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Taste Test: The Best Hot Sauces

We taste-tested dozens of hot sauces from the grocery store and online to find our favorites.
hot sauce
stew

BEST OVERALL

Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce

The secret ingredient in the original Buffalo wing recipe, this classic is made with cayenne peppers and spiked with vinegar. The tangy-sharp combo makes it perfect for everything from jambalaya to omelets. ($2.80 for 12 ounces, at grocery stores)

 
tacos

BEST MILD

Blair's Heat Collection Wasabi Green Tea

"Oooh, limey!" cooed one judge when she tasted this mild, Japanese-inspired hot sauce. The creamy blend indeed features lime juice, along with green tea leaves and a hint of wasabi. Cilantro and sugar sweeten the deal. ($8 for 8.44 ounces, extremefood.com)

 
rice dish

BEST MEDIUM

Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

A staple in many Thai restaurants, this thicker-than-most hot sauce has a silky mouthfeel and would be great as a topper on pasta, sandwiches and pizza, or stirred into soup. The mellow and sweet, yet substantial, heat comes from sun-ripened chiles and boasts a garlicky punch. ($4.50 for 17 ounces, amazon.com)

 
ginger bbq pork chicken stirfry

BEST HOT

Captain Thom's Thai Monkey

This kickin' teriyaki won over our judges with its smoky elegance and lingering heat, thanks to a triple threat of wasabi, Thai chiles and ginger. The sweet pineapple and peanut butter give it a soy sauce flavor, made for grilled veggies. ($6 for 5 ounces, captainthoms.com)

 
green beans

BEST SUPERHOT

Dave's Gourmet Hurtin' Habanero Hot Sauce

Tasters likened this hot-hot sauce to liquid pepperoni that results in "Angelina Jolie lips." Flavored with red chiles and habaneros, its hickory-barbecue taste comes from vinegar and smoky spices. Definitely not for weak mouths! ($6 for 5 ounces, davesgourmet.com)

 
cheers

BEST DESSERT

Crazy Uncle Jester's AfterBurner Sauce

Talk about a hot fudge sundae: This gooey habanero-spiked chocolate sauce is best eaten with vanilla ice cream or pound cake. Though it won by a landslide, watch out. One judge said it made her "cry like a little girl." ($6 for 8 ounces, edwrr.crazyunclejester.com)

 

Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in May 2009.

 

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