Social Media

Mexican Red Chili Sauce Recipe

This rich and flavorful Mexican red chili sauce is perfect for adding a vibrant kick to your favorite dishes. Made with dried ancho chiles, garlic, and spices, this sauce is a staple in many Mexican recipes and can be used to enhance everything from enchiladas to tamales.

Mexican Red Chili Sauce Recipe
Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 5

Photos of Mexican Red Chili Sauce Recipe

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4

When making this recipe, be aware that dried ancho chiles might not be a common pantry item. You can find them in the international or Hispanic aisle of most supermarkets. These chiles provide a deep, smoky flavor that is essential to the sauce. The other ingredients should be fairly easy to find.

Ingredients For Mexican Red Chili Sauce

Dried ancho chiles: These are dried poblano peppers with a mild heat and a deep, rich flavor.

Water: Used to rehydrate the dried chiles and create a smooth sauce.

Garlic clove: Adds a pungent, savory depth to the sauce.

Black peppercorns: Provides a subtle hint of heat and aromatic flavor.

Ground cloves: Adds a warm, sweet, and slightly bitter note to the sauce.

Salt: Enhances the flavors of all the ingredients.

Extra virgin olive oil: Used to cook the sauce and add a smooth, rich texture.

One reader, Dasya Free says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This Mexican red chili sauce recipe is fantastic! The flavors are rich and authentic, with just the right amount of heat. It's perfect for adding a delicious kick to any meal. Easy to make and absolutely delicious!

Dasya Free

Techniques Required for Making Mexican Red Chili Sauce

How to cut and clean dried chiles: Use a paring knife to cut a slit down one side of the chile, open it up, and remove the stem, seeds, and veins. How to toast dried chiles: Heat a large skillet on medium heat, flatten out the dried chiles, and press down on them for a few seconds on each side. How to soak dried chiles: Add the toasted chiles to a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes until softened. How to purée ingredients: Place the softened chiles, garlic, salt, crushed peppercorns, ground cloves, and soaking liquid in a blender and purée until smooth. How to strain sauce: Pour the puréed sauce through a sieve into a skillet to remove any remaining solids. How to simmer sauce: Bring the strained sauce to a simmer in a skillet, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes, skimming off any foam.

How To Make Mexican Red Chili Sauce

Rich in Mexican flavors, this spicy chili sauce takes your dish to a whole new realm, with bold bites of simmered ancho chiles, garlic, and peppercorns.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes



  • 3dried Ancho chiles,(pasilla), or 2 ancho and 2 guajillo chiles
  • water
  • 1large garlic clove
  • 2black peppercorns,crushed
  • pinchground cloves
  • ½tspsalt,more to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil


  1. Working on one chile at a time, use a paring knife to cut a slit all the way down one side of a chile. Open up the chile and remove the stem and seeds. Remove as much of the veins as you can.

  2. Reserve a few of the seeds or veins for adding later, if looking for more heat.

  3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Flatten out the dried chilies and place on the skillet to heat. Press down on the opened chilies and leave for a few seconds. Turn the chilies over and heat a few seconds more.

  4. Add the chilies to a small saucepan and add enough water so that they are just covered. Bring to a boil.

  5. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes, until the chilies have softened and plumped up.

  6. Reserving the soaking water, remove the chilies from the pan and place in a blender. Add the garlic, salt, crushed peppercorns, ground cloves, and 1½ cups of the soaking liquid.

  7. Purée for 2 minutes, until the sauce is completely smooth. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. If more heat is desired, add in a few of the seeds or veins and purée some more. Add more salt, if needed.

  8. Pour the sauce through a sieve into a skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the sauce.

  9. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to maintain the simmer, then cook for 10 minutes. Skim off the foam. Remove from heat.

  10. Use immediately or pour into a glass jar, then refrigerate.

  11. Serve over meals, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • When working with chilies, either wear protective gloves or wash hands very thoroughly with soap and warm water after handling the chilies. Do not touch or rub eyes while handling chili peppers.
  • Taste the soaking water first before adding it to the blender, if it seems bitter, use plain water instead.


