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The Best Hot Sauces for Dads Who Love Spicy Food

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Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)

And while we’ve written about lots of condiments — including the best chef-approved miso pastes, one writer’s favorite chili oil, and another’s favorite soy sauce — here, we’ve rounded up the best hot sauces, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.

Best-rated hot sauce

Secret Aardvark Habanero Sauce
$21 for 2

More than 1,000 reviewers give this hot sauce five stars and top marks for hitting that sweet spot between spicy and flavorful. “I don’t often enjoy sauces that are hot for the sake of heat without the flavor, but this one packs a reasonable punch while having a rich and developed taste,” one reviewer writes. Another says, “it’s manageable for those who aren’t looking to kill themselves with hot sauce, but want to step up their hot sauce game with something flavorful.” A third even goes as far as saying, “I would drink this sauce.” Many also note that this works with a variety of foods. “It is sweet, savory, tangy and spicy,” one user writes, adding, “the consistency is thick, which makes this sauce the perfect compliment to all dishes, from simple white rice to grilled chicken breasts.” Another adds, “it’s spicy enough to give a kick to many different foods, but it doesn’t take away from that food’s flavor; it just enhances it.” Dozens of reviewers say they love this sauce so much that a bottle only lasts them a few days. As one satisfied customer puts it, “gone are the days of not slathering my food in condiment until I have a delicious pile of Secret Aardvark Sauce with a bit of food thrown in for good measure.”

Best-rated (less expensive) hot sauce

Bibigo Gochujang Sauce

The consensus among reviewers is that you could put this hot sauce on anything and it would make it taste good. “I think you could put this on shoe leather and it would make it taste like filet mignon!” raves one reviewer, adding, “it’s the best condiment ever — perfect balance between umami, sweet and spicy!” While many report using it to make various Asian dishes, dozens of users say the possibilities are endless. “Besides bibimbap, bulgogi, and cooking with it as a base, you can put this on eggs, fries, tacos, lettuce wraps, burgers … I could go on.” Another reviewer “adds it into just about everything,” including “soups, noodles, casseroles” and to “mayo for dipping.” According to users, the hot sauce’s versatility has something to do with it being “just enough spicy [and] just enough sweet to make it go well [with] damn near everything.” Many also compare it to Sriracha, but one reviewer notes “it has more flavor and depth than Siriracha.”

Best hot sauce for cooking


More than 80 percent of reviewers give Satan’s Blood a five-star review. While many reviewers tell stories about how dangerously hot this sauce is, one reviewer points out “there is a warning label on the bottle that says ‘this is not a hot sauce.’” And those who purchase this as more than a gag gift or a challenge say they can actually enjoy the hot sauce when they cook with it. “This is obviously not meant to be used as a hot sauce, so keep that in mind if you’re not looking to be writhing on the floor in pain,” explains one reviewer, who adds, “I like to put maybe 7-8 drops in a decent sized pot of chili; that much is enough to make most people feel the heat.” Another says this adds “a nice amount of heat that makes it very quick and easy to increase the heat of any dish.” One “primarily used this for increasing the heat on buffalo-wing sauce without changing the flavor or texture, and it works very well for that.”

Best “one drop” hot sauce


“This stuff is hotter than Pamela Anderson circa 1994,” one user writes in an attempt to explain what dozens of others say in their reviews of this hot sauce: that you really only need one drop. “Delicious … but when it says one drop, believe me one drop is enough,” says another reviewer, while yet another says, “one drop is plenty for an individual portion,” adding, “two drops and either you have the constitution of Keith Richards or you have made a serious mistake.” Many attest that the one drop makes this sauce long lasting, helping them save in a number of ways. “This saves money and helps me cut back on the high sodium of other hot sauces,” explains one user, with another writing, “we use it almost every day, and after 3 years we just ran out.” The consensus among reviewers is that this strictly tastes hot, but a few were able to pick out a habanero flavor, including one whose husband makes his own salsa and will use this hot sauce as a habanero substitute. “When he can’t get fresh habaneros he uses Dave’s to turn up the heat.”

