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Tabasco or will another hot sauce so?

I'm re-stocking my pantry and I'm at the hot sauces aisle. Alongside the Tabasco are so many other tiny bottles now. I'm not a regular 'appreciator'/abuser of hot sauces -- when I've used Tabasco it's mostly been in concert with Worstershire.

Do I go for the name brand product or can I get away with some of the other firey liquids?

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  1. The brand name product? I don't know where you are living but the when seems to be 1976. I kid. I kid because I love. But really there has been an explosion of hot sauce creativity and marketing in the last 30 years. There is a lot more to the world of hot sauce than Tabasco and that stuff you buy by the quart for $1.50. Here's one selection to look at: http://www.hotsauceworld.com/ There are lots of wonderful products on supermarket shelves and available at hot sauce specialty outlets. They are not expensive, go out and a try a couple.

    1. I like hot sauces, but I have never liked Tabasco...too vinegary for my taste. I much prefer Bufalo brand sauces, particularly their chipotle sauce.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ricepad

        I find Tabasco has a bit of a burnt, bitter flavor to it.

      2. Try Cholula for a start. It's piquante, a warming burn, doesn't have an acidic taste like Tabasco, it's thicker and more substantial (Tabasco tends to be watery, which is fine for eggs and boozy drinks), and it's tangy.

        My roasted chicken recipe calls for Cholula spread liberally over the skin (along with herbes des provence, salt and pepper, olive and sesame seed oil), which gives the skin a more refined than Buffalo Wings tang! Inside chicken, removed of gizzards and rinsed clean, place entire head of garlic, a heel of peeled ginger sliced, and half a lemon to seal cavity opening. Midway through baking (375 degrees, 20 mins per pound, or until juices run clear), turn bird over. Turn once again and squeeze lemon juice all over bird just before done. I like to carve and serve the smoky and tender chicken pieces with a little bit of skin on top of a favorite green salad lightly dressed with a vinaigrette and rice or couscous cooked in a little chicken broth or crusty French bread pieces dipped in olive oil. A favorite French white (like Trader Joe's French Market Chardonnay, or La Crema) completes the repast.

        Tapatio, a good substitute for Tabasco, is similar in taste and consistency to Tabasco, but packs more a chili punch.

        I've been buying cheap salsas from Mexico. Currently using Huichol, which I like a lot on scrambled eggs and adding as a kick to buffalo chili, and at $1.00 for a bottle was super bargain.

        Lastly, another alternative to Tabasco is Sriacha (sic) hot pepper sauce, available in the Asian foods section. It's typically identified by its tall plastic squirt bottle and orange-red sauce. It has flavors of sweet red pepper and chilies and is fantastic for soups, BBQ, Viet Namese and Thai cuisine, Indian, great for Chinese dumplings (mix a little in soy sauce ), and wherever else the imagination takes you. It's a suitable substitute for any hot sauce.


        11 Replies
        1. re: jillita

          Those are the exact 3 hot sauces I keep in my house. Something that few people seem to try is combining them. Throw some ketchup in with sriracha and tapatio and dip your fries in them...amazing if you like spicy.

          1. re: MeAndroo

            Preach on!, i love fries, but without Tabasco and catchup i don't want them!, as for cooking i have almost completely quit using hot sauces for heat, and have fallen in love with crushed red pepper!, now for flavors like chipotle i use sauces or the specific pepper it's self,oh and the recipe looks killer, can't wait to try it.

            1. re: jword2001

              Tabasco ketchup is arguably the greatest condiment to ever exist!

            2. re: MeAndroo

              Yes! I try all kinds of combos. Wonderful one is hoisin sauce and sriracha and soy sauce for dumplings and spring rolls. Also great, ketchup and Cholula for...whatever you like with ketchup. Also fantastic for those who love malt vinegar on fries, country fair style, is to add a dash of hot sauce. Texas Pete is a great bet for that, something lighter so as not to overwhelm the vinegar.