  • Calories: 159.77kcal
  • Fat: 5.05g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.55g
  • Trans Fat: 0.00g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.85g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.41g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.34g
  • Fiber: 11.32g
  • Sugar: 0.06g
  • Protein: 6.44g
  • Sodium: 133.80mg
  • Calcium: 43.69mg
  • Potassium: 1258.94mg
  • Iron: 5.74mg
  • Vitamin A: 521.39µg
  • Vitamin C: 2.58mg

Technique Tip for Perfecting Mexican Red Chili Sauce

To enhance the flavor of your Mexican red chili sauce, make sure to toast the dried ancho chiles evenly on both sides. This step is crucial as it releases the natural oils in the chiles, adding depth and complexity to the sauce. Be careful not to burn them, as this can impart a bitter taste.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Mexican Red Chili Sauce

Prepare ingredients ahead: Clean and deseed the dried ancho chiles in advance to save time during cooking.

Use pre-minced garlic: Opt for pre-minced garlic to cut down on prep time.

Boil water quickly: Use an electric kettle to boil water faster for soaking the chilies.

Blend efficiently: Use a high-speed blender to ensure a smooth sauce in less time.

Simmer while multitasking: Let the sauce simmer while you prepare other parts of your meal.

Substitute Ingredients For Mexican Red Chili Sauce Recipe

  • dried ancho chiles - Substitute with dried guajillo chiles: Guajillo chiles have a similar mild heat and fruity flavor, making them a good alternative.

  • water - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth adds more depth and flavor to the sauce compared to plain water.

  • large garlic clove - Substitute with garlic powder: If fresh garlic is unavailable, garlic powder can provide a similar flavor, though it may be slightly less pungent.

  • black peppercorns - Substitute with ground black pepper: Ground black pepper can be used in place of whole peppercorns for a similar peppery taste.

  • pinch ground cloves - Substitute with allspice: Allspice has a similar warm, spicy flavor profile that can mimic the taste of cloves.

  • salt - Substitute with soy sauce: Soy sauce can add a salty and umami flavor, though it will also add a different depth to the sauce.

  • extra virgin olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a high smoke point and a mild flavor, making it a good alternative for cooking.

Presentation Ideas for Mexican Red Chili Sauce

  1. Use high-quality ingredients: Ensure that the dried ancho chiles, garlic, black peppercorns, ground cloves, salt, and extra virgin olive oil are of the finest quality to enhance the flavor profile of the sauce.

  2. Prepare the chiles meticulously: Carefully slit, de-seed, and devein each dried ancho chile to ensure a smooth and rich sauce without any bitterness.

  3. Toast the chiles evenly: Flatten and toast the dried ancho chiles in a skillet to release their natural oils and deepen their flavor, ensuring they are evenly heated on both sides.

  4. Soak the chiles properly: Boil the dried ancho chiles in water and let them sit until they are fully softened and plumped, which will make them easier to blend into a smooth sauce.

  5. Blend to perfection: Combine the softened dried ancho chiles, garlic, salt, crushed peppercorns, ground cloves, and soaking liquid in a blender. Purée until the sauce is completely smooth, ensuring a velvety texture.

  6. Adjust seasoning thoughtfully: Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning by adding reserved seeds or veins for heat and more salt if needed, to achieve a balanced flavor.

  7. Strain for smoothness: Pour the puréed sauce through a sieve into a skillet to remove any remaining solids, ensuring a silky and refined texture.

  8. Simmer with care: Add extra virgin olive oil to the sauce and bring it to a simmer. Cook gently for 10 minutes, skimming off any foam to maintain clarity and purity of flavor.

  9. Store properly: If not using immediately, pour the sauce into a glass jar and refrigerate to preserve its freshness and flavor.

  10. Serve with elegance: Present the sauce in a small, elegant sauce dish or drizzle it artfully over the main dish, ensuring it complements the meal visually and gastronomically.

Essential Tools for Making Mexican Red Chili Sauce

  • Paring knife: A small, sharp knife used for precise cutting tasks, such as removing the stems and seeds from the chilies.

  • Large skillet: A flat-bottomed pan used to heat and press the dried chilies, enhancing their flavor.

  • Small saucepan: A pot used to boil water and soak the chilies, allowing them to soften and plump up.

  • Blender: An electric appliance used to purée the softened chilies with other ingredients into a smooth sauce.

  • Sieve: A fine mesh strainer used to filter out any remaining solids from the sauce, ensuring a smooth texture.

  • Skillet: A pan used to simmer the sauce with olive oil, allowing it to thicken and develop deeper flavors.

