Hot sauces have the magical ability to make any dish more alive—and homegrown brands are truly bringing the heat. We tried more than 120 lip-tingling, made-in-Canada sauces; here are 15 of our favourites.
Sweet Heat: Honey Garlic, Purple Tongue Hot Sauce
Scoville-rocking Carolina reaper and Bhut Jolokia (ghost) peppers feature heav- ily in Purple Tongue’s six-sauce range. Their Honey Garlic won both the Hot and Best Overall categories at the 2021 Heating up the Capital Hot Sauce Expo.
Chunky: Holy Smoked Pepper Sauce, Spice of Life
This goes-with-everything option is made with fiery habanero and a kiss of liquid smoke.
Packed with Punch: Bad Guy, Villain Sauce Co.
The exceptional Bad Guy is full of attitude. It balances a treacherous entourage of Carolina reaper, scorpion, ghost and habanero peppers with tropical pineapple and dried mango.
White Hot: Korova, Fired Up Foods
The unconventional Korova is made with white Trinidad scorpion peppers, coconut cream and lime. The resulting bright and punchy white (!) sauce has an aromatic bouquet of lemongrass, ginger and garlic.
Low Sodium: Do Fear the Reaper, Salem’s Lott Scary Hot Sauces
Caribbean-inspired Do Fear the Reaper traps the blazing heat of both Carolina reaper and scotch bonnet peppers in an explosive blend of sugary pineapple, carrots and shallots.
Currylicious: Anti-Virus 19, The Capsaicin Cartel
This medium-hot curry-spiked sauce features an intimidating blend of Trinidad Moruga scorpion, Jay’s peach ghost scorpion, Spanish red habanero, ghost and 7-pot peppers.
Chef’s Special: Apiary Ablaze, Smoke & Tears
Co-founder Kevin Rickey uses pickling and light smoking techniques to create sauces that are less about flame and more about flavour. Apiary Ablaze incorporates local honey and whole-grain mustard into a sumptuous elixir.
Versatile and Ultra Hot: Red Serrano & Reaper, Pepper North
Chipotle, lime juice and maple syrup cut through the red serrano and Carolina reaper base in this sriracha-inspired sauce.
Sneak Attack: Bazodee, Firecracker Pepper Sauce
Carmen and Michael McCracken originally made their Trinidadian- style pepper sauces as wedding favours. They now produce four scotch-bonnet-infused sauces, including Bazodee, an unadulterated pepper blend that’s laced with the lingering heat of Trinidad scorpion peppers.
Complex Flavour Bomb: Starless, Hurt Berry Farm
This robust mole-style sauce blends ancho and pasilla chillies with two types of smoky chipotles (meco and morita). A mélange of flavours ties it together, including mushrooms, Canadian maple syrup, dark cocoa and coffee.
Goes Well With Almost Everything: Original Hot, Dawson’s Hot Sauce
Original Hot reels in the unsuspecting with a smooth cane-sugar-sweetened, garlicky opening volley, then smacks them in the mouth with unabating heat from red habanero peppers.
Try it on Ice Cream: Calypso, La Pimenterie
Spiked with ají limón and scotch bonnet peppers, Calypso makes just about anything—even ice cream—taste of sunshine thanks to its pineapple, ginger and lime juice notes.
Perfect Heat: The Riptides Present! Red Dawn, Haico’s Hot Sauce
Haico Krijgsman’s intense sauces have amassed a cult following. The manageable Red Dawn features cayenne and ring of fire peppers, while sweet vidalia onions and maple syrup help quell the burn.
Fruity and Approachable: Pineapple Habanero, Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co.
Made in Thunder Bay, Ont., this sauce pairs Sleeping Giant Brewing Company’s Beaver Duck session IPA with pineapple, yellow bell pepper and a touch of habanero heat.