Last Updated on February 17, 2021 by Chris Whitehair
Our Top 13 Best Tasting Sauces from Hot Ones
A-list celebrities from all walks of the entertainment industry from world-renowned celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay to professional athletes such as Shaq and musicians such as Billie Eilish have toughed it out to see if they can make it to “The Last Dab”!
More impressive than the list of celebrities that have agreed to appear on the show are the actual hot sauces themselves.
Craft hot sauce makers have gone on to skyrocket their popularity thanks to their appearances on the show.
Throughout the 13 seasons* of the show, I have gathered my top 13 best Hot Ones sauces.
*Season 14 started on January 28th, 2021. We are still in the process of trying all the new sauces and will update this list to make it a top 14.
MY RANKING CRITERIA
1. FLAVOR FIRST. I can’t stress this enough. Heat level is a selling point of the show with the later-round hot sauces but I’m looking for what tastes best overall.
2. I left out the “grocery store brands”. We could argue what and what doesn’t constitute a grocery store brand, but for the sake of this blog, I did not consider the following for this ranking:
Huy Fong Foods Sriracha
Valentina (Black Label)
3. No limit to amount of times brands can appear on the list if they’ve had different sauces on different seasons.
4. No restrictions to the amount of sauces that can appear due to their season.
5. This list is presented in alphabetical order, by brand name.
Take a look at what are my favorites from “the show with hot questions, and even hotter wings!”
Want to give one of these hot sauces a shot for yourself?
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On any hot sauce listed in this blog (Top 13 and Honorable Mention) and see if you can handle the heat better than your favorite celebrity!
Scoville Units: 2,300
For all of you verde style hot sauce fans, Hippy Dippy Green is a unique twist with its addition of avocado and kiwi. This is a great one to use on any Mexican dish and also a unique addition to eggs. Creamy and refreshing. Perfect for when you’re looking for a hot sauce while mellowing out.
Scoville Units: 116,000
I remember vividly the first time I tried this sauce – I was at the Karma Sauce factory here in my hometown of Rochester, NY and they keep a fridge of what has to be 100+ hot sauces. I went through a gauntlet of trying sauces that day and this is the one I still to this day remember most. The flavor (and then of course heat) just hit my tongue in harmony and I asked for a second taste! You can’t put a list together of the best Hot Ones sauces without this one on it.
Scoville Units: 625,000
If you want the overall package – great flavor, insane heat and awesome label artwork – Exhorresco wins. This is the hottest sauce that appears on this list by far, coming in at a whopping 625,000 Scoville Heat Units. This sauce is no joke and you must use extreme caution when using. No extract in this one and you get the sweetness from the agave nectar and apple cider vinegar.
Scoville Units: 14,300
I’m thrilled that Hot Ones went international and found a lot of hot sauce makers that normally wouldn’t have had an opportunity like this. You’re not going to find the Bongo Chilli anywhere else on this list and really in any other hot sauce out there and that’s because the Bongo Chilli is native to the island of Fiji. Probably the hot sauce you want to use to graduate from mild level to medium level heat. Use this one on eggs and then thank me later.
Scoville Units: 12,400
This is one of the few hot sauces I was familiar with before its appearance on the show so I was thrilled when it was announced (any of the four Fresco hot sauces are worthy by the way). I love the orange color to this sauce. A garlicky blend of chipotle and orange habanero peppers with a hint of sweetness. This is your every day hot sauce that you can use on everything.
Scoville Units: 25,300
If you can’t make your way to Barbados, this is the next best way to experience the “flavor reminiscent of the West Indies”. I had to get a mustard-based hot sauce on this list! A mix of sweet peaches, curry and scotch bonnets. Just enough heat to let your tongue tingle.
Hot Ones Los Calientes
Scoville Units: 36,000
You can’t include a list of the best Hot Ones sauces without including “Los Cal”. In fact, most would say it is the best Hot Ones hot sauce overall. A solid, right in the middle heat hot sauce that has a touch of sweetness, tartness and smokiness. Cal-Mex at its finest, pairs great with everything.
