If you’re an avid spicy food lover, you’ve probably scoured all of your local markets for the best hot sauce selections. Walmart and Kroger have the basic Tapatio and Cholula, but don’t have an extensive selection where you’ll find obscure and small batch sauces. Here are a few ideas for places to shop in-person and online to find any hot sauce you can dream of.

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Where to buy hot sauce online

Best online store for affordability: Amazon

Amazon is your best bet for buying a pretty wide selection of hot sauces at the lowest price online. Buying hot sauce online is usually significantly more expensive than in person for two main reasons. For one, it is heavy because it is a liquid that is typically packaged in glass. This makes shipping costs add up quickly, which means that either you are paying a lot for shipping, or if the vendor is offering free shipping then that cost is usually added to the product cost itself.

If you’re looking for cheap hot sauce online, Amazon is one of the best options because there is so much competition between vendors that it drives the price as low as possible. If you are a Prime member you will get free shipping on most eligible products on Amazon, further lessening the expense. If there’s a specific hot sauce you love, you can also buy many sauces in bulk and multi-packs on Amazon to get an even better price per ounce.

Best online store for selection: HotSauce.com

HotSauce.com is the OG online hot sauce store, established in 1995. To put that into perspective, Amazon started selling books online in 1995, but it took years to expand its product selection to include hot sauce.

HotSauce.com has over 1,500 spicy sauces and novelty foods, including some of the most popular brands like Dave’s Gourmet and El Yucateco, as well as many obscure hot sauces that you’ll struggle to find elsewhere. Many of the hot sauces cost $10 or less, and currently (written September 8, 2022), they offer free shipping on orders over $69.

Best online store for obscure limited-run hot sauces: eBay

There are some hot sauces that reach almost cult popularity due to their rarity. Mountain Dew Hot Sauce is a great example of this, with only 500 total bottles produced.

For these types of obscure, cult classics, and collector’s item hot sauces, eBay is your best bet for finding them online. Personally, I wouldn’t use eBay for my everyday shopping, but there are usually auctions for products that are rare and hard to find.

This isn’t a great option if you’re shopping on a tight budget, as rare hot sauces like the Mountain Dew Hot Sauce are auctioned off for hundreds of dollars.

Best local places to buy hot sauce

Chances are your favorite local grocery store stocks at least a dozen types of hot sauce, including Tabasco, Cholula, and Yellowbird. If you’re struggling to find them in your store, check out our guide here.

If you’re looking for a more obscure sauce, there are a few different approaches to take.

Shop your local Asian or Latin American markets

Many hot sauces originated in countries other than the United States, like El Yucateco (Mexico), Marie Sharp’s (Belize), and the most traditional forms of Sriracha (Thailand). Asian and Latin American markets often stock a wider selection of regional-specific hot sauces, so you can sometimes find things that you wouldn’t find at your neighborhood grocer.

Look for locally made hot sauces at the farmer’s market

If you are interested in trying new hot sauces but don’t have your heart set on any specific brand, your local farmers market is likely to have hot sauces that are made locally, using ingredients that are locally grown. This is a great way to experience truly local cuisine and support local farmers and manufacturers.

Specialty hot sauce stores

There is such a thing as a “hot sauce store”, that focuses exclusively on spicy sauces, but you won’t find them in every metro area.

There are a surprising number of Pepper Palace stores across the United States, so if you’re interested in visiting a hot sauce store there may be one near you. Between the US and Canada, they have 160 stores. Pepper Palace manufactures their own line of hot sauces, so they are unlikely to stock other specific brands that you are looking for.

You will also find small, locally owned hot sauce stores in major metro areas in New York, Texas, and California.

Hot sauce festivals

Hot sauce festivals are another great place to shop for and discover a wide selection of hot sauces.

Joliet, IL, is home to the Illinois Hot Sauce Expo, which typically happens in the summertime. 2022 was also the first year for the New England Hot Sauce Fest, so hopefully we will see that as a new annual event. You can find hot sauce events and festivals near you by Googling “hot sauce festival [my metro area]”.

Chili festivals are also a great option if you love spicy food, and most will feature some booths related to hot sauce, although they are unlikely to have as wide a selection as entire festivals dedicated to hot sauce.

Your annual summer fair may also have local competitions and contests for homemade and locally made hot sauces and salsas.

Between specialty local stores, Amazon, special events, and more, hopefully, you can find just the hot sauce you’re looking for!

Categories: Hot Sauce

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