Sometimes, you want a little extra spice on your slice. The shaker of crushed red pepper on the counter does the trick for some folks, but there are multitudes of options out there for heatseekers who want to experiment with a wide range of flavor profiles.
To get an expert’s take on the best hot sauces for pizza, The Sauce consulted with Heatonist, the country’s foremost hawker of heat. Next time you have a slice in hand, make sure you have a bottle of one of these hot sauces in the other:
Secret Aardvark is a favorite at The Sauce for its strong habanero flavor and its umami characteristics, which come from crushed fire roasted tomatoes. While your slice already has tomato sauce on it, the tomato flavor of the sauce adds a fresh element with a hint of smokiness and a dash of cumin.
Another plus – Secret Aardvark is chunkier and stickier than your average hot sauce, meaning that it will make the journey to your mouth without any spillage on the plate.
A tribute to classic Panamanian-style hot sauce, Howler Monkey is vinegar-based and fueled by potent scotch bonnet peppers. This sauce also features garlic – a pizza staple – and turmeric – a spice that will blend well with your pizza, even though you’d be hard-pressed to find it on your OG slice. The acidity of Howler Monkey’s vinegar cuts through the wonderful fattiness of the cheese layer, bringing balance along with the scovilles.
Scotch bonnet peppers can set your mouth ablaze, but this particular sauce is classified as having a “mild or medium heat” at Heatonist. Therefore, Howler Monkey is a fine choice for heat-seeking veterans and rookies alike.
ATTN: Ranch-dressing-on-pizza lovers – This is the sauce for you.
As the name suggests, Garlic Reaper will leave you with breath that can slay a vampire. You may want to chew some gum after slathering this on your slice, but it will be well worth it – the mixture of garlic and reaper pepper flavor is hot, bold, and incredibly addictive.
Garlic Reaper is whipped oil-based sauce, giving it a creamy texture without the presence of dairy. Heatonist recommends dressing the full slice with this sauce, but also saving a bit at the end for a prime crust-dunking opportunity.
Finding Your Own Favorite
The best part about nerding out on hot sauce is trying different varieties and finding the sauces that truly speak to you. If you’re looking to experiment on your own, Heatonist has some words of wisdom as you endeavor to find the perfect topper for your slice.
“Pizza an open book for hot sauces, you could honestly put anything on there,” said Heatonist sommelier Krysty Pringle. “Pizza tends to be super cheesy and decadent, so for me, any hot sauce with acid or vinegar makes for a great match.”
Heatonist offers countless varieties of hot sauce at its flagship store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and at its sister shop in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market. Those located outside of NYC can also get their fix by ordering online at Heatonist.com.