Habanero Side Sauce

Can I say a recipe is inspired by something I’ve never tasted before? Hmm…

This sauce is the second new hot sauce creation in less than a week. After the creamy jalapeno sauce turned out so well, I stopped by the condiment aisle to see what else might catch my eye. I spotted a few sauces by a company called Yellow Bird Foods. They refer to them as “condiments” and there were Jalapeno, Serrano, and Habanero.

habanero side sauce

I like all three. They seem to use ripe, red jalapenos for their sauce and green serrano peppers. The bright orange habanero really stood out, so a quick glance at the ingredient list was in order.

Organic Carrots, Organic Onions, Organic Habanero Peppers, Organic Distilled Vinegar, Organic Garlic, Organic Tangerine Juice Concentrate, Salt, Organic Dates, Organic Raisins, Organic Lime Juice Concentrate

Ok, between the carrots, tangerine juice and raisins, I am thinking this is a pretty sweet tasting sauce. I’m sure it’s great, but not what I’m in the mood for.

diced carrots
chop the carrots…

But… I figured the carrots would provide not just sweetness, but also some substance to the sauce. I love my original hot pepper sauce, but it’s really just flavored vinegar. That’s why I’ve been playing with different variations here lately, I want something that isn’t going to just drip right off my food.

diced onion
chop the onion…

I used raw onion in the creamy jalapeno sauce, I knew I had to cook the carrots in this one to soften them up. I thought about baking them at first, but opted for a small dice and cooking them in the pan. Since I was doing so, I figured I might as well use that heat to soften up the peppers and onions as well. I just pull the stems off and toss the whole peppers in. It’s not worth messing with them to deseed and such, if you want less heat, use fewer. If you want more heat, toss in a couple more.

start cooking
lots of orange

I could have gone for all vinegar, or vinegar and water, but I think the oil will help carry the flavors better. I have no scientific reason behind this that I know of, but I think it worked fine in the end. I did go with a more even ratio than the jalapeno sauce though. I am still trying to decide if I like the consistency of how it turned out, sort of like applesauce, and may adjust this a bit in the future. We’ll see.

all the vegetables
cooking the carrot, onion and peppers until soft

For now, however, I like how it turned out. It’s not as eye-popping bright orange as the store brand. Maybe roasting the veggies would help with that? Maybe adding some lemon juice before cooking them? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll try that next time and compare them. Overall, this sauce is easy to make, pretty inexpensive. A couple of carrots, half an onion, less than a buck in peppers and the vinegar and oil, and in the end it’s about 20 ounces worth of sauce. The 9oz bottle of the store brand goes for anywhere between $4 and $8. Heck of a deal.

blended habanero sauce
blend it all together, then blend in the oil

One of these days I may set myself up to actually take “food photos”, but hey… you’re getting things as I make them, the way they really are. Nothing staged. I ate those chips with the sauce after I took that photo. And I enjoyed every bite.

Quick note on the measurements; I’ve talked before about scale vs volume, in particular on some of my bread posts. A recipe like this with the carrot and onions really can have a difference that makes it more suited for a scale. The smaller you chop your carrot and onion, the more you will fit in that “1 cup”. Weighing them gives you the consistency that volume measurements can’t here. But, what I did was try to chop them consistently, fill the 1 cup line and see how much that weighed… then rounded the numbers slightly. So as long as you actually take the time to chop the carrot and onion to the smaller size, you should be fine.

habanero side sauce

Habanero Side Sauce

A slightly sweet sauce that has a bit of an after-burn effect. Try it on eggs, tacos, burgers, fish, or whatever. Except maybe oatmeal. I wouldn't put it on oatmeal.


  • 6 whole habanero peppers about 50g in weight, give or take
  • 150 grams carrots diced, about 1 cup
  • 125 grams yellow onion diced, about 1 cup
  • 10 grams kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or other neutral oil, plus 1 additional tbsp


  • Dice the carrots and onions about the size of the carrots found in a package of frozen mixed vegetables
  • Heat a heavy skillet or pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the 1tbsp oil and carrots. Cook carrots, stirring occasionally for about five minutes. Add the whole peppers and onions and salt.
  • Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the carrots and peppers are softened, and the onions have gotten translucent.
  • Transfer mixture to blender or food processor, add the vinegar and blend until smooth.
  • Continue blending, drizzling in the remaining 1/2 cup oil until it is all incorporated. If the sauce seems too thick, blend in water, 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency.
  • Store in refrigerator.

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