The 17 Best Hot Sauces for Fried Eggs, Grilled Cheese, and Bloody Marys

Sometimes a meal just isn’t ready to eat without a dash (or five) of your favorite hot sauce. And there are so many varieties! Personally, I’ve grown a giant collection of hot sauce as gifts for my dad. Every birthday or holiday he gets a funky, fruity, or over the top hot water bottle of something from yours truly, and we’ve been burning our tongues on it for years.

Because I just can’t get enough, I consulted food writers and recipe developers to see what hot sauces they like to keep on hand. Whether livening up avocado toast, cereal and egg bowls, or simply using the condiment to add heat to marinades and dips, there’s nothing better than hot sauce.

What makes a good hot sauce

The first two hot sauces that probably come to mind are Tabasco and Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce. And we’ll never, ever tell you not to buy them. Tabasco is great for drizzling over burritos, eggs, and of course, a necessary ingredient for a Bloody Mary cocktail. Frank’s, on the other end, is essential for Buffalo chicken – everything – wing sauce, dips and even grilled chicken.

But there’s a fiery world beyond these two well-known hot sauces. We love small batch chili sauce because you know the quality is there (as is the heat). A good hot sauce should also have a short list of ingredients: look for chili peppers, vinegar, cane sugar, salt, maybe fruit purees, and not much else. You want the peppers to develop the flavor profile naturally without a lot of work on anything else.

Speaking of flavor, you can’t always tell what’s going on when your mouth is on fire. So before we drizzle ghost chili hot sauce all the way through our egg and cheese sandwich, know what’s inside. The type of pepper(s) used is the best way to tell how spicy the sauce will be. Hot sauces made with poblano, jalapeno, or Hungarian peppers will be quite mild. Thai chiles, scotch bonnet chiles, and habanero chiles will provide medium heat (although you may want to keep a glass of milk nearby just in case), and anything made with ghost chiles or carolina chiles Reaper will make you sweat, cry and beg. for mercy.

Here are 17 of our expert’s favorite hot sauces to drizzle, sprinkle and downright pour over everything.

The best hot sauces

1. Brooklyn Delhi Hot Sauce Guntur Sannam

I love the new Brooklyn Delhi Guntur Sannam hot sauce. It’s salty and has fermented funk, and it’s much, much less acidic than most hot sauces, a completely different style from anything I’ve tried. I put it on everything – eggs and avocado toast and bowls of rice and whatnot – just like I do with all of their excellent achaar. — Lukas Volger, writer, publisher and cookbook author

2. Pisqueya

I love Pisqueya’s hot sauces. Passion fruit adds a nice sweetness and tartness to things like avocado toast, and I also like to put it in a cashew and cilantro dip for tostones. Their smokiness has a great (but not deadly) heat, perfect for refreshing basic hummus. — Alicia Kennedy, Food and Beverage Writer

3. Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce

This one is my favorite: it has more kick than Cholula, but not so much that it hurts. It’s made from fruity habaneros, but they also use carrots, roasted tomatoes, and mustard to round out the sauce, so it has a nice tangy, vegetal sweetness. The thick texture makes it perfect for topping huevos rancheros or whisking into a spicy dressing or marinade. — Kelsey Youngman, Associate Food Editor, Food & Wine

4. Frank’s RedHot

Frank is forever! I’ve never come across a hot sauce that I didn’t like, but Frank’s RedHot holds a special place in my heart. It’s more vinegary than spicy, so you can use a lot without spoiling yourself. Best use: bison cucumber salad from Parm, New York. — Becky Hughes, Social Media Manager, NYT Cooking

5. yellow bird

As a bona fide Austinite, I have to go for the Yellowbird hot sauce. My favorite is the serrano version, although I encourage people to try them all, as each has a distinct flavor profile. I love this hot sauce for its vibrant, tangy flavor, with just the right amount of punch without distracting from the dish. This brand prioritizes organic and ethical ingredients, which directly aligns with my value system. — Olga Koutseridi, food writer and recipe creator

6. Siete Hot Sauce

Texas is the birthplace of Siete Hot Sauce, and their chipotle version is my go-to when I need to add a hint of smoke. Honestly, the sauce is so good it’s hard not to use the whole bottle in one sitting – yes, this good. Siete sets itself apart by incorporating nutritious ingredients like chia seeds, flax seeds and beets, along with a wide range of pepper varieties that elevate the sauce to new flavor heights. I challenge you to find a better representation of Mexican-American flavors in a pot of hot sauce. — Olga Koutseridi

7. Tabasco

Regular old Tabasco has always been my favorite, because I need that heat. I love dipping fries in it! — Eric Kim, writer and recipe developer

8. Maggi Spicy and sweet tomato sauce with chilli

I keep several hot sauces at home, but most often I use Maggi Hot & Sweet Tomato Chilli sauce, which is an Indian ketchup I grew up on. It works wonderfully anywhere ketchup is appropriate. — Nik Sharma, food writer and cookbook author

9. Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Sauce

Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Sauce is my go-to condiment for everything: eggs, veggies, potatoes, chicken, cereal bowls, etc. It’s spicier than you’d expect from a grocery label and just the right amount of tartness. — Maddie Flager, Business Writer, Conde Nast Traveler

ten. Red clay hot sauce

I have an entire corner devoted to hot sauce in my fridge, and the addition of newcomers gives me great joy. That said, I’m a Red Clay loyalist – their Hot Honey got me hooked, but I also really like their Carolina Hot Sauce. It’s a little sweet, a little smoky, and not overly hot, so exactly what I’m looking for to top my eggs in the morning. — Oset Babür, Associate Restaurant Editor, Food & Wine

11. Horseshoe Brand Peach Hot Sauce

New for me: I love Horseshoe’s Peach Hot Sauce! Such a lovely, warm flavor, and it makes peach season last all year round. I put a little on vegetarian tacos or on broken avocado. — Oset Babur

12. Shaquanda hot pepper sauce

Almost anyone can make a hot sauce that brings heat. So for me, a big one has to burst with flavor, too – and none do quite like André Springer’s Shaquanda hot pepper sauce, which gave birth to the brand as part of a drag performance. in 2013. — Aaron Hutcherson, food writer and recipe developer

13. Humble House Ancho & Morita

While most hot sauces these days are in competition to see who can burn your tonsils the most, I love that there’s a real balance between Humble House Ancho & Morita. It’s a surprisingly versatile team player, with a nice blend of smoky sweetness, richness and acidity, courtesy of the tamarind. — Andrew Bui, food writer and photographer

14. Huy Fong Chilli Garlic Sauce

My favorite brand of hot sauce, without a shadow of a doubt, is Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce. I am so close to drink it neat. — Ella Quittner, writer

15. Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce

Texas Pete is a classic hot sauce that goes with everything, so I put it on everything. It’s bright and actually provides good heat, but not so much that you can taste the food you put it on any longer. It’s just. —Makinze Gore, Associate Food Editor, Delish.com

16. Farm To People Bee Sting Smoky Honey Sriracha

It’s just a hint of sweet and a little smoky. Put it on a breakfast taco and you’ll never look back. I love this stuff so much that I always, always keep a bottle in my fridge. —Makinze Gore

17. Tabasco Chipotle Sauce

I had a whirlwind love affair with Chipotle as a teenager, and the biggest thing I took from that experience was a love of Tabasco Chipotle sauce. I love the sauce deep, smoky and just spicy enough for salad dressings, with roast chicken or, yes, on burrito bowls. — Gaby Scelzo, food writer, Sifted