Can You Freeze Hot Sauce?

| Last Updated: October 1, 2019 |

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Freezing hot sauce can be an option if the sauce is homemade and you have too much of it. You probably won’t need to do it with a commercial hot sauce since most of those contain preservatives that ensure a long shelf life even at room temperature. You probably won’t even need to do it with a homemade sauce under normal circumstances.

The reason is that hot sauce recipes typically include high concentrations of acid, usually in the form of vinegar. The high acidity makes the sauce an unfavorable environment for the bacteria that cause foodborne illness and spoilage. The capsaicin that provides the sauce’s heat also helps to discourage microbes and fungi.

All that said, freezing hot sauce is a feasible way to store it if you need to keep it for a year or longer. You will need to take certain factors into account before you attempt to freeze your hot sauce. Consider the following:

The ingredients

You can determine which hot sauces are more likely to need freezing by looking at the ingredients. A hot sauce loaded with sugar will have a shorter shelf life than one with less sugar. Because it is more susceptible to mold and bacteria, you may want to take steps to extend the shelf life and so that it doesn’t make anyone sick.

For example, hot sauces that contain fruit like pineapple or mangoes have become popular in recent years. If you are making a large batch of a fruity hot sauce, you may need to freeze it to prevent spoilage. You may also need to do this if you are making a sauce that is not very acidic.

One danger with frozen hot sauce is that it might separate when it thaws. Keep in mind that this is a purely cosmetic issue and won’t affect the flavor.

The container

The traditional container for hot sauce is a glass bottle with a spout or small hole for controlled pouring or sprinkling. Alternatively, some home cooks might use a glass mason jar or similar vessel to store hot sauce at room temperature. Glass containers are not viable options for freezing hot sauce simply because liquid expands but glass doesn’t. If you store a mason jar in the freezer, it may explode.

While you can reduce the risk of a glass container shattering in your freezer (by leaving some empty space in the bottle) you won’t be able to eliminate the risk entirely. An explosion will still be a possibility. Avoid waste and a time-consuming cleanup job by storing your sauce in a resealable freezer bag.

Place the bags on a cookie sheet in your freezer so that they freeze while lying flat. The flat shape will make them easier to store. You can stack multiple bags of hot sauce or easily store them on top of other frozen items.

The salt content

Hot sauce recipes often call for a lot of salt, which means that the final product’s freezing point will be low. The result is that it might not freeze as quickly or as well unless you get the temperature in your freezer low enough.

When freezing your hot sauce, make sure to adjust freezer’s temperature setting if possible. Ideally, the temperature for freezing hot sauce should be around -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

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