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Serrano Hot Sauce

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Serrano hot sauce is one of my favorites and it’s quick and easy to make too.

If you like a good all-round hot sauce, this Serrano hot sauce is one you need to make soon. You only need the Serrano chilies and 6 other easy to find ingredients. If you’ve ever purchased Serrano hot sauce at a shop or tried it at a good Mexican restaurant to taco truck, you’ll know how good it is.

You can add this Serrano hot sauce to any savory recipe when you want a bit of a kick. Try it on tacos, corn chips or a good steak. Are you ready to make Serrano hot sauce? It only takes about 20 minutes.

Serrano Hot sauce

What is Serrano hot sauce?

Serrano hot sauce is a type of hot sauce made from serrano peppers, which are a variety of chili pepper originating from the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. Serrano peppers are hotter than jalapeños but milder than some of the extremely hot peppers like the habaneros used in this recipe.

How do you make this hot sauce?

To make serrano hot sauce, the serrano peppers are typically blended with other ingredients such as vinegar, garlic, salt, and sometimes lime juice or other spices. The exact ingredients and flavors can vary between different recipes but my recipe in the recipe card below is quite traditional in flavor. 

Can this hot sauce be added to different cuisines?

Yes. Serrano hot sauce is a popular condiment in Mexican cuisine and is also used in various international dishes for those who enjoy a bit of heat in their food. It provides a bright and zesty kick to dishes, complementing the flavors with its heat and acidity.

What if you can’t find serrano chilies?

This is a hot sauce I always prepare when I visit family back in California. You’ll find serrano chilies and every supermarket there. If you can’t get them where you live, try substituting a green chili that is available. Remember, however that the chili pepper you use to prepare this sauce might be much hotter or milder so you will need to experiment some.

How long will Serrano hot sauce keep in the fridge?

You can usually keep this stored in the fridge for at least 3 weeks. 

Can you freeze Serrano hot sauce?

Yes, you can freeze serrano hot sauce. Freezing is a common method to preserve homemade sauces, including hot sauces, for an extended period. However, keep in mind that the texture of the sauce might change slightly after freezing and thawing. Here are some tips for freezing serrano hot sauce:

  1. Cool the Sauce: Allow the hot sauce to cool to room temperature before freezing. This helps prevent condensation inside the container, which can lead to ice crystals and affect the texture.
  2. Choose Freezer-Safe Containers: Use containers or jars specifically designed for freezing. Leave some space at the top of the container to account for expansion as the sauce freezes.
  3. Label and Date: Clearly label the containers with the date and contents so that you can keep track of how long the hot sauce has been in the freezer.
  4. Avoid Glass Containers: If using glass containers, be cautious as liquids expand when frozen, which can lead to glass breakage. Using plastic containers or freezer bags may be a safer option.
  5. Remove Air: If using plastic bags, try to remove as much air as possible before sealing to minimize the risk of freezer burn.
  6. Thawing: When you’re ready to use the hot sauce, move it to the refrigerator to thaw slowly. This helps maintain the sauce’s consistency better than rapid thawing.
  7. Check the Texture: After thawing, check the texture and consistency of the hot sauce. While freezing may alter the texture slightly, the flavor should remain intact.

What you need to know if freezing…

It’s worth noting that freezing can affect the texture of some ingredients in the hot sauce. Additionally, consider the overall shelf life of the sauce and try to use it within a reasonable time after freezing for the best quality.

Let’s compare the heat of popular chilies.

Serrano chilies typically have a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) rating ranging from 10,000 to 23,000. The Scoville Heat Unit is a measure of the spiciness or heat of chili peppers and other spicy foods, as recorded in Scoville Heat Units.

Compared to other common peppers, serranos are hotter than jalapeños which have a Scoville rating of around 2500 to 8000 SHU but not as hot as some of the more intense varieties like habaneros which have a SHU 100,000 to 350,000.

The actual heat level can vary somewhat between individual peppers based on factors such as growing conditions and ripeness.

You need plastic gloves for this recipe.

Be sure to pick up some plastic kitchen gloves to make this Serrano hot sauce. If you do not have gloves, be sure not to touch your eye or any other sensitive bits or you’ll be sorry. Wash your hand thoroughly with hot, soapy water and slicing the chilies if not using gloves.

Step by step photographs

Ingredients for Serrano hot sauce.

Get all of your ingredients together before you start. It’s easier that way. Remember the gloves! Although you can use cider vinegar, I use white distilled vinegar which I prefer.

Frying the chilies and onion in olive oil.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chilies and chopped onions and fry for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Stir in the chopped garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Simmering the onions and chilies in water and vinegar to soften.

Add the vinegar, water, lime juice, cilantro (coriander), oregano and cumin and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan to simmer for 10 minutes.

Blending the serrano hot sauce.

Pour all the contents of the pan in a blender and allow to cool some. Then blend until smooth. Season with salt to taste.

Pouring the hot sauce through a funnel into a bottle.

Pour the serrano sauce into bottles to store in the fridge until ready to use. I usually taste and adjust the flavours before doing this.

Serrano Hot sauce

Use this delicious hot sauce as you like. I’m sure you’ll find many ways to use it.

Who doesn’t love a good salsa? You might like to try some of these too!

Pico de Gallo
Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa
Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa
Jalapeño Hot Sauce
Habanero Hot Sauce
Pineapple Salsa
Refried Beans – Not a salsa but so good with corn chips!

You might also like to try Mexican Pickled Carrots which are delicious with any Mexican meal. 

Have you tried this Serrano hot sauce recipe?

I yes, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below and a comment. I love receiving your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.

Yield: 24

Serrano Hot Sauce

Serrano hot sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 20 Serrano chilis, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) white distilled or cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (70ml) water
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro (coriander), finely chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Wash the chilies thoroughly and remove the stems. Roughly chop them and then heat the oil in a large pan.
    Add the chopped onions and fry for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Stir in the chopped garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes.
  2. Add the Serrano chilies and fry, covered over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
  3. Now add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer over a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let everything lightly simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool. Then blend it all into a smooth sauce.
  4. Season with salt to taste and store in your fridge. Use within 3 months.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 37Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 107mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

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