Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America. Photo: knowinsiders.
Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America. Photo: knowinsiders.

What are top 10 most popular hot sauce in America?

When it comes to hot sauce, everyone has a favorite, whether it's something with a heat level that will leave you burning for hours or something just to add a little kick to taco night. The only way to know what kind of hot sauce is the right one for you is by trial and error.

Based on how much a hot sauce brand was sold by weight, Instacart compiled a list of the top 10 hot sauces in the nation from December 2020 to November 2021.

According to a recent Instacart survey conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults, 74% of Americans eat hot sauce with their food, and nearly half (45%) said they typically dash hot sauce on their food once a week or more often.

Using Instacart purchase data, it identified the top purchased hot sauce in each U.S. state as follows:

1. Huy Fong Sriracha

2. Frank's RedHot

3. Cholula

4. Burman's

5. Tapatio

6. Tabasco

7. Texas Pete

8. Heinz

9. Louisiana

10. Valentina

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America

1.Huy Fong Sriracha

Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce is delicious, flavorful, and not too spicy. As reported by Hot Sauces, this sauce has a mild to medium burn and adds the perfect touch of flavor to almost anything. It’s a red sauce with a thick smooth consistency. This sauce doesn’t have a lot of ingredients; it has a great mix of each creating a tasty flavorful sauce. Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce has a sweet and spicy scent. You can smell the vinegar but it’s not too overwhelming because you can also smell the garlic, chili, and sweetness of the sugar.

There aren’t a lot of ingredients in this hot sauce. Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce basically consists of Distilled Vinegar, Chili Pepper, Water, Garlic, Salt, Sugar, and Preservatives.

Obviously the Chili is what brings the spice to the hot sauce, but it also adds a delicious flavor. The sugar adds a little sweetness to the sauce, which evens out the flavor.

Created in 1980 by Vietnamese-American entrepreneur David Tran, Sriracha is an immigrant success story for the ages. Huy Fong Foods controlled nearly 10% of the $1.55 billion American hot-sauce market in 2019, according to the marketing research company IBISWorld, and today remains among the top three hot sauce companies in the United States out of 289 businesses, as NBC reported.

Huy Fong Foods also produces sambal oelek, a spicy paste, and chilli garlic sauce, but its Sriracha is still by far the biggest seller, with the factory churning out 12,000 bottles an hour to keep up with demand.

According to Asia One, this is quite a feat for a company that has never bought advertising for its products, instead creating a food empire based solely on word of mouth. This has not stopped diehard fans creating dozens of their own adverts and songs dedicated to their favourite hot sauce on YouTube.

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America
Huy Fong Sriracha. Photo:

2. Frank's RedHot

Frank’s RedHot original cayenne pepper sauce has become a must-have refrigerator item in several regions. Vinegar based sauces are great for a number of reasons. For one, they are extremely usable.

This sauce has a thin and runny consistency. It’s orange-red in color with little black speckles throughout. You can totally smell the red pepper, garlic powder, and distilled vinegar. It smells almost exactly how it tastes; the aged cayenne red pepper is definitely the majority of the smell. It has a mild-medium spice level. It has a little more spice than a completely mild sauce, but it’s really not that spicy.

This is a delicious sauce that is perfect for adding flavor to any dip or appetizer. It’s not too spicy, but after it’s cooked you can taste the kick a little more. It’s definitely a mild/medium spice level. The sauce is orange-ish red with black speckles throughout. It has a runny thin texture, so be sure to shake before using. The heat comes from the aged cayenne red pepper, but is nothing too intense at all. It’s a sauce anyone can enjoy no matter their heat level tolerance. The sauce has very few ingredients, but you can definitely taste them all. Overall, it’s a flavorful sauce that is the perfect addition to any Sunday football recipe.

What made Frank’s so iconic and legendary? Surely the ingredients list is complex and secretive, right? Nope! Frank’s Original RedHot uses just 5 simple ingredients: Aged Cayenne Red Peppers, Distilled Vinegar, Water, Salt, Garlic Powder.

According to Peppergeek, the cayenne peppers are “aged” for an unknown duration, certainly giving the peppers their characteristic flavor. Cayenne peppers account for approximately 35% of the recipe, a good quantity considering the price point of this sauce. Distilled vinegar generally gives hot sauces a tangy zip, while also preserving the sauce from spoiling. Water is likely used to bring the sauce to the desired, dash-able, thin consistency without using too much vinegar. Salt (at about 3.5% content) helps bring out the overall flavor, and garlic is the perfect complement for a savory, spicy sauce.

