I have some Harissa at home but I will probably never use it up as I do not cook meals that are that hot too often. As I think that it's hotness tastes a bit like the hotness of Hot Sauce (as known in the US) I would like to know if and how it's possible to turn Harissa paste into something that resembles Hot Sauce. (Since Hot Sauce can be added to any meal individually after cooking easily it's much more likely that I will be able to use up some Hot Sauce than the Harissa.)

  • 1
    ...maybe add water?
    – Megha
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 5:16
  • 2
    If you want to do this you might want to consider converting your harissa at the point of use. Harissa paste keeps very well in the fridge and should stay viable nearly indefinitely; hot sauce will keep for a long time too, but it's harder to make sure it will be shelf-stable if you're not working from a tested recipe.
    – logophobe
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:42
  • Not sure which texture / consistency you expect from a hot sauce however I will also give a try diluting with water. Perhaps warm water for a quick and clean preparation. Moreover, your question made me think of harissa / ketchup mix :)
    – Alchimista
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


The only difference between something that would be called "hot sauce" and a "chili paste" is the consistency, and perhaps how finely ground the chilis are (though harissas are usually pretty finely ground.) They can both be used to cook with, and they can both be used as condiments.

If there's a specific type of hot sauce you're looking to replicate (e.g. Tobasco,) you're probably going to fail. Despite the fact that there seems to be more in common than differences among hot sauces, there's a tremendous amount of variation in how they're made, and the processes tend to be counter-intuitively complex. What peppers? Fermented or fresh? Cooked or raw? Vinegar, oil, or another base? Is there an added thickener? How hot? Is it sweet? What's the salt content?

For example, my favorite hot sauce, Azorean Piri Piri sauce, is made by keeping salted peppers between two wooden crates while they drain and ferment. Nando's famous piri piri marinade (which could certainly be considered a hot sauce) is completely different, using cooked, pureed peppers. If I had some sort of piri piri chili paste, it would not be suitable to make either of these sauces.

However, If you're looking to make any sort of hot sauce at all, I'd highly recommend experimenting with small amounts. You might just need to loosen it up with some vinegar and/or water, and salt. Maybe add a touch of sugar to round it out. Maybe puree some garlic. Maybe add some smoked paprika for more depth. Keep in mind that it will probably be a bit harsh when you're tasting it directly (you may want to get a box of bland crackers to use,) but whatever you're putting it on will almost certainly drastically mute the hot/sharp/pungent notes significantly.

Good luck!

  • I do not know what a hot sauce is in terms of texture and consistency. But I think that harissa and ketchup could be a nice try. I personally will try it :)
    – Alchimista
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 15:50
  • @Alchimista— there are many textures and consistencies of hot sauce. I'll bet the sweetness and acid of ketchup would be quite nice! 🔥
    – ChefAndy
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 20:39

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