Is Hot Sauce Keto Friendly? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Is Hot Sauce Keto

An easy way to add flavor to a variety of dishes is hot sauce. There are several different kinds of hot sauce to choose from depending on how spicy you like your food, from mild to extremely spicy. If you’re on a ketogenic diet, you’re probably used to checking nutrition facts labels to determine if foods and drinks are keto-friendly. You might be wondering if hot sauce can fit in your keto lifestyle.

Hot sauce is keto-friendly. The majority of hot sauce contain zero grams of carbohydrates per one teaspoon to one tablespoon. If there are some sugars, it can add up and potentially become non-keto-friendly. The best keto alternatives are Primal Kitchen Classic BBQ Sauce, FODY Foods Low FODMAP Teriyaki Sauce, and Kevin’s Natural Foods General Tso’s Sauce & Marinade.

So what makes hot sauce so spicy, and is it good for you? Read on to get the scoop on hot sauces, as well as the best keto-friendly picks!

What is hot sauce?

Hot sauce is considered a condiment, salsa, or seasoning typically made from peppers. They contain vinegar to ferment the peppers and give the hot sauce a unique flavor. Other herbs and spices can also be added to add depth to the flavor.

Hot sauce is usually bottled for easy dispensing onto food. Some types of hot sauce don’t need to be refrigerated while others last longer if they are kept cold.

What are the most popular types of Hot Sauce?

According to Instacart, some of the most popular hot sauces in America are:

  1. Ninja Squirrel Sriracha Hot Sauce: Ninja Squirrel Hot Sauce is available at Whole Foods. It contains red jalapenos, red chili peppers, and habanero powder.
  2. Taco Bell Hot Sauce: Taco Bell Hot Sauce uses jalapenos and chili pepper to give its hot sauce its spice.
  3. Crystal Hot Sauce: inspired by New Orleans cooking, this hot sauce uses aged red cayenne peppers and is available in an extra-hot version.
  4. La Costeña Mexican Hot Sauce: interestingly this hot sauce uses carrots in its formulation. It also uses red jalapenos and dried peppers.
  5. Texas Pete Hot Sauce: this hot sauce is rated as “medium” for spiciness and uses a blend of aged peppers in its formulation.
  6. Tapatío Hot Sauce: this hot sauce is popular for use in Mexican dishes as well as in mixed drinks.
  7. Tabasco Hot Sauce: Tabasco is a popular hot sauce and comes in several different flavors like original, chipotle, and green chili sauce.
  8. Huy Fong Foods Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce: this hot sauce is probably what comes to mind when you think of sriracha, which is a hot sauce made from chili pepper paste, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. Sriracha sauce isn’t one of the spiciest sauces. The Scoville scale is used to measure the spiciness of foods like peppers and hot sauce using Scoville heat units (SHU). Sriracha comes in around 1,000-2,500 SHU while habanero peppers get a whopping 350,000 SHU.
  9. Frank’s RedHot Sauce: Frank’s RedHot sauce was one of the ingredients in Buffalo wings which made their debut in 1964 in Buffalo, New York.
  10. Cholula Hot Sauce: rated the most popular hot sauce, Cholula Original uses Árbol and piquín peppers in their blend. It’s considered “medium” on the spice scale.

Does hot sauce provide any nutritional benefits?

Hot peppers get their heat from capsaicin, a chemical compound that makes spicy food burn your mouth and irritate your eyes.

Capsaicin has anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it’s used topically in many pain-relieving gels. Peppers used in hot sauce have antioxidants, helping to fight inflammation, cell damage, and premature aging.

Weight loss

Studies suggest that capsaicin in spicy foods can boost your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is the rate at which you burn calories for energy. The higher your metabolic rate, the easier you’ll lose weight.

Lower disease risk?

An observational study found that people eating spicy foods tended to have less incidence of chronic diseases like cancer, certain types of heart disease, and respiratory diseases. However, researchers note that this doesn’t prove causation, just correlation, meaning it’s unclear if spicy foods result in lower disease risk.

A quick refresher on the ketogenic diet

The ketogenic (keto) diet is a very low carbohydrate diet. Most keto diets contain fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, while stricter keto diets might limit carbs to around 20 grams per day.

The ketogenic diet is high in fat (70-80% of total calories) and moderate in protein. When you restrict carbohydrates and rely on fat for your energy, your body goes into ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs.

Potential benefits of following a keto diet include weight loss, improved blood sugar levels, and increased insulin sensitivity. However, the long-term benefits of the ketogenic diet have yet to be studied.

How can I tell if a food is keto-friendly?

Some foods have a keto stamp on them to make it easy to determine if it’s keto-friendly. However, most foods won’t necessarily have this stamp even if they are keto-friendly.

In general, keto-friendly foods are low in net carbohydrates and low in/free of added sugar.

Net carbohydrates are the amount that impacts blood sugar levels and ketosis. To determine the net carbs, subtract dietary fiber from total carbs. Most keto-friendly foods will contain around ten or fewer grams of net carbs per serving, but that isn’t a set-in-stone rule.

Is hot sauce keto?

Most types of hot sauces are keto because they contain zero grams of carbohydrates per serving. The best keto hot sauces won’t contain any type of added sugar and lack carb-based thickeners.

Keto Hot Sauce Nutritional Information

Tia Lupita Hot Sauce


  • Red Jalapenos
  • Water
  • Organic Distilled Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Black Pepper
  • Cumin

Nutrition facts (per 1 tsp.):

  • Calories: 0
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 25 mg (1% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrate: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

Yellowbird Organic Sriracha

This hot sauce has no added sugar; is Paleo, Vegan, and Keto-Certified; and is non-GMO, gluten-free, and Whole30 approved.