              In Indian food I love to add hot sauce to fruit chutney and then make a raita (blended yogurt, mint, onion, cucumber, paprika, mild chilis, cilantro, fennel) and have the raita on the side (take pick: curried chicken, lamb vindaloo) and add a dollop of hot chutney on top. And basmati rice. The mix of flavors and temperatures is outstanding!

              1. re: jillita

                Ditto on the Cholula. My husband -- lover of all foods hot -- prefers Cholula to many of the much hotter sauces because of the flavor. He can add additional heat as he wants, but the basic flavor of Cholula is pretty dandy.

                1. re: bards4

                  Oh, and he also loves Sriracha. We call it the rooster sauce in our house (look at the label). It's what he adds to make the Cholula hotter. :o)

                  1. re: bards4

                    Don't get me wrong, my wife is from the Caribbean and we eat hot, but we also like flavor. Many of our house-made sauces have tons of flavor even though they are also hot.

                    We like Cholula as well.

              2. re: jillita

                Can I come to your house for dinner? The chicken sounds wonderful and I WILL steal the recipe. I use all three that you talk about and am a bit of a hot sauce freak. I also use Dave's Insanity sometimes, as well as Pain sauce for heat with some flavor. Matouk's is a very tropical hot sauce with a good kick. Melinda's xxxx has great flavor and HUGE heat. I also like some of the other Tabasco brand sauces, especially the chipotle and the habanero. All in all, hot sauce is like wine, learning about it involves consuming it, and that is what is the fun.

                1. re: phneale

                  You bet. Please steal the recipe and if you have a favorite recipe using hot sauce, let us know. Matouk's sounds intriguing (the rest of your recs do as well). I'll look for it. Hot sauces are like wine, so right!

                  Happy eating!

                2. re: jillita

                  Tapatio (or "The Tap" as we call it down here in South O.C. ) is by far my favorite hot sauce. It's really good on pizza and eggs.

                  Tap into The Tap!!

                  1. re: jillita

                    I am with you exactly, jillita. The vinegar of Tabasco makes it unpleasant to me.

                    Cholula and Tapatio are staples, as well as Sriracha. These are the three brands I also see most often at taquerias around here (So Cal).

                  2. My favorite hot sauce is Louisiana Gold Green Sauce, made by Bruce Foods. It's got a nice flavor and is not too hot, made from a blend of jalapeƱo peppers and Tabasco peppers. Delicious!

                    1. Texas Pete. Made in Winston-Salem, NC. Has been a staple in my pantry for as long as I've known what it was - from growing up till this day, 48 yrs. later.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: goodeatsinadive

                        omg - we love Texas Pete. the H came home with a backpack full of "free sample" bottles from the big apple bbq festival last weekend. he has no shame!

                      2. In general I use Tabasco for cooking and Crystal for flavor after cooking. I really love the Crystal garlic flavored sauce but could only find it in New Orleans.

                        The Mexican and asian sauces are good but very different from Tabasco and Crystal. It depends on what you are used to and what you are cooking. I have quite the variety in my fridge. I'd suggest you try at least Cholula, and one of the Asian chile garlic sauces, along with Crystal. ;-) They are all good.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Katdiego

                          Oddly enough, we can get Crystal hot sauce in Singapore. It showed up about a month ago, much to our extreme happiness. We started with a small bottle, which lasted about two weeks, so we then bought the nearly 1 liter bottle. Happiness!

                          We don't get the garlic flavoured one, though, just the plain version. Which is fine - we love it anyway. :)

                        2. My 2 favorites:
                          Franks Hot Sauce, best for wings. Not overpowering with a slight tang.
                          California Pepper Plant (I only saw this one in CA, strangely enough). I love this one. I'll eat it on a sandwich with mayo (yes, just the sauce an mayo). Again, it's not flaming hot, but nice warmth and good flavor.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: HunterJay

                            I always have Yucatan Sunshine Habanero sauce on hand...pix included..great on nachos, pizza, eggs...super delicoius, not as hot as Tabasco.
                            Label says:
                            The blend of peppers combines one of the world's hottest peppers with natural ingredients that help control the heat but let the fiery taste through.

                            1. re: archangelcat

                              A-cat, that is SO true, that sauce is delicious!

