I Ranked All 13 El Yucateco Hot Sauces, and the Best Is Brand New

El Yucateco hot sauces

Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

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El Yucateco hot sauces
Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

Habanero Habit

El Yucateco is a Mexican hot sauce company that's been making habanero-based sauces since 1968. Its signature red and green hot sauces are staples in Mexican restaurants, American grocery store chains, and on plenty of dinner tables, including my own. When I ranked 25 popular inexpensive hot sauces, El Yucateco came in second. 

Six new sauces joined the El Yucateco hot sauce lineup in mid-2023, almost doubling the number of hot sauces the company offers. Here are all 13 of El Yucateco's hot sauces, ranked from best to worst. 

If you're a chile head like I am, you'll want to get your hands on some of the new releases. 

El Yucateco hot sauces
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Methodology: How I Did This El Yucateco Taste Test

I tried all of El Yucateco's hot sauces on both tortilla chips and Saltine-style crackers in a side-by-side taste test. I analyzed each hot sauce's flavor, heat level, and originality and ranked them based on those criteria and how likely I was to eat them again. The sauces were provided by El Yucateco after I reached out to the company, but no one at the company had any input in this taste test.

El Yucateco Chiltepin Habanero Hot Sauce
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1. Chiltepin Habanero Hot Sauce

Heat level: 4 out of 10

Best on: Smoky grilled meats, chicken wings, or anything really

I did not know what to expect from this El Yucateco Chiltepin Habanero hot sauce, but this newly released sauce is the best El Yucateco hot sauce. It's made with chiltepins, a tiny, peppercorn-sized chile that's native to the U.S. and Mexico and considered the "mother of all chiles." They have an earthiness that fruity habaneros don't, making the chile flavor of this hot sauce more nuanced than the others.

The orange color, from the reddish chiltepins, is beautiful, and lemon juice adds plenty of flavor and acidity. It takes a couple bites for the heat to build, which is great, because the flavor is so good that you're going to want to keep eating more. This one's going in my regular hot sauce rotation. 

El Yucateco Black Marisquera Hot Sauce
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2. Black Marisquera Hot Sauce

Heat level: 2.5 out of 10

Best on: Ceviche, fish tacos, stir-fries

Marisquera refers to the seafood industry, and El Yucateco's new Black Marisquera hot sauce was created to complement all kinds of fish and shellfish. That doesn't sound super exciting, but this hot sauce is crazy complex and interesting. It's full of umami — that hard-to-pinpoint savoriness that you get from things like parmesan and Worcestershire sauce — thanks to tomato paste and hydrolyzed soy protein, the same stuff that makes up soy sauce. 

The flavor is deep and rounded, and that big hit of umami gives it something most other hot sauces don't have and keeps you coming back for more. I only wish it were a little hotter. 

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El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce
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3. Red Habanero Hot Sauce

Heat level: 6 out of 10

Best on: Good old ground beef tacos, nachos

El Yucateco Red Habanero hot sauce is my OG go-to for Tex-Mex food, and has been for years. (The fact that I ranked it third on this list behind two brand new 2023 sauces says a lot about those first and second spots.) Tomatoes temper the habaneros in this hot sauce, and it's not too acidic. This is a close approximation to American "taco sauce," but way, way hotter. Drizzle this on everything that needs a boost in flavor and heat. 

Looking for more hot sauce brands to try? Check out our taste test and ranking of Melinda's Hot Sauces.

El Yucateco Green Habanero Hot Sauce
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4. Green Habanero Hot Sauce

Heat level: 5 out of 10

Best on: Tacos al pastor or asada, anything with red enchilada sauce

Green, I have neglected you in favor of Red for too long, and plan to use you more from now on. Think of El Yucateco's Green Habanero hot sauce as a salsa verde: it's got more acidity, brighter flavor, and tastes fresher than the El Yucateco Red. It's also a little less hot, which is exactly what you want in some instances. Green and Red are the company's signature pair, they're easy to find in grocery stores across the U.S., and they should be staples in every hot sauce collection. 

Are you also a Tabasco fan? Don't miss our Tabasco hot sauce ranking

El Yucateco jalapeno sauce
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5. Jalapeño Sauce

Heat level: 2.5 out of 10

Best on: Fajitas, Cajun food

I am not normally a mild hot sauce person, but El Yucateco's Jalapeño hot sauce won me over. If you like the bright flavor of fresh green chiles, you'll love this. With a lower heat level about on par with Frank's RedHot, it allows the flavor of green peppers to really shine through. It's more acidic than other El Yucateco hot sauces, but it's not off-putting in the way that vinegar-laden Tabasco is. This is a great beginner's hot sauce.

Related: Why These Collectible Hot Sauces Cost Hundreds of Dollars

El Yucateco Red Marisquera Hot Sauce
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6. Red Marisquera Hot Sauce

Heat level: 1.5 out of 10

Best on: Shrimp tacos, fresh oysters

Red Marisquera hot sauce is the second of El Yucateco's new 2023 sauces meant for seafood. Unlike the Black version that came in second in this ranking, this Red Marisquera is lacking that umami factor, but it's fantastic regardless. It's got a great balance of salt, acid, and heat, and reminds me most of Valentina hot sauce. It's one of the mildest hot sauces on this list, and it'd be great for dipping chips. I love that both the Marisquera hot sauces have flip-top lids for more pouring control. 

El Yucateco Chipotle hot sauce
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7. Chipotle Sauce

Heat level: 2 out of 10

Best on: Chili, smoked meats, chicken tenders

Chipotle-based hot sauces often suffer from an acrid, campfire smoke flavor, but not El Yucateco's Chipotle. The smoke is prominent, but is balanced with sweetness from honey, which makes this a well-rounded and smooth-tasting sauce. It's thick, rich, and reminiscent of a spicy barbecue sauce, so why not dip your chicken tenders in it next time? 

El Yucateco XXXtra Hot Habanero Sauce
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8. XXXtra Hot Habanero Sauce

Heat level: 7 out of 10

Best on: Bloody marys, Yucatecan food

Also called Kutbil-Ik from a Mayan word meaning crushed chile, El Yucateco's XXXtra Hot Habanero sauce is based on Mayan culinary tradition, according to the company. It's the second hottest sauce in the lineup, and it's got a nice searing heat that takes a bit to build up. Tomato and onion give this thick hot sauce body and depth of flavor. I use a few shakes of this to heat up my bloody marys. 

El Yucateco Coffee Habanero Hot Sauce
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9. Coffee Habanero Hot Sauce

Heat level: 1.5 out of 10

Best on: Beef, barbecued meats

I don't like coffee, but this El Yucateco Coffee Habanero hot sauce won me over. The coffee really comes through at the end and lends a warm undertone — with no bitterness — to this mild hot sauce. Smoky chipotle rounds out the rich coffee notes perfectly. For fans of unique hot sauces, this one's a winner. 

If you're a coffee fan, be sure to check out our review of the best cheap coffees.

El Yucateco Caribbean Habanero Hot Sauce
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10. Caribbean Habanero Hot Sauce

Heat level: 5 out of 10

Best on: Jerk chicken, Caribbean curries

Yellow habaneros and carrots are what gives this El Yucateco Caribbean Habanero hot sauce its name and muddied orange color. Carrots and onions add sweetness without being cloying, and allow the medium heat level to sneak up on you. This reminds me most of Marie Sharp's Belizean Heat, though it's less acidic and smoother. You can definitely tell this one is more vegetal than the other El Yucateco hot sauces.

El Yucateco Ghost Habanero Hot Sauce
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11. Ghost Habanero Hot Sauce

Heat level: 9 out of 10

Best on: Your own "Hot Ones"-style hot sauce challenge

Yep, this one is hotter than all the others. El Yucateco's Ghost Habanero hot sauce pumps up the heat with ghost chile extract, one of the hottest chiles in the world. Luckily, before that heat kicks in (it's pretty fast, though!) you'll taste a complex sauce, led by the unusual ingredient of caramelized onions. It lacks the bitterness that many super hot concoctions have, but doesn't lack in searing heat. This one's for chile heads only. 

El Yucateco Black Label Reserve Habanero Hot Sauce
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12. Black Label Reserve Habanero Hot Sauce

Heat level: 4.5 out of 10

Best on: Scary Halloween party food

El Yucateco's Black Label Reserve Habanero hot sauce gets it black color from roasting the habaneros. I've tried this sauce in the past and didn't like it because it was too acrid and smoky in a bad way, but that wasn't the case upon revisiting it now. It's not bad, but there are plenty better El Yucateco hot sauces to try. Plus I can't get past the really weird color. 

El Yucateco Grilled Pineapple and Habanero Hot Sauce
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13. Grilled Pineapple and Habanero Hot Sauce

Heat level: 2 out of 10

Best on: Pulled pork, spicy ham glaze

I freaking love pineapple, so of all the new 2023 El Yucateco hot sauces, I was most excited to try this Grilled Pineapple and Habanero sauce. It turned out to be the biggest disappointment of the lineup. It's really sweet, but not from pineapple, from cane sugar, which is the second ingredient after water. You can barely taste pineapple at all, and instead get big hits of "natural onion flavoring". It reminds me of corn syrup in texture and consistency, especially compared to the rest of the outstanding El Yucateco lineup. Total bummer.