Frank’s offers a self-proclaimed “perfect blend of flavor & heat,” and for everyday use, we think this is true. It is great on almost anything, and we think it is one of the best hot sauces on eggs in the morning.

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America
Frank's RedHot. Photo:

Who Is Frank?

Way back in the late 1800s, Jacob Frank founded the Frank Tea & Spice Company in Cincinnati, OH. Frank’s original aged cayenne pepper recipe was born in 1918 through a partnership between Frank and Estilette Pepper Farm. The first bottle of Frank’s hit the market in 1920 out of the Louisiana-based plant. Every bottle has “FRANK’S 1920” imprinted on the glass to commemorate this history, and the original recipe has remained unchanged ever since. That’s right, without Frank’s, “Buffalo” style wings and dishes may never have come to be. Let’s all take a moment to be grateful to Mr. Jacob Frank for making buffalo chicken dip and buffalo mac n’ cheese a reality.

3. Cholula

Cholula Original Hot Sauce is a tried-and-true generational Mexican hot sauce that’s sold around the world. It’s not too spicy with plenty of vinegar zing — a combo that’s meant to appeal to the masses. It’s a delicious mix of smoky, nutty, tangy, and every-so-lightly spicy that’s incredibly versatile.

Widely available in grocery stores, Cholula is another great sauce that goes well on everything. A bit spicier than Frank’s, this sauce will kick things up a bit. If you have some in the fridge, it will work as a replacement for Frank’s in a pinch.

Seriously, Cholula Original Hot Sauce is a flavor explosion — even with only seven ingredients on that list. It’s mainly due to the brand letting the unique flavor in those chile de arbol and pequin peppers shine.

On first taste, as Pepper Scales reported, you get that vinegar tang, but it’s not overwhelming. Rather, it’s just enough tanginess to satisfy, and it allows the nuttiness of the chile de arbol peppers and the citrusy, smoky flavor of the pequin peppers to take center stage. That smoky undertone, especially when mixed with the sweet pungency of the garlic powder, complements the acidic side of this hot sauce so well.

It’s a very eatable level of spiciness, for sure. And it’s one of the reasons this hot sauce has such mass-market appeal. And chili peppers (as we preach here at PepperScale) are just as much about the unique flavors they bring to the table as they are the heat. And there, Cholula scores a knock-out. The heat balance is just enough to make its presence known without getting in the way of the delicious flavors pequin and chile de arbol bring to the eating experience.

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America
Photo: The Cholula Food Co.

The spiciness hits you mid-bite, and it simply warms up your tongue. Even as you eat more and more, it really never lingers too long or moves to the back of the throat. Overall, it’s about as family-friendly as a hot sauce can get, providing a kick you can feel that won’t scare anyone off, even over time. It’s perfect as a table hot sauce for everyday use or for gatherings where you’ll have a wide spread on heat tolerance.

Cholula Hot Sauce is a delicious sauce that can be added to pretty much anything. It has so much flavor, but nothing too hot at all. It definitely has a mild spice level. Cholula is light reddish-orange in color with a watery consistency.

4. Burman's

This Aldi find was decent, but it tasted like any other basic hot sauce. It was pretty mild in the heat department, with any traces of spiciness dissipating after a few seconds. The hot sauce tasted like a dupe of Louisiana Hot Sauce. If you're in a pinch, this will do the trick in the flavor and heat department.

Burman's hot sauce is an Aldi product that fans are reportedly wild about. This hot sauce bottle is remarkably similar to Frank's Red Hot. And word is that they taste almost indistinguishable. The difference? Burman's is much cheaper.

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America
Photo: 4hatsandfrugal.

5. Tapatio

If you’ve ever been out west, Tapatio Hot Sauce sits on every table in California. It has that kick that won’t knock you down and a punch of flavor that makes any dish simply better. Tapatio is the kind of hot sauce that you want to put on everything and take just about everywhere. While it relies on simple, typical hot sauce ingredients, it doesn’t overpower you with heat and provides plenty of fresh peppery flavor.

According to Eat This, Tapatio is another medium heat sauce made with red peppers, vinegar, garlic, spices, xanthan gum, acetic acid, and sodium benzoate. Fun fact: Tapatio signifies a person originating from Guadalajara, a city in the heart of Mexico.