  • Glass jar: A container used to store the finished sauce in the refrigerator, keeping it fresh for later use.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Mexican Red Chili Sauce

  • Allow the mexican red chili sauce to cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • For short-term storage, transfer the sauce to an airtight container or jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
  • To freeze the sauce:
    • Portion the cooled sauce into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace to allow for expansion during freezing.
    • Label the containers or bags with the date and amount of sauce.
    • Place the containers or bags in the freezer, laying them flat for easier storage and quicker thawing.
    • Frozen mexican red chili sauce can be stored for up to 6 months.
  • To thaw frozen sauce:
    • Remove the desired amount of sauce from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw gradually.
    • For a quicker thaw, place the container or bag of frozen sauce in a bowl of cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until the sauce is fully thawed.
    • Once thawed, use the sauce within 3-4 days and do not refreeze.
  • When reheating the sauce, stir well and bring it to a simmer over medium-low heat, adding a little water or broth if needed to thin the consistency.

How To Reheat Leftover Mexican Red Chili Sauce

  • To reheat leftover mexican red chili sauce, start by transferring the desired amount into a small saucepan. Place the saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat.
  • Stir the sauce occasionally as it warms up to ensure even heating and prevent scorching. If the sauce seems too thick, you can add a splash of water or chicken broth to thin it out slightly.
  • Continue heating the sauce until it reaches a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. This will allow the flavors to meld together and ensure the sauce is heated through.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat the sauce in the microwave. Transfer the desired amount of sauce to a microwave-safe bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel to prevent splatters.
  • Microwave the sauce in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until it is heated through. This method is quicker but may require more attention to prevent overheating or uneven warming.
  • Once the mexican red chili sauce is heated to your desired temperature, taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed. You may want to add a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lime juice, or a touch of honey to balance the flavors.
  • Serve the reheated sauce immediately over your favorite Mexican dishes, such as enchiladas, burritos, or tamales. Enjoy the rich, smoky flavors of this classic sauce!

Random Fact About Mexican Red Chili Sauce

A random fact about this recipe is that ancho chiles are dried poblano peppers, known for their mild heat and rich, smoky flavor. They are a staple in Mexican cuisine and are often used to make sauces like this Mexican red chili sauce.

Is Making Mexican Red Chili Sauce at Home Cost-Effective?

This Mexican red chili sauce recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The primary ingredients, such as dried ancho chiles, garlic, and peppercorns, are affordable and widely available. The use of extra virgin olive oil adds a touch of luxury without breaking the bank. For a household of 4, the approximate cost is around $5-$7 USD. Overall Verdict: 8/10.

Is Mexican Red Chili Sauce Healthy or Unhealthy?

The Mexican red chili sauce recipe is relatively healthy, as it primarily consists of dried ancho chiles, garlic, and spices. Here are some points to consider:

  • Ancho chiles are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants, which can help boost the immune system and protect against cellular damage
  • Garlic is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and may help lower cholesterol levels
  • The recipe uses minimal added fat, with only 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, which is a healthier option compared to saturated fats
  • The sauce is low in calories and fat, making it a good choice for those watching their weight

However, there are a few areas where the recipe could be improved to make it even healthier:

  • Reduce the amount of added salt to lower the sodium content
  • Use whole peppercorns instead of ground cloves to increase the fiber content
  • Add more vegetables, such as roasted bell peppers or tomatoes, to increase the nutrient density and fiber content of the sauce
  • Experiment with using other healthy oils, such as avocado oil or coconut oil, in place of the olive oil
  • Consider adding fresh herbs, like cilantro or oregano, to boost the flavor and nutritional value of the sauce

Editor's Thoughts on This Delicious Mexican Red Chili Sauce Recipe

This Mexican red chili sauce recipe is a fantastic blend of smoky ancho chiles and aromatic spices. The process of toasting and soaking the chilies enhances their depth of flavor, while the addition of garlic, peppercorns, and cloves provides a robust and complex taste. The final simmer with olive oil ensures a smooth, rich consistency. This versatile sauce can elevate a variety of dishes, from enchiladas to grilled meats. Adjusting the heat level by incorporating seeds or veins is a thoughtful touch, allowing for customization. Overall, it's a well-balanced and flavorful sauce that can become a staple in any kitchen.

