Difference between: Tabasco sauce and hot sauce

Hot sauce definitely holds a special, flaming place in my heart as one of my favorite condiments of all time.


Definitions, according to Dictionary.com:

  • Tabasco sauce: a kind of pungent sauce made from red peppers; so named after Tabasco, a river and state in Mexico.
  • Hot sauce: any of several highly spiced, pungent condiments, especially one containing some type of pepper or chili.

The most important difference between the two is that Tabasco is a brand name, whereas hot sauce is a generic name and can encompass a wide range of different sauces. Thus, Tabasco is hot sauce, but hot sauce is not necessarily Tabasco sauce.

Tabasco sauce has been produced by the McIlhenny family for over 100 years. The peppers come from Avery Island in Louisiana – they provide lovely photos of the pepper fields and additional details on how the sauce is made right on their website.

Like other hot sauces, Tabasco sauce also comes in other flavors besides the traditional red, such as jalapeno, green, and Buffalo wing sauce.

Photo credit: AskChefDennis.com

When it comes to hot sauce, the most popular brand is likely to be Frank’s Red Hot sauce, which is my own hot sauce of choice. There have been several taste contests between Tabasco sauce and Frank’s, including which better compliments hot wings. Like Tabasco, Frank’s lineup includes a buffalo wing sauce, among other flavors.

On their history page, Frank’s explains their sauce was a secret ingredient in the first ever buffalo wings right in Buffalo, New York in 1964.

For me, when it comes to hot sauces or spicy food in general, I think the most important factor is taste. It’s easy to get caught up in the “hotness,” see how hot you can stand it. But, it’s important to remember it needs to be flavorful, too.

Honestly, the only thing I use Tabasco sauce for is bloody Marys – otherwise, it’s all Franks all the time.

I also admittedly can’t get enough of Taco Bell’s fire sauce. While it is less than fiery, it proves amazing all the same.

5 thoughts on “Difference between: Tabasco sauce and hot sauce

    1. I’d say no.

      Tabasco sauce is a very specific, brand name product that will always start with the same type of peppers.

      The term “hot sauce” can really mean any type of hot sauce that could be made from any type of pepper. (Or, although it would be unusual, there could be a hot sauce not even pepper-based.)

  1. Recipe I have calls for hot sauce, but I don’t want to use it: Would it make a difference if I just use Tabasco instead of hot sauce, will it affect the taste of the recipe?

Comments are closed.