We found a recipe online for homemade sriracha hot sauce.

3lbs red jalapeños
1 cup brown sugar
⅛ cup salt

Everything was blended together, then set in a dark closet. The lid is not airtight but has an elastic band holding it shut. This was to let pressure escape as the recipe suggested.

It was supposed to be left for 2 weeks in a dark place. It has been one week but I am worried about the mold on the top.

After about 2-3 days it had a white layer. I read this might be yeast so ignored it. However, it now has fuzzy black mold and I am worried.

Most hot sauce recipes I see need vinegar or something to keep it from rotting but apparently this fermentation method works fine.

Is this sriracha still ok? Can we scrape the mold off after 1 more week?

sriracha early

sriracha first mold

sriracha much mold

  • 2
    Sriracha costs like, a dollar...
    – user91988
    Sep 15, 2020 at 15:31
  • Sriracha is so important to me that if this were all that was left in the world, I would still eat it 🙂
    – Aaron Bell
    Sep 15, 2020 at 15:56
  • 3
    @user91988 So does a bun. I still like the bun I make myself better than the one I buy for a dollar.
    – J...
    Sep 15, 2020 at 18:15
  • 3
    Every recipe will vary, naturally, but Wikipedia says Sriracha requires the following ingredients: a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sriracha
    – SnakeDoc
    Sep 15, 2020 at 18:41
  • 1
    From what I understand there is two ways to ferment something. One with vinegar and one without. It's called lacto fermentation. It's also not about price, it's about doing something fun and naturally. Play with your own recipe and flavors.
    – marsh
    Sep 16, 2020 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


Do NOT eat this. You figured out right that the stuff on top is mold. The thing that makes mold dangerous is the mycotoxins produced by it and these will likely remain in the sauce even if you scrape off the furry stuff. So eating this comes with high risk of affecting your health. Move it to the trash bin right away.

I would recommend to try again with a recipe with vinegar added and also to use containers that are more appropriate for doing fermentation. This means to minimize the amount of air in the container that could possibly contain any spores and to minimize the surface of the food exposed to the air. So using a bottle will serve your purpose much better than the only half-full glasses on your pictures.

Also be very careful to sterilize the containers and tools getting in contact with the sauce before starting the fermentation.

  • 10
    Specifically, use a fermentation lock to let any gasses out while preventing any external air in.
    – chepner
    Sep 14, 2020 at 19:29
  • 10
    As an alternative, you can ferment all kinds of things with kimchi fermentation containers. Also, just a guess, it might help to ferment the ingredients in chunks, well covered by brine, so that only the brine is exposed to air, and blend it at the end. That's how I do hot sauce, anyhow.
    – JBGreen
    Sep 14, 2020 at 21:53
  • 6
    I agree with everything you said whole-heatedly, except for the need for vinegar. Lacto-fermentation with salt and water alone is a totally viable method to ferment peppers for hot sauce, as long as the concentration is correct and the other safety precautions you mention are followed. Sep 15, 2020 at 1:18
  • 5
    @BenjaminKuykendall Sriracha traditionally contains vinegar. Leaving it out, while fine, will result in a different type of "hot sauce" than what OP is seeking to reproduce it seems.
    – SnakeDoc
    Sep 15, 2020 at 18:45
  • 1
    @BenjaminKuykendall Fair enough. OP's recipe (posted in the question) does not contain any vinegar at all, which is partly why I raised that point. It will still be a fermented hot sauce, it just won't be the same flavor and texture profile of sriracha. The vinegar not only ads flavor, but it also helps preserve the sauce safety for months if done properly.
    – SnakeDoc
    Sep 15, 2020 at 22:17

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