Hot Sauce Review: Piko Riko Piri Piri by Piko Peppers

Piko Riko is the Piri Piri style hot sauce stirring up some real talk over at Hot Ones Season 23. Made by the folks at Piko Peppers from the vibrant city of Montreal, Quebec, this sauce grabs the spotlight not just because it’s sitting pretty at the number 3 spot on the show, but because it’s got a unique blend that makes you pause – Habanero and Cayenne peppers with a twist of beer.

Yeah, you read that right, beer in your hot sauce. It’s got a vibe that’s familiar yet intriguing, a taste that takes you back but also somewhere new. We’ll peel back the layers on that flavor profile in a bit. So, stick around if you’re curious how this combo plays out on the palate. No sales pitch here, just straight-up talk about Piko Riko and what makes it tick.

A bottle of Piko Riko Hot Sauce by Piko Peppers
Featured Album: Steely Dan – Gaucho

Introducing: Piko Riko Piri Piri by Piko Peppers

Hailing from the bustling streets of Montreal, Quebec, Piko Peppers is not just another hot sauce maker. They’re a crew passionate about bringing heat, flavor, and a bit of the unexpected to every bottle. Now, the star of today’s talk is Piko Riko, their take on the classic Piri Piri style, but with a twist that’s as refreshing as it is surprising.

Piko Riko isn’t your run-of-the-mill hot sauce. It’s a culinary journey, blending the fiery essence of Piri Piri with the unexpected character of beer. Yes, beer. This isn’t about just turning up the heat; it’s about crafting a flavor that dances on your taste buds. The sauce combines the tropical, floral notes of Habanero peppers with the hoppiness of beer, resulting in a taste that’s not just hot but vibrant and well-rounded. It’s like a flavor fiesta that’s welcome on almost any dish.

But here’s where it twists. If you’re chasing that scorching heat, Piko Riko is not that. We’re talking a gentle tingle, a whisper of heat that’s more a nod than a shout. It’s more about flavor here, with a heat level that won’t have you reaching for a glass of milk. For some, it’s a letdown; for others, it’s the perfect balance.

Now, for the nitty-gritty. A bottle of this crafted goodness goes for $15 CAD over at the Piko Pepper website. Not too shabby for a sauce that’s been thoughtfully put together, balancing taste and heat with a craftsman’s touch.

The nutritional info panel on a bottle of Piko Riko by Piko Peppers Hot Sauce

Manufacturer: Piko Peppers
Made In: Quebec
Heat Rating: 3/10
Size: 148mL
Price Range: $15CAD
Buy from Piko Peppers

Ingredients: Bell peppers, onions, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, cane sugar, canola oil, sea salt, habanero peppers, Cayenne peppers, spices, beer (water, millet, corn, Demerara sugar, hop, yeast)

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Piko Riko doesn’t hide in fancy packaging or scream for attention with bright, flashy colors. Instead, it’s all about subtlety. Housed in a classic 150mL woozy bottle, the kind you’d nod to in a lineup of hot sauce veterans, it keeps things simple with a black lid and a matching black label. But it’s not just any label – smack dab in the center, you’ll find their unmistakable cat logo, a nod to the brand’s personality, alongside the name that’s been catching everyone’s eye: Piko Riko by Piko Peppers.

Spin the bottle around, and you’re met with the usual suspects – ingredients, nutritional info, and a bit of branding. But it’s what’s inside that really draws you in. The sauce itself is a vibrant pumpkin orange, lively and inviting. Peek closer, and you’ll spot bits of spices and other goodies suspended in the mix, promising a burst of flavor with every drop.

Texture-wise, Piko Riko strikes a perfect balance. It’s not watery, far from it. Imagine a sauce that’s been emulsified with canola oil, giving it that smooth, consistent body that flows effortlessly out of the bottle. This isn’t a sauce that’ll pool at the bottom of your dish; thanks to its clever texture, it clings to your food, ensuring every bite is as flavorful as the last.

Piko Riko hot sauce on a spoon to show texture.


The aroma of Piko Riko hot sauce offers a surprising twist. Anticipate a shift from the expected sharp, spicy assault to something unexpectedly different. The sauce immediately surprises you – it carries the scent of a sweet, tomato-based pasta sauce. But surprisingly there are no tomatoes in the recipe.

Knowing this, the scent leans more towards a roasted pepper sauce vibe, with the sweetness probably hitching a ride from the cane sugars in the mix. It’s a pleasant surprise, honestly. As for the kick of those Habanero and Cayenne peppers? Their presence is more like a whisper, a subtle hint of peppery-ness without the spice. It’s like sniffing bell peppers that have spent just the right amount of time on the grill – all flavor, no fire.

And the beer that’s supposed to make this sauce a standout? If it’s there, it’s playing hide and seek because I’m not picking it up. But hey, that doesn’t mean it’s not contributing to the magic in some understated way.

