advertisement
advertisement

12 hot sauces Fast Company staffers use to spice up their food

Whether you like an acidic hot sauce, an umami-bomb chili crisp, or an upscale spicy oil, these 12 entries bring the heat.

12 hot sauces Fast Company staffers use to spice up their food
[Photo: courtesy Firelli]

We’re currently living in the golden age of hot sauce. Even as spicy stalwarts like Tabasco, Red Crystal, Tapatío, and the OG Sriracha from Huy Fong Foods remain in steady rotation for many, there is an ever-expanding universe of products meant to add heat to even the most bland meal. In the interest of spreading the good word about their favorite pepper-based condiments, Fast Company staffers are sharing below the bottle and jars they can’t put down right now.

advertisement
advertisement

[Photo: courtesy Kitchen Garden Farm]
Kitchen Garden Farm Sriracha Chili Sauce
This is hands-down my favorite hot sauce. Bright, almost fruity, and very, very hot. I love that it’s not overpowered by garlic or smoke or other competing flavors, and that it’s not overly processed. The chilies are grown and fermented on the small farm in Massachusetts where the sauce is made. Ingredients are organic. I order multiple bottles at a time and give them out as gifts. —Jill Bernstein, editorial director

[Photo: courtesy Firelli]
Firelli
It’s not as acidic as some other hot sauces I love, which are great with plenty of foods, but sometimes you need something that isn’t so tart. This has a rounder flavor because it uses balsamic vinegar and it tastes so good with all kinds of things—definitely eggs and, yes, Italian foods. It’s not as spicy as some other hot sauces I use, but it’s super versatile and really delicious. Also the bottle is beautiful! —Lee Havlicek, branded content producer

[Photo: courtesy Momofuku]
Momofuku Chili Crunch and Black Truffle Chili Crunch
Dig your spoon deep into a jar of Momofuku’s Chili Crunch and it’ll come up with a crispy mix of garlic, shallots, and three kinds of peppers: puya, japones, and chili de arbol. The flavor is rich and, yes, spicy. But the best part of the topping is that it adds texture to any meal with that crispy, onion-and-garlic crunch. I love it on eggs, noodles–just about anything. I have to admit that I was deeply skeptical of adding black truffle to the mix, but I’ve discovered that the Black Truffle Chili Crunch is the perfect cheat to adding a delicious dose of umami to pasta and other dishes when you’re too pressed for time to develop the flavor yourself. —Amy Farley, senior editor

advertisement

[Photo: courtesy Yellowbird]
Yellowbird Variety Pack
Found this one in Austin, where the company is based. I bought three flavors and none disappointed, though my favorite is the classic jalapeño flavor. It’s a great alternative to sriracha—fairly mild and all purpose. For the adventurous eater, Yellowbird sells a variety pack that contains five of its sauces: jalapeño, habanero, Blue Agave Sriracha, serrano, and ghost pepper. —Celine Grouard, photo editor

​​TuttoCalabria Crushed Calabrian Chili Peppers
This is hands down my favorite condiment of 2022. I go through a jar every other month or so, putting it on everything from eggs to pizza and pasta to seeded crisps with soft boiled eggs. It’s spicy, but has so much flavor. For anyone who loves red pepper flakes, you need this upgrade. —April Mokwa, executive managing editor

[Photo: courtesy Brightland]
Brightland Ardor Olive Oil
Brightland’s Ardor oil—infused with chili, jalapeño, and chipotle peppers (and paprika, to boot)—definitely packs some heat, but doesn’t dominate the flavors of a dish, the way some other hot sauces tend to do. It’s a perfect drizzle to top off any meal that needs a little something more. —AF

advertisement

[Photo: courtesy Red Clay]
Red Clay Carolina Hot Sauce
It might be my fault for stealing one too many Tabasco-doused french fries from my dad’s plate as a kid, but vinegary hot sauces don’t always do it for me. However, Red Clay’s Carolina Hot Sauce manages to use its sherry vinegar base to complement a pleasant heat from cold-pressed and raw cayenne and pequin peppers. Also appealing is that it’s thicker than a typical vinegar-based sauce, making it a little easier to put right where you want it. Other standouts from the brand are its Peach Hot Sauce for those who like sweet and spicy, and its assortment of hot honeys—sold in two heat levels and a Spicy Peach variety. —David Salazar, associate editor

Dutch’s Portland Hot Sauce
Dutch’s is a local restaurant in Portland, Maine, that specializes in breakfast and lunch using house-made ingredients and makes its own hot sauce line. There’s something about the spice level and rich, pepper-forward flavor that pairs with both savory or sweet dishes. I get their version of a McGriddle every time and love how the sauce adds to it. —Adam Noonan-Kelly, web developer

[Photo: courtesy Bitchin’ Sauce]
Chipotle Bitchin’ Sauce
Chipotle Bitchin’ Sauce is that perfect blend between creamy and spicy. Whether I’m using it as a dip for raw veggies or spreading it on my sandwich, this almond-based sauce is my go-to when I’m feeling spicy. Plus, it’s vegan and gluten-free. —Gabe Boyd, intern

advertisement

[Photo: courtesy Burlap and Barrel]
Burlap & Barrel Black Urfa Chili
These earthy ground chili flakes, sourced from a farm outside the Turkish city of Urfa, aren’t technically a hot sauce. But who’s counting? This is your go-to condiment for when you want to add just a smidge of funky heat to an avocado toast, eggs, stews and sauces, veggies and salads. Be warned: One jar is not going be enough. —AF

[Photo: courtesy Poor Devil]
Poor Devil Pepper Co. Mountain Mama
I first encountered this hot sauce at upstate New York’s West Taghkanic Diner, and it’s just so good. All of the brand’s sauces are fermented, meaning any acidity comes from the peppers themselves, and the products contain probiotics. The Mountain Mama is a perfect all-around sauce with flavor and color from carrots and beets, but it’s definitely not the only sauce with a great name and taste (see also: Green Widow and Evil Possessor). The company sells a Sauce Bag with six sauces for a full sampling. —DS

Valentina Hot Sauce
I started buying Valentina after a food critic friend told me it’s her go-to housewarming gift. I have a strong aversion to thin, vinegar-y hot sauces (a la Tabasco), so I appreciate Valentina’s thick, silkiness–allowing it to stay put on a burrito or egg sandwich, for strategically spicy bites every time. There’s a regular Valentina (yellow label) and a spicier Black Label version, which is also delicious, but not quite as versatile. It’s a cheap crowd pleaser–easy to find at most grocery stores, reliably delicious, and yes, perfect for housewarmings. —Rachel Kim Raczka, contributing writer

advertisement

Fast Company‘s Recommender section is dedicated to surfacing innovative products, services, and brands that are changing how we live and work. Every item that we write about is independently selected by our editors and, whenever possible, tested and reviewed. Fast Company may receive revenue from some links in our stories; however, all selections are based on our editorial judgment.

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement