Kidney Diet Tips

Some Like It Hot: Tips for Flavoring with Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is a go-to flavor enhancer for some of our favorite foods and is a great choice to replace tomato-based sauces and salsas that are high in potassium. Here are some tips on how to add flavor to your meals and snacks while keeping your sodium and potassium in check.

Turning up the flavor and heat of your meals is easy with a dash or two of hot sauce. Hot sauces are made from ground hot peppers, vinegar and other herbs and spices. Salt or sodium is often added as a natural preservative and to round out the taste of the sauce.


For people with kidney disease who need to limit sodium, it’s a good idea to opt for hot sauces that contain less than 140 mg of sodium per serving. A typical serving size of hot sauce is 1 teaspoon, or about two dashes of sauce.

It’s recommended that people on dialysis limit sodium in their food to prevent gaining extra fluid weight. The National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI) guideline for Nutrition in CKD recommends limiting sodium intake to less than  2,300 mg  each day. This is the amount of sodium in 1 teaspoon of salt. Your doctor and dietitian will work with you to determine how much sodium you can have each day.

For those who really like to feel the burn, remember that each shake adds extra sodium as well as heat to your meal. Keep your total daily sodium goal in mind when making or choosing other meals and snacks throughout the day. There are some hot sauces that are very low in sodium. If you like using a generous amount, look for hot sauce with 35 mg sodium or less per serving.


Remember to take it slow with hot sauces! Spicy foods can trigger your thirst. This is great for stimulating your saliva glands and helping with dry mouth. However, so much heat can make you feel like you should gulp water or milk to extinguish the fire. This could make thirst control more difficult for those on a fluid limit. Try sucking on ice or frozen grapes instead.

Ways to Use Hot Sauce

Try using hot sauces on scrambled or fried eggs, roasted or grilled chicken, turkey, tuna salad, sandwiches, wraps and in soups that need a little extra kick.

Try one of these hot sauce containing recipes:

If you are looking for additional recipes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo tomorrow, read our past post “Cinco de Mayo: Fun Facts and Tips for a Kidney-Friendly Fiesta“.

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Sara K. Young, MPH, Dietetic Intern

Sara K. Young, MPH, Dietetic Intern

Sara is a Dietetic Intern at the University of Texas Health Science Center. She has experience in clinical research, patient care advocacy, and community health. Sara is passionate about equitable access to nutritious foods and healthcare so that all people can enjoy good health throughout their life course. Outside of her practice, she geeks out over gardening, enjoys spending time outdoors, and social dancing with her friends!