Your pressure cooker can extract most of the the color and flavor from hot peppers in one minute at high pressure. This hot sauce  is a bold, vivid red and the flavor is amazingly bright with lots of heat and even a hint of “pepper” – making the flavor as complex, if not more-so, than an aged and faded Tabasco sauce.

Traditionally-made hot sauce can take as little as a month and half  or as much as three years of aging using fermentation (along with its benefits and perils) to slowly extract all of the heat from the peppers and infuse it into the vinegar.

Instead, the pressure cooker mechanically squeezes the flavorful juice out of the peppers, just like as in pressure steam juicing,  and the heated vinegar quickly extracts the capsaicin – a tasteless and odorless compound found primarily in the white pith and seed coatings of the peppers.  Capsaicin is what makes peppers taste “hot”.
Hot peppers for Instant Tabasco sauce made in the pressure cooker
Habanero peppers are incredibly difficult to find in Europe so I made this pressure cooker hot sauce with a mixture of Calabrian and Moroccan Peppers.

Other than getting some really hot sauce really fast, the added benefit to doing it yourself is the chance to experiment with different flavor combinations by varying the kind of peppers, vinegar and salt.  How about not adding salt at all? You can make a milder hot sauce by replacing some of the hot with bell peppers. You decide!

One teaspoon smoked salt to be used in pressure cooker hot sauce
Smoked salt is an easy way to add complexity that is usually achieved by aging.

After straining the hot sauce, don’t throw away the little mound of extra pulp and seeds.  Just scoop it into a jar, top off with vinegar and refrigerate for later use. This pulp speaks to how much heat the pressure cooker extracts from the peppers and into the vinegar- the remaining pulp tastes like a mildly spicy red bell pepper spread. All the spiciness is now in your home-made hot sauce.

latex glove and pepper stubs - what's left after making pressure cooker hot sauce
When working with hot peppers, you will want to take precautions as the heat caused by them is pleasant in the mouth – but not in the eyes or any other delicate part of the body.  When handling and slicing peppers use rubber gloves (dish washing or disposable).  During prep the peppers may squirt juice or shoot seeds towards your face so wear glasses, goggles or sun glasses. When pressure cooking is finished – only release pressure Naturally as you don’t want to breathe in vaporized capsaicin! Finally, wash off the knife and cutting board with a de-greasing agent such as lemon or vinegar.

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
3 L or larger none 1 min High(2) Natural

5.0 from 8 reviews
Pressure Cooker Hot Sauce
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 12 oz (350g) fresh hot peppers (any kind), stems removed
  • 1¼ cup (300ml) apple cider vinegar or as needed (or whatever kind you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked salt (or plain)
  1. Roughly chop the peppers and add to the pressure cooker.
  2. Add enough vinegar to cover, and salt.
  3. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  4. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 1 minute at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 1 minute pressure cooking time.
  5. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes). For electric pressure cookers, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and open when the pressure indicator has gone down (15 to 20 minutes).
  6. Puree the contents with an immersion blender and strain into a sterilized, or freshly dish-washed bottle.
  7. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 months, or transfer to a suitable container and freeze up to a year.
    Yeild approx 16 fl oz (500 ml)

Magefesa Rapida Pressure Cooker Lid

1-minute PRESSURE COOKED hot sauceAmazing bright red hot sauce made with your own peppers in the pressure cooker!
Hot sauce made in the Pressure Cooker!

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  1. Did you notice any eye or nose irritation just from the steam vent while cooking? Since it’s not under pressure for very long it wouldn’t be too bad.

    I’ve attempted to make my own sauce in the past with no aging and it just wasn’t right. I will have to give this a shot.

    1. I don’t recommend standing right next to the cooker while it’s building and releasing pressure (which should be done naturally). I have not tried it myself – but I imagine that the vapor coming from the cooker would have similar effect as “tear gas”.

      The result is very, very spicy!

      Let me know how you like it.



  2. I’m trying this out right now in my Nesco electric pressure cooker. The only hot red peppers available at our local grocery store today were cherry peppers, so that’s what I’m using. Also, I didn’t have any smoked salt, so I used sea salt and a few swigs of hickory Liquid Smoke. I suppose some fresh garlic might be good in this too?

    1. Go for it, make this recipe your own! The garlic will do well, but don’t cook it. Add it at the end, when you’re pureeing the peppers – while they are still hot for a mild garlic flavor or once they’ve cooled a bit more to room temperature to preserve all of the raw garlic tang.



