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Fermented Honey Jalapeño Hot Sauce

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This recipe is from my cookbook The Fermented Hot Sauce Cookbook. Available now!

Southwestern-inspired, made with fresh jalapeños, sweet and subtly spicy, this fermented jalapeno hot sauce is one your whole family will love! This sauce can be used in a wide variety of dishes and is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free. Super easy to make with a 10 minute preparation time, the main ingredient you need (as with any fermented food recipe) is time! 

a clear jar filled with fermented jalapeno hot sauce

The subtle and fresh-tasting heat of this sauce paired with the natural sweetness of honey makes it a perfect blend for adults and kids alike. It always goes fast at my house, and is my 3 year old’s favorite sauce! If your family loves this fermented honey jalapeno sauce as much as mine, it’s super easy to double this recipe by using the same amount of water and salt, but doubling all of the other ingredients. 

jalapeno peppers and garlic fermenting in a jar

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Super quick and easy to make.
  • Requires only a handful of ingredients. 
  • Gut-healthy and probiotic rich from the fermentation process.
  • Fun to watch ferment!
  • Keeps up to a year in the refrigerator, although it’s sure to be devoured before then!
  • This is the perfect use if you are already growing jalapenos.
  • Naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. 

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Jalapenos: are a mild chili pepper, and the heat they do have work wonderfully in this recipe paired with the honey. You can substitute a different chili pepper, keeping in mind it will bring a different level of heat. 

Garlic: makes everything amazing, and this sauce is no exception! Garlic will arm you with some health benefits too, as it’s anti-inflammatory and immune-supportive.

Honey: can be a good source of antioxidants, as well as antibacterial and antifungal properties. Either raw or pasteurized honey can be used, and you can substitute vegan honey if needed.

Apple cider vinegar: is known for improving digestion, lowering blood sugar, and improving heart health. It also adds a delicious and unique flavor to this sauce! White vinegar, white wine, rice vinegar, or other vinegars can be used as a substitute. 

Cumin seeds: are a spice that will add a depth of flavor to this sauce, pairing amazingly with the subtle heat. I wouldn’t recommend omitting, however you could substitute ground cumin at the same ratio if you don’t have access to the whole seeds. 

a mason jar filled with green jalapeno chiles and garlic cloves

How-to Make Fermented Jalapeno Hot Sauce

  1. Combine the jalapeños and garlic in a clean jar, then top off with a brine made from water and salt.
  2. Let the ingredients ferment for 10 days, burping the jar daily.
  3. Strain the ingredients, reserving some of the brine.
  4. Combine the ferment, reserved brine and remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  5. Enjoy! Keep stored for up to one year.

For the full recipe, visit the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.

jalapeno peppers fermented in a jar

How-to Serve

This honey jalapeno sauce is very versatile and can be eaten with a wide variety of dishes, anytime you need a dipping sauce, or when you want to add a subtly spicy sweetness to your meal. Get creative, because it really tastes good on almost everything! Wonderful on: 

a blender filled with frothy bubbly fermented jalapeno hot sauce

How-to Store

Keep this sauce stored in the refrigerator for up to one year. Although I’m guessing you’ll eat it up well before then! 

a jar stuffed with bright green jalapeno peppers


Can I use canned chili peppers in this recipe? 

I would suggest you only use fresh peppers for this recipe, so the fermentation isn’t disrupted and the taste turns out as desired. 

Can I use a pepper other than jalapeno?

Yes, you can use a different variety of chili pepper, but be aware that it will change the level of the heat and some flavor depending on which type you use. 

How do I know the jalapenos and garlic are fermenting properly?

You will know it is fermenting when it bubbles, has a sour vinegar-like smell, a cloudy brine forming, and a tangy effervescence when taste testing. 

Can I use pasteurized honey or does it need to be raw?

Since the honey is not used for fermentation purposes, you can use any store-bought or market-bought honey for the flavor. 

Can I use a honey substitute to make this recipe vegan?

Yes! Using a honey substitute is just fine, here is a vegan honey recipe if you need one.

Where can I find the proper jar and weight to use for this recipe? 

I like to use these jars and these weights.

How do I know if my water is chlorinated? 

If you are unsure if your tap water is chlorinated,  a home filtration system used with tap water is sufficient, or store-bought spring water works as well. 

Can I substitute the cumin seeds with ground cumin?

