How to Grow Peppers and Make Hot Sauce


I love spicy food.  I can put hot sauce on almost anything and love trying sauces made of different peppers.  I’ve always loved growing my own vegetables as well so this year I decided to grow a variety of hot peppers I’d use to make different homemade hot sauces.  Today I’ll go over the basics of these easy to grow vegetables and how to make a basic sauce recipe.

The Garden

Sprouts in May 19

I have a raised bed garden that measures 16’x 4’.  Built of cedar wood so it does not rot and caged in (to keep wildlife out).  Its about 2 feet deep and I get a nice compost/top soil mixture every 5 years. As for what peppers to grow, that is up to you.  You can get seeds and sprouts online, or at a local gardening shop or home improvement store.  This year I chose to grow banana, habanero, Thai dragon, and bhut jolokia(ghost) peppers.  I spaced each plant about 36” from the next.

For irrigation, I suggest getting a drip irrigation system(the brown lines in the above photo).  They connect to a standard outside water faucet and you can cut them to the lengths and number of rows of peppers you have.  Simply turn it on and let it drip.  If not, just give the plants plenty of water with the hose twice a day.

The Wait

Where I live I planted the sprouts I bought in the beginning of May.  Peppers like a lot of heat and a lot of water but they are still pretty hardy.  This summer wasn’t particularly hot, but my plants did exceptionally well.

The smaller Thai dragon peppers sprouted first, then the banana and bhut jolokia, the last to flower was the habanero.  Each of these peppers are easy to recognize from each other, and simple to know when ripe.  The plants took about 3 months total to go from sprouts, to flowering, to producing fruit.  The ghost peppers go from green, to yellow/orange then to bright red when ready.  The habanero I planted goes from lime green to orange when ripe, but can be picked when green if desired.  Thai dragons go from green to a brownish color then bright red when ready.

Thai Dragon Peppers about half way through
Habanero Mid July
Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) August 10th

 The Recipe

Took this pic about halfway through harvest. This is what color the Thai Dragon and Bhut Jolokia will look like when ripe. Habaneros are orange.

Once you’ve gathered 1lb of peppers (I combined habaneros, thai dragons, and ghost peppers for a crazy hot sauce) You’ll have enough to make about a pint of hot sauce.  The recipe I followed was for a “sriracha style” sauce.  What you’ll need:

1lb of peppers

1/2 cup vinegar (white or apple cider)

1/2 cup water

4 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp salt

2 tbsp honey (the recipe called for sugar, but I used honey instead)

The Prep

First, rinse all your peppers and start chopping the stems off.  If you want the sauce to be milder, remove ALL seeds.  I left all them in.

Add peppers, garlic, water, salt and vinegar into a blender and start grinding it up.  You want it to have a paste like consistency.  Not too runny or too thick.  We can change the consistency later.  I let mine ferment for 3 days to really dial in the flavor.   Poured it into a jar and let sit on my counter.

All peppers and garlic in the blender. I had the most Thai Dragon peppers, so they made up most of the sauce. There are 2 habaneros and 6 ghost peppers in there.

Once you see bubbles forming, pour the puree into a pot and set to medium heat.  Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. White foam will rise to the top, scoop off and discard.

After 20 minutes, my sauce was at the best consistency

After 20 mins, remove from heat.  At this point you’ll have to decide how thick you want the sauce to be.  If you want it to be thinner, scoop the puree out of the pot and press through a strainer into a bowl.  If you’d like it to be thicker, return to heat until it reduces to the thickness you want. Also, if you want to grind the seeds more, you can blend it again until they’re chopped up. Mine was perfect as soon as I took it off the burner, so I just bottled it.


That’s it!  It was a fun project from start to finish and the sauce is amazing, albeit hot as hell.  It should keep for up to 6 months in the fridge (high ph) or for years if you can/freeze it.  You can make some pretty good recipes with it as well.

Mix in some mayo for a spicy aioli dressing that is great on tacos or fish

My wife makes a great pineapple salsa with it by adding:

1 cup hot sauce

1 can crushed pineapple

2 tbsp orange marmalade 

Combine it all with a blender on a low setting for a sweet/spicy glaze that is great on shrimp and pork.  


It was a fun project for me and my family.  The kids don’t like hot peppers, but loved the process of growing our own food.  I love knowing I grew the peppers, then made a sauce I can enjoy.  If you have any questions, leave a comment below.


-J. Nyx

Author: Jnyx

Fitness addict, DIY guru, tech nerd, member of Memesters Local 419.

109 thoughts on “How to Grow Peppers and Make Hot Sauce”

  1. There’s a restaurant on Park Ave near 34th/35th St. I think it is a vegetarian place. They usually have a few big plant pots outside the place with the same type of thin red peppers in the above picture growing in them. Always surprised me that no one picks/steals them.