  3. Hi! I made this today. Very exciting and easy. I had to use jalapeno and serrano peppers…which would have been a beautiful GREEN but I decided to add some sweet (blueberries) so the color came out a murky purple-ish red haha. Actually – looks just like the color of katsup! oh well, live and learn.

    My question is that the pulp was still really hot (heat, spicy) so I wonder if that means I should have done 2 minutes…the hot sauce itself is a very nice heat for me so I am not complaining that it is not hot enough. Just wondering what that means…?

    Thanks! Love your blog:)

    1. Great photo, thanks for sharing!

      I’ve only experimented with three types of peppers – it could be that other types have more or release less capsaicin. It could also mean that the peppers weren’t sliced thinly enough.

      Either way, so glad you enjoyed the results.

      Restraint is the key to simplicity. ; )



  4. Was table salt used for this recipe or kosher salt? Huge difference in amounts required between the two. Inquiring minds would like to know.

    1. I used smoked salt which was in large crystals (smaller than coarse salt and bigger than table salt). Since the salt is not used for preservation – the sauce is stored in the refrigerator – there is no need for precision. You can adjust the salt to your taste. Start with one teaspoon and taste to see if you like it. If not, add more!



    2. Used half habanero, half jalapeno. The jar in the center has lime juice added after the process. Very happy with the results. Going to try it next with all green jalapeno.

  5. Just made a double batch, threw in half a bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley before whirling it with the bamix. Nice fresh flavor note.

  6. I made this today and it is awesome! Thank you for posting this recipe. I used all cayenne peppers. I bought two containers of them at a farm market…I couldn’t remember how much I needed for this recipe…they ended up weighing just over 10 ozs. I used the 1-1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar. I had to guess on the hickory salt though. I have some that came from The Spice House and the grind was really fine so I only used 1/8 teaspoon. It seemed to be just the right amount. I also added a couple of pinches of kosher salt. FYI, I used the pot in pot method because this seemed like a small amount to put in my 8 qt Fagor Duo. It worked like a charm!

  7. Thanks for posting pics and your variations of your hot sauces – they look great.

    Cowinmyundies, come back to post a picture of your green chile sauce! I haven’t tried it yet but I predict that the color should be as bright as the red variations.



  8. I am using a indian pressure cooker with a whistle, so how long should I cook this sauce 1 or 2 whistles also we do not have fresh red peppers can I use the dried let me know txz

    1. To time a recipe with a whistling pressure cooker just start counting the cooking time from the first whistle. So, when it whistles the first time count 1 minute pressure cooking time and then proceed with the rest of the recipe as written.

      I don’t recommend using dried peppers as the water from the fresh peppers help to balance out the vinegar. You can also use fresh green peppers!



    2. hi Laura, do you have a mint sauce recipe like this one which i can store for upto 3 months wud appreciate your response txs

      1. Hmm.. that’s interesting. It’s usually only ever made fresh. The pressure might be too much for the mint, but you can experiment.

        Here’s some advice to get you started. Since the volume of the mint will be much greater than that of the vinegar I recommend doing the ratios by weight. Weigh the mint with stems and all, then add the same weight in vinegar. Only bring the cooker to pressure (without counting any time at pressure)and then quickly open the cooker with the cold-water quick release, pick-out the stems, and puree.

        Let me know how it goes – hopefully it will have kept some color!



  9. We had an abundance of hot red peppers in our garden this year. This post was perfectly timed because we weren’t quite sure how we were going to get through them all. We put in a clove of garlic before pureeing and It is really great tasting. Thanks!

  10. Has anyone tried this Balsamic vinegar? or spirit vinegar?
    I’m busy with a batch using Cider vinegar and have run out…blast, just when i have another bundle of chilies to do.

  11. hi Laura, thanks a bunch for the mint S. reply but I am trying out another version which I will let u know but your pasta in pressure cooker is a super hit as I have a couple of versions and they all turned out good ! it was such a bother to cook pasta separately but the all in one is terrific looking forward to some more recipes with various veggies and meat or fish.
    incidentally tried a tuna in mustard sauce which was not bad i had a bit of radish, it turned a
    slightly bitter dont know whether it was d radish or the mustard see if u can figure it out. Txz
    Ciao !

  12. Thanks for an awesome recipe. I’m on my second batch, and doubt I’ll be buying Tabasco ever again! Here’s the result…

    1. This is great! Be sure to EITHER store them in the refrigerator OR process them in a hot water canner so they can remain shelf-stable.



