Here comes an easy recipe for a mind-blowingly good sugar-free sweet chili sauce! This quick-to-make hot sauce is actually sour as well, thanks to the super-healthy apple cider vinegar. Delicate sweetness comes from my favorite brown sugar substitute and fresh chili peppers ensure the tongue-tickling (or explosively fiery, your choice!) heat. You can use the sauce immediately after letting it cool down, or let it ferment for two weeks when the flavors get deeper and even better!
Use this delicious condiment with meat and poultry, or try it with rich and creamy veggie dishes. Cauliflower gratin and sugar-free sweet chili sauce, anyone? Believe me, it’s a must-try combination!
Tips for making the sugar-free sweet chili sauce
Making the sauce is easy, but there are a few things to take into account which ensure the successful result:
- Reduce the heat of the sauce by removing the seeds and the membranes from the chili peppers; if you want fiery sauce, leave the seeds and membranes.
- Add more water if there is not enough fluid left after cooking.
- Remember to ventilate properly when cooking the sauce!
- If you plan to let the sauce ferment and mature for two weeks, fill a boiling-hot, sterilized glass jar with the freshly-made sauce and close tightly with lid. (Or if you know a better technique, use that!)
- The recipe makes close to one cup sauce, so feel free to double the batch if you want to make a bigger batch.
But let’s check how to make this fantastically fiery sauce:
Take 6 oz (170 g) beautiful, fresh chili peppers. (Aren’t they just gorgeous!)
Actually, why not take the rest of the ingredients as well, you’ll need them soon. Can you imagine, these 5 ingredients are all you need to make this tasty and beautiful sauce:
But first, chop the chili peppers roughly.
Just throw the chopped chiles in a small saucepan. (Remember to wash your hands properly immediately after this!)
Be prepared to add the rest of the ingredients. Here goes the ACV…
…and the salt.
Mix well. Heat over high heat and reduce to low once the mixture starts to boil.
Cover with lid and let simmer for 15 minutes or until the chiles are soft…
…so when they look like this:
Use immersion blender (or regular blender if you don’t have any) and puree the sauce until smooth…
Yummy fiery goodness!
Let cool down and use; or fill a well-cleaned, steaming hot glass jar with the sauce.
It might get messy, though.
There we go! Just close the lid tightly, let cool down to room temperature and place in the fridge for two weeks.
The matured sauce (in the front) is slightly darker in color than the freshly made sauce:
My experiments with the sugar-free chili sauce
I’m a huge fan of sriracha sauce. Unfortunately it contains sugar and some preservatives. Well, usually you use just a couple of spoonfuls, so the final carb-count doesn’t get too high. In any case, I have wanted to develop my own, guaranteed-healthy hot chili sauce recipe for a long time. I love sweetness combined with fiery flavors, so I was planning to experiment with hot and sweet sauce that would be perfect with almost any dish. And since I wanted to make sugar-free chili sauce that is low in carbs, I had to think of an appropriate sweetener as well.
I wanted to use also vinegar, however I was a bit hesitant: in my opinion Tabasco is otherwise great sauce, but the amount of vinegar is just too much for me. In reality, the whole sauce tastes just vinegar. Hot, spicy vinegar. No way, I wanted to have some more dimensions in my hot sauce.
I have a German cookbook about hot sauces, it’s called “Feurig Scharfe Saucen!“. That was my help in ideation of my own creation. Most of the recipes in that book contain far over 5 ingredients, so my version would be containing just the essential ingredients and nothing more — naturally without sacrificing anything taste-wise.
On page 80 in that book there is a recipe for Louisiana Hot Pepper Sauce that has just three ingredients: dried chili peppers, vinegar and salt. Something like that I had been thinking for my own sauce, too. Well, I didn’t have dried chili peppers and I didn’t know any place where to buy some, so I decided to use fresh chiles. The vinegar in the recipe was white wine vinegar, but I opted to go for apple cider vinegar: the taste was fruitier and milder. Like said, I’m not too much of a friend of vinegar, so the milder taste the better for my taste buds.
As salt I naturally used unrefined sea salt, though Himalayan salt would work well, too. And since I wanted my sauce to be sweet as well, I took my favorite brown sugar substitute Sukrin Gold and decided to add a good amount of that. The sweetener is really good and it behaves just like brown sugar, it even tastes and looks like brown sugar! Oh yes, I just love that stuff!
I thought a sauce with just chili peppers, salt, sweetener and vinegar would have been too plain and lacking something, so I decided to add my favorite seasoning: great-quality onion powder. I really tend to add onion powder to almost any dish… it just enhances the flavors in the most pleasant way. And I’m simply too lazy to chop onions… so onion powder is a perfect option for a lazy — or busy — person.
