Best Hot Sauces For 2023: Top 5 Burning Hot Brands Most Recommended By Experts

Do you “put that sh*t on everything,” as the Frank’s RedHot ad says? If you’re always reaching for hot sauce to top your meals, we did you a flavor. We turned to the pros to find the consensus best cayenne concoctions most frequently appearing on experts’ lists; and we’ve compiled them here for you.

If you’re from the South, you may be especially interested in this list — as a recent survey reveals southern states are the spicy food champs of the U.S. And apparently, if you like it hot, you may be more content in your life. Another poll of 2,000 Americans reports that spicy food eaters are more likely to enjoy trying new things (76%), consider themselves attractive (62%), and are more content with their lives (66%) than those with milder heat preferences.

There may be even more reason to eat more spicy food, too. For all the culinary reasons we love chili peppers, it turns out there’s even more reason to include them in your meal. It turns out chili peppers provide very powerful health benefits. Among its various perks, which StudyFinds has documented over the years, the popular food helps battle cancer and can lead to a longer life.

From slightly spicy to mouth-burning madness and everything in between, you’re sure to find a sauce on our list to satisfy – or scorch – your tastebuds. And because we don’t think it’s possible to pick the “best” hot sauce for everyone, we’ve listed here the five brands recommended most often across eight pepper pros’ reviews.

We want to know which hot sauce warms your heart. Comment below and let us know which hot sauce tastes like number one to you!

The List: Top 5 Hot Sauce Brands Most Recommended by Experts

1. Secret Aardvark

Reviewers weren’t so secretive about sharing their love for this brand. The Spruce Eats writes, “The secret is out: Secret Aardvark’s Habanero Hot Sauce is downright tasty. While its price tag may be higher than many big-name brands, the item has garnered nearly universal praise, with hundreds of hot-sauce lovers awarding it five stars.”

This is a “Caribbean / Tex-Mex hybrid made with flavorful habanero peppers and roasted tomatoes,” according to Secret Aardvark’s website.

Secret Aardvark Hot Sauce
Secret Aardvark Hot Sauce

And of its flavor, BEST writes, “This hot sauce is mellow at first, but the habanero sneaks up after a few seconds, creating a nice balance of heat and sweetness.”

2. Yellowbird

Need a little citrus in your life, or in your hot sauce, at least? Epicurious writes, “this super-citrusy habanero hot sauce is a little thicker than standard hot sauce—more akin to Sriracha. A kick of both tangerine and lime give it good backbone to stand against the heat.”

Yellowbird offers a variety of flavors including Classic Jalapeño hot, Classic Serrano Hot, Classic Blue Agave Sriracha, Classic Habanero Hot, Classic Ghost Pepper Hot, and they even offer organic sauces as well.

Yellowbird Hot Sauce
Yellowbird Hot Sauce

The Strategist lists this sauce as their ‘Best mild habanero hot sauce’ and writes, “users report ordering this sauce over and over again, with one even noting their biggest fear is it being discontinued.” Caution, it sounds like this sauce may be habit-forming!

3. Cholula

This classic that can be found on most supermarket shelves appeared on many ‘Best Hot Sauce’ lists across the web. They offer six different hot sauce flavors all bottled with their signature wooden cap.

And if you’re a breakfast lover, Sporked thinks this sauce is made for just that: “no other hot sauce can compare to Cholula when it comes to breakfast. The flavor and texture are both great in general, but if this were a list of hot sauces for breakfast foods, Cholula would be at the very top.”

Cholula Hot Sauce
Cholula Hot Sauce

If you haven’t already picked up a bottle, Pepper Geek may provide the nudge you need. They write, “the smooth, rich texture is satisfying, and the unique pepper and vinegar forward flavor is addictive.” It might be worth risking addiction.

4. Melinda’s

This sauce is reported to be milder than many, but its quality and flavor still landed it on multiple lists that we reviewed.

If you’re wondering about its makeup, serious eats writes, “the base is made with carrots, onions, and garlic and spiked with lime juice and vinegar, so it has a great vegetal flavor, with just a hint of heat to liven things up.”

Melinda's Hot Sauce
Melinda’s Hot Sauce

Melinda’s offers a variety of sauces including Amarillo Habanero Hot Mustard Sauce, which Good Housekeeping speaks highly of: “This zingy bottle spices up everything we love about the classic yellow condiment in a crowd-pleasing, approachable way. Kick back, grab a beer, and dab some of this liquid gold on your next burger recipe.”

5. El Yucateco

If you’re looking for a little less vinegar and a little more heat, El Yucateco may be the answer. Epicurious writes, “This classic sauce, made with green habanero peppers, has a grassy, fresh quality that most habanero hot sauces lack. Little else goes into the mix to block the heat. Lovers of El Yucateco praise its low vinegar profile and clean, fresh flavor.”

If variety is what you want, this brand provides. They list many styles of hot sauce on their website, selling them in full bottles, mini bottles, and squeeze packets – a convenient way to pack hot sauce with lunch.

