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Hot Sauce and Ice Cream - Does It Work

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

does hot sauce and ice cream work

Hot sauce and ice cream... yup, you read that correctly. It might be one of the strangest combinations you've ever heard of, but it has become an increasingly popular trend in the culinary world.

So, what is the appeal behind this unusual mix? Is it really as good as some people say? Let’s talk about the hot sauce and ice cream phenomenon to find out.

The Appeal of Hot Sauce & Ice Cream

Obviously, hot sauce and ice cream are two completely different flavors that clash in terms of temperature and texture. However, that’s precisely why they have become so popular. The contrast between hot and cold creates an interesting sensation on your tongue that is both sweet and spicy at the same time. Plus, it adds a unique element to any dessert that you wouldn’t get from using traditional toppings like chocolate syrup or caramel.

hot sauce on ice cream

The other factor at play here is heat tolerance. People who enjoy spicy food often develop a tolerance for capsaicin (the compound found in chili peppers that gives them their heat).

As they consume more spicy food, they begin to crave even spicier flavors – which is why we see them coming out with even hotter sauces and peppers every year! But not everyone loves their tongue burning hot or wants the hottest sauce available. Some people prefer a small mild heat level.

With that being said, the dairy in ice cream actually calms down that heat level. So when you're eating hot sauce and ice cream, you won't be experiencing the same type of heat that you would if you had put it on a regular meal. Hot sauce on ice cream is really about the flavor profiles and complexity! Which is super exciting, because you can come up with some crazy ones.

What Makes Them Such a Perfect Combo?

Despite their differences, there are some similarities between hot sauce and ice cream that make them perfect for pairing. For starters, both hot sauce and ice cream can be incredibly flavorful when done right.

ice cream and hot sauce

The best hot sauces are more than just about the heat; they offer complex layers of smoky, sweet, tangy, and fruity notes. Similarly, good quality ice creams can contain everything from chocolate chips to fruity swirls that add a nice balance to the creamy texture of the base.

These flavor profiles make them great companions because they complement each other nicely when paired together. The sweetness of the ice cream works as a great contrast to the boldness of the hot sauce while still allowing each flavor profile to shine through. Think of it like adding an unexpected twist to your favorite dessert!

What Type of Ice Cream Should I use

For a perfect combination of hot and sweet, the ideal ice cream to pair it with is vanilla. Alternatively, you can experiment with other flavors to discover what delightful surprises await! Honestly, you can use just about any ice cream, but if you want to make it easy (at least the first time), go with vanilla.

What Type of Hot Sauce Should I Use

When it comes to the type of hot sauce you can use hot sauces made with most of the well-known chile peppers. Habanero sauces and ghost pepper sauces are two popular options, as they offer a strong flavor without being extremely hot. It's also important to note when talking about types of hot sauces, generally speaking, it's better to go with a fermented vs. nonfermented hot sauce. Fruity hot sauces are also a really good option when it comes to putting hot sauce on ice cream! We recommend trying this Sweet Ghost Pepper hot sauce.

hot sauce on ice cream

How to Make the Perfect Hot Sauce & Ice Cream Treat

If you’re looking to try this strange combination for yourself, there are a few tips worth following to make sure you get it right:

1. Choose your hot sauce carefully – Each type of hot sauce has its own unique flavor profile, so select one that will best complement your choice of ice cream flavor. For example, if you plan on using vanilla ice cream then something that has maybe a fruity flavor, like Peach Habanero Delight, would work well because this sauce doesn't have subtle garlic undertones and it provides a peach/pineapple, adding even more complexity but without overpowering the taste of the ice cream.

2. Balance out the flavors – If you want to ensure that neither flavor overpowers the other then make sure to use just enough hot sauce so it doesn't overwhelm your taste buds but also enough so you can still taste its presence in each bite. Start by adding only a little, try it, and then go from there. You can always add more, but you can't really remove it.

3. Experiment with different combinations – Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations! You may find that you love raspberry or strawberry-flavored hot sauce on your ice cream!

Things to Avoid

With that being said, there are a couple of things you should also avoid as well:

  • Think twice before you choose a hot sauce that is pepper flavored. Instead, try to go with a fermented fruity flavor hot sauce.

  • Go with high-quality craft hot sauce. We don't recommend going with those cheap name brands and they won't have the complex flavor profiles that you really want to have when putting hot sauce on ice cream.

pairing hot sauce and ice cream infographic by mikey vs foods

Your Turn to Exerpeiment With Ice Cream & Hot Sauce

Whether served separately or combined together, there’s no denying that hot sauce and ice cream are both tasty treats on their own. Hot sauce and ice cream might seem like an odd combination at first glance but when done right this unusual mix can create some truly delicious desserts. So don’t be afraid to experiment with this unusual combination, you never know what you might discover.


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