What Peppers Are In Sriracha Sauce? A Complete Guide

Are you a fan of the spicy and tangy Sriracha sauce? Have you ever wondered what kind of peppers are used to make this iconic condiment?

Look no further! In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the peppers that give Sriracha its signature heat and flavor.

From the surprising hot pepper behind the famous Rooster Sauce to the ideal growing conditions for Sriracha peppers, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the peppers in Sriracha sauce.

So, sit back, grab a bottle of your favorite hot sauce, and let’s dive in!

What Peppers Are In Sriracha Sauce?

The main pepper used in Sriracha sauce is the red jalapeño pepper. This may come as a surprise to some, as jalapeños are typically associated with a milder heat level. However, when jalapeños are allowed to fully mature and turn red, their heat level increases significantly.

In addition to red jalapeños, Sriracha sauce may also contain serrano and Thai chili peppers. These peppers add additional layers of flavor and heat to the sauce.

It’s important to note that the exact combination of peppers used in Sriracha sauce may vary depending on the brand or recipe. Some homemade versions may even use Fresno chili peppers instead of red jalapeños for a brighter taste.

The Origins Of Sriracha Sauce

Sriracha sauce has its origins in Thailand, specifically in the coastal town of Si Racha. It is said that a woman named Thanom Chakkapak began serving a bright, garlicky chili sauce with her meals in 1949. Her family and friends urged her to bottle and sell it, and she eventually decided to call her creation Sriraja Panich. This sauce used pickled garlic and vibrant red chili peppers, and it became one of the most popular condiments in Southeast Asia.

However, the story of the origins of Sriracha sauce is not so straightforward. According to Saowanit Trikityanukul, the granddaughter of Thanom Chakkapak, it was actually Saowanit’s great-grandfather, Gimsua Timkrajang, who created the recipe that started it all. His plan was to make a versatile new condiment that could be poured over all different kinds of foods. The family recipe launched a commercial sauce brand, which they sold to Thai Therapos Food Products in 1984.

While the original Sriracha sauce was developed more than 80 years ago in Thailand, what Americans know as Sriracha comes from a Vietnamese immigrant named David Tran. In 1980, he decided to start producing his own version of sriracha in America, opening Huy Fong Foods in Irwindale, California. Huy Fong Sriracha quickly became massively popular as a specialty ingredient in Asian American businesses, restaurants and supermarkets, and highly beloved by chefs, foodies and restaurant insiders. Its popularity exploded in 2009 when Bon Appetit named it “Best Ingredient of the Year.” Today, Huy Fong Rooster Sauce remains the most popular sriracha on the market; its factory produces 3,000 bottles every hour, 24 hours a day, six days a week. That’s about 20 million bottles of sriracha a year!

The Pepper Behind The Rooster: The Jalapeño

The red jalapeño pepper is the primary ingredient in Sriracha sauce. This may come as a surprise to some, as jalapeños are typically associated with a milder heat level. However, when jalapeños are allowed to fully mature and turn red, their heat level increases significantly.

Red jalapeños are a hybrid variety of the green jalapeño pepper. They have a higher level of capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in peppers, than their green counterparts. This makes them ideal for creating a spicy hot sauce like Sriracha.

Huy Fong Foods, the makers of the popular Sriracha brand sauce, use only fresh, red jalapeño chili peppers in their recipe. They do not add any water or artificial colors to their sauce. In addition to the red jalapeños, their sauce also contains garlic powder, sugar, salt, distilled vinegar, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite and xanthan gum.

When growing red jalapeños for use in homemade Sriracha sauce, it’s important to plant them in full sun and well-supplied soil moisture. They should be planted after the danger of frost has passed in the spring and kept at ideal temperatures of 70-80F during the day and 60-70F at night. Peppers mature in 80-95 days and should be watered deeply but not too often, about 1-2 times a week.

The Red Jalapeño: A Spicier Alternative

While red jalapeño peppers are typically milder than other chili peppers, they can still pack a punch when fully matured. Red jalapeños have a heat level that ranges between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), making them hotter than the average green jalapeño pepper.