Enhance Your Mexican Red Chili Sauce Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mexican Street Corn: Mexican Street Corn: Imagine the smoky, charred kernels of corn slathered in a creamy, tangy sauce, topped with a sprinkle of cotija cheese and a dash of chili powder. This vibrant side dish will add a burst of flavor and color to your meal, perfectly complementing the rich and spicy notes of the Mexican Red Chili Sauce.
Cilantro Lime Rice: Cilantro Lime Rice: Fluffy rice infused with the zesty freshness of lime and the aromatic touch of cilantro. This side dish offers a refreshing contrast to the deep, smoky flavors of the sauce, making each bite a delightful balance of tastes.
Black Bean and Mango Salad: Black Bean and Mango Salad: A vibrant medley of black beans, juicy mango chunks, crisp bell peppers, and a hint of red onion. Tossed in a light citrus vinaigrette, this salad brings a sweet and tangy twist that pairs beautifully with the robust chili sauce.
Grilled Pineapple: Grilled Pineapple: Sweet and caramelized pineapple slices, grilled to perfection. The natural sugars of the fruit intensify with the heat, creating a delightful contrast to the savory and spicy elements of the Mexican Red Chili Sauce. A tropical touch that elevates the entire meal.
Avocado and Tomato Salad: Avocado and Tomato Salad: Creamy avocado and juicy tomatoes come together in this simple yet flavorful salad. Drizzled with a hint of olive oil and a squeeze of lime, this side dish offers a refreshing and cooling effect, balancing the heat of the chili sauce.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Mexican Red Chili Sauce

Chicken Enchiladas: Dive into a plate of chicken enchiladas smothered in a rich, homemade enchilada sauce. These enchiladas are filled with tender shredded chicken, cheese, and a blend of spices, then baked to perfection. Serve with a side of refried beans and Mexican rice for a complete meal.
Pork Tamales: Experience the authentic taste of pork tamales. These tamales are made with a flavorful masa dough and filled with seasoned pork cooked in a savory red chili sauce. Wrapped in corn husks and steamed to perfection, they are a true Mexican delicacy.
Chiles Rellenos: Indulge in chiles rellenos, a classic Mexican dish featuring poblano peppers stuffed with cheese or meat, then battered and fried until golden. Serve with a rich tomato sauce and a side of Mexican crema for a delightful meal.
Pozole Rojo: Warm up with a bowl of pozole rojo, a traditional Mexican soup made with hominy and pork. The broth is infused with a blend of red chilies and spices, creating a hearty and flavorful dish. Top with shredded cabbage, radishes, and a squeeze of lime for added freshness.
Mole Poblano: Savor the complex flavors of mole poblano, a rich and velvety sauce made with a blend of chilies, chocolate, and a variety of spices. Traditionally served over chicken or turkey, this dish is a true celebration of Mexican cuisine.

Why trust this Mexican Red Chili Sauce Recipe:

This recipe for Mexican red chili sauce is a must-try for any home cook. Using authentic ingredients like dried ancho chiles and extra virgin olive oil, it delivers a rich, smoky flavor that elevates any dish. The step-by-step instructions ensure even beginners can achieve a smooth, well-balanced sauce. Plus, the ability to adjust the heat level makes it versatile for all palates. Trust this recipe for its simplicity, authenticity, and the depth of flavor it brings to your meals.

Share your thoughts and experiences with this Mexican Red Chili Sauce Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum.
Can I use other types of dried chiles instead of ancho chiles?
Yes, you can substitute other dried chiles like guajillo or pasilla if you prefer. Just keep in mind that different chiles will alter the flavor and heat level of the sauce.
How long can I store the sauce in the refrigerator?
You can store the sauce in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make sure it's sealed tightly to maintain freshness.
Can I make this sauce spicier?
Absolutely! If you want more heat, you can add some of the reserved seeds or veins from the chiles back into the sauce during blending. You can also add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Do I need to strain the sauce?
Straining the sauce helps achieve a smoother texture, but it's not absolutely necessary. If you don't mind a bit of texture, you can skip this step.
Can I freeze the sauce for later use?
Yes, you can freeze the sauce. Pour it into an airtight container or freezer bag, and it should keep well for up to three months. Just thaw it in the refrigerator before using.

Was this page helpful?

Chat Bubble Icon Share your own special recipe
Submit Your Own Recipe

Have your own special recipe to share? Submit Your Recipe Today!