                            2. re: HunterJay

                              I like the new Frank's Red Hot Xtra Spicy.

                              1. re: HunterJay

                                Mix the Frank's Hot Sauce with Melted Butter for a nice wing sauce, serve with Blue Cheese Dip and fresh celery stalks.

                              2. I try different hot sauces all the time, and Tabasco is one of the least interesting. It's predictable, but not my fave. I say grab whatever's on sale and try them all! Hot sauce it a personal preference kind of thing and each is a little different.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: mojoeater

                                  Ditto to mojoeater's "... try them all!" Once I told someone I like hot sauces it seemed that for years I got hot sauces as presents. My favorites, though, are pretty standard. Cholula-- which even my kids like! -- Sriracha, a Thai chili paste, and yes, even Tobasco. I always have on hand a couple of other things such as dried chipotles if I want smokiness with the heat and a Japanese 7 - spice mix, but really -- try them all!

                                  1. re: mojoeater

                                    Absolutely this.

                                    When we were in New Zealand, we saw a New Zealand-made hot sauce that had kiwis (the fruit, not the people) as the main ingredient. It sounded a bit odd, but possibly good, so we bought it. And loved it.

                                    You'll never know what you love if you don't try. :)

                                  2. Ever since my trip to Trinidad I always keep a bottle of habanero pepper sauce in the fridge. Tons of brands but here's a big seller: http://www.hotsauceworld.com/hsw1284....

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: creativeusername

                                      That looks great.I'll have to try that.


                                    2. Here's what we have in the cupboard or 'frig:

                                      Ashanti Louisiana Hot Sauce/Ass In The Tub/Cholula/Crystal/Dave's Insanity Sauce(chili, only)/Frank's Red Hot/Tapatio(my personal fav)/Tabasco/Tabasco Chipotle/Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce.

                                      When we serve tacos, all the sauces except Dave's, are on the Lazy Susan.

                                      1. Tabasco is useful, but the vinegary character can overwhelm delicate foods. My standard hot-sauce selection includes Crystal hot sauce (preferred for making hot wings), Louisiana hot sauce, sriracha sauce (with the rooster on the bottle), and a bottle of homemade pepper vinegar (put your favorite vinegar in a bottle, stuff in some homegrown hot peppers, poke a hole in the peppers so they'll fill with vinegar, use to sprinkle on beans, fried fish, etc). I also have a bottle of green jalapeno tabasco, but I never seem to use it...

                                        1. Cholula tastes muddy to me because of the food starch they put in it.

                                          I make my own sauce but also like Crystal and Jump Up and Kiss Me.

                                          1. I'm not a big Tabasco fan. I pretty much only use it in a diner or other places where I don't have a choice. For a "generic" hot sauce or if making wings I used Frank's Red Hot. I also think Tapatia falls into this type of category for me.

                                            The next category are different types of peppers such as habanero, chipotle, etc. These typically have much more robust flavor and heat. I do like the Tabasco Chipotle flavor. Melinda's also gets high marks. Especially the XXXX (is that 4 X's?). My personal favorite habanero hot sauce (outside of Sam's Famous Hot Sauce that is only sold at Waterfront Ale House in NY, as far as I know) is El Yucateco. Great fruity flavor and spicy as all hell. If you're not too into spicy, the habanero might not be right for you but they do have other flavors but I'm not sure if they are any good.

                                            Then the last variety is flavored sauces. The kind with mustard, garlic, fruit, etc. I dont really use these so I'm familiar with them.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: ESNY

                                              I heartily second the Frank's Hot Sauce/melted butter rec for wings. That combo is delicious - I also dip fried fish in it sometimes.

                                              1. re: breadbox

                                                Frank's/ butter combo is also great over frozen meatballs, thrown in the crockpot. Addicting!

                                              2. re: ESNY

                                                Good call on the Melinda's XXXX, and the El Yucateco, I like the green and the red..

                                                I have also gotten hooked on Crystal hot sauce.

                                                I collect hot sauces, and when I am buying I buy 2 bottles, one to try, and one to put in the collection.