Tapatío can be found in sizes ranging from individual packets to gallon-sized bottles and packs a pretty good punch. Apparently "Tapatío" is a slang term for people from Guadalajara, which is where the founder is originally from.

This Mexican-style hot sauce was created in Vernon, California, and is pretty popular with people across the world who aren't afraid of some heat. Although the brand was instantly popular in the Hispanic community, as The Recipe reported, it didn't cross over and become a favorite in American households until the late '80s/early '90s.

As Pepper Scale reported, flavor wise, Tapatio is a Mexican-style hot sauce which reminds us that simple ingredients can go a long way in making something amazing. Let’s dig into the ingredients first: Water, red peppers, salt, spices, garlic, acetic acid, xanthan gum, and sodium benzoate (as a preservative.)

Water leads things off — and that’s seen in the consistency. This is the thin kind of red sauce that gives you a nice kiss of red pepper flavor without it punching you out.

Overall Tapatio Hot Sauce rolls with simple, reliable ingredients that are a sure-fit hit together. It won’t surprise you with unique flavor or crazy ingredient pairing, but it delivers exactly what you want for something you’ll want to use every day — a delicious fresh peppery taste with hints of garlic and spices. They get the flavor balance just about right to work with rich, flavorful foods. It’s uncomplicated and to the point.

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America
Photo: thrillist.

6. Tabasco

First bottled in 1868 by Mr. Edmund McIlhenny, as Southern Living reported, it was sent just two hours away to neighboring New Orleans, and suddenly Cajun cooks had found the condiment to go with all the good stuff: red beans and rice, gumbo, crawfish étouffée, and more. Finally Southern households that didn't yet know how to season and spice with such abandon had something to bring a bland dish to life. Before long it was referred to as "that famous sauce Mr. McIlhenny makes."

Nowadays it's hard to find a pot of greens that doesn't have a bottle of Tabasco within arm's reach. Just a few droplets give a whole lot of heat, which is something any Southerner can get on board with.

According to Thrillist, Tabasco has been around since Betty White was in her thirties (1868) and was originally made using discarded cologne bottles, so you got a tiny tang of Drakkar Noir as you dumped it out on your mashed potatoes. And, look, I have nothing against Tabasco, but it's not going any higher up the list because it really is more heat than taste -- sure, it makes things hotter, but Tabasco is very heavy on the vinegar side, and basically just tastes like hot vinegar, which would be a great band name. Also, they're one of 850 "official food suppliers to the Queen of England", something you know the dad from Dixie Pig BBQ isn't psyched about.

Tabasco is used and distributed in more countries than McDonald's. You'll find it in over 195 countries and territories worldwide, while the Golden Arches are only found in a respectable 120. The famous red pepper sauce comes in labels covering 25 different languages.

It only contains three ingredients

Founded in: 1868

Based out of: Avery Island, Louisiana

The recipe used to make this famed sauce has largely stayed unchanged since 1868: distilled vinegar, red pepper, and salt. The salt is mined on Avery Island itself, and all of the pepper seeds are still grown on the island and shipped to the various production facilities around the country. That signature Tabasco red color? All natural, darling.

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America
Photo: smartcanucks.

7. Texas Pete

Founded in: 1929

Based out of: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Texas Pete first came about when customers at the Dixie Pig BBQ stand in Winston-Salem asked for a spicier sauce, and the DP owners started casually messing around with chili peppers. They were going to call the sauce "Mexican Pete", but the dad of the guy who ran the place said it should be American because they were American, so he started chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" or something, and Texas Pete was born. And subsequently docked for NOT being from Texas and kind of just tasting like a slightly poorer, more watery imitation of the Louisiana-style hot sauces. Though, on the plus side, Big Boi does mention it in a rap about collard greens.

Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce has everything you're looking for in a classic, vinegar-forward Louisiana-style red hot sauce. It's to the point, delicious, and unpretentious. The balance between the aged peppers and the vinegar is spot on.

Texas Pete Hotter Hot Sauce does bring the heat more than the original. Of course, that’s not tough. The original has a mild heat (maximum 740 Scoville heat units) which is less than eating a mild poblano pepper (1,000 to 1,500 SHU). Texas Pete Hotter Hot Sauce has a medium-level heat, ranging from 3,000 to 3,500 Scoville heat units. That puts it on par with Tabasco Original (2,500 to 5,000 SHU) and hotter than Cholula (1,000 to 2,000 SHU). It’s akin to the heat you’d feel from a middle-of-the-road fresh jalapeño pepper (2,500 to 8,000 SHU).