So, it was time to take a saucepan and think of the measures. I had made some chili sauce experiments long time ago, and I wasn’t satisfied. But now, it was time to try to make something better. For my first experiment I took 6 oz (170 g) red chili peppers. There was no exact planning behind that amount, I just thought 6 ounces is exactly 170 grams and perfect for both American and metric units. Again, using my gut feeling I took 1/3 cup (80 ml) apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup (60 ml) Sukrin Gold, 1 teaspoon (my standard measure) onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt.
I chopped the chili peppers roughly and put all ingredients in a saucepan. I heated the mixture in high heat, covered it with lid and reduced the heat close to minimum. It took some 15 minutes before the chili peppers were soft. Now I just had to puree the whole thing somehow. Luckily immersion blender is a quick and easy way to puree anything and a smooth sauce (with some seeds, though) was ready in less than a minute. Boy, it tasted good!
I also tried fermenting the sauce. I didn’t check any sources how to actually do the fermenting, but just decided to use my (almost non-)existing skills about preserving and filled one cleaned, boiling-hot glass jar with the hot sauce, closed the lid tightly, let it cool down and finally put it in the fridge. After two weeks the color was slightly darker, and the taste was deeper and somehow not that hot.
By the way, when I took the photos for this blog post, I had a problem with the fumes coming from the sauce when cooking it. I shot the photos in our living room, and there is naturally no exhaust hood. I cannot open the windows (you just are not able to open them!) and I couldn’t open the backyard door either, since our cats would have escaped and it was simply too cold outside to even think of keeping the door open. Well, the cats did finally escape to the shower room because of the strong smell of vinegar! Anyway, after my cooking and photography session, the whole house smelled very intensively vinegar and chili. The smell was still there on the next day. So please don’t make the same mistake but take care of proper ventilation! I don’t know how healthy those fumes are, most probably not too healthy…
And finally, here is the recipe for this sugar-free sweet chili sauce:
- 6 oz = 170 g fresh chili peppers
- 1/3 cup = 80 ml apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup = 60 ml Sukrin Gold
- 1 teaspoon organic onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt
- Clean the chili peppers and chop roughly. Place in a small saucepan.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
- Heat over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to minimum and cover the saucepan with lid.
- Let simmer for 15 minutes or until the chiles are soft.
- Puree the mixture with immersion blender until smooth.
- Let cool down and refrigerate.
|Nutrition information||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total:||3.6 g||0.7 g||13.3 g||95 kcal|
|Per tablespoon:||0.2 g||trace||0.8 g||6 kcal|
Tips for variation
Like said, you can use whichever chili pepper variety you like. Unfortunately the chili pepper selection is not too good here in Finland (and I’m the worst ever gardener so that I could grow my own!), so I just had to choose what they had in the grocery store. The variety they had wasn’t very hot, but anyway it gave a nice kick and made a delicious sauce. I naturally left the seeds and the membranes because I wanted to get all the possible heat, but feel free to remove the seeds and membranes if you think the heat is too much for you. Actually, there was habanero peppers as well in the grocery store, but I thought they were too hot for my taste.
Even this sauce is sweet, it’s not overtly sweet, so please feel free to add more sweetener if you like your hot sauce really sweet.
For the St. Patrick’s Day, I made the sauce from jalapenos (yes, they also had those in the grocery store…) and also baked some sour cream and chive crackers which I colored with 1/4 teaspoon spirulina powder.
As sweetener for my jalapeno-based sauce I used powdered erythritol (that I had powdered myself with a powerful blender using this jar, a must-have for everybody who makes nut butters and powdered erythritol!). Powdered erythritol worked well, but Sukrin Gold was even better in my opinion so I’ll stick to that in my future hot sauce experiments. I’m soon running out of that particular sweetener, so let’s see where I will get some more Sukrin Gold here in Finland!
And last but not least: my Facebook page for this blog just reached 500,000 likes milestone. Can you imagine, it’s half a million people! Wow! I feel so happy and humble, I wouldn’t have ever dreamed anything like this. Many thanks for your ongoing support, without you I wouldn’t be doing this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart <3
ELVIRA, A GREAT NAME FOR YOU, FITS THIS FIRING HOT SAUCE!
Thank you <3
Thank you so much, it’s bloody delicious and I’ll never buy store bought again. We are dying on keto and cauliflower mash is just awful but it’s perfectly fine with and tablespoon of this delight! I could smooch you! 😉
Lol! Makes me happy that you like it 🙂
Hi Elviira, I just made some and it is gobsmackingly delicious and spicy!
I might de-seed a few chillies when making the next batch.
Thank you so much for the recipe.
