How to Make Fermented Hot Sauce

Use a Variety of Peppers

By Joe Cowan
Director of Operations

At the farmers market in Morgantown, West Virginia, I became known as “The Pepper Guy.” I even have a shopping bag with that moniker stitched on it.

That’s because I’ve been on a search for interesting and flavorful peppers, both sweet and spicy, for a few years, and I have come across some wonderfully delicious varieties.

Peppers are one of the easier fruits to crossbreed and to create an entirely new variety that exhibits the traits of one or both of the parents. For this reason, a tremendous variety of peppers is available. Some peppers are better for storage, some better for drying and powdering for our Pepper Salt, and some are best used in a pickled or lacto-fermented sauce.

I typically choose large, red, fleshy, and medium to very spicy types to use for my annual fermented hot sauce. About five pounds of cherry hots and red jalapeños will make enough hot sauce to last a year. Spicy hot sauce is such a treat to have in the middle of winter; it will remind you of your favorite farmer at the market and give whatever dish you are making a real kick.


Fermented Hot Sauce


  • 5 lbs assorted ripe peppers (such as Anaheim, cherry hot, jalapeño, Jimmy Nardello)
  • 1 Tbsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • Large cabbage leaves

Special equipment:

6-quart fermentation crock


  1. Cut the peppers into small chunks. Depending on the variety, include or compost the stems. Toss together with the salt in a bowl.
  2. Put the salty peppers into the fermentation crock and cover with cabbage leaves. Cover with the stone inserts, add water to the water-seal trough and let sit for one to three weeks.
  3. Once bubbling and fragrant, take out the stones and cabbage leaves. With an immersion blender, food processor or regular blender. pulse until smooth and thick. If necessary, add sauerkraut juice to help the blending.
  4. Store in Mason jars and freeze until ready to use.

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