        1. Thai dragon and Ghost peppers did the best. Im not sure on the habanero yet as they’re only staring to ripen now.

          When i did a full garden last year, spinach, tomatoes(☭), and green beans did the best.

          1. if you want low yield and live in the northeast, I suggest watermelons. my parents bought em, were about 4 inches long already, 3.5 inches by the end of summer

              1. he did everything short of singing lullabies to the melons in order to get them to grow. they were literally the same size on the node/nubbin whatever you technical people call that attachment point 10 weeks later

            1. Never tried to grow watermelon before this year; I put two plants in the corner as an experiment. Both died when moles decided to surface directly under them. And they were the only two plants to have that happen.

          2. All I can say about habaneros is that ants love those plants.
            A few years ago a guy brought a habanero plant into the office. Freaking thing was crawling with ants. We made him take it out of there asap.

    1. Franchia. Yeah, I work around the corner from them but never ate them because of their lack of slaughtered animals. I’ve often wondered about the theft aspect too but I was passing by late one night and it seems they bring them in.

  2. Big fan of peppers, although I’ve tended away from the very spicy toward the sweet in recent years.

    Mixed luck with peppers this year. Red bell exploded out of control, Italian roasters are doing wonderful, the little runty cunty things which I forget the name of right now are plentiful. Poblanos, half the crop is strong and prolific, the other half looks like it is being victimized every night by a large piss filled dog. Banana peppers are pathetic, although I am getting a few, it’s not quite enough to make it worthwhile trying to preserve any.

  3. sweet article….I’ve been trying to raise city tomatoes forever, maybe next year ill go for fire escape peppers.

      1. for flavor.
        It’s funny, I was in the grocery store a few weeks ago and saw “local honey” and all I could think was “fuck I want local honey for? I want honey from some place where they ay-mish have horses and barns and shit…I aint paying 28 bucks for a jar of honey from bees that been flying around manhattan”

        1. hahahah yeah they have that here. The different flavers are named for the zip codes the bees live in, so at least you have a shot….

        2. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the industry standard for ‘local’ means ‘within 500 miles’. So it may very well come from an Amish barn. That particular honey is probably intended for dim millennial hipsters with a type of guilt that can only be alleviated by following meaningless yet expensive trends.

              1. I read about a scam where they were shipping a certain seafood product to the US all the way from China in individualized, prepackaged containers. The seafood was frozen and sometimes it was 3 or 4 weeks old by the time it got to the US. A local company would simply replace the tops of the prepackaged containers with new ones, and not only could they legally sell it as “local” seafood, they could sell it with a “fresh” packaged date of when they replaced the tops.

                  1. Eating domestically produced food in China is riskier than eating food in the US imported from China. The government there will come down on you much harder if you damage China’s image abroad than if you merely kill a few fellow citizens.

                  1. I am always amused when I hear some nutter talking about “fair trade” and “organic” and other magical words that make your food healthy. All these systems are more loophole than they are guarantee.

                    Starbucks is a great example of the scam. They have “fair trade” beans, which only means that Starbucks overpaid for at least 20% of the coffee they use – apparently they buy from wholesalers who don’t actually buy at fair trade rates, but that doesn’t matter. They also tried to copyright some of their blends so that they could use any beans to make “Sumatran” or “Ethiopian” coffee.

          1. would not surprise me either, but this honey was Brooklyn hipsters….they started allowing honey bees a few years ago. Can’t blame them too much though. For all their bullshit, the hipsters have done wonders for food.

        3. Beekeepers around here put hives in watermelon fields during the summer and charge the farmer for pollination then sell the honey on the internet for outrageous prices. It’s good stuff though.

          1. Supposedly… they’ve got some kind of special honey here that is only produced once a year. Somehow they get the bees to only pollinate a specific flower and it changes the flavor of the honey.

            Too bad I got that story when I could barely speak the language. I can’t for the life of me remember the name! Now I’m constantly hunting for it. HAHA!

        1. the city’s finest Italian restaurants use it instead of flour- chicken a la 4/5/6 is a rare treat

    1. Tomatoes… big pot like a half whiskey barrel, one plant, use a tomato cage, water twice a day, fertilize, and you’ll have so many you’ll have to can/ freeze them.

  4. Here’s MY favorite pepper recipe:
    Check it out:
    Take the hottest pepper you can find.
    Cut diagonally.
    Wipe exposed end across enemy’s toiler paper. Works best on women.
    Some Fun.

    1. Step 1: Invite woman over for home cooked meal
      Step 2: slice and seed jalapeno peppers
      step 3: finger date
      step 4: ???????
      Step 5: profit.

    2. doing that with a scotch bonnet pepper might kill someone. excellent advice as always bem

    3. LOL

      I used to make homemade itching powder out of bamboo. You just ground it up super fine with a little water, then put it in the oven on really low and let it completely dry out. Then sift it through a flour sifter to get the bigger pieces out. Shit itches worse than anything…

  5. Excellent stuff jnyx.
    There are some purple peppers out there. Can’t remember the name right now that are really cool.
    One variety is spherical

  6. “I love spicy food.”

