Copycat Recipes

Popeyes Sweet Heat Sauce Recipe

Bring that sweet, sweet heat with this awesome sauce!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
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Updated January 21, 2023

Pack a punch with Popeyes Sweet Heat sauce! This flavorful condiment is sweet, tangy, and simple to make.

Popeyes Sweet Heat sauce

The history of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen chain goes back over 40 years to 1972. That year, Al Copeland started a small restaurant serving fried chicken, New Orlean’s-style.

He based his fried chicken recipe on traditional creole and Cajun seasonings from Louisiana. On their menu today, alongside fried chicken, Popeyes serves Southern classics like fried shrimp, chicken fingers, and spicy chicken.

Because Copeland’s food was so delicious, the restaurant has expanded to a chain with more than 2,700 locales across the globe. In fact, it’s one of the largest fast-food restaurant chains serving chicken in the world!

One of the popular sauces they serve is Popeyes Sweet Heat sauce. And the best part is that it’s quick to prepare at home.

This savory dipping sauce is a delicious mix of easily available ingredients that goes with virtually anything! And it’s so simple that it’s a great recipe for beginners in the kitchen.

Picking the Best Popeyes Sweet Heat Sauce Ingredients

Frank’s RedHot Sauce

Frank’s RedHot Sauce is a chile pepper sauce made by McCormick. However, the original sauce comes from Louisiana – and the recipe is over 100 years old!

In 1917, Jacob Frank and Adam Estilette created a delicious new sauce. They worked together at the Estilette Pepper Farm in Louisiana, and one day they mixed cayenne peppers with vinegar, garlic, and spices.

Then, they aged the mix and created the original Frank’s RedHot Sauce. They put the sauce on the market in 1920, and it’s been a favorite condiment ever since.

There are several versions made by McCormick today. The original flavor isn’t very spicy – it’s only about 450 SHUs on the Scoville pepper scale.

But the XTRA Hot version comes in at 2,000 SHUs. So, watch out!

In this simple recipe, you can use any Frank’s version.

Or, you can substitute another hot sauce for Frank’s. However, it will significantly affect the flavor profile and may affect the texture.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a moderately spicy pepper from the Capsicum annuum family. In terms of heat, it usually measures between 30,000 to 5000 SHUs on the Scoville scale.

In general, people don’t use this pepper fresh. Instead, they dry it and then grind it into a fine powder.

However, not all powders that say “cayenne” are purely from cayenne peppers. In fact, many manufacturers mix a variety of peppers.

As well, some producers include the cayenne pepper seeds, while others do not.

When you see “crushed red pepper” on a label, it’s usually cayenne pepper. Also, you can find cayenne pepper in sauces like Frank’s RedHot, Crystal, and Texas Pete.

Brown Sugar

Like white sugar, the brown variety is crystalline sucrose. However, brown sugar also has some molasses in it.

The molasses gives brown sugar a darker color and a more complex flavor. So, in baked goods, it adds richness and a darker color.

You can find both light and dark brown sugar in the grocery store. And either one will work in this recipe.

Aside from just this sauce, you can use brown sugar in glazes and other savory dishes. But keep in mind that this sugar is different from raw sugar.

Raw sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw), is also brown, but it tends to be a lighter, yellower shade.

Raw sugar is less refined than brown sugar, so it still has some molasses left in the crystals. On the other hand, brown sugar is simply white sugar with molasses added back into it.


Thanks to honeybees, we get this beautiful golden syrup! Depending on the flowers that the bees eat, we can get lots of different kinds of honey.

In fact, the type of flowers doesn’t only affect the taste and smell, but it can affect the color and texture as well. And because of this, you can use different varieties of honey in different ways.

For instance, clover honey is a great ingredient in cooking and baking because it’s very mild and light-colored. Because of this, I like to use it in sauces, salad dressings, and cakes.

In comparison, Tupelo honey is a relatively rare, aromatic variety that’s used in barbecue sauce. To make this type, bees feed on Tupelo trees in the swamps of Georgia and Florida.

For my recipe, you can use any type of honey you like!

Worcestershire Sauce

This dark-brown sauce is a fermented condiment. Some of the many ingredients include tamarind, anchovies, molasses, garlic, onion, and vinegar.

While this may sound like a strange combination, it’s actually delicious! Like this Popeyes Sweet Heat sauce recipe, Worcestershire has a complex taste and a delightful balance of sweet, savory, and salty flavors.

Most importantly, Worcestershire has umami flavor, which adds a richness to foods. And this comes from the anchovies in it.

Depending on the brand you get, the spices may differ. But regardless, a little bit goes a long way!

Popeyes Sweet Heat sauce recipe

Popeyes Sweet Heat Sauce Recipe

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Cook Time0 min
  • Total Time5 min
  • ServingsN/A
  • Yield2.5 cups

Level: Easy




  1. Mix the Dry Ingredients

    First, add the sugar and spice powders to your mixing bowl. With the whisk, combine everything thoroughly.

  2. Add the Wet Ingredients

    Next, drizzle in the honey, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Then, whisk until your Sweet Heat sauce is smooth and uniform.

  3. Eat Your Sauce!

    Finally, serve your delicious Popeyes Sweet Heat sauce! Or, put it in a sealed container in the refrigerator to enjoy later.

Popeyes Sweet Heat sauce serve

Popeyes Sweet Heat Sauce Variations

  • For a fruitier version, replace the honey and sugar with apricot preserves. This will also make your sauce deliciously sweet. You can also add corn syrup.

  • And for an extra-spicy sauce, add an additional ½ teaspoon of red chili powder. Or, simply swap red chili powder for the cayenne pepper.

  • At home, I like to add a splash of apple cider vinegar or distilled vinegar for a bit of sourness. Usually, I add 1 tablespoon to counteract the sugar in this sweet sauce. Lime juice works also great.

  • Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil for more flavor.

Serving Suggestions

  • As I said before, this delicious, Sweet Heat sauce goes well with almost anything! For example, I like to dip French fries and chicken tenders in it.

  • As well, I’ll spread some on the bread when I make tuna fish sandwiches to give them a little kick. And I even use it to flavor mashed potatoes when I’m feeling spicy!

  • Or, I’ll mix some into softened butter and melt the mixture over roasted veggies or boiled potatoes.

Storage Instructions

In general, you should always refrigerate this homemade version of Popeyes Sweet Heat sauce recipe.

You usually don’t have to refrigerate a commercial sweet chili sauce, but processing facilities take more health precautions than home cooks, and producers often add preservatives.

However, acidic chili sauces may not need refrigeration, even if they are homemade. If your sauce is more than 20% vinegar, and you properly seal the container, you should be fine to store it at room temperature.

On the other hand, your sauce will last a lot longer in the refrigerator than on the counter. At room temperature, it will stay good for about 1 month, but in the refrigerator, it will last for about 9.

According to, you shouldn’t leave your sauce in the refrigerator for more than 6 months. It’s probably still safe to eat after that, but it won’t taste as good.

Popeyes Sweet Heat sauce - Pinterest

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
  • 21Calories
  • 0gFat
  • 5.4gCarbs
  • 0gProtein
Show Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: Per 2 tablespoons
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat0g0%
Saturated Fat0g0%
Total Carbohydrate5.4g2%
Dietary Fiber0g0%
Total Sugars5.3g
Vitamin C0mcg0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.
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