Classic Date Hot Sauce

Makes about 3 cups

This vibrant hot sauce is a fixture on the breakfast tables at the Washington School House Hotel in Park City, Utah. Chef Ryan Frye uses medjool dates to add a pleasant sweetness and to round out the sharp heat from the Fresno and habanero peppers. When preparing your hot sauce, gloves are highly recommended while handling the chiles.


  • 8 ounces Fresno peppers, stemmed and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 Habanero pepper, stemmed (see Note)
  • ½ cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1½ cups pitted and chopped Rancho Meladuco medjool dates (about 10 dates)
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons achiote paste (see Note)
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • ¼ cup white vinegar

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all of the ingredients except for the vinegar. Add ½ cup of water and puree until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a large jar and cover with two layers of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band. Refrigerate for at least 3 days and up to a week, stirring daily.

Scrape the hot sauce into the bowl of a food processor and puree again. Strain the hot sauce through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids with a spatula to extract all of the liquid. Stir in the vinegar and discard the solids.

Divide the hot sauce between four 4-ounce bottles and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

NOTE This hot sauce has a sharp kick of heat, but if you desire more heat then add two habanero peppers.

Achiote paste is made of ground annatto seeds, vinegar, garlic and spices like oregano, cumin, cinnamon and clove. It gives this hot sauce it’s bright orange color, while also adding a great depth of flavor. You can find it in the hispanic foods aisle at most grocery stores or online at

Recipe & photos: Julia Heffelfinger @juliaheff

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