Andy's Habanero Extract
Andy Barnhart
What is this Stuff?

I typically use my Habanero Extract for such as soups where I want to add heat and have a smooth consistency, but not strongly affect taste.

In 2006, I grew my own Chocolate and Red Savina habs, and would up with more than I knew what to do with. That's when I devised and made my first Habanero Extract. This batch still has the same fresh habanero aroma, taste, and potency that it originally had.

For those who like to experiment, I offer my recipe for consideration -- however, try it at your own risk! Make up one batch, and you'll likely have enough for several years.


There are only two ingredients

  • Fresh Habaneros
  • Grain Alcohol (95% - 190 proof).

    I used a combination of fresh Chocolate and Red Savina habaneros. However, use any fresh chile pepper you like, such as Serrano.


  • Food processor/blender.
  • Fine-grained stainless steel strainer.
  • Dropper bottle (see below)
  • Baby medicine syringe (see below)

    Habanero Caution

    Once you've started working with the habaneros, do not wipe your face until you've washed your hands twice. When done, wash all processing items thoroughly in hot soapy water. Depending on your sensitivity, you may need to wear gloves. If you have not worked with habaneros before, use regular or chocolate ones before trying the Red Savina.


  • De-stem, de-seed and quarter the chilies. (De-seeding is not necessary. Using the seeds will produce a hotter result, but will lend a slight bitter taste.)
  • Add just enough water to puree.
  • Estimate total amount of puree, and add an equal amount of grain alcohol to the puree.
  • Continue to puree to as fine as possible.
  • Strain to remove the larger particles, press with spoon. Discard pulp (or dry to use in other recipes).
  • Place in airtight container (I use Snapper tea bottles).

    Portable Dispensers

    I use plastic dropper bottles, the type that has a removable top for filling and a cap for sealing. Eye-drop bottles can work well.

    However, I strongly recommend an integrity test. It would be highly undesirable to get a "hot pocket" from sitting on a bottle that would leak. Fill with water, place top and cap on bottle, place bottle on counter and pound with fist: if there is no leak, good. Else, do you really want to use the bottle?

    The easiest and safest way to fill the bottle is with a baby medicine syringe, find one whose tip can fit in the bottle (top removed, of course). Should the dropper hole clog, you may need to use a fine drill to slightly enlarge it (this is the reason for using a fine strainer).

    Use of Grain Alcohol

    Caution! Grain alcohol is EXTREMELY Flammable!
    Using around stoves and electric appliances is dangerous!

    Do not omit the alcohol from the recipe!. Grain (ethyl) alcohol is a preservative. In fortified wine, for example, alcohol is added to bring the alcohol content to typically 18%. It is also use in food flavorings, such a vanilla extract. In my recipe, its use serves these purposes: it aids in the extract of the capsacin oils from the pulp, keeps the oils in the final solution, and is the preservative. (Other common preserving techniques do not aid in the extraction, nor keep the oils in the solution.)

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