3 Different Ways to Use Hot in Spanish: Weather, Food & People + Bonus Audio

One of the most common mistakes Spanish learners make is talking about things they consider hot! You probably are here because you’ve been confused about using the words caliente and calor en español

DON‘T Say "ESTOY CALIENTE“ in Spanish!! It does NOT Mean What You Think! 🔥🥵

In Spanish, the term “hot” can be directly translated to “caliente.” Other chunks are “calor“, “mucho calor“, “pica” and “bueno/buena“. People use these chunks to describe:

Your head might be spinning already with so many different options. So, here’s a table:

Overview of chunks for hot in Spanish

Spanish PhraseIdiomatic TranslationUsage
Hace calorIt’s hotReferring to hot weather
Tengo calorI’m hotFeeling the effects of hot weather
Hace mucho calorIt’s very hotEmphasizing hot weather
Tengo mucho calorI’m very hotEmphasizing feeling very hot in the weather
Estoy calienteI’m horny OR I’m running a feverAdult desire OR fever (dependent on context)
¿Pica mucho?Is it very hot?Referring to the spiciness of food
¿Cuál pica menos?Which one is the least hot?Asking about the least spicy option
Bien caliente, por favor.Very hot, please.Requesting food or beverages to be served very hot
Está buenoHe’s hot (attractive)Commenting on a man’s attractiveness
Está buenaShe’s hot (attractive)Commenting on a woman’s attractiveness

1. When to use different words for hot in Spanish: calor and caliente

Let’s start by addressing why using the words CALIENTE and CALOR can be confusing for English speakers que están aprendiendo (who are learning Spanish). So, en inglés you use the word HOT to talk about these 3 things: 

  • Hot weather 
  • Spicy things
  • Attractive bodies

For hot in Spanish, we don’t use it the same way!

We have different words and different structures to talk about things that in English are expressed with the word HOT.

2. Learn Spanish words for hot weather

To talk about hot weather and feeling the effects of it, use the following chunks:

  • Hace calor (Literally, “it makes heat”; more idiomatically, “it’s hot”), as in it’s hot outside, it’s hot in here… we just say “hace calor
  • Tengo calor (Literally, “I have heat”; more idiomatically, “I’m hot”), as in you feel hot in contrast to feeling cold.
hot in spanish text

To emphasize you can add MUCHO

  • Hace mucho calor (Literally, “it makes a lot of heat”; more idiomatically, “It’s very hot”)
  • Tengo mucho calor (Literally, “I have a lot of heat”; more idiomatically, “I’m very hot”)

Tengo mucho calor” is what you want to say when you’re in Cancun melting while you wait for your beers to arrive. 

Notice how, in English, you say “I’m hot”, so hot is something that you ARE, but it’s not like that in Spanish. In Spanish, we use the word calor, which means heat and it’s something that we HAVE, not that we ARE. You can learn more about how to talk about the weather in Spanish on one of our partner sites, Effortless Conversations.

Estoy caliente also has a literal translation… and you could say this when you’re talking about running a fever, for example, and this often comes accompanied by you touching your forehead. 

  • Uh oh! ¡Estoy caliente! Espero que no sea gripe. (Uh oh, I’m hot! I hope it’s not the flu.)

3. Different ways to say hot in Spanish: talk about spicy things

Mexican food is famous for its use of chillies, so it ends up being picante o picosa, not caliente

Use this chunk to ask about how hot a salsa is: 

  • ¿Pica mucho? (Literally, “Does it sting a lot?”; more idiomatically, “Is it very hot?”) 
  • ¿Cuál pica menos? (Literally, “Which one stings less?”; more idiomatically, “Which one is the least hot?”)

Caliente also alludes to the temperature of food, so if you are anything como yo (like me) and you like your soup and coffee to be the way they’re supposed to be (that is, CALIENTES), make sure you learn this chunk next time you order a hot item in a Spanish-speaking restaurant: 

  • Bien caliente, por favor
  • Una sopa de tortilla… bien caliente, por favor 
  • Un caldo de camarón… bien caliente, por favor. 
hot in spanish female teacher in the background

4. Talking about someone who is ‘hot in Spanish’: when someone is physically attractive

Now we’re gonna talk about the one that makes me blush!!

One of the evils of direct translation is that we end up saying things that we don’t mean. When you take the words: “I am hot” and you literally translate them, you end up saying things like: Estoy caliente. But that phrase doesn’t mean “I’m hot”!!! It rather means “I feel like I could use some adult fun”.

In Spanish, when we see an attractive person, we use these Spanish chunks:

  • Está bueno (male)
  • Está buena (female)

For emphasis, you can add the endings -ísimo or -ísima (like the -ísima in my name: Paulísima).

  • Kim Kardashian está buenísima (Kim Kardashian is really hot)
  • Michael B Jordan está buenísimo (Michael B Jordan is really hot)
hot in spanish female teacher in background

Super important here: Notice how we’re using the verb ESTAR, not ser. When somebody está bueno, they’re hot, but when somebody es bueno, they’re a good person or they’re good at what they do! 

For example: Teacher Paulísima, from Spring Spanish, es buenay está buena también. ¡¿Por qué no?! (Why not?!) 

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