There are a lot of hot sauces like "Blairs Mega Death" with more than 500.000 scoville heat units. However, they do have some odd taste, which I don't really like.

So I'm thinking of creating a sauce from capsaicin or nonivamide extract. These are pure chemicals with 16.000.000 and 9.200.000 SHU respectively and would be perfect candidates for creating tasteless but very hot sauces. I already have nonivamide at home. Capsaicin is something I could get easily over the internet.

Since you really can't just put them on your food, you have to dissolve or mix it with either a liquid or another powder. I don't think I can use a powder because that would never create a homogeneous mixture. So I'm thinking of a liquid.


Capsaicin is soluble in alcohol, ether, benzene, slightly soluble in CS2, HCl, petroleum

Nonivamide is soluble in methanol


So, obviously these are all non-edibles, except for alcohol. But I don't really like the idea of consuming alcohol to every meal. It just doesn't sound very healthy. Does anyone have an idea of how to create a hot but tasteless "sauce" or powder from pure capsaicin / nonivamide?

  • Since the only edible solvent in your list is alcohol, do you really have a choice? Perhaps dissolve in alcohol then add an oil and cook off the alcohol? – Carey Gregory Nov 22 '13 at 1:30
  • I think capsaicin is not very heat resistant. Also, how can it not be soluble in oil, but if you solve it in alcohol and cook it in oil it can? I think I don't really understand the concept of solubility. – bytecode77 Nov 22 '13 at 1:40
  • Cooking off alcohol is almost never 100%, so what you would be doing is dissolving it in alcohol and then removing all but trace amounts of the alcohol in quantities too small to be a health concern or to be considered an alcoholic food/beverage by legal authorities. That said, I have no idea how it would actually behave, but that's the direction I would head with my experiment. – Carey Gregory Nov 22 '13 at 1:48
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    Just my two cents: This doesn't seem very healthy. – JoséNunoFerreira Nov 22 '13 at 12:45
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    @MischaArefiev, depends on what you mean by "most of the alcohol", but it actually takes a long time to reduce the alcohol concentration to even 10%. – Marti Nov 22 '13 at 15:21

If capsaicin is soluble in alcohol, and you want a sauce with heat but no taste, there's a very simple way to do it if you do get a hold of pure capsaicin. Keep in mind that pepper sprays used for personal protection or law enforcement are in the range of 10% to 30% capsaicin. Bear spray (commonly seen here in Alaska) is required by law to be at or under 2% capsaicin. If you consider that then you've got to realize that you don't want a capsaicin concentration of greater than 1% anywhere near your food, and if you create a 1% solution, that's a product that you would only want to use by the micro-drop.

So, if you're using your capsaicin solution by the micro-drop, how great of a health concern can it possibly be that the carrier of your capsaicin is vodka? There's more naturally occurring alcohol in a glass of fruit juice than in a micro-drop of vodka.

So, just get yourself a little airline bottle of vodka, that will be 30mls of vodka. For this purpose, lets pretend that vodka weighs 1 gram per ml. That's not exactly right, vodka weighs slightly less, but calling 30mls of vodka 30 grams is fine for this. So, to achieve a 1% capsaicin solution in the vodka, you would add 0.3 grams of pure capsaicin to to the bottle. Shake and you're done.

If you do get a hold of pure capsaicin, please treat it with great care and use protective clothing. Obviously if a 2% solution works as a bear repellant, the pure stuff could really hurt you.

EDIT: Also, see my comment to GdD below.

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  • I thought it might be a bit provoking if I put drops of Vodka on my food at the work place, but I'll give it a try. – bytecode77 Nov 22 '13 at 9:05
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    Silly, just transfer to a different container! :) – Jolenealaska Nov 22 '13 at 9:06
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    @GdD Honestly, I think 1% would be too high too, but that could be further diluted in just about anything. To measure out .3 grams (or even as little as .03 grams for a .1% solution) all he'd need is a gram scale, easily purchased for $11. I haven't looked, but I think being able to buy pure capsaicin is pretty unlikely, I think he'll be dealing with a dilution to start with. The dilution level should be pretty clear on the item, so he'd be able to do what I suggested easily. – Jolenealaska Nov 22 '13 at 14:48
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    Why not do the vodka and then dilute that into water as appropriate? – SourDoh Mar 20 '15 at 18:26
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    @Jolenealaska : if you like sriracha, look for sambal ... it tends to be much more concetrated. There are different varieties, but the one in the US is generally sambal oelek, which can be used to make many other types. (most of the stuff in the US is from Huy Fong, the same company that popularized sriracha. – Joe Mar 21 '15 at 0:39

There's no point in getting pure capsaicin and diluting it yourself when you can buy capsaicin in just about any strength you want with all the work done for you. If you want something truly, painfully hot then get capsaicin 1 mil and then measure it into your dishes with an eye dropper. Be real careful with it, use gloves and don't sniff it, even at 1M it can still seriously hurt you.

I second @Jolenealaska's warning that pure capsaicin is dangerous. In fact, you should not try to get the pure stuff even if it is available, get something somewhat diluted as it is safer and easier to work with. Pure capsaicin is used in industrial applications, you need to work in tiny quantities, requiring special equipment. It can also put you in the hospital, so just don't do it. As cool as it sounds "I made this sauce using pure capsaicin!", the reality is somewhat different.

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There's a product on the market called 'Pure Cap', which is exactly what you're proposing to make:

It comes in a dropper bottle inside a child-proof container. One my former housemates (before he was living with me) had a container ... it seemed more useful for a (not very funny) practical joke than for actual food.

Maybe you could use it to make your own hot sauce, but I didn't really find it useful as an ingredient on its own. (of course, I've also grown thai bird chilies, and get scotch bonnets & habaneros from my stepfather, so I already had a source of good heat).

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  • If it weren't $30, I'd buy that. I go through sriracha like water. – Jolenealaska Mar 21 '15 at 0:34

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