Just like the Spice Girls once said, “Spice up your life!” Spice isn’t for everyone, but for those who enjoy a little kick of heat (or a mouthful of fire), we’ve got a list of the best spicy condiments you need to heat things up!
Spice is a universal language. Many cultures use a variation of peppers and spices to create pastes and sauces that are used in traditional dishes— to add a bit of heat. There are some you may have already heard of, like hot sauce, and some new-to-you spicy condiments you need to try!
But spice isn’t just something that reignites the palate and adds flavor to a dish, it comes with many health benefits as well! Eating spicy foods can help to lower high blood pressure, reduce inflammation, fight cold & flu symptoms, and help you to lose weight. With so many more benefits, spices aren’t just a great addition to your food for flavor, they’re a sneaky way of getting more health benefits from your food as well.
So, can you handle the heat? Let’s find out!
Now the types of spicy condiments out there are endless, it was hard to narrow this list down to just 7, but we think we did a good job in choosing spicy condiments that vary in origin, culture, and use, so that you can add a little bit of heat to any dish.
Add these 7 Spicy Condiments to Your Next Meal:
Jamaican Jerk Sauce
If you’ve ever taken a trip down to the Caribbean, then you’ve probably had the pleasure of trying authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken. Jerk is a traditional cooking method that is used throughout the Caribbean to add flavor to meat, typically chicken. Marinating is important, allowing the high flavor profile to truly absorb into the meat, and then slow cooked (over an open fire) for a high smokey flavor. Jamaican Jerk Seasoning and Jerk Sauce have 4 main flavors: spicy, tart, sweet, and heat. Common spices found in jerk marinades include allspice, also known as Jamaican peppers, and scotch bonnet peppers.
Typically jerk seasoned chicken is served with rice and peas, fried plantain, or coconut rice. A staple in many Caribbean households, jerk marinade is a deliciously flavourful way to add a kick to your meat of choice!
Mexican-Style Hot Sauce
Chances are, you’ve had authentic Mexican food — and somehow the hot sauce options they have at restaurants just always seem to hit different from the store bought kinds you have at home. And there’s a good reason, hot sauce has been a popular condiment in Mexican cuisine for over 2000 years, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to this spicy condiment.
Hot sauce is a traditional condiment in many Latin American countries and is so integrated in their cuisine that there’s almost nothing that isn’t enjoyed without a dash of hot sauce! Common ingredients in hot sauce include peppers, vinegar, and salt. And the peppers used are what offers the variation in flavor palate and heat! Hot sauce can be made with every kind of pepper from habanero to jalapeno and puya pepper.
Hot sauce is traditionally enjoyed with various types of latin foods like tacos, enchiladas, and toastadas but as we said, there’s no limit to what you can put hot sauce on! Add to your eggs, avocado toast, chicken wings, and so much more.
Japanese-Style Chinese Chili Oil
If we’re talking about the best spicy condiments, we can’t forget about the spicy red sauce that you find at most Japanese restaurants. Japanese chili oil, also called Rayu, is a traditional japanese-style chinese condiment traditionally enjoyed with ramen or gyoza (dumplings). As mentioned, Japanese chili oil was adapted from traditional chili oil that originates from Southern China. The foundational ingredients of Rayu are a sesame oil base infused with chili peppers, along with sesame seeds, garlic, and ginger. Deep red in color and full of umami flavor (which means pleasant savory taste in Japanese), drizzle some spicy chili oil on top of noodles, stir fry, rice, and wontons too.
The best part: You also no longer need to scour the Asian supermarkets for traditional Japanese chili oil. Abokichi, a Canadian-based company, has crafted authentic miso chili oils that are inspired by the owners travels to Japan and the authentic chili oils she found was served with many of their traditional dishes. Abokichi is also free from MSG and preservatives, making it a healthier option to this traditional Japanese condiment.
Southern Style BBQ Sauce
We’re taking a trip down South, for some traditional, good ol’ Southern BBQ! And there’s no doubt that you’ll find a little bit of a heat in the BBQ sauces they’re using too. Most BBQ sauce origins come from the Southern states in the US. BBQ sauce has been around since the 17th century and is a widely popular condiment in North and South Carolina, Memphis, Texas, and Alabama. Full of smokey flavor, and often featuring a bit of heat, these southern states don't mess around when it comes to firing up the grill, especially South Carolina!
South Carolinians like a bit of spice when it comes to their BBQ sauce. A tangy, vinegary BBQ sauce that’s often made with cayenne pepper — and pairs perfectly with pork. Carolina Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce is finger lickin’, lip smackin’ delicious and can truly take your grilled meats to a whole new level!
Mediterranean Harissa Sauce
Hailing from the Mediterranean region of Tunisia, this smoky, fiery, peppery red pepper paste is common in Middle Eastern and North African cooking, and can range in heat level, depending on preference and taste. The simplest version of this red pepper condiment is made with red chilis, salt, and olive oil — but it can also include red peppers, garlic, and warm spices, like cumin and coriander, as well. The intensity of the heat level depends on the peppers and chilies used in the paste and the amount.
This authentic Mediterranean Harissa Sauce pairs perfectly with a traditional Moroccan lentil soup, lamb stew, in a shakshuka, and can be enjoyed as a marinade for chicken or in a greek yogurt dip served with rice and kebab.
But the possibilities don’t end there, harissa paste can be added to mayo to create a spicy mayo for your burger or used to season grilled halloumi cheese too — experiment in the kitchen and see what you can add this spicy sauce to.
Japanese Steakhouse Yum Yum Sauce
Can we get a yum yum? This mildly spicy condiment is an exclusive staple at Japanese steakhouses — and with good reason!
With its creamy, mayo base, this all-purpose dip can be enjoyed with your favorite fried rice or noodle dish, used as a delicious dip for fresh cut fries or chicken strips, or even used to add a bit of bite to your burger or chicken clubhouse sandwich.
Yum Yum sauce is a great mild spicy sauce for those who are looking to enjoy just a hint of heat with their meal.
Brazilian-Inspired Hot Honey Sauce
Sweet with a bit of heat, we call that the best of both worlds! Inspired by honey infused with chili flakes he found in pizzarias while traveling Brazil, Mike’s Hot Honey Sauce shoots the ball out of the park! Made with wildflower honey and chili peppers, a little can go a long way but we won’t judge you if you pour a lot!
The perfect combo of sweetness and bold spice, this versatile hot honey sauce let’s you think outside the bottle. Use on and in everything, literally everything, including pepperoni pizza, banana bread, avocado toast, ice cream, spicy margaritas, drizzle on fresh fruit, and more!
Plus the added health benefits of raw honey ando (hello, antioxidants!) is a good excuse to put this Hot Honey Sauce on everything you can think of!
You’ve made it to the end— congrats! You can now consider yourself a spice master, we trust that you will use this spicy knowledge to add only the best spicy condiments to your meals! Check out our wide selection of healthy sauces here.