                                                For me the best hot sauces have maybe only 3 or 4 ingredients, & no preservatives.

                                              3. The Bufalo brand from Mexico are several excellent hot sauces. Their extra hot is kind of a mexican Siracha.

                                                1. Tabasco tastes like rancid vinegar. Tabasco is the worst hot sauce that I have ever tasted. Try Cholula if you would like to find a basic hot sauce for every day use. It is available everywhere. As others have mentioned, there are tons of sauces on the market. With the huge selection available, you will have to experiment.

                                                  1. check this place out. their retail store in Rehoboth Beach DE is amazing.


                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Bob W

                                                      I fell in love with this store. I wanted to move in!
                                                      I personally love Scorned Woman, Schiracha (sp?), Hula Girl Chipotle Habanero, Melindas XXXX (4 X's), Pickapeppa, You Can't Handle this Hot Sauce (great for chili)

                                                      Another favorite although it is not technically a hot sauce I love Neily's Ultimate Seasoning in Hot http://www.ultimateseasonings.com/

                                                    2. I'm not a hot sauce connoisseur but I do keep Cholula around all the time. We also have a bottle of Ass in Antarctica that someone gave us one time, not sure we've ever used it. ;-)

                                                      1. Sriracha reigns supreme do not shun the Sriracha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: widehomehi

                                                          Depending on the dish we use different hot sauces. Sriracha or Sambal Oelek for all asian dishes. Think my other faves are: Louisiana Hot sauce, Louisiana Gold, Tabasco Chipotle. we also have Crystals, Pete's, Melinda's Habanero.
                                                          Don't forget Mustapha's Harissa!!! very tasty as well!

                                                          1. re: mariekeac

                                                            Sambal oelik, the kind made with nothing more than chillies, vinegar, and salt, is a perfect neutral hot sauce for Asian dishes. Yup!

                                                        2. As Sam warns, it's easy to be overrun by shampoos and hot sauce. Sometimes you need the UN-hot, sweet chili sauce to get there from here. Lingham's Chili Sauce from Malaysia. Red chilies, sugar, vinegar, salt. Strong chili flavor addition, takes away heat from other ingredients.
                                                          Mail order but worth it.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                                              Amusing timing. Last month, 6 years after my post above, I mail ordered a half case of Lingham's Chili sauce.

                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                I've seriously thought about turning my little dorm fridge in the basement into a strictly condiment fridge. And now I have to go google Lingham's chili sauce.

                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                    Thank you! I always enjoy finding new condiments. And definitely enjoying their website! Already finding some great ideas and not even 1/8 of the way through it.

                                                          1. Love sambal, pica pico, cholula, tapatios, franks, tabasco, melindas..
                                                            these are all in my fridge and used all the time.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                              Try to find a bottle of Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce. This stuff makes all others seem like ketchup by comparison, and doesn't lose any of its strength when cooked. The makers caution users to try just one drop at a time, and keep it away from eyes, children, pets, etc. They're not kidding.

                                                            2. Devil's advocate: make your own salsas. That way, no vinegar. If you can get fresh tomatillos, so much the better - but you can also make some killer sauces with chipotles en adobo, tomatoes, various dried chilis, garlic, cumin, olive oil, avocado leaves, fresh chilis, cilantro, citrus juice... there are a lot of variations!

                                                              OK maybe that's too much trouble - if you buy: sriracha, tapatio, huichol. Not too hot, not to vinegary, good flavor. Bufalo chipotle is good, too.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: salutlemonde

                                                                Call me weird if you want, but I like a sweet heat. There is a sauce out there called Tiger Sauce, which I extremely love to put on fried chicken wings. Wife and daughter eat them plain and I apply the tiger to mine. We are all happy.

                                                                1. re: RJJR

                                                                  That company's entire line of sauces is good. If you like the Tiger I would suggest the Dragon.

                                                                  1. re: RJJR

                                                                    I was wondering if someone would mention Tiger Sauce. That takes me right back to college and a dark, dim restaurant we'd frequent off campus. Love that stuff.

