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How to Make Homemade Hot Pepper Vinegar

This bright and tangy condiment can save any food from dullness. 

Published Aug. 9, 2022.

I like to think of vinegar as an alarm clock ingredient. It’s zippy. It’s acidic. It wakes up your food.

Then there’s hot pepper vinegar. A splash of this stuff will shoot you out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Good morning.

You’ve gotta try it.

This isn’t your average hot sauce. This bright and tangy condiment is technically a spice-infused brine: vinegar, sugar, and salt. Because vinegar is mainly water, we used a heaping 20 chiles in order to pack in some serious flavor. The result is a clean splash of spice that can save just about any food from dullness.

Not to mention this vinegar lasts in your fridge for up to three months.

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What does this hot pepper vinegar taste good on? Here’s a few ideas:

  1. Splash it on Quick Collard Greens.
  2. Add zing to your sesame noodles.  
  3. Drizzle it on pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and more!

Get ready to splash your hot pepper vinegar on just about anything.


Take your dishes from simple to spectacular with 125 exciting recipes that harness the power of spices; plus, find easy spice blends that you can use in many different ways.

Hot Pepper Vinegar

Makes about 2 cups

Total time: 15 minutes, plus 24 hours 30 minutes cooling and resting

You will need a 1-pint Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid for this recipe. Heating the jar with warm water and then draining it before adding the hot brine ensures that the jar won't crack from an abrupt temperature change.

  • ½ ounce (about 20) dried arbol chiles
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns

1. Prick chiles with fork and set aside. Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, and peppercorns in small saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat.

2. Fill one 1-pint Mason jar with hot tap water to warm. Drain jar, then pack with chiles. Using ladle, pour hot brine over chiles to cover. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until flavors meld, about 24 hours. (Vinegar can be refrigerated for up to 3 months; flavor will continue to deepen over time.)

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