Most flavorful hot sauce

Mad Dog 357 Hot Sauce

According to one review titled “Prepare yourself,” this hot sauce “is burn-your-mouth, sear-your-tastebuds, and then force you to consider jumping in a pool of ice hot.” While many agree with this, dozens of reviewers also note that this hot, hot sauce is still pretty flavorful. “On top of the immediate and pervasive burn, it also has a nice, slightly smoky, sweet flavor,” writes one reviewer. “My drunk ass poured a river of it on my Taco Bell and it took me about 15 minutes to recover,” says another, adding that “it’s great when used sparingly, in combination with other sauces.” And another user says, “this is a very good flavorful sauce, no chemical taste like many others,” adding that “it enhances the flavor on whatever you put it on. I add it to wing sauce and chili, along with rice-based meals.”

Best carrot-based hot sauce

Many of the nearly 90 percent of reviewers who give this hot sauce five stars say it packs a unique flavor from its carrot base. “This is HANDS DOWN the best hot sauce in the world,” one writes, adding, “the carrot-based sauce is soooooo flavorful.” Another says, “the taste of this sauce is a flavorful balance of vegetables (carrot and onion), with a habanero kick that converts most people who try it. I’ve secretly started carrying it in my purse.” Dozens of reviewers also mention trying this hot sauce for the first time in Belize, and say they’ve been hooked ever since. “We discovered this hot sauce when we were staying at the Hopkins Bay Resort, in Hopkins Bay Belize,” writes one user, who notes “this hot sauce is not just hot, it’s also savory and tangy and a little sweet, all at the same time. There’s a cumulative effect to the heat, so it doesn’t burn you out right away, but the savory flavor of the sauce means you can’t stop putting it on food and eating it.”

Best scotch bonnet hot sauce

The consensus among reviewers is that the scotch bonnet pepper base of this sauce is perfectly paired with other ingredients to create a pleasant mild hot sauce. “It is far too easy for scotch bonnet based hot sauces to overwhelm the palette with heat, or to overcompensate with acid (most often vinegar),” one user explains. “The Queen Majesty Scotch Bonnet Ginger sauce is able to avoid that pitfall by balancing the heat of the pepper and acid of the vinegar and citrus with the bright earthiness of ginger.” Another says “It is bright and sweet, with a little tang and some gentle heat that fades away slowly.” In terms of consistency, this hot sauce is “quite thick, yet not too chunky,” a reviewer says. And according to many it can go on just about anything. “I’ve had it on everything from a sandwich to a piece of apple pie and it’s been awesome,” one says, while another writes, “It’s great with fish, pork, chicken and strip steak for Mexican or BBQ, and it ends up being the ultimate beach hot sauce, since it goes so well with seafood.”

Best habanero hot sauces

Yellowbird, Habanero Sauce

“If you love habanero, this is a great hot sauce,” according to one reviewer who admits “this sauce isn’t very hot, but it has a great fruity habanero flavor.” Another calls out its “beautiful citrus undertone with just the right about of spicy for fans of typical habanero sauces.” That reviewer continues, “it’s a little sweeter and *little* less robust, but that’s the beauty — it works well with an array of other foods that the normal habanero sauces don’t.” Another writes, “My son and I use it almost daily, for breakfast with eggs or tofu, for lunch with vegetables, and tastes great with potato chips.” Users report ordering this sauce over and over again, with one even noting their biggest fear is it being discontinued. “I was shocked how good this was when my mom bought me this bottle five months ago and now I’ve gone through four bottles reordered. My only fear is that they stop making this sauce. I’m not sure I would be able to handle that.”

Pain 100% Hot Sauce, 3.75-Ounce Bottle

“Be careful: this sauce is super spicy,” writes one reviewer. More than 65 percent of reviewers agree. “Definitely hot, some light sweating and watering eyes but 100% bearable,” one says. Another writes, “Just even a small tsp.. had my head hurt, eyes water and my nose running like a faucet.” Despite its spiciness, many say it has real flavor too. “And the taste ***WOW*** absolutely the best mix of habanero and a little garlic,” one says. “It will leave your mouth on fire, but it is worth it — and I guarantee if you’re a hot sauce lover you will not be able to stop eating it.”

