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12 Spicy Summer Recipes

Texas summer brings the heat, so spice up your food right along with it! Cooking with chilis doesn’t have to be intimidating, and we’ll show you some basic recipes to dive right into the fiery world of salsas, sambals, dry rubs and hot sauces. We've included mild to extremely caliente recipes to satisfy all tastebud strengths. 


1. Carrot-Habanero Hot Sauce

carrot habanero
Photography by Jenna Northcutt

The infamous habanero pepper makes for a fiery companion to any meal. Rather than taking the burn on its own, pairing the habanero with the sweetness of carrots creates a delicious balance. This one is for seasoned salsa aficionados.  


2. Pan-roasted Serranos with Creamy Fire-Hydrant Sauce

Photography by Jonas Ducker

Serranos are a great go-to pepper for a bit of a kick without any overwhelming heat. If you're just dipping your toes into the world of hot peppers, try out this recipe with a creamy sauce to ease the fire. 


3. Strawberry Sambal

strawberry sambal
Photography by Jenna Northcutt

Take advantage of Texas' delicious strawberries and change things up in this classic sauce to season your favorite stir fry.  


4. Ancho & Guajillo Adobo Rub

Photography by Jenna Northcutt

Chile ancho is the dried version of the poblano pepper. The drying results in a sweet, raisin-like taste, with a mildly bitter aftertaste. Combined with the bright flavor of dried guajillo, this recipe makes for a perfect spicy rub.


5. Hot (Hot, Hot) Pepper Relish

hot pepper relish
Photography by Payoon Gerinto

Mustard and ketchup won't cut it anymore after you try this spicy relish on your Fourth of July hotdog. Use with caution — chile pequin and Hungarian hot wax peppers make for a fiery combination. 


6. Salsa Verde con Aguacate

Photography via Thought Catalogue & Jessica To'oto'o 

Aguacate, Spanish for avocado, can be just the cool, creamy flavor you need when dealing with heat. Using it in a salsa accompanied with serranos makes for a deliciously complex side dish rounded out with tomatillos and the bright flavor of cilantro. 


7. Ray's Hell Hot Sauce

Photography by Jenna Northcutt

Small but mighty, the chile pequin is the source of heat in this hot sauce that promises stinging hellfire on your tongue. This one's only for seasoned professionals. 


8. Salsa de Chile Morita

Photography by Jenna Northcutt

Chile morita is a type of dried and slightly smoked jalapeño pepper, allowing for a bit of heat combined with a deep, smoky flavor. Use this salsa to top enchiladas, grilled meats or tacos, or use as a dip for chips.


9. Chihuahuan Chile Wet Rub

chihuahuan rub
Photography by Calum Lewis

This rub is best for grilling chicken. Taco night just got so much spicier! It also makes for a fantastic seasoning for black beans or pinto bean recipes.


10. Liz Lambert's Chili Puree

ancho rub
Photography by Jenna Northcutt

This ancho chili puree is a versatile sauce that can be used on chicken, enchiladas, with chips or anything else you can think of! It's got a sweet, bitter flavor that won't have steam coming out of your ears but will satisfy your tatsebudes. 


11. Wasabi Salsa

Photography by Jenna Northcutt

While this wasabi salsa isn't made from peppers, it still packs a punch. The heat in wasabi is like that of horseradish — it starts in your nose and makes your eyes water. Delicious, yet use with caution. 


12. Homemade Sriracha

Follow along with Jam from Thai Fresh and she teaches you how to make her homemade sriracha. 

Compiled by Mika Locklear