El Yucateco Chile Habanero Hot Sauce
El Yucateco Chile Habanero Hot Sauce

BEST notes that this is a spicy sauce and that “a few drops go a long way.” But they also write, “if you ever walk past a taco cart and see a bottle of neon green El Yucateco nestled into the condiment section, stop immediately and holler at that habanero sauce.” Sound like this is some potent yet tasty sauce!

Honorable Mentions:

  • Sriracha
  • Marie Sharp’s
  • Frank’s RedHot
  • Tapatio
  • Pain 100%
  • Nando’s
  • Red Clay


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


  1. A note about Melinda’s Hot Sauce…
    The name Melinda is the original name of Melinda Sharpe Belizean woman who changed her name to Marie Sharpe. She is the creator of the recipe of hot sauce that combines habanero peppers with carrots and other spices for a uniquely tasty combination. Unfortunately the recipe was stolen by a Texas businessman who then used her name to market it and completely cut her out of the profits. I heard this from Marie Sharpe herself while touring the factory of her hot sauce factory in Belize. She changed her name and continues to market her own sauce which is now called Marie Sharpe’s . It’s available in a variety of flavors and heat levels and in my opinion is superior to Melinda’s. Thought this would be helpful to true hot sauce aficionados who want the real deal!

    1. Marie Sharp’s is by far the best, especially the Smoking Marie’s! I think I went through three bottles the first two weeks I learned about it.

    1. The sauces mentioned are lite weight and no heat category. You need to include Pepper X or Carolina Reeper to be considered hot sauce.

  2. I’ve tried them all, Insane, Scorpions, vinagery, garlicky, but the best is Yucatan Sunshine. Balance and heat, with a delicious flavor. Can’t find Yucatan Sunshine everywhere, but I buy 5 bottles whenever I see it.

    1. I agree completely!! None of these are in my heat range. The brand Adoboloco has some really good one’s. FIYA FIYA and Hamajang has smoky heat!

    2. No doubt, these aren’t on my list of approaching spicy. Perhaps this is a list of hot sauce for children?

  3. So Melinda’s is on the list and Marie sharp’s only got an honorable mention? Smh. From this list it just shows y’all are not very familiar with hot sauces. Do you not realize the distributor stole the name “Melinda’s” from Marie sharp which is the name they sold it commercially. Pretty messed up really. Maybe you should read the article. Melinda’s is just a knock off of the original and is far worse of a sauce. Articles like this take sales away from the original woman because people see this and will go out and try Melinda’s instead of the legit hot sauce.

    1. 100% agree. Marie Sharps is the authentic original brand and the other is a poser.

      if you want to support an ethical, honest operation, then Marie Sharp’s is your brand.

      If you want to know specifically where your product is made, and by whom, then Marie Sharp’s is your brand.

      Most importantly, if you want the best tasting, highest quality, premium brand of condiments, made with ingredients you can be proud of, then Marie Sharps is your brand.

  4. If you love hot sauce look up Elijah’s Extreme. A father and son make a line of sauces I can’t get enough of. Their Ghost Pepper sauce is my go to for everything

  5. I go through 2 bottles of secret aardvark a month. It’s the best and it does it without a ton of sodium. I’m surprised nandos only got an honorable mention though as that’s my other go to and probably go through a bottle a month. It’s way better than a couple of the ones that made the top 5. I can’t stand Cholula. I’ve tried it a couple times and it just tastes weird to me. I’m sure a lot of people love it but I just don’t get it.

  6. This is a sad list. Congratulations. You went to your local grocery store and picked 5 random sauces and made up a bunch of stuff. Ever think there are good hot sauces out there you can’t find down the block?

  7. I agree completely!! None of these are in my heat range. The brand Adoboloco has some really good one’s. FIYA FIYA and Hamajang has smoky heat!

  8. Maybe it’s just not widely available, but Arizona Gunslinger sauces are downright tasty, with just a little more heat than some of the ones here.

  9. The best hot sauce is difficult because it’s all in what’s available where you live. We live in Arizona. Here the best hot sauce I’ve ever had is produced by Big Reds. Locally produced and sold online and at local farmers markets, it’s the very best hot sauce you can get. Very little vinegar, full of flavor and as hot as you could possibly want. It hits the mark for everyone!

  10. These are at best mild condiments. If smoking Ed isn’t in the mix it’s just not hot enough! I consume a reaper a day, scorpion and ghost..dried, fresh, and in sauces.

  11. Uncle Keith’s Chocolate Thunder. Amazing hot sauce. The chocolate gives it a unique taste and at 1.2 m Scovilles it is not over bearing because of it’s sweetness.

    1. Marie Sharp’s is the genuine habanero pepper pioneer, and producer of the world’s best tasting Hot Sauces. Her family farm has been producing sauces for more than 40 years in Belize and employs dozens of hard-working villagers.

      Many brands attempt to replicate the Marie Sharps recipe – including this one – which is the original carrot-based formula.

  12. Who Tha Fak wrote this list….not amused. There is an entire world of hot sauce and I wouldn’t put any of these on the hottest.

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