If you like a little heat with your meals, hot sauce is a condiment that deserves special placement in your fridge. There are many different varieties to choose from, each one ready to complement a different recipe.
If you’ve been trying to reduce your sodium intake, hot sauce is a great way to maintain flavor without exceeding it, as long as you choose the right hot sauce.
What makes for the best low-sodium hot sauces? The best low-sodium hot sauces will have just as much flavor and punch as hot sauces with a higher sodium content. These sauces will also have the same range of spiciness according to your personal preference.
This article reviews 9 of the best low-sodium hot sauces you can find that are heavy on flavor and light on salt.
Within this list you’re sure to find a hot sauce to fit your needs, whether you prefer traditional, medium heat sauces, experimental flavor combinations, or heat that will blow the roof off your mouth.
Sodium in Hot Sauce
Hot sauce can add a lot of flavor to your food and a great hot sauce doesn’t need to use a lot of sodium to give your meal the kick you’re looking for. Some companies rely on sodium to win tastebuds while also serving as a preservative.
There are plenty of options on the market that offer heat and flavor without shocking sodium content. They rely on the flavor of the peppers, enhanced by fruit, fermentation, vinegar, or even cocoa rather than salt.
How Much Sodium Is Considered Low-Sodium?
The dietary guidelines in America suggest that adults consume a maximum of 2,300mg of sodium per day.
Unfortunately, most Americans consume upwards of 3,400mg and a lot of the sodium is found in processed and packaged foods, including condiments like hot sauce.
If you’re trying to limit your sodium intake, understanding what “low-sodium” means when used as a marketing feature is a good place to start.
Foods that have less than 35mg per serving are considered very low-sodium. Up to 140mg is also considered low-sodium.
Similar to assessing calories or nutritional value, it’s helpful to measure out a serving size, at least the first time you’re enjoying a new brand of hot sauce. Serving sizes are rarely what we expect them to be.
Best Low-Sodium Hot Sauces
Salt is the most common seasoning agent in the world. Hot sauce manufacturers who have developed a sauce that is low or even no sodium are forced to find unique ways to develop the flavor of their condiments.
The added challenge has created some truly unique and satisfying hot sauces.
|1.||Mike's Hot Honey||Honey-sweet heat|
|2.||Valentina Salsa Picante Sauce||Smooth, smoky chili flavor|
|3.||Tiger Sauce||Sweet, sour, and hot|
|4.||Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce||Tangy sweet with a garlic kick|
|5.||Zombie Apocalypse Ghost Chili Sauce||Intense heat, natural, earthy sweetness|
|6.||Pain Is Good Jamaican Style Sauce||Tropical heat, pineapple and jerk seasoning|
|7.||Pain 100% Organic Hot Sauce||Immediate heat with smoky habanero flavor|
|8.||Hank Sauce Cilanktro Hot Sauce||Mild heat with garlic and cilantro notes|
|9.||Cholula Original Hot Sauce||Medium heat with Mexican spices|
We’ve reviewed 9 low sodium hot sauces, comparing heat levels and flavor profiles so that you can shop for your next bottle – or collection – with confidence.
1. Mike’s Hot Honey
Mike’s Hot Honey is 100% pure honey infused with the heat of chilies and the tang of vinegar.
It is not your standard hot sauce, but it has just enough heat to give your chicken wings or pizza a very interesting kick of flavor.
This honey is perfect for adding some spice to your honey BBQ as well! And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even add it to tea or a cocktail.
- 0 mg of sodium in either the regular Hot Honey or Extra Hot Honey
- Available in 10oz bottles, chef’s bottles, gallon jugs, mini jars, and even single-serving squeeze packets
- More versatile than conventional hot sauce, perfectly balanced to bring flavor, not overwhelm
This is called hot honey but the reason it’s on our list of hot sauces is because the addition of vinegar makes this product more of a hot sauce than honey.
This is fantastic if you’re looking for a twist on hot sauce, but if you’re on the market for a sweet treat with some heat, this product may be spicier than you expect.