Hi, thanks for trying out my recipe! So great to hear you liked it 🙂
Hi Elviira, when I made the first batch, I used Xylitol and it turned out delish.
A few days ago I made the second batch using Sukrin Gold…that turned out delish as well.
However today when I opened the jar, part of the sauce has crystallized. Still yummy but I’m not keen on the chunks of crystal sugar. Would you know why this has happened?
Hi, unfortunately that happens sometimes with sweetener crystals (like Sukrin Gold or other erythritol-based sweetener), so they crystallize back when cooling. I haven’t had that issue with powdered sweeteners. What could help is to grind the sweetener before using, or then reduce the amount of sweetener crystals and add liquid sweetener, like stevia, to get the desired sweetness. Hope this helps!
Great tip…I’ll powder the sugar next time and see how it goes. My personal preference is Xylitol but the carb count is way too high! Thanks for taking the time to respond, much appreciated.
You’re welcome! Hope the problem gets solved!
Could use sukrins fibre syryps instead as they don’t crystallise when heated and cooled.
Sure! They just rise blood sugar in many, so erythritol is a safer option for those people. And powdered erythritol doesn’t crystallize when cooling, unlike erythritol crystals (which turn disgustingly gritty…)
What would you use this sauce with? I see it as a Chinese dipping sauce if you add sesame oil. What other applications would be good? Marinade?
Hi Ginnie, I simply use it as any hot sauce (like Sriracha) with different types of dishes. I like it especially with chicken, though it’s great with any meat. It certainly works as dipping sauce (without sesame oil) and marinade.
Pour over cream cheese and serve with assorted crackers. BTW….love this recipe, Elviira!
What a wonderful serving idea! So happy you like it 🙂
I made this yesterday with the ingredients I had on hand….green jalapenos, Splenda brown sugar, cider vinegar, and of course onion powder. I even added a bit of garlic powder. It was delicious!!! I will definitely be making this again. I live in Arizona USA where we grow a lot of assorted peppers. So I am anxious to go to the grocery store and buy a little of this pepper and a little of that pepper and experiment. Even including the seeds, mine was not too hot and I really like my hot sauce HOT. So will probably add habeneros next time. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!!! This will be my Go-To sauce for all meats!
Hi Carol, so wonderful to hear that you liked it! Yes, you can easily create as hot or as mild sauce you want by changing the chili variety. Happy experimenting!
Great recipe, and also very easy to make! Pricier, but also way healthier than store bought sweet chilli sauce.
Used my first batch right away on some chicken breast, with the next one I’ll try adding some garlic and also fermenting it.
Hi Denis, thanks for trying out, great to hear you like it! Yes, unfortunately healthier options often are pricier, but hope to save the money in medical bills and improved quality of life!
Hi! Can I use balsamic or white wine vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar? Thanks!
Hi Nissa, white wine vinegar would work.
Hi! Just checking how long will this chili sauce keep in the refrigerator? Also, if not refrigerated, how long will it keep?
Hi Angie, I recommend to refrigerate it. I think it stores one week, two weeks at maximum, depending how cold your fridge is. Hope this helps!
This is similar to my recipe except I add red capsicum (red bell pepper) & chopped onion & garlic powder & I also use xylitol. Whilst I don’t eat it, my partner loves it.
Thanks, Anne, for your comment. Garlic and red bell pepper added to the sauce sounds good!
Kim | Low Carb Maven
Elviira, I am so excited about this recipe. It sounds super delicious. I’m definitely going to have the ventilation hood on when I make my batch! Thanks for a great recipe!
Great to hear, Kim! Hope you like it!
May I use Erythrol or Xyletol instead of the Sukrin. Does Sukrin has a bitter after taste like Stevia or splenda????
Thank you for your time
Hi, sure, you can use. Erythritol and xylitol just bring slightly cooling aftertaste and they don’t have the taste of brown sugar. I have made a couple of batches with powdered erythritol and it was good. However, Sukrin Gold is the best option.
I am excited about this recipe because I follow a low-carb vegetarian diet, but would like a little more input about the Sukrin Gold before I make the purchase. What else do you use it for and is it considered an artificial sweetener?
Hi Leslie, it’s an erythritol-based sweetener, so not artificial sweetener (I never use artificial sweetener myself!). The other ingredients are tagatose, glycerol, malt extract, and steviol glycosides. It took me some time to find a natural brown sugar substitute, everything that is/was on the market contained something suspicious. However, I have been very happy with Sukrin Gold, it’s the most natural brown sugar substitute I’ve found.
I use Sukrin Gold in some other recipes as well. Just feed “Sukrin Gold” to the search field on my page and you’ll find them 🙂