Carrots and habaneros are always a surprisingly tasty pairing: earthy-sweet and fiery. And that’s what’s behind Marie Sharp’s Habanero Pepper Sauce. It’s chock full of flavor, but how well is its heat balanced? And are carrot-based hot sauces like this as usable as other more common pairings? Let’s dive into a bottle to answer those questions and more.
Marie Sharp's Habanero Pepper Sauce pairs carrots and red habaneros, with delicious results. It's earthy-sweet, tangy, and a touch pungent with a bold medium-heat. All-in, this is one unique tasting and very usable hot sauce.
- Incredible taste - carrots and habaneros are a tasty duo
- Very usable - the earthy sweetness works across a lot of foods
- Big enough heat to have some punch without overtaking the flavor
- High sodium level - keep an eye on use if you're watching your salt intake
Table of Contents
Marie Sharp’s Habanero Pepper Sauce keeps things simple in the ingredient list, eight total ingredients and all fresh ingredients or spices: select red habanero peppers, carrots, water, vinegar, onions, salt, lime juice, and garlic.
The primary flavor experience comes from those red habaneros and those carrots. And if you’ve never experienced that combo, it’s absolutely delicious and done well in Marie Sharp’s Habanero Pepper Sauce. The earthy sweetness of the carrots pairs incredibly well with the near citrusy-sweetness from those habs.
On the first bite, you get a tasty vinegar tang, plus that earthy carrot sweetness (enhanced by the habanero’s natural sweetness.) The spiciness doesn’t immediately hit, giving you plenty of time to enjoy these flavors.
Then, mid-bite that hab heat lands. But the sauce’s flavor still gives plenty of depth. Underneath that heat, the lime juice extends a citrusy tanginess, and the garlic and onions provided a hint of pungency towards the end.
That lime juice is the “sneaky-good” ingredient here as it extends and enhances the depth. It’s just the right amount of acid to balance out the flavors while also acting as an excellent culinary foil to those classic, more pungent ingredients. It really is one of the most addicting sauces you’ll taste.
On the salt: The sodium sits at 110mg per teaspoon, 5% of your daily allowance. In terms of taste, it feels like just the right amount. But, if you’re watching your sodium, it’s enough of your daily allowance to consider how you use it.
Habanero peppers are, of course, the chili pepper star of this hot sauce. Habs are extra-hot chilies (100,000 to 350,000 Scoville heat units), and they sit at the top of what most would consider common culinary chilies. Marie Sharp’s Habanero Pepper Sauce uses red habaneros, which may be even hotter. If it’s used, the Caribbean red habanero runs from 300,000 to 445,000 SHU — crossing over into a super-hot zone for us.
But that’s the fresh pepper, and there’s always dilution in hot sauce. But how much? For hot sauces that use “habanero” on the label, our question always is: Is it spicy enough to feel like it warrants the label call-out? Does it walk the talk?
Marie Sharp’s doesn’t list the Scoville heat units of its habanero sauce. Some online sources list the spiciness from 50,000 to 250,000 SHU, which seems incredibly broad and off-the-mark. That said, there’s a decent enough kick here, solidly medium heat, that’s plenty spicy for most people.
The spiciness hits soon after those initial flavors and tends to linger. Expect to still feel it some even five to ten minutes after your last bite. It’s hot enough to make some noise but not so hot as to overtake the incredible flavors here.
How usable is a hot sauce made with carrots? Surprisingly usable. Really, everything I’ve tried Marie Sharp’s Habanero Pepper Sauce with had become even better with the addition. I’ve had it now with eggs, chicken, avocado toast, burritos, and salads. And it’s “just worked” every single time. That earthy sweetness seems to meld right into a lot of different foods quite easily.
On the bottle: This hot sauce comes in a glass bottle with a tiny spout, but it’s large enough to allow fresh bits of ingredients to flow out. Even with the bits of fresh ingredients, the sauce is somewhat watery. So you’ll want to watch yourself on the pour.
The Marie Sharp brand has been a staple hot sauce for many years, but many don’t know it traces back 40+ years, with roots in Belize. The history alone gives some value to collectibility.
The label is clean, with the “Marie Sharp” name in its classic font style and the ingredients you’ll find within the bottle prominently displayed. It looks fresh, and they certainly deliver on that label promise inside the bottle.
Does it pop when placed among other hot sauces? Not quite. But there’s something to be said for the white background with the metallic red lettering. It catches the eye more than you think.
Marie Sharp’s Habanero Pepper Sauce pairs carrots and red habaneros, with delicious results. It’s earthy-sweet, tangy, and a touch pungent with a bold medium-heat. All-in, this is one unique tasting and very usable hot sauce.