Mexican Red Chile Sauce

Yield: 16 oz.

Mexican Red Chile Sauce

Mexican Red Chile Sauce
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 10-12 Chiles (can vary):
  • 2 Puya
  • 2 Chile negro
  • 2 ancho
  • 6 california
  • Chile soaking water
  • ½ white onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tomato (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper


    Remove stems and seeds from chiles and simmer in water until soft. Toast uncut, or quartered onion, garlic in skin and halved or quartered tomato on a dry comal or skillet until softened and blackened in spots. Let garlic cool, then peel. Blend the vegetables and softened chiles with some chile soaking water and salt and pepper.

Recipe Notes

Options: Add more water to blend to any desired thickness. Possible additions include, oregano and/or cilantro, broth, apple cider vinegar or plain water. 

Chile selection can vary - a single chile variety can be used instead of a combination. I frequently use California (or Guajillo) chiles as the primary chile because they are more prevalent at local stores. I also prefer Anchos if I can find them. Chiles morita are a chipotle variety with a very deep complex flavor that is a good addition as well. The stemmed and seeded chiles can be toasted on a dry comal or skillet prior to soaking. This is a base sauce that is meant to be added to other dishes or modified for other sauces. The dried chile flavor is very prominent (not spicy) and complements other acidic and fatty ingredients. I like to keep at least one 16 oz. container of this sauce in my fridge or freezer at all times to flavor shredded meats, soups, vegetables, etc.


An important building block sauce that makes an impact when used with other dishes.

Recipe Attempts

This recipe has been attempted by the author 10+ time(s).