Overall, Piko Riko’s scent sets the stage for something fresh and inviting. It doesn’t scream “hot sauce” in the traditional sense; it’s more like a warm, sunny day served up in a bottle. This sauce smells like it’s begging to be drizzled over a meal enjoyed outdoors, where the only heat comes from the sun above, not the sauce on your plate.

Taste and Flavour

Here’s where the rubber meets the road, or more aptly, where the sauce meets the taste buds. I’ve teased about a familiar taste that Piko Riko brings to the table, and it’s time to spill. Now, the folks at Piko Peppers might raise an eyebrow at this comparison, but hear me out – there’s a nostalgic nod here that I can’t ignore. This sauce stirs memories of the tomato sauce from a Lunchables Pizza kit. Don’t get me wrong, Piko Riko is in a whole different league in terms of quality, but the echo of that childhood flavor is unmistakable. Both share a fresh vibe, a dance between tomato and roasted pepper notes, and a remarkably similar texture.

But let’s dive deeper into the layers of flavor that Piko Riko offers. Initially, the sauce greets you with a gentle, neutral taste – it’s soft, almost airy, with a freshness that sweeps across your palate. Then, as you continue, the texture comes into play, those pepper chunks offering a delightful contrast. When you bite into them, it’s like unlocking a treasure trove of flavors on a beautifully neutral canvas.

The sweetness courtesy of the cane sugar makes an early entrance, followed by the understated but ever-present garlic notes. But the real star of the show, for me, is the habanero peppers. They bring a tropical, floral essence that elevates the sauce from just another condiment to an indispensable companion at the table.

I’ve got to admit, Piko Riko is one of those rare finds that’s hard to put down. As I was prepping for this review, the bottle was in danger of being emptied before a word was typed. It’s that good. Piko Peppers has crafted not just a hot sauce, but an unintentional trip down memory lane, and a journey through flavors that’s both comforting and exciting.

Heat Level

When it comes to the heat level of Piko Riko, let’s set the record straight: it’s not going to set your world on fire. If you’re dabbling with just a taste here and there, you might even question if it’s supposed to be hot at all. However, when you really dive into it, serving up a generous portion on your plate, that’s when the heat decides to show up.

For me, Piko Riko clocks in at about a 3 out of 10 on my personal spice-o-meter. The heat that does come through is pretty sharp, giving my lips a bit of a zing. My tongue felt warm, sure, but we’re not talking about any sort of burn-your-house-down sensation. No sweat breaking out on my forehead, no runny nose – just that distinct sharpness on the lips followed by a warm, cozy feeling inside my mouth.

It’s clear that the heat here is mainly thanks to the Habanero peppers, with the Cayenne lending a hand for that subtle warmth. What’s great is that the heat feels authentic, derived from real peppers, not just artificially amped up to make you sweat. That’s what a good hot sauce should be all about, right?

Conclusion: Overall Thoughts

Coming to the end of the Review of Piko Riko from Piko Peppers, it’s clear this sauce left a mark. The folks behind this concoction really hit the nail on the head when it comes to flavor. With its fresh, airy essence, it checks all the boxes – great texture, enticing scent, and a taste that takes you on a journey. It’s the kind of sauce that adds depth to your meals without overpowering them, a trait not easily found in the hot sauce aisle.

The only spot where Piko Riko doesn’t quite reach the heights for me is in the heat department. If you’re after a sauce that brings a serious kick, this might not be your first pick, as it’s more of a mild player in the spice game. However, that’s hardly a deal-breaker given the symphony of flavors it brings to the table.

Would I give Piko Riko another go? Absolutely, without a second thought. It’s versatile enough to complement a wide array of dishes, especially those that sing alongside roasted red peppers or require a touch of tomato essence. While I’ve yet to try it, I’m betting it would be a standout on pizza, adding just the right blend of spice and sweetness.

In conclusion, Piko Riko by Piko Peppers is a must-try for those who value flavor intricacy over sheer heat. It’s a sauce that promises to elevate your meals, making it a worthy addition to your culinary arsenal. Here’s to hoping it finds its way onto my table again soon.

Piko Riko Piri Piri by Piko Peppers

Piko Riko by Piko Peppers masterfully blends freshness and depth of flavor in a sauce that impresses on all fronts, though its gentle heat might leave spice seekers wanting more.

The Hot Sauce Guy


Fresh, airy, and so smooth


Please remember that taste is subjective and everyone will experience hot sauce uniquely. These reviews contain my own thoughts and opinions. If you think you’ll enjoy a hot sauce then you should definitely try it out.

Mike P

Welcome to The Hot Sauce Guy! I’m Mike, your guide to the spicy world of hot sauces and the creator of Spicy Riffs Hot Sauce. From Canada, I share the hottest reviews, pepper-growing tips, and sauce recipes with a touch of rock and roll.

My passion? Crafting the perfect blend of heat and flavor. Whether you’re here for the fire or the flair, get ready for a journey into the world of spicy delights.

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