Cholula Sauce: Authentic Mexican Hot Sauce

cholula hot sauce
Cholula Hot Sauce is the name brand of a popular condiment that comes in a glass bottle with a wooden cap. The hot sauce is a blend of arbol and piquin peppers plus regional signature spices, and it is recognized as the leading hot sauce of authentic Mexican cuisine. Here's everything you ever wanted to know about Cholula Original Hot Sauce.

Origins Of Cholula Original Hot Sauce

Cholula is one of the most popular hot sauces invented in Mexico.

It started as Harrison’s family recipe that runs down generations to date. While the family lived in Chapala, Jalisco, they named it after a 2500-year-old Mexican town (Cholula de Rivadavia) in Puebla state.

Cholula’s original recipe is over 100 years old. The well-blended piquin and arbol spices, coupled with regional spices, continue to give an explosive taste to hot sauce lovers worldwide.

The company started with one flavor –Cholula hot sauce original – before developing five other varieties with unique flavors. 

What Are The Ingredients In Cholula?

Cholula has six varieties of sauces containing different ingredients.

The original Cholula hot sauce has the following ingredients:

  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Piquin peppers
  • Arbol peppers
  • Various unspecified regional spices
  • Xanthan gum for texture

Combining the above ingredients produce a hot sauce with mild flavor piquancy and long-lasting heat, suitable for any cuisine. The piquin pepper has a fruity taste, while arbol gives a delicious nutty, smoky flavor.

dried red peppers and garlic

How Hot Is Cholula Sauce?

The hotness of a pepper depends on its capsaicin content.

Cholula sauce features two hot native Mexican peppers: piquin (40,000-60,000 SHU) and Arbol (15,000-30,000 SHU). After adding other ingredients, the sauce reaches around 1,000-2,000 SHU on the Scoville scale.

If you love a hot, delicious sauce without a burning sensation, Cholula is an excellent choice.

What Is The Difference Between Cholula And Other Hot Sauces?

Cholula ranks among the best hot sauce in the world. How does it compare with other famous sauces?

Cholula versus Sriracha

While they are both hot sauces, Cholula is milder in taste due to different ingredients. The sriracha recipe uses the red jalapeño pepper plus lots of garlic, sugar, and vinegar. Further, both sauces have different colors. Cholula is bright orange, while Sriracha sauce is deep red. In terms of spiciness, there’s a slight difference. Cholula has 1,000-2000 SHU, while Sriracha rates 1,000-2500 SHU.

Cholula versus Tabasco

First, Cholula is Mexican, while Tabasco is a Louisiana-style hot sauce. Cholula is less spicy (1,000 SHU) and not as explosive compared to Tabasco (2,500-5,000shu). While Cholula sauces blend chili and vinegar reasonably, Tabasco uses the tobasco chili pepper mixed with salt and significantly more vinegar.

Cholula and Tapatio

Cholula hot sauce has less heat, unlike Tapatio (3,000 SHU). This Mexican sauce uses a carefully-mixed blend of spices, unspecified ‘red pepper,’ and vinegar to create a hotter and thicker sauce. While no one quite knows what red pepper is used, most people assume it’s cayenne, which would explain the heat level.

Cholula versus Jalapeno Hot Sauce

Cholula is medium in heat and includes two peppers (piquin and arbol) for a delicious flavor. Conversely, Jalapeno sauce uses only green jalapeno peppers, salt, vinegar, and spices. If you’re looking for a hot sauce that uses red jalapenos, check out siracha.

Cholula versus Habanero Hot Sauce                        

If you love intense, flavorful fire on your dishes, the 100,000-350,000 SHU habanero hot sauce offers precisely that. Many habanero sauces include vegetables such as carrots, onions, and garlic to counter the intense heat. Cholula hot sauce is 200 times less spicy and doesn’t have vegetables in the recipe.

Is Cholula Authentic Mexican Hot Sauce?

Yes. Cholula hot sauce has been authentically Mexican since its creation.

It has deep Mexican roots. Initially, the sauce was crafted in Mexico before its introduction in Austin, Texas, in 1989. Further, the sauce is based on hot Mexican chilies with a touch of regional spices to preserve tradition.

The classic beech wood signature cap is a symbol of quality and authenticity. Beechwood is a reminder of the Mexican heritage behind the sauce every time you spice up your cuisine using Cholula.

Other Flavors Of Cholula Sauce

Cholula sauce is available in six varieties.

cholula hot sauce varieties

1. Cholula original sauce

It is made from a simple ingredient list to produce a complex flavor. Water, salt, vinegar, piquin, arbol peppers, spices, and xanthan gum blend for a delicious hot sauce with fiery heat. It comes in a glass jar with a wooden cap.

2. Cholula chipotle hot sauce

Chipotle (smoked, dried jalapenos) is added to the ingredients in the original Cholula to give the sauce a rich, smoky taste. The bottle’s wooden top is deep-brown in color.

3. Cholula green pepper hot sauce

As the name suggests, Cholula green pepper is green in color due to jalapeno and poblano peppers. In addition to the original Cholula recipe, this variety has sugar and acetic acid.

4. Chili lime hot sauce

This flavor adds a touch of lime to the initial recipe. It’s also gluten-free.

5. Chili garlic hot sauce

The sauce is delicious, like the original Cholula hot sauce, but with a garlic powder twist.

6. Sweet habanero hot sauce

This is for those keen on eating spicy sauces. Of the six varieties, sweet habanero has habanero pepper to give it a robust hot-sweet flavor.

How To Use Cholula Sauce

Cholula hot sauce makes an excellent condiment for almost any Mexican or American dish, thanks to its well-balanced heat.

  • For a distinctively tasty breakfast, put some in your chicken noodle soup, pork/beef tacos, chorizo eggs, and baked or stir-fried potatoes.
  • Dips and appetizers, including shrimp and Mexicali wings, work well with Cholula sauce.
  • Lunch side dishes and salads such as chicken taco bowls, Mexican street corn salad, glazed pork, and corn-on comb get tastier with this sauce.
  • Entrees like grilled/fried salmon, shrimp skewers, and kebab get a unique explosion of flavor with the addition of Cholula hot sauce.
  • Beverages/homemade cocktails get turned up a notch by adding a few shakes of Cholula. Try it in your El Cho vocho, Gold coast sunburn, or Sweet heat bloody Mary cocktails.

Where To Buy Cholula Hot Sauce

Due to its popularity, most flavors are widely available in many grocery and wholesale stores in Mexico and the United States. More good news is that you can get the sauce from online stores, including Amazon – no matter where you live.

The sauces are packaged in 5-ounce glass bottles, 64-ounce plastic bottles, and as a 7-gram condiment in a single-use variety pack.


Aside from being a writer, Regie is a food lover. She loves adding chili to almost everything – apart from tea. Within her small compound, she has lots of red and green chilis that grow throughout the year. She looks forward to sharing her love and passion for pepper through crafting informational pieces that you’ll love. Happy reading!

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