For those who prefer a spicier Sriracha sauce, using red jalapeños instead of green jalapeños can make a significant difference in heat level. This is because the longer the pepper stays on the vine, the more capsaicin it produces, which is the compound responsible for its heat.

Red jalapeños also have a slightly sweeter taste than green jalapeños, which can add a unique flavor to the Sriracha sauce. When combined with garlic, sugar, and vinegar, the red jalapeño can create a savory and tangy sauce with a spicy kick.

The Ideal Growing Conditions For Sriracha Peppers

If you’re interested in growing your own Sriracha peppers, it’s important to provide them with the ideal growing conditions to ensure a bountiful harvest.

First and foremost, Sriracha peppers require full sun exposure to thrive. They need at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day to grow properly. Additionally, these peppers are sensitive to the cold and should not be planted until the danger of frost has passed in the spring.

The ideal temperature range for growing Sriracha peppers is between 70-80°F during the day and 60-70°F at night. Peppers will set satisfactory crops when temperatures are between 65-80°F and the soil is well-supplied with moisture. It’s important to avoid planting peppers in a soggy, water-logged soil condition as this can lead to poor production.

When planting Sriracha peppers, be sure to space them out properly, with most plants spaced 12-36 inches apart depending on the type. The soil should be well-drained and nutrient-rich, so it’s recommended to amend the soil with compost, manure, or other organic matter prior to planting. Peppers prefer a soil pH between 6 to 7.

Sriracha peppers require consistent moisture throughout the growing season, so be sure to water them deeply and regularly while the fruit is developing. On average, these plants require about 1 inch of water per week, but during dry spells they may need more. When temperatures remain warm during the day and night, adding a layer of mulch can help retain moisture and prevent soil-borne pathogens from splashing onto the leaves.

Finally, it’s important to monitor for common pests such as aphids, leaf miners, and cutworms. Harvesting can be done at any stage of growth but waiting until the fruit reaches full maturity will result in the best flavor. Store your harvested peppers unwashed in the refrigerator in a loosely closed plastic bag to keep them dry and prevent them from rotting too quickly.

How The Peppers Are Processed And Mixed Into The Sauce

The process of turning peppers into Sriracha sauce begins with grinding up raw chili peppers, typically red jalapeños, into a paste. The paste is then mixed with vinegar, which acts as both a preservative and a way to break down the peppers. Salt and other preservatives are added to the mixture, which can then be stored for months at a time.

When it’s time to finish the sauce, garlic and sugar are added to the mixture for a more complex flavor profile. The amount of sugar in bottled Sriracha is similar to that in ketchup. The final step is to add xanthan gum, which helps thicken the sauce and create its unique texture.

While this is the general process for making Sriracha sauce, it’s important to note that recipes may vary. Some homemade versions may involve fermenting the peppers before grinding them up, which can mellow out their heat level and create a different flavor profile. Ultimately, the combination of peppers and ingredients used in Sriracha sauce will depend on the recipe or brand.

The Health Benefits Of Sriracha Peppers

The peppers used in Sriracha sauce, particularly the red jalapeño peppers, contain capsaicin – a compound that has been linked to several health benefits. Capsaicin has been found to boost metabolism, aiding in healthy weight management. It can also increase the production of endorphins in the body, which can help regulate mood and promote feelings of well-being.

Research has also suggested that capsaicin may have potential benefits for heart health. It may be able to treat pain associated with angina and improve exercise capacity in patients with angina. Additionally, garlic – another ingredient commonly found in Sriracha sauce – has been linked to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Capsaicin has also been studied as a potential anticancer agent, with some evidence suggesting it may be able to target cancer-associated signaling pathways and genes. Furthermore, chili peppers have been associated with weight loss due to their ability to increase energy expenditure and help the body metabolize fat more quickly.

While it’s important to note that most studies investigating the health benefits of capsaicin involve large supplemental doses, incorporating Sriracha peppers into your diet as part of an overall healthy eating plan may still offer some potential benefits.