Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce

Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce


Homemade hot sauce is easier than you might think! This Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce is made with 8 ingredients and is free of preservatives and additives. This hot sauce only brings the flavor!


The Perfect Level of Heat!

We are never ones to shy away from a spicy meal or condiment.  We all need a little extra spice in our lives from time to time. This Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce is delightfully hot without bringing on the sweats. It also has a sweet, fruity, and smoky flavor that will have you adding it to just about everything!

According to the Scoville scale, a ranking system for the level of capsaicin (spice) present in each chili, Fresno peppers range from 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville Heat Units with an average of 6,240 SHU. In comparison, jalapeño peppers top out at 8,000 SHU with an average of about 5,000 SHU.

Through our own personal experience, we find Fresno peppers to be hotter than most jalapeños but of course this can always vary. It tends to range closer to a mild serrano pepper in our opinion.


Necessary Ingredients for Homemade Hot Sauce

You only need 8 ingredients to make this Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce:

  • Fresno Chili Peppers –  The main event! The peppers bring the heat and the flavor to this sweet and smoky hot sauce.
  • Sesame Oil – This oil provides a toasted nut flavor and necessary fat which allows the sauce to emulsify and become smooth when blended. We prefer toasted sesame oil for even more flavor.
  • Vidalia Onion – Any onion can be used but the Vidalia brings sweetness with a mellow onion flavor which won’t overpower the peppers in this hot sauce.
  • Garlic – You always need a little garlic. The garlic provides complexity and deep robust flavor that will linger long past the heat in this sauce.
  • Lemon Zest  – This will bring brightness and a citrus aroma to your smoky sauce. A small but important ingredient.
  • Agave Nectar – Hot sauce requires sugar. This sweetener will make your hot sauce palatable and helps to balance the heat. You don’t need much but this is a necessary ingredient.
  • Rice Vinegar – Made from fermented rice, this vinegar is the sweetest and most delicate vinegar yet provides the necessary zing in this hot sauce.
  • Salt – Salt brings essential flavor, intensifies aroma, and balances the other flavors in this hot sauce. A little goes a long way!


Best Uses for Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce

This homemade vegan hot sauce is sure to become a favorite condiment.  Here are some meals that you may want to try with this versatile hot sauce.


Or if you are looking for another way to use Fresno chili peppers, try these scrumptious  Vegan Fresno Baked Poppers.  Once you pop, you won’t be able to stop!

Of course, there are countless other ways that you can use this Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce.  Please add a comment to this recipe or tag us @meatlessmakeovers on Instagram with your own fun uses!


Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Where can you find Fresno Chili Peppers?

    • Fresno peppers get their name from Fresno, CA where they were first cultivated and for that reason they are readily available on the West Coast. Farmer’s markets or specialty grocery stores are normally your best bet to find these beauties. Additionally, Whole Foods always seems to carry them for us in Brooklyn so that is another option if you don’t live in CA. Finally, you can always grow your own! Buy some  Fresno chili pepper seeds and you will soon be rich with these delicious peppers.
  • Can you use another pepper instead of Fresno chili peppers?

    • Absolutely.  You can use any other pepper in its place depending on your personal heat tolerance. If you prefer a milder heat, jalapeños are a great option. If you like your hot sauce extra spicy, serrano or habanero peppers are a terrific alternative.  
  • Can you substitute the rice vinegar for another vinegar?

    • Yes, but it will change the flavor slightly.  Rice vinegar is very mild so it allows the peppers to shine. But feel free to use apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar instead. However, your hot sauce will have a more intense vinegar taste similar to Tabasco.
  • How long will my hot sauce keep?

    • It will last at a month or two. However, if it sits too long, the vinegar may begin to separate from the water and it will just need to be given a good shake, prior to using.
  • Is there a substitute for the agave nectar?

    • If you don’t have agave, you can replace it with another sweetener of your choice.  Maple syrup or simple syrup will work.  Additionally, you could use brown sugar or cane sugar if you add it during the sauté step rather than adding it during the blending process.


Bring on the HEAT!

If you add hot sauce to just about everything, you NEED to try this Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce.  It’s so easy to make and absolutely delicious to eat!


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Finished hot sauce in bottles.

Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce

  • Author: Meatless Makeovers
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3 Cups 1x
  • Category: Condiment
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


An easy homemade hot sauce that’s sweet, fruity, and smoky. Fresno chili peppers are the base in this flavorful and versatile sauce. So fresh and so tasty!


  • 2 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil (or regular sesame oil)
  • 20 Fresno Peppers (Stems Removed, Halved)
  • 1 Vidalia Onion (Sliced)
  • 4 Cloves Garlic (Peeled and Chopped)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Lemon (Zest)
  • ¼ Cup Agave Nectar
  • 1 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • ¼ tsp Salt


  1. Prepare all fresh ingredients as directed above.
  2. In a deep skillet, add the oil, peppers, and onion. Sauté over medium heat until fragrant. Approx. 5 minutes stirring frequently.
  3. Add the garlic and water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the lemon zest. Allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  5. After the sauté rests, transfer the sauté to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Blend on high until very smooth.
  7. Use a funnel to pour it into clean bottles or containers.
  8. Refrigerate and keep for 1-2 months.
  9. Share with friends!!!!

Keywords: Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce



Ingredients for hot sauce in white bowls on a white background. Prepared ingredients for hot sauce on a cutting board on a white background.

Onion and peppers sautéing in a skillet. Water being poured in the the sautéed peppers and onion.

Lemon zest and garlic added to the sauté. Sweetener added to the blended with the sautéed peppers and onion.

Smooth hot sauce blended in a blender Finished hot sauce in bottles

Finished hot sauce in bottles. Finished hot sauce in bottles.


Looking for another Hot Sauce Option?… Check out this unique and flavorful recipe!

Pouring Habanada No Heat Hot Sauce out a bottle

Habanada No Heat Hot Sauce



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3 thoughts on “Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce”

  • Thank you for this great recipe! I grew fresno peppers on my lanai with the intent of making hot sauce with them. I’m a terrible at totally following a recipe but this provided me an excellent template to go off of. Also, I halved the recipe because I want to try a fermented version with the rest of my peppers. 🙂
    I was too nervous to use sesame oil so I used avocado oil, 10 fresnos and 2 red anaheims I also grew, I tossed in a small carrot, too and cooked those up as directed. I didn’t do the lemon zest but I did squeeze in fresh lime juice, I don’t have agave so I blended the mix with 1 soaked date and 1 tbs of coconut sugar. Again, I was too nervous to go all out with the rice vinegar so I did a blend of rice vinegar, apple cider and plain, white vinegar. This stuff is delish! I’m guessing with the carrot and anaheims, mine might be a little sweeter and less smoky than your version; which is fine for my first go around. I’m bringing it to a bbq with a bunch of vegan friends tomorrow and I’m so proud to share it with them. Thank you again for giving me a great recipe I could easily personalize. 🙂

  • Sounds like exactly what I’m looking for, except that plan to ferment mine.

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