This pepper sauce recipe is a Southern family favorite. Perfect to serve with cornbread, greens or black eyed peas, this pepper sauce recipe is one you’ll turn to again and again.

Pepper Sauce Recipe | ©

Good ole Southern Pepper Sauce is a favorite condiment to serve with any number of dishes in the south – from black eyed peas to pinto beans, collard or turnip greens and some even like a little bit of it with their BBQ. A jar of this spicy sauce could just about always be found on the supper table, making it a staple item to make each year.

Actually, at the end of each summer, Daddy would gather a bunch of peppers from his garden to make a good number of jars to use, keep in the pantry and to share with friends.

Here’s how he made his pepper sauce. This recipe is for one pint jar.

Southern Pepper Sauce Recipe

This pepper sauce recipe is a Southern family favorite. Perfect to serve with cornbread, greens or peas, this pepper sauce recipe is one you'll turn to again and again.
4.65 from 17 votes

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Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Author: Robyn Stone


  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or pickling salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil optional for extra hot pepper sauce
  • about 30 small peppers


  • Clean jar, lid, and band and rinse well. Keep warm.
  • Mix together sugar, salt, vinegar, and optional olive oil in a stainless steel saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat until it begins to boil.
  • Fill jar with peppers and pour hot vinegar mixture over the peppers. Leave about 1 inch of headspace from the top of the jar
  • Remove air bubbles in the jar by tilting jar slightly to allow bubbles to escape as pepper press against opposite side of the jar.
  • Wipe jar rim to clean. Place lid on top of jar and tighten ring.
  • Allow jars to seal by setting on countertop to cool with about 1 inch in between each.
  • Test seal after about 12 hours by pressing finger to the center of the lid. If sealed, it will not pop back. If not sealed, refrigerate and use.
  • Store in dark, cool cabinet or pantry for up to a year.
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Robyn Stone

..where I share sweet, savory and southern recipes, as well as home and garden tips and tidbits of travel.

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146 Comments Leave a comment or review

    1. I have not used sea salt in this recipe but other people have said they do. Just make sure it is pure sea salt with no additives. You can’t use table salt; it can cause the liquid to be cloudy. Hope this helps.

      1. My dad planted all kinds of peppers and mixed them all. It was the best pepper sauce and I do it too. this year I have some habaneros and I’m really anxious to try it with them

  1. Can olive oil be added at a later date
    Best way to store pepper sauce and best way to store after jar has been open

  2. I’m from the south and u are so right it is so good on some beans and cornbread I’m glad I found ur recipe. Thank you so much !

  3. How do you prepare the peppers? I’m new to pepper sauce and want to make sure I don’t miss an important step.

  4. How long does this have to sit before it can be used? I know pickles take a week or two to be fully ready.

  5. I’m from as far south as you can get in Louisiana. We always had a container of this sauce on the table. Anytime, we had a dish with rice from gumbo to jambalaya we used it. This recipe is the same my family used for as long as our family has gone back to our start in this country. My great grand-parents and grand parents grew their own papers and made their sauce. I have moved from LA but am growing and picking my ownpeppers. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe.

    1. Virgie, thank you for letting me know your family has used this same recipe for generations, too. My family has always had this as far back as my mother can remember. xo

      1. First time making pepper sauce and it turned out perfect! My husband and I are putting it on everything from cornbread and greens to tater tot casserole lol. I can’t wait to try it on our beans from the garden! Thanks for this recipe! My peppers were kinda of big so I used about 20 per jar and sliced a few up. I am going to be making more soon. This would make an excellent Christmas or birthday gift

  6. use this vinegar whenever you want to spice up your chicken or pork or anything. I was raised on this stuff!

  7. Curious, Im from the north and I’ve never used this or seen it before. Do you use the vinegar or just the peppers on your cornbread and such? Looks awesome and I have a lot of peppers right now.

  8. Has anyone ever had a problem with peppers floating to the top? I used whole Cheyenne peppers with stems cut off and all they wanted to do was escape after pouring the vinegar in. This is my first time trying anything like this. 😁

  9. Have you ever used frozen peppers to make pepper sauce? I have an abundance of peppers and I have already made myself and everyone I know plenty of pepper sauce and jellies. But, I hate to waste my peppers. So, I was wondering about freezing my peppers and making pepper sauce at a later date.

  10. This recipe is perfect! My family loves it! I always helped my mom can foods when I was growing up. I have been married and living 2 hours away from her for the last 42 years, so I wasn’t around to keep all that canning knowledge fresh at hand. Now my mom has alzheimers and she doesn’t even remember me. Thank you so much for being kind enough to share this and helping to keep canning alive!

  11. Thank you for an authentic recipe! If the peppers float in the jar, you can poke a little hole in each with a darning needle. It may take longer to get rid of the bubbles, and you might have to use a little more vinegar. Warning – the vinegar will be hotter in the end! It comes in contact with the seeds and membranes of the peppers when the skin is breeched. Apple cider vinegar does work, the color is “off,” but the flavor is just fine. Fish peppers, a striped African heirloom type with variegated, cream-spotted leaves, work Great for this. They’re under-used in the garden, really – so ornamental, lovely for containers and even accents in borders, producing a pretty fruit with heat similar to a jalapeño.

  12. I am a GA girl and been living in W Central GA for over 50 years. I only use white vinegar, no oil, only non-iodized salt (equal to canning salt or sea salt with no additives) and no sugar. I slice up hot banana peppers, chilies and hot cow horn peppers and can in 1/2 pint jars, as our family is smaller now ad we don’t go through it as fast. I let it sit a full 2weeks before using to let the vinegar absorb a bunch of hot pepper magic before using. Peppers can be eaten out of the jar on any kind of peas or greens or even on pizza. I never de-seed my peppers to allow them to make a hotter sauce, which is their mission.

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