Finding delicious hot sauce can be a challenge if you follow a vegan diet. Many popular brands contain non-vegan ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, fish extract, oyster sauce, or egg-based emulsifiers. But don’t despair, fellow vegans. There are plenty of kickin’ spicy sauces out there free of animal products.
In this article, I’ll highlight some of the best store-bought vegan hot sauces, from mild to supremely fiery. You’ll discover savory, sweet, smoky, and tangy vegan-friendly options to satisfy your cravings. I’ll also share tips for checking labels and spotting animal-derived ingredients.
The good news is, going vegan doesn’t mean giving up your love of heat. You can still enjoy the addictive taste of chilies and peppers through cruelty-free sauces. From Mexican-inspired flavors to Asian-fusion blends, discover new vegan hot sauces to try.
Let’s dig in to some of my top recommendations for spicy condiments that align with vegan principles. I’ll tell you a bit about each one so you can find your new go-to sauce. Get ready to turn up the heat in your vegan kitchen!
What Makes a Hot Sauce Vegan?
For a hot sauce to qualify as vegan, it must completely exclude all animal-derived ingredients. This means no:
- Fish/anchovy extract
- Worcestershire sauce
- Milk or egg-based emulsifiers
- Meat/bone broths
Always carefully scan labels since even seemingly vegan hot sauces may contain fish extract or oyster sauce as hidden flavorings. Stick to certified vegan brands for peace of mind.
8 Tasty Vegan Hot Sauces to Try
From smoky chipotle to savory ginger, here are some of our top vegan hot sauce picks:
1. Bushwick Kitchen Weak Knees Gochujang Sriracha
This Korean-inspired sauce combines the spicy kick of chili peppers with savory, slightly sweet gochujang. It adds a delightful umami pop to stir-fries, noodles, or tacos.
2. Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
A smoky twist on the classic Tabasco recipe using smoked jalapeño peppers. It packs a flavorful punch while remaining mild enough for those new to hot sauce.
3. Hot Ones The Classic Hot Sauce
Modeled after traditional Louisiana-style pepper sauces, it provides a solid heat level without extreme mouth burn. The Official Hot Sauce of the hit YouTube series Hot Ones.
4. TorchBearer Sauces
This brand offers a wide range of vegan-friendly flavors spanning multiple heat levels. We love their habanero Evil Ember or ghost pepper Wicked Tickle sauces.
5. Lieber’s Sriracha Sauce
A vegan take on the beloved rooster sauce, made with a mix of chili peppers, garlic, vinegar and spices. Perfect for stir-fries, noodles and more.
6. Amarillo Habanero Hot Sauce
A tasty blend of habanero, mango and lime juices, this hot sauce packs some fire but with fruity sweetness to balance the burn. Has a 5/10 heat rating.
7. Scorpion Moruga Hot Sauce
One of the hottest on our list, this extreme sauce features the blistering scorpion and ghost peppers, clocking in around 250,000 Scoville units. A few drops go a long way!
8. Dr. Wills Organic Sriracha Sauce
USDA certified organic, this sriracha contains only whole food ingredients like red jalapeño peppers, vinegar, garlic and spices. A healthier spin on a versatile favorite.
Tips for Finding Vegan Hot Sauces
Use these tips when searching for vegan hot sauces:
- Carefully scan all ingredients lists for animal-derived products.
- Look for certified vegan labels from organizations like Vegan Action or PETA.
- Choose organic when possible to avoid GMOs or harmful additives.
- Check manufacturer websites since many list all vegan options.
- Search for vegan specialty stores online if your local stores lack options.
- DIY! Many vegan hot sauce recipes use basic plant-based ingredients you likely have on hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are Tabasco hot sauces vegan?
Most Tabasco brand sauces are vegan, including their Original Red Sauce, Chipotle Sauce, Green Pepper Sauce, and Scorpion Sauce. However, a few contain worcestershire sauce, so check labels.
2. What are signs a hot sauce isn’t vegan?
Look for ingredients like fish or oyster sauce, egg yolks, honey, bone broths, whey, casein, and gelatin, as these indicate the hot sauce contains animal products.
3. Can I find vegan hot sauce at grocery stores?
Yes, many major grocery store chains now carry vegan options, including sriracha, habanero, chipotle and chili pepper-based hot sauces. Check ingredient lists to confirm.
4. Are DIY hot sauces healthier than store-bought?
Often yes, since you control the ingredients. Use fresh peppers, herbs, spices, vinegar and vegetable broth for a natural homemade vegan hot sauce.
5. What’s the best milk to drink for cooling mouth burn?
Non-dairy milks like soy, almond and oat work well to temporarily tame hot sauce heat. Avoid water which can spread the capsaicin around your mouth more.
How to Safely Enjoy Hot Sauces on a Vegan Diet
While hot sauces offer bold flavor, be mindful of these tips to prevent discomfort:
- Start slowly if new to spicy foods and work up to higher heat levels.
- Consume with food to prevent possible stomach irritation.
- Drink milk or eat yogurt if you experience intense mouth burn.
- Limit intake if you have GERD, IBS or a sensitive stomach.
- Opt for milder varieties flavored with smoky peppers, citrus or sweet fruits.
- Pair with cooling foods like avocado or cucumber to balance the heat.
With so many diverse vegan hot sauces now available, there’s a fiery option for every palate. From tangy and mild to savory and volcanic, you can find cruelty-free sauces to suit your tastes. Use this roundup as a starting point and get ready to add some vegan heat to your next meal!