Sodium in hot sauce. Red, dried chili peppers in a row

The Best Low Sodium Hot Sauce

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Hot sauce is a great way to add tons of flavor to food – especially if you love spicy food like I do! I use hot sauce to add a kick to soup, tacos, grains, eggs – almost anything! Hot sauce can absolutely be a part of a healthy, low sodium diet. But, hot sauce can easily put you over your sodium budget for the day if you don’t pay attention to portion size and the type of hot sauce you use. Be sure to look for a low sodium hot sauce and pay attention to portions.

Hot Sauce for a Low Sodium Diet

How Much Sodium Should I Eat?

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for sodium is 1,500-2,300mg per day.(1) This is how much salt is recommended for a general healthy diet. Most of us are eating much more sodium than we need. The average American eats about 3,400mg (and up to 8,000mg!) per day.(2)

Coincidentally, people with kidney disease or kidney stones should also limit sodium to 1,500-2,300mg per day! A low sodium diet can help control blood pressure to protect your kidneys and heart. Lower sodium intake is correlated with slower cyst growth in people with Polycystic Kidney Disease.(3)(4)

Can I Have Hot Sauce on a Low Sodium Diet?

image of single bottle of Frank's Red Hot Sauce

Yes! Hot sauce can absolutely fit into a low sodium diet. Hot sauce packs a huge flavor punch. So, even though there is sodium in hot sauce, there is more flavor compared to the same amount of sodium in plain salt. Adding a little hot sauce can help cut down how much salt you add to your food.

It is important to pay attention to portion size. Dousing your food in hot sauce will likely add too much sodium. But, you can add a few drops for great flavor! Notice that the portion size for hot sauce is 1 teaspoon.

Low Sodium Hot Sauce Alternatives

Dried Spices

Remember that there are many other ways to add spice to your food other than hot sauce. Most dried herbs and spices have almost no sodium in them. They are a great way to add a spicy flavor to your food. My favorite is crushed red pepper. Red pepper flakes are very spicy, and they get more spicy the longer they are cooked. Add just a little and work your way up to figure out the spice level you like.

Chili powder, cumin, curry powder and smoked paprika are also great essentially salt-free spices to add a kick.

Chili Peppers

Peppers are another great salt-free way to add quite a bit of spicy flavor. Peppers can range from sweet to painfully spicy. The heat level of peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). SHU measures the concentration of capsaicinoids in a pepper. Capsaicinoids are the chemical compounds that gives peppers their spicy flavor. The higher the SHU, the more capsaicinoids it has and the spicier it is. Be careful to choose a pepper that matches your preferred spiciness level!

How Much Sodium is in Hot Sauce?

Not all hot sauces are created equal. The sodium content in common brands ranges quite a bit! The lowest sodium hot sauce on this list is Valentina*, with only 64mg per teaspoon. The highest sodium hot sauce was Louisiana hot sauce, which packs 200mg of sodium per teaspoon.

It is important to read the Nutrition Facts label for you favorite hot sauce to know exactly how much sodium you are getting.