                                                                2. My two cents is if you need hot sauce for just table hot sauce I'm a big fan of the straight up cheap generic hot sauce. Ingredients are usually vinegar, chile peppers of the red kind, salt, and tastes like...well...hot sauce. It works well for pretty much anything hot sauce goes on with no fuss.

                                                                  Tabasco makes a chipotle sauce that's pretty good.

                                                                  I agree with the folks that there is a whole world of taste and sensation out there and some of those are wonderful and amazing but sometimes the cheap stuff is just what hits the spot - Kraft Mac & Cheese for example.

                                                                  There's are also factors of: What kind of hot sauce user are you? How do you handle heat? Are you willing to spend more than $5 on a bottle of sauce?

                                                                  Best wishes and welcome to the dreaded hot sauce addiction.

                                                                  1. Bottom line is, taste is subjective. Don't let anyone tell you what your tastes should be. Okay, that being said, use those objective opinions as a resource. Formulate your own opinion, buy a few, and try them. Most hot sauces aren't going to break your bank. For a few dollars, you'll experience some of what life has to offer and in the process, fine tune your own taste.

                                                                    1. This is a pretty old thread, but for anyone wanting hot sauce advice, yes, as others have suggested, just try a bunch of them. I have almost all of the ones suggested above in my pantry and like them all, including Tabasco. It's all a matter of personal taste. Each one has a different profile and is good for different things.

                                                                      There are the American-style ones, like the various flavors of Tabasco, Frank's, Crystal and the like, and then the Hispanic styles, like Cholula, Yucatan and Tapatio, and then the Asian inspired ones like Sriracha, Tiger, Dragon and PickaPeppa (the latter three all from the same company and all are more sweet than hot and all delicious). I have and use all of them, often in combination in things like stews and Gumbos and stuff like that.

                                                                      I'm not a fan of sauces like Dave's Insanity or anything with "Death" in the name because they tend to be all screeching heat but no real flavor.

                                                                      We make our own in our restaurant out of Habaneros and about five or six other peppers, which we fire-roast and then smoke over four or five different kinds of wood, then age in vinegar before we blend them all up with seasonings and some other stuff. We mostly use it in-house but we've been known to sell it on occasion.

                                                                      1. For me, three hot sauces are a must:


                                                                        1. I like the taste of Cholula but the xanthan gum that they add us a big turnoff for me.

                                                                          1. Tabasco has no flavor. Nothing but heat. But I do like their green Tabasco.

                                                                            Cholula, and Tapatio at least have flavor along with the heat. My favorite is actually Bufala..... But it's hard to find in LA, for some reason....I can find it up north, and have to stock up...which reminds me I better stock up this summer.......

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                              Not to me. Tabasco has no heat but I like the flavour. :)

                                                                            2. My 2 peso's worth...Frank's for all around use. I like the Tabasco Chipotle alot, but with limited applications. I used to really like the Sriracha sauce by Huy Fong, but when I hit on their chili-garlic, no more Rooster Sauce. Finally, to put the zing back in Campbell's Tomato Soup (I think they changed their recipe...no more burn to it), I use a dash or two of Choula.

                                                                              1. i have never been much of a tabasco fan aside if i am at chipotle, i will use the green or chipotle kinds.
                                                                                in my fridge my standbyes are sriracha, texas pete's and cholula (or tapatio if unavailable), i tend to also have el yucateca and the chili-garlic ones as well.
                                                                                if you are into the heat and flavors on the bottle, i say get crazy and try something that looks appealing!
                                                                                happy spicing!

                                                                                1. Tabasco to me has almost no heat and is *way* too heavy on the vinegar.

                                                                                  I use all kinds of different hot sauces -- my current favorite being a Caribbean scotch bonnet sauce that is nice and hot with the great flavor of the pepper really shining through.

                                                                                  Sriracha is OK, but it's a shame one can't get the Thai brand which has a hot version (red cap instead of green). One of those bottles will last well over a year.

                                                                                  Then, of course, there is a Chinese condiment of sliced fresh chili peppers in oil you can get at many Asian grocers.