2. Valentina Salsa Picante Mexican Sauce
This is not the spiciest hot sauce on our list, but it is one of the most popular because it’s nicely balanced and full of flavor, not just heat.
It has just enough vinegar to carry the heat without adding too much acid or tang and the chilies leave a warm, smoky finish.
- 64 mg of sodium per 1 teaspoon serving size
- Simple, straight-forward Mexican salsa picante with bold chili flavor and medium heat
- Packaged in glass bottles available in multiple sizes and multi-packs
The glass bottles are a selling feature for many people. The hot sauce tastes better coming from a glass bottle. Unfortunately, glass bottles are much more prone to shattering, especially if you’re ordering online.
It doesn’t happen to the majority, but if your bottle shows up in pieces, working with the manufacturer and Amazon will ensure you get a new shipment on the way.
3. Tiger Sauce
This hot sauce is sweetened with sugar, as is common, but also with tamarind.
The addition of spices like garlic and cumin produces smoky undertones, spotlighting the cayenne pepper base.
This hot sauce is perfect for adding depth to meat, poultry, or seafood dishes, but it’s also a great way to bring some heat to soups, sauces, and dips.
- 95 mg of sodium per 1 teaspoon serving size
- Available in standard cayenne pepper heat or habanero lime
- Comes in 5-ounce try-me sizes, 10-ounce bottles, and even gallon jugs
The biggest problem with this hot sauce isn’t the sauce itself, but the packaging, particularly with the 5-ounce bottles.
Ordering online always comes with some risks, but these lids leak even under normal usage. The flavor is worth it, but be prepared to wipe down the rim every time you use the bottle.
4. Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
Huy Fong is the original sriracha hot sauce, brought to the commercial market in the 1980s but only finding fame within the Indie scene in the early 2000s.
This sauce’s popularity can be credited to the recent surge of hot sauce enthusiasts arising over the past few decades.
There are many copycats and wannabees, but this rooster branded bottle is where it all began.
- 80 mg of sodium per 1 teaspoon serving size
- Made from sun-ripened chilies, seasoned with garlic, and converted from paste to sauce using vinegar
- Packaged in iconic plastic bottles with green caps and a proud rooster mascot
Sriracha hot sauce has a unique texture and consistency. It is a paste made into a sauce and it needs a lot of shaking to blend the two together.
Unlike some hot sauces that are smooth or even liquid, this has texture and variability and that isn’t a good thing for everyone.
5. Zombie Apocalypse Ghost Chili Hot Sauce
From the creative marketing to the use of 16 ghost peppers per bottle, this hot sauce has trend and cult culture written all over it.
This sauce is extremely spicy with a rating of 500,000 Scoville units. However, the spice still doesn’t completely overpower the other unique flavors present in this hot sauce.
It is completely free from sodium, building its complex flavor from real ingredients like carrots, tomatoes, and mandarin oranges rather than relying on extracts or salt.
- 0 mg of sodium per 1 teaspoon serving size
- Each bottle holds the heat of 16 ghost pepper pods
- For hot sauce professionals only, this condiment registers at 500,000 on the Scoville scale, turning humans into zombies with a single bite
Ghost peppers are sensitive to rain, which can wash away the heat of the peppers.
There was a batch shipped out at one point that was way below the advertised Scoville rating, but this has been remedied and shouldn’t be an issue in the future.
6. Pain Is Good Jamaican Style Hot Sauce
Pain is Good creates micro-batches of their hot sauces. The Jamaican style is batch #114 and may not be around forever.
This particular blend features jerk spices and hints of pineapple sweetness, bringing the flavors of Jamaica into your home with a spicy fever pitch.
- 70 mg of sodium per 1 teaspoon serving size
- The flavor develops from sweet and tangy to slightly bitter and then the heat sets in, leaving you sweating
- Considered a medium heat, with just shy of 11,000 Scoville units
Because this hot sauce is made in micro-batches, it is much more prone to variability. It’s nearly impossible to ensure that one batch of peppers is exactly the same heat as the previous batch.
