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Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water

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Hawaiian chili pepper water is a great way to spice up your life! It’s simple to make at home and be added to all your favorite recipes. It’s versatile, delicious, and good for you—what more could you ask for?

chili pepper water in a mason jar

Tangy and spicy Hawaiian chili water or wai nioi is the perfect way to get your taste buds into gear and add a little spice to your favorite dishes. A spicy condiment that every house needs.

Add it to your loco moco or shoyu chicken for an added kick.

What are Hawaiian chili peppers?

Hawaiian chili peppers are are a type of chili pepper that is native to the Hawaiian islands. It’s spicy, but they have a sweet, fruity flavor that makes them great for cooking.

hawaiian chili pepper plant

They’re available in a range of sizes, from tiny to extra large. Their heat level varies from mild to medium and even hot and have a rating of 50,000 to 70,000 on the Scoville scale.

hawaiian chili peppers in a bowl

What is Hawaiian chili pepper water?

Chili pepper water is a traditional Hawaiian condiment made with water infused with the flavor of Hawaiian chili peppers. Commonly served with meals in Hawai’i, but it can also be used as a mixer with other drinks like vodka or rum. Or you can try it on its own—it’s delicious!

top down view of chili pepper water in a mason jar

Benefits of chili pepper water

  • Chili pepper water is rich in vitamin C and capsaicin, which have both been shown to boost immunity
  • Hawaiian chili water can also help clear sinuses and improve circulation
  • Not to mention, it tastes great! A little heat goes a long way. So next time you’re looking for a delicious and healthy way to spice up your life, reach for the good old chili water


(Full recipe instructions and ingredient amounts are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post)

  • Water
  • Vinegar. White vinegar works best, but you can substitute for your apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar.
  • Hawaiian salt. You can find this at a farmers’ market or your local grocery store in Hawai’i. You can also order online.
  • Hawaiian chili peppers. Add a little or a lot depending on your spice tolerance. If you don’t have any nearby you can replace with yellow peppers, thai chilies, or red serrano peppers.
  • Garlic. Fresh garlic is best.
chili pepper water ingredients

How to make chili pepper water?

The key to good chili pepper water is well, the chili peppers. Hawaiian chili peppers have the best flavor. Stop by your local farmers market or grocery store to pick some up. If you can’t find any you can replace it with the chilis of your choice.

You’ll want to infuse the water with the chili flavor. To make your Hawaiian hot sauce set a pot over high heat. Add water and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer.

Next the flavor packed additions. Add vinegar, Hawaiian salt, chopped peppers, and garlic. Some people like to add soy sauce and limu kohu. You can add that here if you’d like. Simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors combine.

You can store this in food safe containers like glass bottles or a glass jar. I like to use mason jars. Be sure your jar is sterilized. Pour your fresh chili pepper water in the jar and give it a good shake. Cool to room temperature and place in the refrigerator to cool.

Ideally, you want to let the mixture sit for a few days to let the flavors develop. But if you can’t wait it’s okay to use now.

Tips for the best Hawaiian chili water

  • Use fresh ingredients for the best flavor.
  • Store chili pepper water in an air tight container that is food safe.
  • Allow the chili pepper water to sit for a few days to develop the best flavors.
hand holding a mason jar of chili pepper water

Frequently asked questions

Is chili pepper water good for you?

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that can help reduce inflammation and pain in the body. They also have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.

How to use chili pepper water?

Chili pepper water can be used to add a little kick to your favorite dishes. Things like soups and stews, poke and other seafood, really any dish that you’d like to add a little more spice.

Does Hawaiian chili water need to be refrigerated?

I suggest storing your water in the refrigerator to maintain the flavor and color.

chili pepper water in a mason jar with a white bowl of hawaiian chili peppers

Recipes that are great to add Hawaiian chili pepper water to

chili pepper water in a mason jar

Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water

Relle Lum
Hawaiian chili pepper water is a great way to spice up your life! It's simple to make at home and be added to all your favorite recipes. It's versatile, delicious, and good for you—what more could you ask for?
4.91 from 11 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Sauces
Cuisine Hawaiian
Servings 96 teaspoons
Calories 2 kcal



  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Hawaiian salt
  • 10 Hawaiian chili peppers diced, or more if you want more spice
  • 4 cloves garlic diced


  • Set a pot over high heat. Add water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling reduce heat to a simmer
  • Add in vinegar, Hawaiian salt, chili peppers, and garlic. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Pour in a sterilized jar and store in the refrigerator.


Serving: 1teaspoonCalories: 2kcalCarbohydrates: 0.5gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.02gSaturated Fat: 0.002gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.001gSodium: 49mgPotassium: 16mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 45IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 1mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword chili pepper, chili pepper water, condiments, hawaiian chili pepper, hawaiian chili pepper water, keeping it relle, spicy
Did you make this recipe?Share a photo and tag @keeping.it.relle on Instagram so I can see all your delicious creations and Let me know how it was!

© Relle Lum for Keeping It Relle. Please do not copy and paste or screenshot recipes online or on social media. I’d love it if you share a link with a photo instead. Mahalo!

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By on November 4th, 2022

About Relle

Aloha, my name is Relle and welcome to my little home on the internet where I like to share all my favorite Hawaiian recipes (and local ones too).

I am a wife, mom of two, and nurse practitioner here in the beautiful state of Hawai’i. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and I am of native Hawaiian descent. In my spare time I love to cook and bake and I have compiled many of my favorite recipes here for you to enjoy.

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16 thoughts on “Hawaiian Chili Pepper Water”

  1. 5 stars
    Love this! We love all things spicy and this is just the kick I need when cooking at home. I can’t wait to try all your suggestions!

  2. 5 stars
    I don’t know how you came up with this genious idea, but I am so glad you did! We are huge fans of spicy food, so this water is right in our wheelhouse. I made 2 batches of this water and it was gone in minutes!

  3. 5 stars
    What a delicious way to spice up various dishes and drinks! I made some a few days ago and tasted it today. It brought a delicious kick to my vinaigrette.

  4. Hi! I’m making for Christmas gifts and wanted to know if I could leave them bottled at room temperature instead of putting in the fridge? I don’t want to refrigerate if I’m gifting and figure they can refrigerate it after they get it gifted from me! Lmk what you think. Mahalo’s

  5. Hi, I was checking out your channel and came upon this interesting recipe. I’ll have to try it. I’m a bit of a nerd, so bear with me. I checked out the Hawaiian chili and found out it was introduced to Hawaii in 1817, early enough so you might think it’s always been there. Aloha!

    • Aloha. Yes, many things were introduced to Hawai’i, including the Hawaiian chili pepper, and are not endemic to Hawai’i. Definitely didn’t think it was always here. Appreciate your insight. Have a wonderful day.


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