  • Organic Jalapeños
  • Organic Distilled Vinegar
  • Organic Garlic
  • Organic Dates
  • Organic Raisins
  • Salt
  • Organic Tangerine Juice Concentrate
  • Organic Lime Juice Concentrate

Nutrition facts (per 1 tbsp.)

  • Calories: 15
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 190 mg (8% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrate: 3 g
  • Total Sugars: 2 g
  • Added Sugars: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

Lola’s Fine Hot Sauce


  • Red Jalapenos
  • Habanero Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Lime Juice
  • Vinegar
  • Salt

Nutrition Information (per 1 tsp.):

  • Calories: 0
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 55 mg (2% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrate: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

Alternative keto-friendly sauces

If you’re not a fan of hot sauce but want to add flavor to your keto dishes, fear not – there are other options from which to choose!

Primal Kitchen Classic BBQ Sauce

Primal Kitchen's Classic BBQ Sauce, Organic & Unsweetened, 8 oz, Pack of 2 Barbeque sauce is usually a keto no-no. Traditional BBQ sauce is actually loaded with added sugars. For instance, a typical BBQ sauce contains six grams of added sugar per tablespoon. That adds up really quickly, especially if you’re putting it on wings, ribs, or other meats that need to be marinated.

This BBQ sauce is keto-friendly and contains two grams of (natural, not added) sugar per two tablespoons.


  • Water
  • Organic Crushed Tomatoes
  • Organic Balsamic Vinegar
  • Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Organic Dijon Mustard (Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Water, Organic Mustard Seed, Salt, Organic Spices)
  • Sea Salt
  • Organic Tapioca Starch
  • Organic Coriander
  • Organic Cumin
  • Organic Black Pepper
  • Organic Onion Powder
  • Organic Chipotle Powder
  • Natural Smoke Flavor
  • Organic Garlic
  • Organic Cinnamon
  • Organic Garlic Powder

Nutrition facts (per 2 tbsp.):

  • Calories: 15
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 160 mg (7% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrate: 3 g
  • Sugars: 2 g
  • Protein: 0 g

FODY Foods Low FODMAP Teriyaki Sauce

Fody Foods Vegan Teriyaki Sauce Marinade Pack | Sesame Tamari | Low FODMAP Certified | Gut Friendly No Onion No Garlic No MSG | IBS Friendly | Gluten Free Lactose Free | 4 Bottles, 8 Ounce Teriyaki sauce is another sneaky added sugar culprit because it usually contains brown sugar. This keto-friendly Teriyaki sauce is also free of onion and garlic, which are considered FODMAPs. FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that aren’t easily digested by some people and can cause stomach upset like gas, bloating, and more. It’s also certified gluten-free and vegan.

While this teriyaki sauce has a keto-friendly stamp, know that it does contain a small amount of added sugar, so be sure to keep your portion size in check.


  • Water
  • Tamari (Water, Soybeans, Salt, Alcohol)
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Organic Raw Cane Sugar
  • Pineapple Concentrate
  • Arrowroot Powder
  • Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Ginger Powder

Nutrition facts (per 1 tbsp.):

  • Calories: 15
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 240 mg (10%)
  • Total Carbohydrate: 2 g
  • Total Sugars: 2 g

Kevin’s Natural Foods General Tso’s Sauce & Marinade

Many Asian-inspired sauces contain soy sauce as an ingredient, which isn’t great for those who choose to avoid soy or have allergies. This sauce is free of soy through the use of coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. It’s also Certified Keto, Paleo, and Gluten-Free.


  • Water
  • Coconut Aminos (Coconut Nectar, Water, Sea Salt)
  • Sesame Oil
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Orange Juice Concentrate
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Vinegar, Ginger
  • Lemongrass Puree (Lemongrass, Water)
  • Yeast Extract
  • Dehydrated Roasted Garlic
  • Sea Salt
  • Dehydrated Onion
  • Spices
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Citric Acid
  • Dehydrated Orange Peel
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Monkfruit Extract

Nutrition facts (per 1 tbsp.):

  • Calories: 15
  • Total Fat: 0.5 g
  • Sodium: 95 mg (4% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrate: 2 g
  • Total Sugars: 1 g
  • Added Sugar: 1 g
  • Protein: 0 g

Related Questions

Is hot sauce Paleo?

Hot sauce is usually Paleo-friendly because it contains chili peppers, vinegar, and spices, but it depends on the ingredients in the hot sauce. Flavored hot sauces can contain added sugar in the form of cane sugar, which wouldn’t be Paleo-friendly.

Is hot sauce bad for you?

Even though it activates pain receptors in your tongue, hot sauce isn’t bad for you. The peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that has anti-inflammatory properties. If you suffer from heartburn, spicy and acidic foods like hot sauce can aggravate your condition.

Is hot sauce acidic?

Hot sauce is acidic because it contains vinegar.

Is hot sauce gluten-free?

Most hot sauces are naturally gluten-free. You should always double-check the label to make sure there aren’t any gluten-containing ingredients added, though.

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Diana Gariglio-Clelland

Diana Gariglio-Clelland is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. She obtained her Bachelor's in Nutrition from the University of Idaho in 2012 and has worked in clinical, community, and primary care nutrition settings. She currently works as a freelancer on various health- and nutrition-related projects.

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