If you purchase this brand multiple times, don’t be too surprised if some bottles are slightly more or less spicy, sweet, or tangy than the previous ones.
7. Pain 100% – Organic Hot Sauce
While this hot sauce is on the high end of the low-sodium scale, it is so hot that it’s unlikely you’ll be using more than a drop, let alone an entire teaspoon.
- 120 mg of sodium per 1 teaspoon serving size
- 40, 600 Scoville units, approximately 20 times as hot as Tabasco
- Made with habanero peppers, vinegar, and minimal seasoning
This sauce is full of pain but not necessarily flavor. The spice will far outweigh any other spices and flavorings added.
This is also a thick hot sauce that can be tricky to use. Imagine an old-fashioned ketchup bottle full of hot sauce.
You tap and tap trying to encourage only a drop or two onto your meal and instead, you end up with a large blob popping out all at once. Shake the bottle very well before trying to use it.
8. Hank Sauce Cilanktro Hot Sauce
Hank Sauce features multiple flavors of hot sauce, leaning heavily on herbs and natural flavorings to add depth to their sauces.
The Cilanktro flavor has the expected fermented pepper flavor first, with garlic providing backup and cilantro adding some freshness to wrap it all together.
- 100 mg of sodium per 1 teaspoon serving size
- Mild heat, suitable for timid hot sauce users
- Made with real wine, garlic, herbs, and, of course, aged peppers
If you buy this hot sauce assuming cilantro will be the most forward flavor because of the obvious name, you’d be mistaken. You will notice hints of cilantro but the most obvious flavor by far is garlic.
9. Cholula Original Hot Sauce
This is a very traditional Mexican hot sauce made from a blend of arbol and piquin peppers, balanced to provide a medium amount of heat and a boost of flavor to any meal.
The nicely balanced vinegar and flavorful peppers perk up everything from Mexican dishes to pizza, eggs, or even popcorn.
- 110 mg of sodium per 1 teaspoon serving size
- Made with arbol and piquin peppers, which have a natural flavor closer to tabasco peppers than habanero or cayenne peppers
- Certified Gluten-free, low sodium, kosher, sugar-free, and vegan
There is nothing terribly unique about this hot sauce, but it is very reliable. It tastes delicious on any savory dish and warms up even bland meals to give them a more interesting finish.
If you like basic hot sauces, you’ll love Cholula. If you like extraordinary flavors or heats, this is not the brand for you.
What Is the Hottest Hot Sauce?
As of 2020, the title of hottest hot sauce in the world is claimed by Mad Dog 357 Plutonium No. 9 by Ashley Foods. If you’ve ever wondered what fire tastes like, using this hot sauce on your food is likely the closest you’ll ever come.
It registers at 9,000,000 Scoville units and is so pure it tends to turn solid and comes with a very serious disclaimer ensuring anyone brave enough to so much as smell this hot sauce understands the potential danger involved.
Is Hot Sauce Vegan?
Hot sauce may or may not be vegan. Most hot sauces use some form of sweetener and, depending on the ingredients in your preferred brand, they may not be entirely vegan-friendly.
Some refined sugars are filtered and bleached using bone char and some hot sauces may use honey. Others may use cream or milk to achieve the right consistency.
If you want to be completely confident that your hot sauce is vegan, it’s best to look for the certification label on the bottle.
Is Hot Sauce Good for You?
Hot sauce can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet, but it’s typically consumed in such small quantities that it shouldn’t be considered a major contributor to your nutritional profile.
Added to that, not all hot sauces are made equal and many include ingredients that are not typically considered healthy, such as high sodium and/or sugar.
Spicy foods and hot peppers, however, are full of antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and nutrients.
So, spicing up your food with this condiment may be related to reduced cholesterol levels, inflammation and blood pressure, and improved heart health and insulin sensitivity.
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