Best ghost-pepper hot sauce

Reviewers praise this for being one of the hottest hot sauces that you can actually taste the peppers in. “This is one of the hottest daily hot sauces I have eaten and I LOVE it,” one writes. “I personally wouldn’t want any more heat than this, because up from here is extracts and gimmick sauces that aren’t good tasting.” Another says, “This sauce is pretty darn hot, but it still tastes great,” adding, “its base are the actual peppers (ghost chili and habanero), as opposed to the capsaicin extracts that the hotter sauces use.” Indeed, many praise the sauce for its use of ghost pepper, which adds a heat that will sneak up on you. “At first bite, you think, ‘this isn’t so hot,’” explains one user, who notes that “the heat keeps building and building till your face fricken melts off. It’s called a ghost pepper because it sneaks up on you.” Another notes that, “without chili extract, you get the full flavor of the ghost pepper, which pairs excellent with the spices and seasonings they add.” While many agree that there are a number of flavors to taste in this hot sauce, one reviewer concludes, “at first, you can taste some of the sweet notes, but the heat is the protagonist and eventually takes over.”

Best mustard-based hot sauce

Reviewers commonly compare this hot sauce to a spicy mustard. “The taste is hot and yet extremely flavorful, and works great for anything you would use mustard on,” one writes. Another calls it the “most delicious hot sauce I’ve tasted; if you love mustard, then this is a big hit.” A third says, “it’s a tame mustard flavor with a lot of heat.” Reviewers call out the “smoky, spicy, tangy” taste, saying they love it on everything from ribs and meatloaf to bratwursts and gyros. One enthusiastic reviewer even describes the excitement of coming home to a new bottle of Professor Phardtpounders Colon Cleaner Hot Sauce: “I quickly reheat a carnivorous dish I had in my refrigerator and proceed to pour the beautiful golden liquid on top. The smell of habanero peppers and mustard stimulate my nostrils as I breathe in, my mouth is now salivating. The first mouthful is what i imagine Jesus served up at the last supper. The mustard, vinegar and peppers all blend together perfectly. Bringing a new complexity to each meal. Not too mild and not too spicy. I rate this godly hot sauce 10.3/10.”

Best mild hot sauce


Reviewers have trouble describing this hot sauce’s exact flavor, but find it hits right in the middle of the spicy scale. “The flavor is hard to explain, it’s spicy but not hot, more so just flavorful in a hot way that doesn’t burn,” writes one reviewer, adding, “I think this sauce is made of pure unicorn love and mermaid tears.” Another describes it as “smokey, with a rich, slightly salty flavor … A medium amount of heat that builds nicely throughout the meal.” Yet another says, “the spice level is mild to medium.” Reviewers say they’ve used this sauce, which they most commonly compare to Cholula, on everything from “eggs, cottage cheese, and chicken” to “potatoes, breakfast sandwiches, and pizza.” Though one notes that “as the name implies, it is pepper based, so if you are expecting the vinegary taste of Tabasco, or the Asian flavors of Sriracha, this likely isn’t for you.”

Best bulk hot sauce


“Let me just tell you that it’s the greatest Mexican hot sauce to ever grace the face of our planet,” one reviewer writes. “It’s as if the sun and moon made love and had a child.” Reviewers admit this isn’t the hottest hot sauce out there, but they say it takes the No. 1 spot for flavor. “Cholula is definitely hot sauce, but in a way that enhances the food’s flavor rather than burning the skin off the roof of my mouth,” one says. Another notes, “I love the flavor of this unique sauce’s Arbol and Piquin peppers.” Another thinks the “great vinegar balance and the pepper flavor is outstanding.” You can put it on everything, says one reviewer. And he does: “from pizza to burritos, eggs, in dishes … I even drink it right out of the bottle when I am craving it.” With this bulk-size, 64-ounce bottle, there’s plenty to go around — or directly in your mouth, if that’s what you like. “There is no downside to this much Cholula,” one says. “Except that perhaps I end up putting it on everything, forcing me to buy more Cholula.”

