Pickapeppa Sauce Review

Pickapeppa…say that five times fast. Total tongue twister. This classic Jamaican hot sauce has an obviously fun name and a ton of Caribbean-inspired flavor. But how well-balanced is the heat? And how usable is this sauce? Is it as usable as its nickname — “Jamaican ketchup” — suggests? We take Pickapeppa Sauce for a ride to see what it’s all about.

SUMMARY
Pickapeppa Sauce
4.3
$11.67

There’s good reason Pickapeppa Sauce is sometimes called “Jamaican ketchup” — it’s chock-full of sweet, tangy flavor but with a ton more depth fueled by exotic Jamaican flavors. This is a super-mild sauce that everyone can enjoy. And it makes an exceptional seafood sauce.

Heat Level: Mild
Pros:
  • Delicious flavor - exotic, sweet, tangy
  • Family-friendly (very little heat)
  • Super usable
Cons:
  • Sodium can add up since it’s easy to use this sauce like ketchup
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09/26/2021 01:13 am GMT

Flavor

Let’s start with Pickapeppa Sauce’s ingredients as there are a lot of interesting individual flavors in the bottle: cane vinegar, onions, sugar, tomato paste, sea salt, peppers, raisins, ginger, mango concentrate, clove, thyme, garlic, black pepper, and orange peel.

You can see why the “Jamaican ketchup” moniker is popular. Just compare it to the ingredients in Heinz Ketchup (tomato concentrate, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, and natural flavoring.) There’s a lot in common, just in a slightly different order, sugar instead of corn syrup, and a ton more exotic Caribbean-inspired flavors in Pickapeppa.

You definitely get that sweet, tangy bite of cane vinegar, sugar, and tomatoes right at the top. But it’s quickly taken over by those exotic seasonings. The fresh ginger hits next and sort of resets your palate, and then the flavors of raisins and mangoes are prevalent mid-bite. Finally, the garlic and black pepper step in towards the back-end to give it a trailing bite.

While the label says “peppers” are here, it’s not a prevalent flavor (other than general “fruitiness”) and the heat is really mild. We’ll get more into that balance below. But think of this sauce more akin to ketchup, A1, or Worcestershire Sauce, and you’ll be more inline with the experience to expect. And note: they do have a “Pickapeppa Hot Pepper Sauce” variant (affiliate link here folks) that kicks things up a few notches.

In terms of sodium: Pickapeppa Sauce sits at 50 mg per teaspoon serving. That’s 2% of your daily allowance. Not bad. But you’ll down this sauce without a second thought, so those teaspoons could add up fast. Keep that in mind if you’re watching your sodium.

Pickapeppa Sauce on a spoon
Pickapeppa Sauce on a spoon

Heat Balance

There’s not much heat at all in the original Pickapeppa Sauce. Really, you’d need to eat three or four teaspoons quickly to even get a sense of heat — and even then it’d be mild. The back-end bite from the garlic and black pepper is more prevalent.

Pickapappa doesn’t put a Scoville heat rating on its sauce. But the heat really isn’t the point of Pickapeppa Original. Think of it as more a “sauce” than a “hot sauce”, and you’re in for a treat. There’s general warmth that’s a through-line from beginning to end. But it’s not about the spiciness, it’s more about the ride you get from those exotic spices and flavors.

And if you want some additional spiciness, as mentioned, you can always go for their “hot sauce” upgrade.

Usability

If you’re in the market for a can’t-be-beat seafood sauce, stop now and buy a bottle of Pickapeppa. Seriously, this stuff is so good on all types of seafood, especially fried shrimp, clams, and calamari. And it’s so mild that anyone can pour out Pickapeppa and be ecstatic.

But don’t limit it to only seafood, there’s so much more to this sauce. It works exceptionally well with steak and burgers. Really anywhere you’d consider either A1, Worcestershire sauce, or ketchup, you can pick up a bottle of Pickapeppa instead and be more than happy. The spices just take your tastebuds on unexpected journeys, compared to your everyday steak sauces or catsup.

And let’s not forget the most basic, yet most wonderful use for Pickapeppa Sauce. Pour a bottle over a block of cream cheese and use it as a cracker dip. IT’S SO GOOD. Get a bottle just for this.

The sauce is nice and thick, with a really nice texture, so it sits atop your food, rather than soaking in. The spout has an opening about the size of a dime, so you can pour Pickapeppa Sauce easily onto your plate. Overall — that’s what you want for a sauce like this. You’ll use it like ketchup, so the bottle is built to be used like ketchup.

Collectibility

How good is Pickapeppa? Well, super-model Naomi Campbell loves it so much she carries a bottle around in her purse. That’s serious love.

You won’t often find Pickapappa Sauce at your local grocer, but Amazon does sell it. Though I’ve seen it sell out every so often even there, so there’s some serious demand here and no guarantees on availability.

There’s also a ton of history and authenticity here. Since 1921, Pickapappa has been part of the Jamaican way of cooking. It’s made in the heart of Shooters Hill in Jamaica, too, so this is the real deal when it comes to adding some Jamaican flare to a dish.

I love its trademarked parrot, too, on the label. And the colors — a beautiful mix of green and red (the Jamaican colors) — are prevalent throughout. It’s a good-looking bottle that just screams authentic Jamaican flavors are within.

The Score

There’s good reason Pickapeppa Sauce is sometimes called “Jamaican ketchup” — it’s chock-full of sweet, tangy flavor but with a ton more depth fueled by exotic Jamaican flavors. This is a super-mild sauce that everyone can enjoy. And it makes an exceptional seafood sauce.

FINAL SCORE4.3
Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance3.5
Usability5
Collectibility4
X-Factor4.5
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on September 10, 2021 to include new content. It was originally published on September 10, 2021.
  • I’ve used Pickapeppa Sauce for more than 20 years now, and although it’s not hot, the flavor is wonderful for all sorts of uses. It was, and still is, one of my favorite sauces.

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