You may have just whipped up a huge batch of homemade hot sauce, or maybe you found your favorite brand on clearance and bought way too much. Either way, the good news is that you can safely freeze hot sauce for years in order to extend its shelf life (or just to make more room in the fridge!)
Will hot sauce freeze if you put it in the freezer?
Hot sauce is full of mysterious ingredients — it’s often loaded with capsaicin, vinegar, salt, and more. So, it’s reasonable to wonder whether or not hot sauce will actually freeze in a regular home freezer. After all, salt water freezes at a much lower temperature than regular water — around 28 degrees Fahrenheit vs. 32. Similarly, vinegar freezes around 28 degrees.
The good news is that YES, you can freeze hot sauce by putting it in the freezer.
What temperature does hot sauce freeze at?
The FDA recommends keeping your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and the good news is that that is sufficiently cold to freeze hot sauce.
Because hot sauce often contains vinegar and salt, it will usually freeze at around 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people suggest that you need temperatures as low as -20 degrees to freeze hot sauce, which is much colder than the average home freezer, but this claim is unfounded. Freezing hot sauce doesn’t require specialized freezers or equipment, your home freezer is cold enough to handle it.
How to freeze hot sauce safely
Hot sauce is usually packaged in glass bottles, so there are safety concerns when you freeze it.
Make sure there is sufficient space for expansion
Liquids expand in size when frozen, so if you put a full bottle of hot sauce in the freezer it may expand and explode the bottle. Make sure that the bottle is filled no more than 90% of the way so that there is enough room for the hot sauce to expand as it freezes.
Make sure it is completely cooled before putting it in the freezer
If you are canning hot sauce at home and hoping to freeze it, you’ll also want to do so with caution. Even if you leave space at the top of the jar, you will want to make sure the hot sauce it completely cooled, or ideally refrigerated, before putting it in the freezer. If the contents of the glass jar are hot when you put it in the freezer, the temperature difference can cause the glass to crack or shatter.
How long will hot sauce last in the freezer?
Hot sauce already has an extremely long shelf life when packaged correctly, so unless you need to extend the shelf life of your hot sauce to last for years, freezing is usually unnecessary. However, when continually frozen, hot sauce can last for years beyond its normal expiration date.
If you are making hot sauce at home and don’t have the equipment to properly can it, freezing your homemade hot sauce can keep it safely preserved for approximately 2 months to 1 year.
The bottom line is that normally you don’t need to freeze hot sauce because its natural shelf life is so long. However, if you want to extend the life of an open bottle of sauce or homemade hot sauce, or if it’s simply the most space-conscious way for you to store it, any home freezer should be sufficiently powerful to freeze it and extend the shelf life for years.