Best less expensive bulk hot sauce

Of Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce, one reviewer who claims to have “tasted my share of hot sauces over the years” writes, “I always gravitate back to Frank’s for flavor and heat.” That reviewer adds, “on several occasions I have mentioned to others how I would love to buy it by the gallon or by the barrel. Then one day typing out gallon of Frank’s Hot Sauce my heart palpitated. To my surprise it was gloriously before my very eyes — Frank’s luscious red hot sauce in one-gallon containers. I had died and gone straight to heaven.” Other Real Frank’s RedHot lovers love the savings they get from purchasing this gallon container as well. “OMG!” one reviewer starts, before saying, “I died and went to hot sauce wonderland when I found this. My family is obsessed with Frank’s. If you love Frank’s and use it all the time like we do, buy this, it will keep you stocked up AND save you money.” Users assure other customers that this jumbo bottle contains the exact same Frank’s hot sauce that comes in smaller containers. “Really, it’s the same Frank’s that you know and love, just way way too much of it for any one person’s good,” explains one. “I love it, you love it, get it.”

Best sweet hot sauce

“If sweet heat is your thing, buy this know,” one customer says. Hundreds of reviewers agree, writing that this is the perfect balance between sweet and hot. “This has got to be the best honey I ever had,” one writes. “It has just the right kick to it so it’s not too hot but has a great flavor.” Another notes, “it’s primarily sweet with a bearable kick of heat that completes it.” Many also praise it for being exactly as advertised, which is that it is good on everything. “It’s perfect with seasoned fries, fried chicken, plain yogurt, carrots, ice cream — I think you get the point,” one says, while another adds that even “in my tea it was pretty good.” No matter what you try it on, according to yet another user, you’ll be hooked. “They need a 12-step program for it. It’s that good. I’m a lifetime customer now.”

Best giftable hot sauce

More than 60 percent of reviewers say that this set of hot sauces makes the perfect gift, and nearly 40 percent say that’s because of the packaging (it comes wrapped like dynamite). One person who ordered these for their brother says, “He was so amazed that the bottles arrived wrapped so the collection looked like dynamite, that he hated to take it apart, but finally did after showing everyone he could.” Another says, “It comes in a sturdy box and the picture just doesn’t cover how amazing the dynamite is. The bottles are a great size and more than I was expecting. Everything is put together in a way to impress.” The sauces themselves get good marks too. This set comes with “Chipotle pepper, Whiskey Habenero (our fave for wings), Smokey Bourbon (great on BBQ), Garlic Herb (for guppies but flavorful), Garlic Pepper, Cayenne Pepper and Ghost Pepper (for pros),” one reviewer says. Another describes the assortment as going “from mild to hot … but not too hot … and the flavor variations are perfect.”

Best less expensive giftable hot sauce

Gringo Bandito O.G. Hot Sauce Variety Pack, 5 oz (4 Pack)

Reviewers have some choice words for this hot sauce’s maker, Dexter Holland, a singer from the punk rock band the Offspring. “Ok Mr. Dexter Holland I’m not liking you at the moment … Because of you I now need to throw nine bottles of other hot sauce out because they taste like garbage next to yours,” writes one, who adds, “I’ve gone thru a bottle a week (it becomes your own personal crack) since I’ve ordered this delectable concoction.” Another notes, “I got it mainly because I like the Offspring but it wound up becoming my favorite hot sauce … it really adds a lot of flavor to pretty much any meal or soup.” Many reviewers also say this set of four makes a perfect gift. “I bought this set as a gift for friends who love hot sauce,” explains one. “The bottles arrived packed in a box that was the correct size, and they were each individually secured within the box to eliminate breakage. The variety of flavors and hotness are a great way to try multiple tastes.” Another user who calls this the “perfect lineup of sauces to enjoy” says the “flavor of sauces is very good, with a good amount of heat thrown in.”

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The Best Hot Sauces for Dads Who Love Spicy Food