Goya Hot Sauce (Salsa Picante) Review

With its presence on (I think) every hot sauce store shelf on the West Coast (and maybe the East?), Goya Salsa Picante is a definite fiery staple. And for good reason – its simple ingredient list provides plenty of tang. But how does this hot sauce’s fire to flavor ratio balance out and is it as usable as other supermarket hot sauce staples? Let’s dive into this Goya hot sauce and find out!

SUMMARY
Goya Hot Sauce, Salsa Picante
3.9
$6.99

Goya Hot Sauce is a mainstay in supermarkets on the US West and East Coasts. This Louisiana-style hot sauce features both the expected vinegar tang and a healthy dose of saltiness. It’s tasty with a mild spiciness anyone can enjoy, but we can’t help wanting just a bit more heat. Those watching their sodium intake may want to look elsewhere.

Heat Level: Mild
Pros:
  • Flavorful tang and saltiness
  • Easy to find (at least on coasts)
  • Family-friendly heat
Cons:
  • Heat balance feels slightly off - could be spicier
  • Higher sodium than other Lousiana-style sauces
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10/23/2021 01:16 am GMT

Flavor

Let’s start with the ingredients list — and it’s very simple: Distilled white vinegar, aged cayenne pepper, aged tabasco pepper, salt, and xanthan gum.

Goya Salsa Picante is another very simple Louisiana-style hot sauce – just two more ingredients than Tabasco Original Red Pepper Sauce. The big ingredients difference between Goya’s hot sauce and Tabasco is the one-two punch of both cayenne pepper (often labeled as Louisiana hot peppers on some bottles) and tabasco peppers together.

To start, Goya hot sauce has a very strong vinegar tang with a healthy kick of saltiness riding shotgun. Those cayenne peppers and aged tabasco peppers add the spice and a bit of smokiness on the backend. The flavor balance is decent with the heat from the peppers lingering lightly in the background while the vinegar and salt make your taste buds (not literally) jump for joy.

On that sodium: Goya Hot Sauce comes in at 125 mg of sodium per teaspoon (5% of daily value) which is pretty high, but my taste buds think it’s just right. Though, I don’t hide my crazy love for salt. If you’re trying to avoid sodium, there are plenty of other Lousiana-style hot sauces that have a lot less sodium (Tabasco Original Red being one.)

Goya Hot Sauce Salsa Picante on a spoon
Goya Hot Sauce (Salsa Picante) on a spoon

Heat Balance

Goya Hot Sauce is a very eatable level of spiciness. While both fresh cayenne and tabasco peppers score at the upper end of medium on the Scoville scale (30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units for both), the heat here comes nowhere near those marks. Really, the vinegar dilutes the heat down a lot. Goya doesn’t list a Scoville rating, but I’d put it at mild to maybe the very edge of low-medium heat.

The kick does not linger very long, so you can easily layer Goya Salsa Picante up all over your food. It’ll never get past a that mild/low-medium level. Really, the saltiness lingers longer than the spiciness, so that’s the “take care” notice here. You likely won’t need additional salt when layering up on Goya Hot Sauce.

It’s easy to feel like this hot sauce could use just a bit more kick. But of course Goya is a staple sauce built to appeal to the masses. And you can always grab that bottle of Tabasco instead (right down the aisle) for a little more spiciness.

Usability

Like all Louisiana-style hot sauces, Goya has a watery, thin consistency. Dasher bottles are common among these sauces, but the opening on Goya Hot Sauce is just a bit bigger, allowing the sauce to flow more easily. That’s smart given the heat referenced above — you may want to use more than a few dashes. Just again take care to not over-salt your food. There’s plenty in the hot sauce.

It terms of food pairings, Goya Salsa Picante is pretty versatile. This has that classic Louisiana style zing, so it’ll go on everything. It’s delicious on eggs and potatoes. I also love this sauce on beans and chili because it gives just the right vinegar kick that brings out the flavor of everything else on my plate. Really, anywhere you’d use Tabasco, Slap Ya Mama, or Louisiana Hot Sauce, Goya Hot Sauce works just as well. Soups, salads, sandwiches — all fair game for a little Goya love.

Collectibility

You’ll see Goya on most East and West Coast supermarket shelves, so there’s no shortage of this hot sauce. Even in areas where it may be harder to find, it won’t ever be mistaken for a craft hot sauce. It’s mass-market Goya – from the label colors (similar to all its food brands) to the text fonts. That doesn’t mean, though, that Goya Hot Sauce lacks in story.

Goya was founded in 1936 by Spanish immigrants, and it’s the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States. So while, it’s a mass-market staple in West and East Coast supermarkets, there’s still a lot of authenticity here to love.

Goya also is doing its part to make the world a better place through its Goya Gives program. They donate a ton of Goya food (not just hot sauce) to those in need. They give back — and that’s a good story to tell.

And perhaps the best aspect for collectibility is the flavor to cost ratio of this sauce! It’s crazy inexpensive (you can often find it for a little over $1 a bottle). That’s so cheap that it’s hard not to bring it up in hot sauce conversation. It cuts the legs out of the market on price.

The Score

Goya Hot Sauce is a mainstay in supermarkets on the US West and East Coasts. This Louisiana-style hot sauce features both the expected vinegar tang and a healthy dose of saltiness. It’s tasty with a mild spiciness anyone can enjoy, but we can’t help wanting just a bit more heat. Those watching their sodium intake may want to look elsewhere.

FINAL SCORE3.9
Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance3.5
Usability4.5
Collectibility3.5
X-Factor3.5
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on May 9, 2021 to include new content. It was originally published on March 18, 2021.
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