    Finally! An article I can disagree with!

    Then you went and ruined the ride by actually writing a helpful article about growing and making stuff.



      1. I keep intending to start up a little mini garden myself. If for nothing else than it allows for extra fresh stuff and a few less items to pick up at the market.

        Around here just about everybody (but me) has one. 🙂

  7. We used to grow cayenne peppers back in the day. We would come home for lunch during the summer time on 94+ degree days and Daddy would put a few on his plate, he would just sit there and eat them with nothing, having little beads of sweat popping out on his forehead. I like spicy food but I could never punish myself like that while he would sit and eat them like candy.

  8. Thai dragon and habanero? You trying to kill your family? I am more of a bell pepper, kind of guy, maybe some jalapeños.

    1. I’ll usually go as high as Serranos and Chile de Arbol, but only for certain applications. Thai Dragon registers about three times hotter than Serrano pepper, and it’s only about half as hot as habanero – that’s way beyond me.

    2. I don’t understand the need for making your food so hot you can’t feel your tastebuds. Unless your food is bland as fuck or tastes like shit so that you don’t want to taste it.

  9. I can eat cayenne straight. My mother used to put Tabasco sauce in my mouth as a small kid whenever I used bad words or potty language. It backfired. Now I love to coat most foods in hot sauce. Thanks mom!

    Also the enzymes in cayenne pepper specifically are like roto-rooter for your circulatory system. It cleans your vascular membranes and pasages like Prestone radiator flush. Habitually eaten, it will keep your vessels squeaky clean inside.

    Cayenne is better than coffee in the morning for getting you going, but you have to eat a sufficient amount. You can feel it going down and travelling through your system, entering your bloodstream and making its way to your brain. Your brain can’t register hot taste, but when the enzymes hit your brain, you can hear your heart beating in your eardrums. The key is to eat enough of the stuff. A tiny sprinkle or a wee tad taste on your breakfast food is a pussy amount. You need to get a heaping table spoon or two of cayenne powder down to see what I mean. The flush on the brain is like adding marvel mystery oil to a sticky auto transmission. Valves open and the thing shifts and works like an oiled sewing machine again. Noticable boost in brain activity follows and of course many lodged and stuck endorphins become liberated and a natural high ensues.

    I recommend only cayenne for the health benifits. Ghosts, Anaheims and the ‘Carolina reaper’ are all hotness without the total benifit of the cayenne enzymes. They’re good for a bet or dare challenge at best. A raw ghost is very potent. Water doesn’t help. It’s close to the Anaheim pepper which is not considered food and which is so hot it is used only in pepper sprays and to treat barnyard fence posts so animals won’t chew through the wood.

    The problem is most people can’t take the heat and thus they can’t get very much of any type of hot pepper down the hatch. For recipes, you have to first ‘cream’ the hot sauce. I use half and half or whipping cream mixed with cayenne powder. The cream is absorbed where it coats and marinates each particle of the cayenne powder and makes a totally different smooth magical flavor. The hotness becomes subtile and it’s like adding sugar to straight cocoa where a new mouth watering flavor is formed that reacts with your tastebuds. I’m surprised the cream-cayenne flavor wasn’t discovered centuries ago. Or maybe it was. Also I add sugar and sea salt and black pepper to taste and play with it until it’s perfect. Finally add crunched saltine crackers to the cream liquid to thicken it into a semi paste. The creaminess, the sugar, the salt and the spiciness make a unique blended schmaltzy flavor that is rich and enhances any American food; beans, egg recipes, soups, baked foods. For oriental foods also add some hot mustard powder. It’s better than MSG for oriental food and better for you.

    These ‘dogs’ think they can eat pepper spray:

    They’ve defeated the purpose and themselves. Go marines!

      1. Sriracha usually has chili peppers, though you can use cayenne, molasses, vinegar and salt for the sauce. It’s the cayenne specifically that has benefits.

  10. Hillary says she carries Hot Sauce with her everywhere she goes.
    Hot Sauce is some kind of code for black guy semen
    Either way Hillary is a liar
    Monica Lewinsky has hot sauce all over her dress
    Bill Clinton is sort of black because he plays jazz sax
    Hillary hates hot sauce and has never swallowed any
    Cos she’s a lezzer

  11. This is first Akingscastle article I have found totally irrelevant. Simply don’t eat spicy food.

  12. Another great way to extend the recipe while maintaining a thicker consistency is to use potato starch as a thickener. It’s super healthy, gives great smooth consistency and it gives you more sauce to give away as gifts or to barter with.
    Home brewed beer, venison sausage, hot sauce and chipotle spice are pretty much what I use as money in the winter when I need some welding or car tinkering done.
    I’ll be adding my own backyard honey to the mix next spring.

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