  13. I used mainly mild red chillies with a few scotch bonnets for some extra kick and flavour. Has a slight Caribbean vibe, a bit like Tabasco habanero sauce. In answer to Suzi’s earlier question – I used spirit vinegar in the first batch and cider vinegar for the second, and the results were almost indistinguishable. I imagine balsamic will be too strong though…

  14. thanks Martin. :)
    i used the spirit vinegar in desperation and added some oregano just in case it was too sharp – was rather ‘lekker’ as we say in SA…

  15. As always your recipe was straightforward and accurate. I’ve made two batches now and will not be buying chilli sauce for a long time. It has been such a nice autumn day here in the UK that I thought I would photograph the lovely coloured sauces in the sunshine.

    1. That’s a very nice collection. Oooh.. I see you have green chile in there, too!

      Thanks for sharing the photo!



  16. My husband is a texture guy and doesn’t want me to strain my sauce. Any reason why I SHOULD strain it? Do the bits in there change anything up? Or is it ok to leave them in? I used Serrano chilis, cider vinegar, kosher salt and two drops of liquid smoke. LOVE the final flavor and that it is hot sauce that has flavor, and not just heat. Hubby LOVES the idea of making our own and playing around with the flavors. Now I need to go out and get cute bottles!

    1. Ciao Andrea!

      I’ve made several more batches and generations of this hot sauce since publishing the article. Ideally, the better your blender, the less there will be to strain.

      I also made a couple of batches and didn’t strain them and two things happened – they gained a little MORE heat over time and as they were stored in the refrigerator BUT the sauce was “separated” with vinegar floating at the top. The un-strained sauce was “pulpy” but runny. Even lots of shaking didn’t really amalgamate it well. Instead, strained sauce kept its “puree” body for about 8 months without separating -that’s how long it took me to consume the bottle you see in the photo. My “cute” bottle was originally a fruit syrup bottle from IKEA!! What can I say, I love to re-use. ; )

      The nice thing about making hot sauce yourself is that you can experiment. Make a little bottle of each and see how they behave over time to decide which you like best.


      1. Ok, found some cute bottles. Now my sauce is strained and ready to gift!

        1. It’s a great gift idea, and those bottles sure are cute!!!!



          1. Ok, my first attempt at the sauce didn’t come out quite as well as it looked…I seeded the pepper out of habit, not realizing the recipe said NOTHING about seeding them. Granted, I enjoyed the outcome but “hot sauce” is not what I would call it.

            Made another batch using all jalapenos and left all the seeds in (cider vinegar, kosher salt and a few drops of liquid smoke). At a party this past weekend I had that out among other popular commercial hot sauces and the homemade pressure cooker hot sauce was the clear crowd favorite with a few requests for the recipes. One guy, when I told him you need a pressure cooker to make it, told his wife he is buying her a pressure cooker.

            I know what I’m doing this weekend…making more hot sauce for our friends!

            1. Andrea, you were so quick with getting your peppers in the pressure cooker that you missed the part of the article about how most of the heat is in the seeds and pith of the peppers! ; )

              I’m glad you gave this technique another shot and it all turned out well in the end!

              Whether you want a smooth or “seedy” sauce the seeds should pressure cooked with the pepper flesh so the vinegar can do its work of extracting the heat from them. Then, the seeds come out in the strainer (if you wish).

              The side-by-side hot sauce comparison at the party sounds like a blast!!



              1. P.S. Also, I did not notice from your photo you posted of the Instant Pot making hot sauce earlier that seeds were not included. Sorry!!!

  17. Hi there, thanks for this really simple and great looking hot sauce. i’m going to give it a go over the weekend. I was wondering what your thoughts would be on adding some sugar into this? I’m pretty new to pressure cooking and have got myself a Instant Pot so apologies if this is a newbie question :) Thanks in advance. Mark

    1. You can absolutely add sugar. Just make sure it’s completely dissolved into the cooking liquid before putting on the pressure cooking lid. Great question!



      1. Thanks Laura, that’s great.

        Sauce made and it’s fab! I added double the amount of sugar to salt and it gave it a nice little extra dimension. Can I just ask why dissolve the sugar 1st? Just for future reference with other recipes?

        Thanks again

        1. Very nice! I see some hot peppers to make another batch. : )

          Stirring and dissolving the sugar before pressure cooking ensures that it does not clump on the base and cause scorching.



