Fiery Chile Paste

Add a lovely punch of heat to your favorite foods with this fermented chile paste. Using only three ingredients, this versatile condiment will keep for up to 2 years in the fridge. Add it to sauces, salsas or marinades, or use it to top burritos or burgers to give a little spice to your meal.

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1 16-oz jar
Prep Time
20 min


  • 16 red chile peppers such as red jalapeño or Fresno (or Thai red chilis if you want an extremely hot 911 sauce), seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup peeled and chopped English cucumber
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  • 1 16-oz wide-mouth glass jar with lid, sterilized


1. To a food processor or blender, add peppers; pulse until finely
chopped. (TIP: Be careful when
removing lid as pepper fumes
can irritate eyes and throat.) Add
cucumber and salt; pulse until
puréed. (NOTE: The salt will pull
liquid out of the peppers.) 

2. Pour chile mixture into a 16-oz
wide-mouth glass jar. Using a spoon
or gloved hands, press mixture
down firmly to release liquid and
remove any air pockets, pressing
until ingredients are completely
submerged and leaving 1 inch
head-space between chile mixture
and rim of jar. 

3. Let ferment in a cool place
 away from direct sunlight,
opening jar every 24 hours for
first 2 weeks to release pressure,
pressing down on ingredients
as needed to keep chile mixture
submerged in liquid. Continue to
ferment, tasting occasionally, until
mixture reaches desired tanginess,
up to 4 weeks more (6 weeks total). 

4. Seal jar tightly and refrigerate
 for up to 2 years.

Note: A harmless white yeast called kahm may develop on the paste as it ferments (and, in fact, it can happen with many fermentation recipes). Simply spoon off the top and wipe any residue from inside the jar before transferring to the fridge. You can clearly see the difference between kahm and mold, which is fuzzy looking. In some cases, kahm will change the flavor or cause a yeast-like odor, in which case you can dispose of it and start fresh.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1 tsp
  • Calories 1
  • Carbohydrate Content 0 g
  • Cholesterol Content 0 mg
  • Fat Content 0 g
  • Fiber Content 0 g
  • Protein Content 0 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 0 g
  • Sodium Content 20 mg
  • Sugar Content 0 g