Green Belly Hot Sauce Review

Green Belly Hot Sauce is chock-full of Guatemalan green sauce authenticity. It’s a traditional flavor, inspired by a Guatemalan mother’s family recipe. So there’s no doubt it’s full of tasty (and fresh) ingredients, and it’s usable in many ways — just like other green hot sauces. Though, how does its flavor stack up? And how well is the heat balanced? Let’s dive into a bottle and see what Green Belly Hot Sauce is all about.

SUMMARY
Green Belly Hot Sauce
4.4
$12.99

Green Belly Hot Sauce is an authentic Guatemalan green sauce eating experience: cilantro-forward, with hints of garlic, and sweetness from those habaneros and apple cider vinegar. It’s hot enough to make you notice, but not so hot as to drown out the herbaceous flavor. Very usable too!

Heat Level: Upper Mild to Medium
Pros:
  • Delicious herbaceaous flavor
  • Building “sneaky” heat
  • Highly usable
Cons:
  • Spiciness may be too much for some (after a few teaspoons)
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09/26/2021 09:10 am GMT

Flavor

Just as you’d expect from a good Guatemalan hot sauce, cilantro is up front and really the star of Green Belly. In order, the ingredients: cilantro (of course!), organic apple cider vinegar, water, habanero peppers, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and xanthan gum.

Green Belly Foods (the parent company) calls its namesake hot sauce an “herbaceous sauce”, and I totally agree. On first taste, you get that fresh herby cilantro flavor, with hints of garlic and a slight sweet tang from the apple cider vinegar. It’s not a vinegar-forward sauce at all. Really, the vinegar provides as much sweetness to the sauce as it does tang, but neither are predominant tastes. Both are supporting players, not stars, in the bottle.

There is a thing as too much cilantro, but Green Belly Hot Sauce does a great job at moderating the flavor. It’s just enough to be tasty without becoming an overwhelming amount of cilantro flavor.

Green Belly Hot Sauce on a spoon
Green Belly Hot Sauce on a spoon

The habanero peppers add to the sweetness upfront, and the heat kicks in quickly after the initial herby and sweet flavors.

And I liked the inclusion of olive oil here, too. It gives the sauce a silkiness — a smooth consistency that’s really delightful on the tongue.

On the salt: there’s 50 mg of sodium per teaspoon serving in Green Belly Hot Sauce. That’s relatively low sodium, but know this is the type of green sauce that you’ll use a lot of in one sitting.

Heat Balance

Habaneros are the chili pepper here, and fresh they sit in the extra-hot range: 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville heat units. But they’re well-diluted in Green Belly Hot Sauce. They don’t list the sauce’s Scoville heat range, but for me, it sits in the upper-mild to medium heat range.

The heat tends to build and linger some (a couple of minutes), so after about three tablespoons I had what, I felt, was a good medium heat experience here. That may be too hot for some, but in this case, it really depends on how much you use. A single teaspoon’s worth won’t rock your world too much in terms of spiciness. But six? Yeah, you’ll feel it some. It’s sort of sneaky that way.

Overall: This is a heat level that’s in a sweet-spot for true hot sauce lovers. It’s hot enough that you can feel it, but not so hot that the other ingredients are overshadowed. Really, Green Belly is all about that fresh, crisp cilantro flavor, so it’s good that the heat is supporting, not starring.

Usability

Guatemalan green sauces are typically very usable, and Green Belly Hot Sauce is no exception. Anywhere where you’d enjoy a herb-forward flavor, you should reach for this sauce.

It really shines with Guatemalan, Mexican (and Tex-Mex), and other Central/South American foods that lean heavy into cheese, beans, potatoes, and rice. Think those American Mexican mainstays like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas.

It’s also delicious on eggs, and I’m sure it’s super-tasty on simple grilled meats like grilled chicken or steak. It can take something that’s very basic and turn it into a bigger and bolder eating experience.

One note: Shake the bottle up well every time you go to use it. In my experience, the olive oil tends to sit/settle at the top of the bottle and might drown out the heat and overall initial flavor on first bite.

Collectibility

Green Belly Foods is a small family-owned business who makes its hot sauces in small batches. So, this is not a hot sauce you’ll find (typically) at your local store.

I love the classic, earthy label which highlights the green cilantro and green habs together, reminding you of exactly what your taste buds are in for.

Altogether, it’s a very collectible sauce — extremely flavorful, harder to find, and nice-looking among a collection. Plus, cilantro-forward hot sauces aren’t the norm among common green hot sauces most experience. This is a true Guatemalan green sauce recipe that’ll catch many by surprise.

The Score

Green Belly Hot Sauce is an authentic Guatemalan green sauce eating experience: cilantro-forward, with hints of garlic, and sweetness from those habaneros and apple cider vinegar. It’s hot enough to make you notice, but not so hot as to drown out the herbaceous flavor. Very usable too!

FINAL SCORE4.4
Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance4
Usability4.5
Collectibility4.5
X-Factor4.5
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on August 6, 2021 to include new content. It was originally published on August 6, 2021.
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