  18. Good afternoon Laura…I have another question! Made a batch with Fresno peppers, cider vinegar and salt (added liquid smoke after it cooked). It was by far my hottest sauce but not nearly as hot as Tabasco. Would cooking it for two minutes instead of one make a difference? I am using an electric (Cuisinart CPC-600) so perhaps the lower pressure if affecting it? Also…the husband says the sauce is vinegary (not sure I agree). Could it be made with part vinegar and part water (or maybe a fruit juice like apple?) or is the vinegar necessary for the capsacian extraction?

    Thank you!

    1. Ciao Andrea, I’m not familiar with Fresno peppers. You can try not straining out the seeds so they stay in the sauce longer. Cooking it more will only further break-down the pepper flesh.



  19. I always use the stove top. I put all the fresh ingredients in the blender then, when smooth, put it all in a stainless pot and simmer. Afterwards, I let it sit at room temp for 24 hours then reheat to gentle boil and can. Never thought of using the pressure cooker but I’ll give it a try. My fave peppers are Thai chiles, habaneros, manzanos, aji rojo, and the occasional ghost chile. Funnym I never cover my hands when cutting chiles, even the hottest ones. Doesn’t faze me one bit but I do make sure I don’t touch my eyes. Thanks! Great idea!

    1. Remember to follow the technique here for pressure cooking, cooking first and blending later, so that the mixture is not too thick for the cooker to reach pressure!

      Come back to let us know how it compares to your non-pressure cooker method!



  20. Getting ready to make a batch with some habeneros (sp?) that my mother in law gifted me. Question…my husband says the sauce is too “vinegary”…is it possible to substitute some of the vinegar with something else, like apple juice??

    1. *habaneros My suggestion is to substitute with some water. Apple juice will make it sweeter. But I can “see” you’re thinking cider and cider vinegar are close relatives?! I have used orange juice before but I tend to like the vinegar tartness! Adding citrus does give a more tropical flairJust remember if it’s not tart enough, you can always add more vinegar.

      So…Place your unchopped, stemless hot peppers in a bowl. Measure the amount of water that is needed to cover them. They will float. Just press down. Drain. Let’s say it takes 2 cups of water to cover. I’d start with a cup of vinegar and add water bit by bit, tasting as you go. I suggest you add the salt during this, too. You may have to alternate betw adding the additional vinegar/water til you get to the right acidity your husband prefers, up to around 2-cup measure level. This is not rocket science! Also, there are no habaneros in this vin/H2O solution so you won’t scorch your face off in the process of finding your husband’s comfort level! :) You ARE using habaneros so if you have extra liquid, not a problem. I prefer to do my peppers whole then process them in the blender afterwards and then I really don’t need to strain. Just shake well before using! Friends order my hot sauces.

      Hope this kinda helps! Have fun!

  21. Thank you for this great recipe! I am so tickled with my first attempt at making hot sauce! It is very tasty. I used 1 lb each of Habanero and red Jalapeno peppers.. This is the yield. Now to get some bottles so I can gift some. I used Applewood smoked salt.

  22. Oh, good! I will try this tomorrow! I have just canned 11 1/2 pints pickled peppers & have lots of peppers still left. (Don’t ask me what I was thinking about, when I bought them – my daughter-in-law & I won’t eat this much!!!) I will make my own hot sauce, definitely with the garlic added at the end. Boiling water bath, for sure. Can’t wait!! By the way, today I made meatballs in the instant pot, on a rack above a bit of water, 5 min High, quick release, drained the water & removed the rack. Then added veg & sauces & into slow cooker mode. Those tender, tender meatballs are like the ones at the Italian centres!!! I like them better than when cooked in sauce!! Thanks again.

  23. Like I said, I bought a lot of peppers!!! These are the ‘leftovers’, turned into hot sauce. Hmmm, at least 3 Christmas gifts here!! Thanks, again, for the recipe.

  24. I promised my husband that he would never be without Tobasco sauce for his birthday a few years ago. I have kept this promise (I keep a bottle in my car just in case). We just moved to NC and I saw at a nursery Tobasco peppers so naturally I had to buy it. My husband was so excited when the first one was red and it was so hot, he had a half hour of pain. I just made this recipe with them (half batch – that is all I can harvest at a time). I think it is perfect! I also think I will make a batch with Jalepenos and add a chipotle pepper – should I add that after? I will also add some garlic after, i think. Yum.

    1. Lulu, what a lovely thing to give to your husband for his birthday – the most thoughtful gift of all – a promise to make him happy every day. : )

      I would add the chipotle pepper before pressure cooking so that it can infuse the whole batch – peppers are more resistant to pressure cooking than fresh garlic.

      Enjoy, and post a photo of your next batch!



  25. Think I’m going try scotch bonnet and mango.

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