Hotter than July: 6 Arizona-made hot sauces that will help you turn up the heat

Hotter than July: 6 Arizona-made hot sauces that will help you turn up the heat

Arizona isn't just a destination for heat; we export it too. (Photo by Jessica Swarner)

By Jessica Swarner

July 1, 2024

From prickly pear to ghost pepper, from banana to habanero, Arizona-made hot sauces offer a wide range of flavors. 

Arizona is known for its heat—in more ways than one. 

The local market is chock-full of tasty hot sauces made right here, ranging from super sweet to melt-your-face-off spicy. 

Many people like to use hot sauce on one of Arizona’s specialty cuisines—Mexican food—but it can go well with so many other dishes, including chicken wings, pizza, eggs, and stir fry. 

Is your mouth watering yet? To help you get some more spice in your life, we put together a list of some of Arizona’s locally made hot sauces.


1. Arizona Spice Co. 

Debbie Roberti started Arizona Spice Co. over a decade ago. The Mesa-based, family-run company uses all-natural ingredients in its dozens of sauces and spice mixes. 

“I believe in bold, natural flavors to enhance the natural goodness of our food. Whether that is a steak on the grill, soup on the stove or a side salad,” Roberti states on her website. “You do not have to be cooking Mexican cuisine to use chile powders, and you do not have to be a chef to make a good sauce.” 

Arizona Spice Co. packs some serious heat into its products. Products include Dragon Fire Drops, which is made up of a blend of four peppers, “extremely hot” Reapper Sr. sauce, and an Angry Chicken Hot Wing Sauce. 

There are some lighter options as well, including the Habango Habanero Mango hot sauce (featured in our taste-testing video from 2021) and a Miss Reapper sauce made with honey.


2. Big Red’s Hot Sauce

Paul Ford, who lost his father at age 13, grew up in Philadelphia with a single mother. He said he started seeing his peers being sent to prison, and decided he wanted a different life. 

Now, Ford and his wife Tasia own Big Red’s Hot Sauce in Phoenix. 

“We wish we could tell you that we always wanted to do hot sauce, and that the recipes are 1,000,000 years old and have been passed down from generation to generation, but that’s not how this story goes,” the company’s website reads. 

While Big Red’s has its share of straight-up spicy sauces—including God’s Wrath Ghost Pepper Sauce—the company has some other unique options. The Banana Reaper Split features the fruit it’s named for as well as raisins and spice rum. And the Prickly Pear Sweet & Spicy sauce (featured in our taste-testing video) makes good use of one of Arizona’s cacti.


3. Cutino Sauce Co. 

Jacob Cutino started selling his step-father’s “killer” habanero hot sauce in 2015 under the company name Homeboy’s. 

Two years later, Cutino partnered with famous Phoenix restaurateur Chris Bianco to step up the brand and reach more people. 

“We pack a whole lot of flavor into these little bottles,” the company’s website reads. “It’s not enough to make something to simply scorch your tongue. We’re more interested in creating gourmet, artisanal sauces to ignite your taste buds, enhance your recipes and push the boundaries of sauces.” 

Cutino Spice Co. still sells habanero hot sauce, along with other traditional flavors chipotle, jalapeno, and verde, but also offers some new spins on hot sauce with blueberry and miso.


4. Rango Honey

Rango Honey was founded not only with the mission to produce and sell high-quality honey, but also to help people with autism. Profits help support Neshama, an assisted living community Rango Honey’s owners opened for adults with the disorder. 

“By supporting Rango Honey you are helping to provide job training and independent living services for adults with Autism,” the company’s website reads. 

While the Tempe-based business focuses on honey and bee pollen, it also sells a Pepper Junkie Hot Sauce. The company states the sauce “hits your tongue with the unmistaken Rango Honey sweetness then quickly followed by the refreshing burn of habanero pepper.” 


5. RisingHy

Mike Konefal started experimenting with recipes when he received a hot sauce kit while studying at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. After many iterations, he developed a habanero hot sauce, and decided to turn his hobby into a business: RisingHy

“’Making the world taste better… one bottle at a time’ is our mission,” the company’s website reads. “Each product is handcrafted to be used before, during, and after cooking.” 

Their products include the Chipotle Stinger, Habanero Hot Sauce, and GreenGo Sauce.


6. Sphinx Date Co. 

Sphinx Date Co. has a long history in Arizona. The company’s story begins in 1928, when Roy Franklin and Ellen Amelia Goodbody turned a few acres in Arcadia into Sphinx Date Ranch. 

After decades of changing owners and locations and expanding product lines, the company is now owned by Sharyn Seitz and her daughter Rebecca. Sphinx Date Co. still offers fruit from its original groves. 

“Our goal is to educate our neighborhood and America about [dates’] benefits, with a guiding mission to increase awareness of all Arizona made and native-grown foods,” the company’s website states. 

Sphinx Date Co.’s retail location in Scottsdale sells not only its date hot sauce (which was featured in our taste-testing video), but many other Arizona-made products as well, including hot sauces from all of the brands listed in this article.


READ MORE: 10 best Mexican restaurants in the Valley



  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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