Do you love the flavor of hot sauce but find it sometimes gets too spicy for your taste? You’re not alone. While the fire and zing of a good hot sauce can really make a dish pop, sometimes you want that same great flavor without the eye-watering heat.
The good news is, there are some easy tricks you can use to turn up the mild and turn down the heat on your favorite hot sauces. In this post, I’ll share a few simple methods to make hot sauce more mild so you can keep enjoying those complex flavors, just with a little less burning.
First, dilute the hot sauce with neutral ingredients. Adding a splash of vinegar, water, juice or other liquid tempers the heat by thinning out the chili concentration. Add small amounts gradually, tasting as you go until it loses just enough bite for your preferences.
You can also adjust the actual peppers used. Swap hot chilies for milder varieties, reduce the pepper quantity, or remove the seeds and membranes where the real firepower hides.
Finally, incorporate ingredients like tomatoes, fruits or dairy to add cooling contrast. These complement and balance the chili heat instead of just watering it down.
With a few easy tweaks, you can customize any hot sauce to your perfect
Dilute With Neutral Liquids for Quick Heat Reduction
One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce the intensity of hot sauce is by diluting it with neutral liquids. Adding an ingredient like vinegar, water, juice or broth tempers the heat by thinning out the chili pepper concentration.
How to do it:
- Start with your original hot sauce recipe. Make a small test batch if needed.
- Have small amounts of your diluting liquid handy. Distilled white vinegar, water, vegetable or fruit juices work well.
- Add your diluting liquid gradually, 1 teaspoon at a time. Mix well after each addition.
- Sample the hot sauce after each addition to test the heat level. Keep adding liquid until you achieve your desired mildness.
- For vinegars, start with a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts hot sauce. For juices or water, start with a 1:10 ratio. Adjust according to your preferences.
- Once you find your perfect
spicelevel, scale up the measurements for larger batches.
The key is adding the diluting liquid slowly and tasting frequently. You can always add more to reduce heat further, but you can’t take it out once it’s there.
Good Diluent Options
Distilled white vinegar: Adds tartness and preserves shelf life. Apple cider or rice vinegar also work.
Water: Thins sauce without altering flavor. Good for fresh sauces used quickly.
Fruit or vegetable juices: Enhance flavor while tempering heat. Try carrot, pineapple, mango or tomato juices.
Broths: Chicken, beef or vegetable broths add savory notes. Use salt-free versions to better control seasoning.
Use Milder Chili Peppers
Swapping the type of chili peppers is another effective way to create a milder end product. Hotness ranges from pepper to pepper, so you can simply use milder varieties.
Some good mild options include:
- Hungarian wax
- Cherry bomb
- NuMex rodeo
Play around with different types to see which flavors you like best. You can also mix hot and mild peppers to find your desired balance of heat.
Tips for pepper picking:
- Check Scoville scale (measurement of spicy heat) when choosing new varieties.
- Look for plump, unshriveled peppers without blemishes.
- Remove stems, seeds and membranes before use – that’s where most heat compounds concentrate.
- Wear gloves when handling hot peppers to avoid skin burns. Avoid touching eyes and nose.
- Deseeding a spicy pepper doesn’t eliminate all heat. You still get mild to moderate
spicefrom the flesh.
Balance Heat With Sweet or Savory
Adding sweet, creamy or umami ingredients is another way to temper chili heat. They provide cooling contrast and give your taste buds a break from spiciness.
A touch of sugar or fruit balances out heat. Good options:
- White or brown sugar
- Maple syrup
- Apricot, peach or pineapple preserves
- Mashed berries
- Mango or pineapple chunks
Start with 1 teaspoon sweetener per 1 cup hot sauce. Add more to taste if desired.
Dairy and Cream
Creams, cheese and yogurt help mollify spiciness. Stir in:
- Sour cream
- Heavy cream
- Crumbled feta or cotija cheese
- Plain whole milk Greek yogurt
Start with 1-2 tablespoons dairy per cup of hot sauce.
Savory Umami Flavors
Ingredients like tomatoes, roasted veggies and Worcestershire sauce counter heat with savory depth:
- Diced tomatoes
- Roasted red peppers
- Caramelized onions
- A few dashes Worcestershire or soy sauce
Adjust Overall Pepper Quantity
Simply using less hot chili peppers results in a milder end product. Cut the pepper amount in half, or substitute up to half the peppers with sweet bell peppers.
You can also remove the spiciest parts:
- Seed and devein all hot chilies. Most capsaicin oils are in seeds and veins.
- Soak chili pieces in warm water for 10-15 minutes. This helps leach out some heat compounds.
- Use more of the milder chili flesh, less of seeds/membranes.
Test Heat Level and Adjust Seasoning
When developing a customized milder hot sauce, tasting as you go is crucial.
Here’s how to test and adjust:
- Start by mixing a small amount of your hot sauce with neutral ingredients like plain yogurt or broth.
- Gradually increase hot sauce amount until you reach desired spiciness.
- If it’s still too hot, add more diluting and cooling ingredients as needed.
- Check salt, sugar and flavor balance. Milder heat may require more seasoning.
- Let sauce sit overnight so flavors marry before final tweaks.
