This is a first for me — Yellowbird Habanero Hot Sauce pairs those fiery habaneros with carrots. Yes, you definitely get the sweet, earthy flavor you expect, but does it pack the punch of heat the hab is known to deliver? And how usable is a hot sauce where carrots are so prevalent? Let’s dive into Yellowbird Habanero to see what it’s all about.
This is definitely the first sauce I’ve ever had where organic carrots top the ingredients list. The ingredients are: Organic carrots, onion, habanero peppers, organic distilled vinegar, garlic, organic cane sugar, tangerine juice concentrate, salt, and lime juice concentrate.
The carrot flavor isn’t overwhelming at all in Yellowbird Habanero Hot Sauce. It actually makes a really nice, naturally sweet and earthy base and that sweetness is slightly amplified by the cane sugar (but again, not overwhelmingly sweet.) You taste the carrots with the first few bites, but after that, you mostly get the heat along with some additional depth from the onions and garlic. The citrus from the tangerine and lime juice concentrate is something you’ll feel on the back-end and they both add a really nice tangy twist late in the flavor to the sauce. All of it pairs nicely with the natural fruity sweetness of habanero peppers.
After the carrots and the heat, the biggest ingredient that stands out to me is the garlic. It’s so prevalent and wonderfully fresh in this sauce, that you soon forget about the heat and just chill with the big flavor.
On the bottle of Yellowbird Habanero Hot Sauce it states that yellowbirds, by nature, are immune to the heat from spicy peppers and therefore have free rein over this abundant food source. So, judging by the name you can tell that Yellowbird is a hot sauce that wants to highlight the peppers fiery gift and give you a true kick.
Oftentimes with habanero hot sauces, it’s easy to be all-consumed by the heat, seeing habaneros land on the pepper scale from 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville heat units. Yellowbird really balances the ingredients around those habanero peppers well from our experience. There’s a ton of flavor in the bottle. But there’s a catch, depending on the bottle you get.
Yellowbird lists the Scoville heat rating for its habanero hot sauce from 15,580 to 54,535 Scoville heat units (SHU). That’s a real wide spread. At the lower end, you have the heat akin to a fresh serrano pepper (10,000 to 23,000 SHU) and at the top it’s just above the highest heat for cayenne pepper (30,000 to 50,000 SHU.) So, your experience with the balance of this sauce will vary. That top end puts it very much in the area where we expect sauces that put “habanero” in the title. The low end is much more eatable for most. It ranges from a strong medium heat to close to extra hot for a hot sauce.
That said, our bottle of Yellowbird Habanero Hot Sauce was well-balanced — likely somewhere in the middle of that range. It carried a decent kick from those habanero peppers, felt on the tongue immediately on the first bite. The heat does make it to the back of your throat, but it’s nothing too intense. From my tasting, this isn’t a sauce that will completely clear out your sinuses (or have you running for the milk carton), but it’s definitely a heat to be respected.
I use about two tablespoons of this sauce on one taco and that provides me with enough heat. Luckily, even when you build with this sauce, the back of your throat doesn’t continually burn. You’ll only be left with a nice warm tongue and most likely craving some more.
For the salt lovers like me, this sauce comes in at 115 mg per tablespoon (or roughly 38 mg per teaspoon), It’s not low-sodium, but certainly not among the highest on the market. In my experience, you won’t need any extra salt when using Yellowbird Habanero, you’ll just revel in the flavor.
I assumed going in that carrots were going to be a hard pairing in terms of usability. But Yellowbird Habanero Hot Sauce actually goes really well on tacos, pizza, chicken, rice, salads, and so much more! It’s much more like a “utility” condiment than a niche hot sauce in this way. Maybe that’s also why they count their serving size in tablespoons instead of teaspoons. Heck, it’s called a “habanero condiment” right on the label, so lean into that pour!
I also absolutely love the way they packaged this sauce. It comes in a huge squeeze bottle with a narrow spout, so you’ll never have to worry about over-pouring. This gives you the freedom to be as precise or as decadent as you want.
I adore the use of classic white and orange on the Yellowbird Habanero Hot Sauce label — then with the only thing yellow being the yellow bird on the label. It kind of looks like a character you would see in a video game and that makes me love the look of it even more. It’s simple and practical and looks great on the table. Does it stand out among a hot sauce lineup? No, but it does if you pair this against your typical condiment daily drivers like ketchup and mustard.
Yellowbird Habanero Hot Sauce uses carrots to great effect in its blend — providing an earthy sweetness with a touch of citrus tang. The heat range listed of this sauce is broad, so your heat balance may vary from bottle to bottle.