Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce Review

If you’re looking for a family-friendly hot sauce, or simply a sauce with a very mild heat for an introduction to hot sauces and spicy food, Franks RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce is certainly a great place to start. It’s very mild — no more than what you’d get from that banana pepper or pepperoncini on your deli sandwich. But how’s the flavor of this Louisiana-style hot sauce? And is it as usable as many of its competitors? Let’s break down what’s in the bottle to find out.

Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
3.8
$3.26 ($0.27 / Fl Oz)

There are many reasons Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce is a staple in many homes — great taste and terrific usability are big pros with this one. But the heat of Frank’s RedHot can be underwhelming for those that enjoy the heat. And the sodium level is extremely high.

Heat Level: Mild (450 Scoville heat units)
Pros:
  • Great flavor
  • Highly usable and family-friendly
  • Easy to find
Cons:
  • Heat is underwhelming
  • Very high in sodium
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09/27/2022 12:28 am GMT

Table of Contents

Flavor

Just like any Louisiana-style hot sauce, Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce is a simple ingredient list: aged cayenne red peppers, distilled vinegar, water, salt, and garlic powder.

Just five ingredients in the bottle, but remember Tabasco Original Red, Louisiana Hot Sauce, and Crystal have only three ingredients in each of their recipes. So, what’s the difference? Frank’s RedHot adds water and garlic powder to their mix. Those other Louisiana-style hot sauces contain only chili peppers, vinegar, and salt.

But, of course, right out the gate the predominant flavor of Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce is that tangy vinegar and salt one-two punch. It’s what you’d expect from a Louisiana-style hot sauce. What you don’t expect is what that garlic brings to the flavor profile mid-bite. There’s a light pungency to this hot sauce, and it pairs really well with the natural cayenne pepperiness in the flavor.

Now, is it a lot of depth? No. But you don’t expect really any depth from a Louisiana-style hot sauce, where more than three ingredients is unusual. These are hot sauces that get to their point quick, and Frank’s RedHot is no exception. However, it does differentiate Frank’s some from the pack, beyond levels of heat and saltiness.

Let’s talk about that sodium. Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce contains 190 mg per teaspoon, which is a whopping 8% of your daily allowance. So granted, I’m a salt freak and I really enjoy the level of saltiness in Frank’s RedHot, but this is 100% a high-sodium hot sauce. In comparison, Tabasco Original Red is only 35 mg per serving. If you’re watching your sodium intake, be very careful with the usage and consider the amount of salt you’re otherwise using in your meal.

Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce on a spoon

Heat Balance

Fresh cayenne peppers (the chili in Frank’s RedHot) have a strong medium-heat, 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units (or SHU). But you’d never know that from this hot sauce. Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce is extremely mild, roughly 450 Scoville heat units.

To put that into perspective, it’s the same heat as those banana peppers or pepperoncini you see on the pickled shelves and eat on your deli sandwiches. It’s more of a warmth and slight fiery tickle than any level of true spicy intensity.

Compared to other Louisiana-style hot sauces, it’s on the lower end of spiciness among its peers. Louisiana Hot Sauce has a similar heat level, but Crystal Hot sauce (2,000 to 4,000 SHU) and Tabasco Original Red (2,500 to 5,000 SHU) are much spicier. They provide heat similar to that of a fresh jalapeño pepper (2,500 to 8,000 SHU) while Frank’s RedHot is roughly 12 times milder than a fresh jalapeño.

The warmth of Frank’s RedHot also dissipates very quickly, sort of a “there and gone” experience where you’ll need to constantly add more to enjoy some spiciness. This works well for those who only slightly like spicy food, but it can be really underwhelming for those who truly seek the heat.

Usability

Along with the overall flavor, usability is where Frank’s RedHot shines. Its tangy, vinegar-forward flavor works incredibly well on many appetizers, sides, and meals. The list is long, but really anything from wings and French fries, to pizza and breakfast burritos can be made tastier with this hot sauce. And its mildness is incredibly family-friendly.

This is the kind of hot sauce that can be widely agreed upon in a room. Their tagline, is “We put that sh!# on everything”, and I agree — it can be used on most anything and enjoyed by most anybody.

Collectibility

Fun fact: Frank’s RedHot is the #1 American Hot Sauce brand, which is now sold in 20 countries around the world. That’s impressive. But collectible? Not so much. This hot sauce is everywhere — a mainstay in grocery stores and often available in restaurants.

The label, too, is fine. It’s not flashy, but it tells the story it should, using the classic red and white design and a cayenne pepper illustration. Does it stand out amid a hot sauce collection? No. But I’m sure Frank’s RedHot is fine with that. Its brand is solid, but not flashy. But they do have some fun with their taglines and commercials, so some bonus points there.

The Score

There are many reasons Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce is a staple in many homes — great taste and terrific usability are big pros with this one. But the heat of Frank’s RedHot can be underwhelming for those that enjoy the heat. And the sodium level is extremely high.

FINAL SCORE3.8
Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance3
Usability5
Collectibility2.5
X-Factor4
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on April 9, 2022 to include new content.
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