Hot Sauce on Ice Cream: Is the Unconventional Pairing Worth Trying?

Hot sauce on ice cream: A Surprising Culinary Combination

Hot sauce on ice cream? The mere thought of this unconventional pairing may raise eyebrows and elicit skepticism from even the most adventurous food lovers. However, culinary experimentation knows no bounds, and the fusion of hot sauce and ice cream has proven to be a surprisingly delicious combination. In this article, we explore the fascinating world of hot sauce ice cream, its unique flavor profile, and the methods for creating this tantalizing treat at home.

The Uncharted Territory of Fiery Flavors

Ice cream has long been associated with fruity and sweet ingredients, but the realm of ice cream flavors extends far beyond these boundaries. In the quest for new flavor experiences, culinary pioneers have ventured into uncharted territory, creating unconventional flavors such as oyster ice cream, curry ice cream and even pizza ice cream. With this in mind, the introduction of hot sauce ice cream may not seem as far-fetched as it first appears.

The Science and Flavor Dynamics of Hot Sauce and Ice Cream

While the idea of combining hot sauce and ice cream may defy traditional culinary norms, it is surprisingly consistent with scientific principles and offers a harmonious blend of flavors. Consider the common practice of drinking milk after eating hot chili peppers. Milk contains casein, a protein that effectively neutralizes capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat sensation. Similarly, ice cream, which is rich in milk, acts as a soothing agent that reduces the intensity of the hot sauce.
By pairing hot sauce and ice cream, one can enjoy the juxtaposition of savory, sweet flavors with a smooth and creamy texture, complemented by just the right amount of heat. Plus, the variety of hot sauce flavors, from savory and sweet to spicy and fiery, offers a wide range of flavor possibilities when paired with ice cream.

Explore the methods: Making Hot Sauce Ice Cream

a. Homemade Hot Sauce Ice Cream

Making hot sauce ice cream from scratch allows for maximum control over the flavor profile and ensures an authentic blend of hot sauce and ice cream. A recommended hot sauce for this method is gochujang, a Korean fermented chili paste known for its rich, spicy flavor, umami notes, and compatibility with strawberries.
To make homemade hot sauce ice cream, begin by mixing the gochujang and strawberry jam in a bowl until both ingredients are completely incorporated into a homogenized paste. It is advisable to use room temperature ingredients to facilitate quick mixing and avoid adding water to the mixture. Adjust the proportions of strawberry jam and gochujang to achieve a harmonious balance between the hot and sweet flavors.
Next, prepare a mixture of milk, cream, and sugar according to the instructions in your ice cream maker’s manual. Add the strawberry gochujang mixture to the ice cream base and let the machine process the ingredients. When finished, scoop out the ice cream and freeze overnight or for at least eight hours. The resulting ice cream should offer a symphony of flavors, including hot, sweet, spicy, tangy, milky and creamy notes.

b. Hot sauce as a topping

For those seeking a simpler approach, drizzling hot sauce over pre-made ice cream offers an opportunity to explore the harmonies between contrasting flavors. Vanilla ice cream is an ideal canvas for this spicy-sweet combination, but other ice cream flavors can also be experimented with.
When using hot sauce as a topping, it is recommended to start with a small amount and gradually increase to achieve the desired balance of flavor and heat. The choice of hot sauce should be based on personal preference, as different heat levels and flavor profiles are available. It is worth noting the Scoville or heat rating of the hot sauce, which can be found on the label, to avoid overpowering the palate.

Tips and Tricks for the Adventurous

Embarking on the hot sauce ice cream adventure requires a few considerations to maximize enjoyment while avoiding undesirable outcomes. Here are some tips and tricks to ensure a successful experience:

  • When adding chopped chili to homemade ice cream, finely chop or blend the pepper after removing the seeds. This step will prevent the unwanted presence of pepper seeds in the final product.
  • Opt for fermented hot sauces when making hot sauce ice cream, as they offer complex flavors that surpass those found in simple, pepper-flavored hot sauces.
  • Experiment with high-quality ice cream bases to enhance the overall flavor profile. Avoid overly sweet, inexpensive vanilla ice cream if you want to fully appreciate the nuances of hot sauce on ice cream.
  • For those with a lower spice tolerance, consider garnishing the ice cream with condensed milk or crushed dried nuts or fruit to temper the heat and add contrasting flavors.


Hot sauce on ice cream may seem like an unconventional pairing, but it is a testament to the endless possibilities of culinary exploration. The fusion of hot sauce and ice cream offers a unique and surprising flavor experience, combining the contrasting elements of heat and sweetness in a harmonious blend. Whether you choose to create homemade hot sauce ice cream or simply drizzle hot sauce on top, this culinary adventure promises to tantalize your taste buds and challenge your preconceived notions of flavor pairings. So why not embrace the unexpected and indulge in the delightful world of hot sauce on ice cream? Your palate will thank you for the bold and delicious journey.


Can hot sauce and ice cream really go together?

Yes, hot sauce and ice cream can work together. The combination offers a unique contrast of flavours, combining the heat of the hot sauce with the sweetness and creaminess of the ice cream.

What types of hot sauce work best with ice cream?

The choice of hot sauce depends on personal preference. However, hot sauces with a balance of flavours, such as fruity or spicy, tend to work well with ice cream. Experimenting with different types of hot sauce can lead to delicious flavour combinations.

Does hot sauce make the ice cream too hot?

The heat of the ice cream depends on the amount of hot sauce used. By starting with a small amount and gradually increasing it, you can find the perfect balance between the heat of the hot sauce and the desired level of heat in the ice cream.

Can I use store-bought ice cream for this combination?

Absolutely! Store-bought ice cream can be a convenient way to try hot sauce on ice cream. Opt for neutral flavours such as vanilla or chocolate to allow the hot sauce to shine. However, homemade ice cream gives you more control over the flavour profile.

Are there alternatives for those who can’t cope with spicy food?

If you have a low tolerance for spicy foods, you can still enjoy the combination of hot sauce and ice cream. Consider using milder hot sauces or reducing the amount of hot sauce used. You can also try adding toppings such as crushed nuts, dried fruit or a drizzle of condensed milk to balance the heat.

Can I serve hot sauce ice cream to guests?

Of course you can! Hot sauce ice cream can be a unique and exciting treat to serve to guests. However, it’s always a good idea to let them know about the unconventional flavour combination so they can decide if they want to try it.