I am a fan of spicy foods, but for me it has to be about a balance of flavor, rather than simply blowing out your tastebuds with the heat. Here are some of my favorite snacks and sauces.
Siracha Peas – These are puffed peas seasoned with siracha. I like mixing them with peanuts, to create a balanced protein-carby snack.
Wonderful Pistachios, Sweet Chili Flavor – These nuts have a nice balance of sweet and heat. This is my go-to brand for pistachios, and my other favorite flavor is the salt and pepper.
Zapp’s New Orleans Style Kettle Chips: Hotter N Hot Jalapeno – All of Zapp’s chips have a kick to them (Even the BBQ flavor is a little spicy). The Jalapeno flavor isn’t the hottest, but it’s the one I like the best.
Taki’s Fuego Tortilla Chips – Nothing mixes spice and crunch quite like Takis. You also get the hit of lime to balance the flavor. Fuego is the hottest. (If you’re in the mood for something milder, go for the Smokin’ Lime, which has a hit of chipotle flavor.)
Ragin Cajun Sweet and Spicy Pickle Slices – You only need a few of these to perk up a sandwich. They have a nice kick, but not super hot.
Mateo’s Gourmet Salsa – Being in Texas, there are so many amazing salsas available. This is one of my go-to favorites, as it tastes a lot more like something you’d get in a restaurant than many other jarred salsas.
Mike’s Hot Honey – This is honey, infused with Brazilian chilis. It was originally drizzled on pizza, and is often paired with fried chicken. But you can use it anywhere you want to pair sweet and heat.
Tabasco Pepper Jelly – I love pepper jelly, on biscuits or paired with cream cheese and crackers. It’s not the spiciest thing on this list, but it has a pleasing flavor.
Momofuku Chili Crunch – You can use chili crunch as a condiment with just about anything (especially noodles and pizza), but my favorite thing to do with it is use it in place of oil in making fried eggs.
Jongga Vision Gochujang – Gochujang is an essential spicy ingredient for Korean cooking. It’s the basis of mariandes, but you can also use it to add heats to soups and noodle dishes. This brand was voted best of 2020 on Gohism.
Maesri Curry Paste Variety Pack – I love Thai style curry, and this selection of pastes gives you the flexibility to make some of my favorite dishes.
Rani Kashmiri Chili Powder – Not super spicy but very flavorful.
Dea Harissa Paste – Harissa is a North African chili paste. It is really nice on roasted veggies (you can pair it with honey or maple syrup for a sweet-heat glaze), or chicken (including chicken wings). It also makes a good addition to salad dressing.
Tajín Clásico Chile Lime Seasoning – I like this spice blend best simply sprinkled on cucumber slices. It also goes really well with mango. It was originally invented to pair with corn, so sprinkle it on street-food style elotes.
Tony Chachere Cajun Seasoning Assortment — The classic version of Tony’s was always my family’s go-to seasoning blend growing up. This pack allows you to try variations.