Too Hot for Your Bonnet Pepper Sauce

We are enjoying a bumper crop of peppers in my garden this year. We planted several different varieties from seed including Jalapeno and Cayenne, as well as Sweet Bell Peppers, and then one of our sons who was working at a garden centre brought home some Cayenne, Habanero and Scotch Bonnet Plants. They are all maturing now, and they need to be canned before the house is filled with tomatoes!

Cayenne Peppers from the Garden

The other day, I made a spicy red pepper jelly – it turned out wonderfully. My son requested that I make a hot pepper sauce with his peppers – so I did – and it turned out to be EXTREMELY hot. I have made some notes below about taking care to wear gloves keep your kitchen well ventilated.


5 cups of hot peppers

(I used about 30 cayenne peppers and 12 scotch bonnets)

1 sweet red or yellow bell pepper

1 tbsp. Kosher salt

2 ¼ cups white vinegar

½ cup white onion

3 cloves garlic

2 tsp honey

My yield for this was 5 125ml jars and 1 250ml jars


Sterilize 7 125ml mason jars and rings in boiling water. I generally prepare more jars than the recipe requires to deal with any extra sauce. Set sealing discs aside to heat just before sealing jars.

Sterilize the jars in boiling water

(Wear gloves when preparing peppers – and handle as little as possible – I had difficulty later on when rubbing my eyes – Yikes!!)

Peppers should be washed, with the ends and seeds removed. Peel and chop the onions and garlic.

Place all ingredients into a large pot. Place over medium high heat and boil lightly until peppers and onions are softened. Transfer ingredients to blender and puree until smooth.

(I have a 12 cup blender, which was able to handle all of the ingredients when on high, but if your blender is smaller, you may try to process half at a time and mix back together)

Transfer the back to the pot – and heat to boiling for 3 minutes – while stirring constantly.

Ladle puree into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch of head space from the rim.

Warm the snap lids in pot of hot water to soften seals for a few minutes. Remove lids from water and set aside.

Wipe the jar rims clean. Centre the snap lids on the jars, and screw on the rings to fingertip tight.

Place the jars upright in water pot – ensure that the jars are covered with at least one inch of water. Bring jars and water to a full boil – for 10 full minutes.

Turn off heat. Let the jars sit for 5 minutes. Remove jars from water while keeping upright to cool on a heat proof surface. Let sit for 24 hours. As each jar cools, the lid will contract and seal – curving inward. You should hear a pop when this happens.

This hot sauce was VERY VERY hot. I prefer to make it in the smallest jars possible to have small portions. As I was making the sauce, I found the steam from the cooking peppers and vinegar was quite overwhelming – and although I had my exhaust fan going – I was coughing and sneezing up a storm. I would consider wearing a mask and glasses, and opening all the windows next time around!!

I was dealing with a harvest of small cayennes and scotch bonnets, so this is what I used – but you could use different types of peppers to alter the heat level. On the Scoville scale of pepper heat – the cayenne is rated as 30,000-50,000, while the scotch bonnet is WAY up there at 100,000-350,000. You could make the sauce a little less spicy by using Jalapeno (2500-8000) or Poblano peppers (1000-1500) – or you could go hotter if you dare!

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