I grow lots of tepin chili peppers. They give me a huge bounty! I dehydrate them, cook with them, and make hot sauce. There’s always plenty left to dry and grind up into a powder. Tepin’s are my favorite… and quite interesting too. Here are a few things I learned about them.

  • Chili Tepin pepper plants I started over the winter of 2012. These were near the end of the 2013 season.

    Chili Tepin pepper plants I started over the winter of 2012. These were near the end of the 2013 season.

    Tepin peppers are the only native pepper in the US. They’re native to the US and Northern Mexico.

  • Tepin’s are one of the hottest chile peppers, often compared to Bhut Jolokia (ghost peppers) and Habenero’s
  • Tepin rank around 100,000-250,000 units on the Scoville scale
  • Tepin’s are called the “mother of all peppers,” because it is thought to be the oldest form of the Capsicum annum species.
  • Also known as birds-eye, or bird chile’s
  • The Tepin took the place of Jalapeño as the state, native pepper in Texas.

I also notice that while it feels more natural to call them tepin chili’s, they are more often referred to as “Chili Tepin’s.” Go figure. Other terms are Chiltepin, flea peppers and mosquito peppers. Tepin is apparently an Aztec term… which means “flea.” Chili Tepin’s can easily be confused with Pequin chiles. Pequin’s are oblong with a longer-lasting burn… but milder. Tepin peppers hit you with an intense burn (I can smell it on the nose) but it’s a very short-lived burn. Tepin peppers should be used sparingly… which brings me to my post. I ground them all up and made a hot sauce 🙂

Chili Tepin pepper hot sauce... with the seeds, and no artificial colors.

Chili Tepin pepper hot sauce… with the seeds, and no artificial colors.


  • 5 tbs. minced garlic (I grow a lot of garlic and so I have it pre-minced in a jar in the fridge to use when I need it. You could use 5-6 whole cloves too)
  • 1 cup of tepin chili’s. When I made this batch (I used half-dried, and half fresh picked. They were coming in in waves.)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (I used Bragg’s vinegar with the mother)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbs. sweet (or hot) Hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt (I had some smoked sea-salt, so I used that)
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (I used this to thicken it to the consistency of Sriracha sauce)

Add everything into a food processor or blender (except the xanthan gum), and whip it for a few minutes. Now, I should note… I left all my seeds in the sauce, but next time, I plan to strain them out. At this point, you could use a sieve and strain out the seeds if you don’t want them. Whatever you do, do it, and put it back in the food processor.

Mix the xanthan gum into 2.5 tablespoons of water. Mix it real good and make sure there are no clumps.

Now, add the xanthan mixture to the hot sauce in the food processor and mix for another minute or less. Don’t overwork the xanthan gum as it will start to thin out again.

When done, pour into a bowl and let it sit for an hour or two to allow any air in the mixture to escape. Once done, bottle and enjoy. As for storing your hot sauce, most would say to refrigerate it, but I keep mine in the spice cabinet or pantry. I figure, it will be used soon enough anyway. I’ve also destroyed a few bottles of Tabasco sauce by putting it in the fridge. Since then, I’ve always kept it in the pantry too.

If you make some, drop me a line and let me know how yours turns out.