Hot Maple Smokey Habanero Sauce

Hot Maple Smokey Habanero sauce from Portland, Oregon uses Grade-A Dark Amber maple syrup, a special blend of spices, and locally sourced Habanero peppers to create its unique sweet-smokey flavor.

hot maple smokey habanero sauce

Hot Maple Smokey Habanero

Hot Maple Smokey Habanero creator Matthew Hilla has crafted a delicious, smokey-sweet hot sauce using maple syrup and habaneros.

Long time readers of HotSauceDaily know that I’ve never been a big fan of habanero sauces. Once upon a time, the habanero chile or sauce was my least favorite.

Then something like Hot Maple comes along, and turns me completely around.

Ingredients: yellow onion, diced tomatoes (tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, naturally derived citric acid and calcium chloride), water, apple cider vinegar, habanero (habanero peppers, salt, citric acid), garlic, pure maple syrup (US Grade A Dark Amber). Contains less than 2% spices and liquid smoke.

hot maple smokey habanero on pizza
On pizza – nice view of texture and thickness

Texture & Appearance: This is a fairly thick sauce that is mildly pulpy. It won’t run off your food – it keeps its consistency. It smells smokey, peppery, and sweet. Full-bodied.

Taste Straight Up: Definitely a habanero sauce – the habby flavor is classic and spot on. The smokiness is no doubt due to the liquid smoke, but it’s not overpowering at all. And the maple syrup adds a unique sweetness to the mix. Good balance of heat, sweetness, and smoke. Good for everyday use.

hot maple smokey habanero on tacos
Perfect on tacos

Heat Level: Rated 2 out of 5 Stars – Mild. One of the mildest habanero sauces I’ve tried. It can light you up for a few seconds, then disappear behind the sweet maple syrup and smokiness. Pleasant.

Label/Graphics: The clear label wrap on the bottle really shows off the sauce. The logo and graphics are simple and classy – love the design.

hot maple clear label closeup
Not a fan of clear lables

But I’m not a fan of that clear style label. Usually, and quite so in this case, the graphics just don’t stand out or pop enough for me. Hot Maple’s color scheme almost matches the sauce, only adding to the lack of contrast. Those graphics really need some brighter colors on a clear label.

classy tops on bottles

Bonus points for the awesome metal cap on the bottle!

It’s wider than most 5oz. bottles, with a nice metal ‘zip strip’ and when the bottle is empty, punch a hole in that cap and use it for a salt and pepper shaker. ~ creator Matt Hilla

Final Thoughts

I loved Hot Maple Smokey Habanero on my tacos. It gave me everything I like about a taco sauce – sweetness, heat, and a thick texture.

On pizza, again another winning combo. As you can see from some of the pics, I really went through most of the bottle working on this review.

Overall Rating: Rated 4.5 out of 5 Stars – 4.5/5 stars – A perfect example of flavor over heat in a habanero sauce. Highly recommended!

Available in single bottles, a three-pack and even 1/2 gallon jugs at HotMaple.com


Disclaimer: We received this product courtesy of the manufacturer for review.

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  1. Brian, I am humbled by your review of my sauce – and smiling from ear-to-ear that I could sway your opinion of Habanero sauces.

    Maple Syrup is one of those ingredients that is very tricky to work with as it can swiftly move between being overpowering to nonexistent. I am thrilled that you were able to pick up on the subtle nuances it can bring to a Habanero sauce.

    I have worked on this recipe for nearly 10 years and I am now happy to be able to share it with the world. It was quite an adventure going through all the steps & investing the time and energy to be a legitimate sauce maker, all on the hunch that I might have something that people truly will enjoy.

    It is a scary thing bringing a new sauce to the market, and being the “new kid in town”. You never know if people will like what you make – however, without the honest review you and your peers provide, there would be no way to gauge our products. I sincerely appreciate everything you and the other hot sauce reviewers do for the industry. Without the honest and well versed opinions you all bring to the marketplace, it would be hard to expose new flavors and brands and enter this market as an outsider.

    Thank you for doing what you do, for us little guys.

    -Matt Hilla
    Hotmaple Foods, LLC – Portland, OR

  2. I’d give this sauce 3 stars for heat, but I’m more sensitive to habaneros than Brian is. The heat came on pretty quickly, but just as I thought it was going to elevate past my comfort level, it backed off into a pleasant and slightly tingly sensation. Slightly sweet, but not cloyingly so, the balance of flavor and texture is perfect. This is an addictive sauce!

  3. This is one that I’ll have to buy, I like the texture of it. Plus I’ve always liked hab sauces anyway.

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