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America

8. Heinz

Heinz chili sauce is a tomato-based condiment with a slight warming kick. It’s similar in many ways to Heinz tomato ketchup yet includes aromatic spices in its recipe. Heinz chili sauce can be used as a dipping sauce, added to other sauces, or even used during cooking. It’s absolutely worth a try – particularly if you are fond of regular Heinz tomato ketchup and tend to like sauces with an extra kick.

Heinz Chili Sauce is made with vine ripened tomatoes, garlic, sweet peppers and aromatic spices for a fresh and natural taste. Great for adding a kick of flavor to burger and fries. Use Heinz Chilli Sauce for that extra fiery buzz you're craving!

Heinz Chili sauce is not like sweet chili sauce – it is much more tomatoey than sweet chili sauce which is sweeter and often made up mostly of sugar and red chili peppers. In fact, the primary ingredient in Heinz chili sauce is vine-ripened tomatoes. Sweet chili sauce does not include tomatoes at all. And it also contains vinegar too; something you will also not see in sweet chili sauce.

Even the consistency is entirely different. Heinz chili is somewhat thick in consistency, whereas sweet chili sauce is notorious for being quite runny and thin. All in all, these are sauces that look and taste completely different.

According to We Want The Sauce, Heinz chili sauce is often used as a dipping sauce for fries, to add flavor to burgers and sandwiches, or mixed in with other sauces (like spaghetti sauce) to eat with meatballs and pasta dishes.

It’s actually a very versatile sauce that goes with a lot of things. Whether you decide to eat it on its own, or pair it with other sauces. Some customers report eating it with meatloaf, others with pork chops. Then there is the ability to mix it in with sour cream to make a salsa.

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America
Photo: slrmag.

9. Louisiana

Founded in: 1928

Based out of: New Iberia, Louisiana

First created in 1928, “Louisiana” Hot Sauce is much milder than Tabasco, with a heat that pops up for a second before dissipating. But it has a strong initial rush of flavor thanks to a lot of salt. In fact, at 200 milligrams per teaspoon, it takes the prize as the saltiest hot sauce I sampled. If you pour it on something very bland, “Louisiana” Hot Sauce could add a lot of flavor. But if the dish is already salty, it might be overkill.

They claim to be one of "the very first commercially available Cajun food products" and the "first hot sauce to use the state's name", and they make a large deal about having "ORIGINAL" in there, and, if you go on their website, you can hit the red dot on the bottle and it makes a satisfying dinging noise. But Crystal claims to have been invented five years before in New Orleans, and is the number-one-selling Louisiana hot sauce, and just has a little extra tang this Louisiana stuff doesn't. You're still good, Louisiana, but maybe you need to realize that original doesn't necessarily equal best.

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America
Photo: cbsnews.

10. Valentina

Valentina hot sauce has been made by the Tamazula Group in Guadalajara, Mexico, for nearly 60 years, its production beginning when a man named Don Manuel Maciel Mendez introduced his spicy concoction and founded the company in 1960 (per Valentina's website). As Mashed reported, the bottles read "Salsa Picante," which means "spicy sauce" in Spanish. The popular condiment is sold all over Mexico, the United States, and Canada, with a still-growing presence in many countries beyond.

In terms of heat, the puya runs from 5,000 to 8,000 Scoville heat units. That puts it in a similar range as the jalapeño (but with a higher floor to its heat). That said – you don’t feel the entire spiciness of any chili once it’s diluted into a hot sauce with many ingredients. The regular version of Valentina taps out at 900 Scoville heat units. Its extra hot variety is more inline with jalapeño level heat (2,100 SHU).

Water is the first listed ingredient. Water can be used to dilute the hot sauce to make it mild enough for the average consumer. Water is also important for keeping the hot sauce pourable. While a little thicker than Louisiana-style sauces, Valentina and other Mexican hot sauces are still thin enough to pour.

After the chilies and the water, the next ingredient is vinegar. Mexican-style hot sauces have less vinegar when compared to those made in the Louisiana style and Valentina is no exception. The tang is noticeably less than that of Texas Pete and similar sauces, but it is still there.

Top 10 Most Popular Hot Sauces In America
Photo: mashed.
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