Keep a notebook recording any adjustments you make. This helps replicate the perfect heat level and flavor each time.
How to Preserve and Store Your Milder Hot Sauce
Once you’ve crafted your customized mild hot sauce, proper storage is important for safety and longevity. Here are some tips:
For best quality and safety, milder hot sauces with fresh ingredients like fruits and vegetables should be stored in the refrigerator. Properly refrigerated, they will keep for 4-6 weeks.
- Cool sauce completely before refrigerating. Divide large batches into smaller containers for easy use.
- Leave 1⁄2 inch headspace in jars or bottles to allow for expansion and prevent overflow as contents freeze and thaw.
- Make sure lids seal tightly. Use mason jars and lids for secure sealing.
You can also freeze mild hot sauce for longer term storage.
- Freeze in plastic squeeze bottles, freezer bags, ice cube trays or mason jars, leaving headspace.
- Thaw sauce in fridge before using. Stir well once thawed.
- Frozen sauce may last up to 6 months in airtight containers. Discard if freezer burned.
For shelf-stable mild hot sauce, follow proper canning methods using a boiling water bath.
- Make sure your sauce has added vinegar and salt, as these aid preservation.
- Hot pack sealed jars in a water bath for 15 minutes. Adjust time for altitude.
- Test jar seals after cooling completely. Refrigerate any unsealed jars.
- Home canned hot sauces keep 12+ months. Discard if any jars lose seal, bubble or smell off.
To discourage mold growth:
- Sanitize bottles, funnel and ladle before filling.
- Cool sauce quickly before refrigerating or sealing jars.
- Process sealed jars in a water bath as described above.
- Clean rim and lid sealing areas meticulously before sealing jars or bottles.
- Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place. Check periodically for any mold.
Recipe Inspiration: 3 Customizable Mild Hot Sauces
Looking for some recipe ideas to start crafting your own milder hot sauce? Here are 3 tasty, customizable sauce templates to play with:
Simple Chili Pepper Hot Sauce
- 2 cups mild chili peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup vinegar (cider, white wine or rice vinegar)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1⁄4 onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- In a blender or food processor, puree chili peppers, garlic, onion, vinegar and salt until smooth.
- For milder heat, add more vinegar or water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired spiciness.
- Stir in sugar if desired to balance flavor.
- Refrigerate in jars or bottles up to 6 weeks.
Customize it: Substitutepepper varieties for different heat levels. Add extra diluting liquid. Stir in a teaspoon of honey or juices for sweetness.
Fruity Hot Sauce
- 10 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 chopped mango or pineapple
- 1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
- 1 habanero or Thai chili, halved and seeded
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a blender, puree all ingredients until smooth.
- For milder heat, add more tomatoes, mango and lime juice.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
Customize it: Vary pepper amount and type. Use different fruits like peaches, berries or apricots.
Creamy Hot Sauce
- 1 – 15 oz can tomatillos, drained
- 1 poblano pepper, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a blender, puree tomatillos, peppers, garlic and cilantro until smooth.
- Add yogurt and lime juice. Blend until combined.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- For milder heat, use less jalapeno or more yogurt.
- Refrigerate up to 1 week.
Customize it: Substitute pepper varieties. Use regular or Greek yogurt. Add avocados or mango for creaminess.
The possibilities are endless for crafting your own customized mild hot sauce! Start with these templates, then tweak and experiment with different ingredient ratios, peppers, diluting liquids and extras. With the simple tricks in this post, you’ll be whipping up hot sauces with all the amazing flavor but just the right amount of heat for your tastes.
FAQs About Making Hot Sauce Milder
1. How much should I dilute my hot sauce to make it mild?
This depends on your specific sauce and personal taste preferences. Start by adding small amounts of diluting liquid like vinegar or juice, 1 teaspoon at a time. Taste frequently and add more liquid until you achieve the desired mildness. Go slowly – you can always add more but can’t take it away.
2. Can I use water to make my hot sauce milder?
Yes, water will help tame the heat by diluting the chili peppers. It won’t affect flavor like vinegar or other liquids would. Use distilled water for best results. Keep in mind water-diluted sauce has a shorter shelf life and needs refrigeration.
3. What’s the mildest chili pepper I can use in hot sauce?
Some good mild chili options include poblano, Anaheim, cherry bomb, Hungarian wax, and Fresno peppers. For even less heat, use sweet bell peppers. Check a pepper’s Scoville units – the lower the number, the milder it will be.
4. Does removing chili seeds and membranes eliminate all heat?
No. Deseeding and deveining chilies reduces heat significantly but doesn’t eliminate it completely. The placenta and inner ribs do contain most of the capsaicin compounds, but some diffuse into the flesh. Expect mild to moderate heat still.
5. Can I tweak store-bought hot sauce to make it milder?
Definitely. Apply the same dilution, pepper-picking and ingredient balancing methods. Start with a small amount of hot sauce and thin with neutral liquids until desired heat level is reached. You can also stir in yogurt, fruits or sweeteners to mellow heat.
The more you experiment with different techniques, the better you’ll get at customizing any hot sauce recipe, whether homemade or store-bought, to your perfect level of spicy. Trust your taste buds and have fun finding that ideal mild-but-still-flavorful balance.