Pili Pili Sauce

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors (yellow, orange, green, red, chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique, distinctively fruity flavor. It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

Heat Scale
Submit Recipe

Be warned: This sauce is blisteringly hot. Seed the habaneros for a slightly milder version.

  • prep: 10 mins
    total time: 10 mins
  • yield: Makes 1 cup


  • 3 ounces habanero chiles (10 to 15), seeded if desired
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup safflower or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt

Cook’s Note

Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.


  1. Step 1

    Pulse chiles, onion, and garlic in a food processor until chopped. Add oil, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; puree. Season with salt.

From Martha Stewart Living, August 2010