Hot Sauce Amount of Sodium (mg)Ingredients
Crystal Hot Sauce135Cayenne peppers, vinegar, salt
Cholula: Original110Water, peppers, salt, vinegar, garlic powder, spices, xanthan gum
Cholula: Green Pepper150Jalapeno, water, sugar, salt, poblano pepper, acetic acid, garlic powder, jalapeno powder, xanthan gum, poblano pepper flavor, sodium benzoate, sodium metabisulfite
El Yucateco: Green Chile Habanero100Water, habanero, salt, acetic acid, spices, xanthan gum, citric acid, onion powder, sodium benzoate, yellow No 5, calcium disodium
El Yucateco: Red Chile Habanero90Water, habanero pepper, tomato, salt, spices, acetic acid, xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium benzoate, red no. 40, calcium disodium
Frank's Red Hot190Cayenne peppers, vinegar, water, salt, garlic powder
Frank's Red Hot: Buffalo Wings Sauce153Vinegar, cayenne peppers, salt, water, canola oil, paprika, xanthan gum, natural butter flavor, garlic powder
Louisiana: The Perfect Hot Sauce200peppers, vinegar, salt
Sambal Oelek100chili, salt, vinegar, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfate, xanthan gum
Sriracha80Chili peppers, water, sugar, garlic, salt, garlic powder, dextrose, potato extract, natural flavor, vinegar, citric acid, xanthan gum
Tapatio110Water, red peppers, salt, spices, garlic, acetic acid, xanthan gum, sodium benzoate
Tabasco: Green Jalapeno Sauce150Vinegar, jalapeno pepper, water, salt, cornstarch, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid
Tabasco: Chipotle Pepper Sauce120Chipotle pepper, vinegar, water, salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, spiced, pepper pulp (vinegar, red pepper, salt)
Valentina64Water, chili peppers, vinegar, salt, spices, sodium benzoate

Different Ingredients

Most hot sauce is made with some combination of dried hot peppers, vinegar and salt. However, the amounts, type of pepper and food additives are very different for different hot sauces. Some hot sauces have potassium food additives, which may be a concern for some people with kidney disease.

When you check out the nutrition label to check the sodium in hot sauce, look at the ingredients to better understand what you are eating.

Happy Eating!


28 thoughts on “The Best Low Sodium Hot Sauce”

  1. personally, i switch half and half … hot sauce and fresh peppers, I prefer fresh jalepenos, with a dash or four (i know it’s not the best) of tapatio. I will look into valentina though. I am rather picky about hot sauces. you can also always make your own pico de gayo.. a friend at work uses serranos and mango in his.. Haven’t tried it yet, but sounds really good. and pico is fresh tomatoes, jalepenos (or other hot pepper if you so choose), onion and cilantro and fresh lemon juice. I don’t use salt in mine.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

      Most hot honey isn’t very high in sodium – but would certainly have a lot of added sugar in it (as honey is added sugar!).

  2. I really enjoyed this article. Hot sauce is one of the major food groups, isn’t it? I liked all the comments too!

  3. Hi Melanie, Great information about hot sauce. I am completing my 24 hour urine test this week. All of your information has been soooo helpful.
    Thank you,

  4. I love salsa with (unsalted) tortilla chips. Trader Joe’s used to sell a no salt salsa but stopped carrying it (at least in my region). Can you recommend any salsas that are lower in sodium? The best I’ve been able to find is Newman’s Own, with 105 mg per serving.

  5. How much hot sauce do people really use (given they don’t eat buffalo wings 😂). I just use a few dashes in cooking. I won’t buy Louisiana hot sauce though

  6. I’m probably gonna die of chronic kidney disease….everything in moderation and I exercise constantly drink water like a fish but I cannot and will not live like this. It’s horrible and Judge away. I live really healthy but I’m not following all of this it’s it’s no way to live. I rarely use salt but you can’t have this and only 1/2 of that. Not doing it! You only live once and I’ll take quality over quantity

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Janelle! I’m sorry to hear this. I do think there is ABSOLUTELY some truth to enjoying your favorite foods. Please know that you certainly can have those favorite foods on a kidney friendly diet. It doesn’t have to be black and white. I’d highly recommend working with a renal dietitian to help find a balance that works for you!

    2. To Janelle: Try using optional seasonings to create great meals! I had a critical kidney assault leaving 5% kidney function. Docs said to come back to 35% with diet/ no dialysis! I was very sick but took diet seriously! Used spices and succeeded! 2 years later.. I am still here at age 78… I found different things to eat that I love. Try!
      Never give up!

  7. I buy Sriracha chili sauce from the dollar store. It come from Thailand and has 50mg of sodium and 10 mg of potassium/ tsp or 5ml. Great taste.

  8. Loved this article. I use Formosa Jalapeno Hot Sauce, 55 mg of sodium per tsp. Very good in egg whites and any other food I can add it too!

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