Yes! You can use an equal amount (⅛ tsp) of ground cumin in place of the cumin seeds.

a mesh strainer filled with fermented jalapenos and garlic

More Delicious Fermented Recipes with a Kick

Fermented Habanero Hot Sauce

Fermented Bell Pepper Salsa

Spicy Turmeric Sauerkraut

This recipe is from my cookbook The Fermented Hot Sauce Cookbook.

Fermented Honey Jalapeño Hot Sauce

This Southwestern-inspired hot sauce will win you over with its candy-like sweetness, as well as subtle, fresh-tasting heat from the jalapeños. It's a match made in heaven and suits a wide variety of dishes to boot!
4.72 from 42 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: North American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Fermentation Time: 10 days
Total Time: 10 days 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Author: Kristen Wood


  • 8 ounces fresh jalapeno peppers, stemmed and halved about 5 peppers
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 ½ cups non-chlorinated water filtered or spring water (no tap water!)
  • 2 tablespoons non-iodized salt sea salt works well
  • ¼ cup honey we like to use raw
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup reserved brine from straining the ferment
  • teaspoon cumin seeds


  • In a clean jar, combine the jalapenos and garlic.
  • In a separate vessel, make a brine by combining the water and salt.
  • Place a weight, if using, then pour the brine into the jar, leaving at least one inch of headspace. Screw the lid on tightly and store the jar at room temperature away from direct sunlight to ferment for 10 days. Burp the jar (open the lid to release gas buildup) daily.
  • Once fermentation is complete, strain the ferment, reserving ¼ cup of the brine. Place the ferment, honey, vinegar, reserved brine and cumin seeds in a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth.
  • Keep the sauce stored in the refrigerator for up to one year. Enjoy!


This recipe comes from my book The Fermented Hot Sauce Cookbook.
You might also love: Honey Fermented Ginger.
You might also like: Sambal Oelek.
Also see: Pickled Cabbage.
You might like: Aji Chombo Hot Sauce.
You might like: Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce.
You might also like Guajillo Sauce.


Serving: 1ounce | Calories: 22kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 875mg | Potassium: 43mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 153IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

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a recipe page from the fermented hot sauce cookbook by kristen wood
Fermented Honey Jalapeno Hot Sauce from The Fermented Hot Sauce Cookbook by Kristen Wood

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Recipe Rating



  1. 5 stars
    Made and loved by all. Question can fruit be added for a twist. Doing jalapeno gift basket for Christmas and wanted to do a few different sauces

    1. Hi, Shannen! So happy to hear. 🙂 Yes, you most definitely can add a fruity twist. I have a few fruity hot sauces in my book, but mango and papaya go well with most chiles. I hope this helps! 🙂

  2. This sounds soooo yummy! I’ve got the ferment going and have a question. Can I heat this after the ferment is over to make it shelf stable for mailing at the holidays? (I have a huge hot sauce loving family Scattered all over the country-the USPS loves me at Christmas!)

    1. Hi, Sandi! Thank you. 🙂 Yes, you most definitely can simmer any of the fermented hot sauces on my site for about 10-15 minutes or so to stop the fermentation process. I find this is enough time to prevent any pressure building in the bottles. I hope this helps!

  3. 5 stars
    Wow! This hot sauce is so good, I want it on everything! so much incredible flavor – I’m going to bottle it and give some away as gifts!

  4. 5 stars
    This tasted so amazing! Thanks a lot for sharing this super easy to make recipe! Fam really loves it! Will surely have this again! Highly recommended!

  5. 5 stars
    I grow jalapenos so I am always on the lookout for a good recipe and this sauce is so easy to make and so good on lots of food. I used the sauce for salad dressing today. So much great flavor!!!

  6. 5 stars
    I absolutely love that this is fermented! I’m a fermenting addict so this was right up my alley and it works on everything!!

  7. 5 stars
    Hot damn!! This is delicious with some decent fire to it. I used fermented honey (from a dried chili pepper, garlic and raw honey ferment) and it’s absolutely fabulous. Great dimension and the sweetness is just right. About the make again with my last bunch of garden serranos. Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    So so interesting – Would def need to give this a try just by looking at the photos!

  9. 5 stars
    We love spicy and I truly liked that this was so easy to make and really delicious!

  10. 5 stars
    The sauce sounds very delicious. Since we eat a lot of fried snacks, I am sure, it’ll add another dimension to them. Thank you.

  11. 5 stars
    I have some jalapenos that needed to be used up and this recipe was just perfect for that. Great serving ideas too.

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe has the perfect combination of sweet and heat. So satisfying! We enjoyed ours with Baja fish tacos.