak barrels with salt-sealed wooden lids that have tiny holes which allow the gases of the peppers to escape during fermentation. The wooden tops are secured and placed on the barrels with stainless steel hoops. Iron hoops disintegrate in the air of the salt and pepper mash.

Each 400-pound barrel is aged for three years, allowing the carbon dioxide to be released for the first two years. After this time, the salt topping hardens and naturally seals the barrel after the fermentation process ceases. The mellowing and aging process is called steeping, permitting the flavors and color to intermingle and mix naturally.

The barrels are uncovered and oxidized mash is removed from the top of the barrels. The mash is inspected for aroma, color, and moisture. Upon being accepted under McIlhenny standards, the mash is pumped into large blending vats and mixed with distilled, all-natural white vinegar in the ratio of two-thirds vinegar to one-third mash.

Before being manufactured with commercial equipment, the blending process was referred to as "pounding," where the pepper mash was pushed manually through a strainer, where the vinegar was added, with a flat-headed "pounder". This was a very time-consuming process and took a lot of manual labor to do large quantities of sauce.

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