Meet Nikki Guerrero, her quest for a taste of home led her to create Hot Mama Salsa.

Meet Nikki Guerrero, her quest for a taste of home led her to create Hot Mama Salsa.

Hot Mama Salsa began out of a craving for the flavors of home. In 1999 founder Nikki Guerrero moved from the dry southwest desert of Arizona to the rich green soils of the Pacific Northwest. She searched everywhere for the flavors of home; fresh handmade green corn tamales, soft flour tortillas, and spicy, bright fresh made salsas. After scouring Portland and its outlying taquerias and tiendas, she realized a real need for the fresh Mexican flavors that she grew up with.

Nikki founded her Mexican inspired southwest cuisine business out of a small production kitchen in Portland, Oregon. Nikki combined her family recipes with her extensive research into the origins and traditional uses of chili peppers from around the world to create a line of products with distinct flavors that are bright, fresh, earthy, smoky, and spicy.

Every hot mama salsa is the perfect blend of fresh local northwest ingredients and traditional family recipes handed down for generations.


The Hot Mama Salsa hot sauce line now includes flavors from Africa, Peru, California, and the Caribbean peppers. There is the roasted carrot Habanero Hot Sauce, the fiery and fruity La Chava Lavanda, the sweet and sour El Tamarindo, the traditional Peruvian Aji Amarillo, and the funky fresh Fermented Fresno.

Hot Mama Salsa is the perfect blend of fresh local Northwest ingredients and traditional family recipes handed down for generations.


HABANERO HOT SAUCE is the true flavor of the Habanero pepper, this sweet and fruity salsa has a good five-minute burn. The perfect way to spice up a bowl of popcorn or liven up any egg dish. LA CHAVA LAVANDA is sweet at heart, this salsa is made with local Oregon peaches and lavender from the Oregon Lavender Farm who grow a culinary lavender that gives a hint of warm cinnamon spice. Pairs nicely with freshly grilled pork, chicken, or salmon. EL TAMARINDO HOT SAUCE salsa has a nice sweet and sour tang with a high but not crazy Habanero heat level. A favorite for rice and bean dishes, fish tacos, or if you want to add a little kick to your salad dressing.



Guerrero has steadily grown her businesses by working with local farmers to source nearly all of her ingredients.

The desire for heat was increasing, and the customers were asking for hotter more and more. In 2010 Nikki met a farmer named Grey Horton. He had just moved back onto his family’s land on Sauvie Island and was in his first year growing heirloom melons. Nikki asked him if he would ever be interested in growing chili peppers, there were varieties that she wanted to use, and she tried to get them fresh from the local market. Grey wasn’t sure some of the hot varieties would ripen. Still, that first year he planted some without telling Nikki to see how they would do, and to her surprise, she had chilies de arbol, guajillo, mild jalapenos, serranos, and fresnos all grown right in Portland’s backyard. Lucky for Nikki, Grey fell in love with growing peppers, and a true working partnership was born. Over the past eight years, Nikki and Grey have sourced seeds from all over the world, developed and learned about new varieties, and Grey has even crossbred a few of his own new hybrids. This relationship allowed Nikki to create and develop products based on chilies that were not even available on the commercial market. Thanks to Nikki, and the fresh produce farmed here in the rich green soils of the Pacific Northwest, we now have a variety of salsas uniquely found here in Oregon, crave worthy should anyone have to move to the dry southwest deserts. Visit Hot Mama Salsa for more information and Nikki’s incredible recipes. Follow them @hotmamasalsa.