There’s no doubt: The hot-sauce market is on fire. Market-research firm Fortune Business Insights projects that the global market will be worth US$4.72 billion by 2029, almost double the US$2.89 billion it was worth in 2022. And while Canada may not be the first country you think of when it comes to flavour innovation – the Caribbean or Southeast Asia are regions that typically come to mind – our country has its fair share of craft sauces, and they are as diverse as its geography and people.
Why is this happening now? The pandemic is a factor, as people were cooking at home and experimenting with new flavours. There’s also the enduring success of Hot Ones, the YouTube talk show in which celebrities eat chicken wings (or an alternative) doused in progressively hotter sauces while being interviewed. And then there’s the boom in small-batch sauces. Here, from faint to fiery, are some homegrown hot-sauce brands to try.
6 Canadian-made hot sauces that pack the heat
Carolina Reaper Hot Sauce,
Neil’s Real Deal
This Ontario company’s sauces are based on family recipes from Trinidad and are now being made by a fourth generation. The cauliflower-based sauce includes Scotch bonnet peppers, Carolina Reaper peppers and ghost peppers. In other words, it’s hot – the hottest sauce in the company’s repertoire. Add to sandwiches, pastas, burgers, fajitas and more.
Miso Shisito Green Sriracha,
Lunar Hot Sauce
Made using Ontario-grown peppers and ranking one out of 10 on the heat meter, this fermented green sriracha sauce is ideal for when you want just a dash of heat. Add it to salads, soups, noodles, eggs and however else you would use black pepper.
Heartbeat Hot Sauce
Hot but not too hot, Scorpion ranks six out of 10 on Heartbeat’s heat meter and features several sources of spice: habaneros, chipotles in adobo and Trinidad scorpion peppers. And it was featured on Hot Ones – one of three hot sauces from the Thunder Bay, Ont., brand to earn that distinction. Enjoy on tacos, pizza or eggs.
Simple Black Bean + Ginger Habanero Hot Sauce,
Based in Montague, PEI, Maritime Madness has created more than 30 hot sauces. There are layers of heat that creep up on you in this vinegar-light bottle, thanks to both the habanero and the ginger. That said, this sauce lies just on the hotter side of moderate on the heat scale, so don’t be shy with your pours. Enjoy it with stir-fries.
Habanero Hot Sauce,
Though Sriracha Revolver’s operations are based in Vancouver, owner Jordan Hocking, of Sweetgrass First Nation, draws inspiration from her travels for her flavour development. Mango and cane sugar balance the habanero pepper in this sauce—the heat starts gently and then rises. Add it to eggs, rice, dumplings or burritos.
Mango Lemon Mint Pepper Sauce,
Tameika Laing, the Toronto-based founder of Meika’s Pepper Sauces, draws from her Trinidadian and Jamaican heritage for her recipes. This one has a sweet heat that’s great for adding a tang to your meal. Scotch bonnet peppers are balanced with mango, lemon and peppermint. Great with wings, seafood or fries.