Hot Ones Los Calientes Rojo
Scoville Units: 49,000
If the original Los Calientes is A New Hope, Los Calientes Rojo is The Empire Strikes Back. Hotter than the original Los Calientes, this version utilizes applewood smoked red jalapeños in addition to habaneros. Apricot I feel is an under-appreciated fruit and flavor (I love a good apricot flavored beer) so I’m glad such a big-time sauce features it. Hardcore fans will tell you that this one, not OG Los Cal, is the best Hot Ones hot sauce to buy.
Scoville Units: 56,000
The label has received an update since its Season 5 appearance but the extreme heat and flavor remains. Replacing the habaneros from the Good and Bad versions and loading up on Ghost and Scorpion peppers instead, this sauce is a favorite among serious chileheads who want strong flavor alongside with big heat. As versatile as there is when it comes to a hot sauce with this heat level.
Scoville Units: 2,500
Pineapple is the first ingredient for all of you fruit hot sauce fans. Sauce Bae prides itself as a healthy “truly all natural” hot sauce that is as good for you as it is versatile. Sauce Bae touts turmeric as its secret weapon and turmeric is known to have health benefits. It contains no thickeners or preservatives and is low sodium.
Scoville Units: 5,000
This sauce is it out Portland, Oregon but its popularity has spread nationwide. Iron Chef Michael Symon’s Mabel’s BBQ in Cleveland has Secret Aardvark as their table hot sauce. Jimmy Fallon name-dropped them in a Tonight Show interview with Cobie Smulders. This is a hot sauce anyone can enjoy with its tolerable heat level but great flavor.
Scoville Units: 116,000
The ultimate garlic hot sauce for those who can take the extreme heat. The garlic hits you upfront and then the burn from the Carolina Reaper creeps in and sticks with you. The creamy consistently makes this one great as a dip or marinade. The best Hot Ones sauces generally have simple but nuanced flavor combinations and none exemplify that theory more so than Garlic Reaper.
Scoville Units: 24,000
Torchbearer Sauces makes the list twice! Sweet, smoky and sensational. They call this one a wing sauce and I think this is the best of the 13 on this list to use on wings if you were only to choose one. You can’t go wrong with the flavors of chipotle, garlic, honey, ghost pepper, habanero and even the mandarin orange comes through as well.
This was such a tough list to compile with many that just missed the list.
Here are my “Top Six Out”.
The Best Hot Ones Sauces: In Conclusion
I’m already hearing the following:
- This list sucks! How could you leave out (insert sauce here)?
- If it weren’t for (insert “grocery store” hot sauce), you wouldn’t even like hot sauce! It deserves a place on this list!
- (Insert Brand here) is the best ever how did you put on (Brand hot sauce #1) and leave out (Brand hot sauce #2)?!
With almost 100 unique sauces that have appeared throughout the 13 seasons, there is no way I’m going to make everyone happy, this is just my opinion.
However, I think all fans of the show (and celebrities) can agree on thing: that any best Hot Ones sauces list will never include Da Bomb.
My personal tastes are pretty obvious with my choices: I like for the most part, mild and medium heat levels.
Fruit based hot sauces (especially pineapple) are also a favorite, it was a difficult choice for Sauce Bae to make the main list when Year of the Dog and Heartbeat Pineapple Habanero were right on the cusp.
Also evident is I think that the hot sauce lineups for the most part in the later seasons have increasingly been stronger overall.
Only the best make the show and I’m glad I’m not the one who has to make those choices.
I started this blog in April 2020 and it took me seven months before I was comfortable putting together my final list.
I’m very thankful that a show like Hot Ones exists. It has given many small craft hot sauce makers a shot at the big time.
What did I get wrong in my list? Leave your best hot sauce from Hot Ones below in the comments.