Pique (Homemade Puerto Rican Hot Sauce)

In Puerto Rico everyone has their own version of Pique. This one is mine, it's not watery like Tabasco; it's a little thick like our sofrito. It doesn't disappear once you put it on your food. I worked on this recipe for quite a while. It's inspired by pique I tried at a restaurant on Calle Sol in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico called El Jibarito. If you're ever in the area, please, do yourself a favor, stop by for lunch or dinner! The atmosphere is humble - the food is OUTSTANDING!


El Jibarito hot sauce is a secret homemade recipe. I begged and begged waiters, cooks, even the manager to purchase a bottle (during my multiple visits to El Jibarito); I asked them to name their price and I would pay it! They never gave in!  In fact, one of the employees mentioned that they stopped leaving the bottles on the table because patrons would try leave with them. Now it's served in little teeny tiny plastic cups (which I had the server going back many times to refill).


This recipe is quite different from theirs but they still inspired me to make it!

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20 scotch bonnet, tops removed, halved

5 ajicito, tops removed, halved

8 garlic cloves, smashed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, rough chopped

8 sprigs cilantro, chopped(about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

2 sprigs recao

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon pure cocoa

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon oregano, crushed

6 tablespoons lime juice

1/4 cup vinegar (I prefer cider vinegar)

1/4 tequila, white wine, champagne, rose wine, or rum

1 cup pineapple juice

1 teaspoon sugar



  • Sautee aji caballeros (scotch bonnet), ajicitos, 1/4 of the onion and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes. Let Cool.
  • Add remaining ingredients to blender until smooth. For a thinner consistency add more lime juice or pineapple juice.
  • Let sit at least a week before using to blend flavors.
  • The longer the hot sauce sits....the hotter it gets. This will last several weeks if stored in the refrigerator.

Buen Provecho!