Valentina Hot Sauce Review

Valentina Hot Sauce is adored by many for its bold chili pepper flavor and thicker consistency, especially compared to other popular “daily driver” mass-market hot sauces. It’s marketed as “The Mexican Hot Sauce” So, does its flavor meet those high expectations? Is the heat well-balanced? And is as usable as other hot sauces (Mexican or not) that you find on supermarket shelves? Let’s dive into a bottle and see what it’s all about.

SUMMARY
Valentina Hot Sauce (12.5 ounce)
4.2

Valentina Hot Sauce is a classic Mexican hot sauce — with a simple ingredient list that’s packed full of flavor. It’s a sweet chili pepper forward flavor with a slight tang on the backend. And the heat is very family-friendly. 

Heat Level: Mild (900 SHU)
Pros:
  • Simple ingredients, but tasty chili-pepper forward flavor
  • Extremely usable
Cons:
  • Easy to add a lot of (watch the sodium)
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Flavor

Let’s start with the Valentina Hot Sauce’s ingredients. It’s a simple list, but the order speaks a lot to the chili pepper to vinegar balance in this sauce: water, chili peppers, vinegar, salt, spices, and.1% sodium benzoate (as preservative.)

That order (water and those chili peppers ahead of the vinegar) is your clue to what to expect on first bite. Immediately you taste those sweet chili peppers (puya peppers here, which have a delicious fruitiness to them) and salt. Then after a vinegar tang comes to play. The vinegar really only hits you on the back-end, after the delicious taste of chilies and spices hits your tongue.

It’s a simple, though tasty, hot sauce that leans heavily into the natural chili pepper flavor. And, like other Mexican hot sauces, it’s thicker than the “dasher” Cajun hot sauces they often share shelf space with. And that means you get to enjoy the full flavor and texture that the spices provide.

The salt flavor is there and well-balanced. Valentina Hot Sauce rings in at 64 mg of sodium per teaspoon, 3% of your daily value. Granted, you may find yourself using quite a few teaspoons in a sitting, so that can add up fast. That’s especially true compared to a dasher sauce like Tabasco Original Red that’s lower in sodium and takes quite a few dashes to equal a teaspoon.

Valentina Hot Sauce on a spoon
Valentina Hot Sauce on a spoon

Heat Balance

As mentioned, puya pepper is the chili pepper in Valentina Hot Sauce. And these chilies have a jalapeño level heat, just with a higher floor: 5,000 to 8,000 Scoville heat units.

Though, that heat is well diluted with the water and vinegar here. Valentina Hot Sauce sits at 900 Scoville heat units, which is pretty mild. That puts it roughly like eating a fresh poblano pepper (1,000 to 1,500 SHU.) It’s much milder than its Mexican hot sauce competitor, Tapatio (3,000 SHU), but just slightly hotter than the likes of Texas Pete’s (340 to 740 SHU.)

That mild kick dissipates pretty quickly, too. The chili pepper heat hits the tip of your tongue and heads to the back of the throat with that vinegar tang. But it’s very low-key and ends soon as it starts.

Usability

Just like most mass-market hot sauces, Valentina is an extremely usable. The heat is family-friendly, and the flavor is tasty, yet simple — so it doesn’t (easily) overtake the flavors of your dishes.

I love this sauce on hot dogs, eggs, all Mexican dishes (duh), and even seafood. I tried it on ceviche, and it gave just the right amount of spice kick without ruining the eating experience.

If you love a meal that combines, tomatoes, chicken, and potatoes, Valentina is always the sauce I grab for that combo as well. I also tried this with watermelon the other day (you know, for the sake of “science”), and it was actually fantastic.

The spout is perfect on Valentina Hot Sauce, too. It’s the size of a pencil eraser, so you can easily get a decent amount out. And you’ll want that. Valentina is the kind of sauce that you’ll find you’re pouring on everything. It goes real fast in my house.

Collectibility

Valentina is pretty easy to find, as it’s a staple hot sauce in many grocery stores. But there’s more here than meets the eye.

Valentina’s factory is located in Guadalajara, Mexico, and is generating employment for over 125 families in the area. While, yes, this is a mass market hot sauce, there are strong family roots here, and the company has been going strong since 1960.

The label is bold in its color: bright yellow with reds and greens that tie in colors from the Mexican flag. It’s full of tradition. And the colors help this bottle stand out from a pack of hot sauces. Valentina also announces right on the front of the label “Mexican hot sauce”, so you have a good idea of where to start with it once you pick it up.

The Score

Valentina Hot Sauce is a classic Mexican hot sauce — with a simple ingredient list that’s packed full of flavor. It’s a sweet chili pepper forward flavor with a slight tang on the backend. And the heat is very family-friendly.

FINAL SCORE4.2
Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance4
Usability5
Collectibility3.5
X-Factor4
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on September 3, 2021 to include new content. It was originally published on August 28, 2021.
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