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Red Chili Sauce (Mexican Recipe)

If you love spicy foods, then you need to try making your own homemade red chili sauce

This versatile condiment is perfect for spice lovers and adds a delicious kick to all kinds of Mexican dishes.

Red Chili Sauce in blue bowl
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Making red chili sauce is easy and so much more satisfying than buying it pre-made. Plus, you can customize it to your taste preferences. 

Adjust the heat level to suit your palate. Whether you’re a spice fiend or like things mild, you’ll enjoy every last drop of this sauce.

Mexican Red Chile Sauce

If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, you know red chili sauce is a staple.

You can smother tamales with it or spoon it over tacos. It’s sure to take your meal to the next level.

Homemade red chili sauce is a game-changer. It’s fresher, more flavorful, and can be customized to your desired level of spiciness.

The traditional chilies for red chili sauce are Anaheim, New Mexico, California, or Pasilla. 

These chilies are dried, giving the sauce a deep, smoky flavor. But don’t be afraid to experiment with different types.

If you love spicy foods, give homemade red chili sauce a try. You won’t regret it!

Red chili sauce on a blue bowl with chilis on the background on top of wooden table


To make the sauce, you only need a few ingredients: 

  • Red chili peppers – They’re the base of the sauce and give it flavor and heat. The type of chilies you use affects the heat level and flavor of the sauce. 
  • Garlic cloves – They add a nice depth of flavor and subtle pungency to the sauce.
  • Ground cumin – It adds a warm, earthy flavor and is a common spice used in Mexican cuisine.
  • Salt – It helps to bring out the flavors of all the ingredients and enhances the overall taste of the sauce.
  • Flour – All-purpose flour works best for thickening the sauce. But you can also use a gluten-free flour mix based on grains.
  • Olive oil or melted shortening – This is used to sauté the ingredients and add a rich flavor to the sauce.
Tamales With Red Sauce

How to Make Red Chili Sauce for Tamales

Follow these simple tips to make red chili sauce: 

  1. Prepare the chilis. First things first, let’s get those chili peppers ready. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chili peppers. 
  1. Roast the peppers. This brings out their natural sweetness and deepens their flavor. Place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-5 minutes or until fragrant. 
  1. Rehydrate the chilis. Now that the peppers are roasted, it’s time to rehydrate them. Soak the peppers in hot water for 30 minutes or until cool This will soften them and make them easier to blend.
  1. Blend. Get your blender ready! Combine the peppers, 2 and 1/2 cups of soaking water, garlic, cumin, and salt. Blend until smooth. This is where the sauce starts to take shape.
  1. Simmer the chilis. In a saucepan, stir flour into the oil or melted shortening over medium heat until browned. Carefully stir in the chili mixture and simmer it for 5-10 minutes or until thickened.
  1. Adjust to taste. Add some remaining soaking water if the sauce becomes too thick. Don’t be afraid to adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  1. Pour the sauce over some tamales and enjoy! 
Chili Sauce and Chilis on Wooden Background

Tips & Tricks

Here are some tips and tricks to ensure you make the best red chili sauce possible: 

  • Quality is key. Select high-quality red chilies. This will ensure your sauce has a rich and full flavor and the right amount of heat.
  • Customize your blend. Add garlic, onions, and spices such as cumin, coriander, or oregano to the sauce to add depth of flavor. You can also add tomatoes, tomatillos, or any other ingredients.
  • Mix it up. To create a well-balanced sauce with a mix of heat and flavor, use a blend of different types of chilies. You can use a combo of jalapenos, serranos, and chipotles to give the sauce a balance of heat and smokiness.
  • Cook the sauce low and slow. This allows the flavors to meld and intensify. A slow simmer for about 45 minutes or more is ideal. It will also help to thicken the sauce.
  • Choose your consistency. Adjust the consistency to your liking by adding more or less liquid. You can use chicken or beef broth, water, or tomato juice.
  • Sweeten it up. Add a small amount of sugar to balance out the heat and acidity. You can use brown sugar, honey, or agave nectar.
  • Save your sauce! Canning or freezing the sauce for later use is a great way to keep it fresh and have it ready for future use. Follow the proper canning or freezing instructions so the sauce stays fresh.
Closeup view of bowl of chili sauce

Storage Instructions

If you have leftover red chili sauce, you can preserve it for later use.

To Store: Transfer the sauce to a Mason jar and keep it in the fridge for up to 10 days. 

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To Freeze: To extend the shelf life of the sauce for up to one year, you can also freeze it in quart-sized baggies.

To Reheat: Thaw the sauce in the refrigerator and then heat it on the stove or in the microwave.

Red Chili Sauce (Mexican Recipe)





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This red chili sauce is the perfect thing to jazz up your meals! Made with red chili peppers, seasoning, and spices, it’s a wonderful addition to Mexican recipes.


  • 15 large dried chili peppers (such as Anaheim, New Mexico, California, or pasilla)

  • 4-5 garlic cloves

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil or melted shortening


  • Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chili peppers.
  • Place the peppers on a baking sheet and roast them in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 2-5 minutes or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
  • Soak the peppers in hot water for 30 minutes or until cool.
  • In a blender, combine the peppers and 2 and 1/2 cups of the soaking water, garlic, cumin, and salt. Blend until smooth.
  • In a saucepan, stir the flour into the oil or melted shortening over medium heat until browned.
  • Carefully stir in the blended chili mixture and simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Add up to 1 cup of the remaining soaking water to reach your desired consistency if the sauce becomes too thick.
  • Pour the sauce over tamales or your favorite Mexican dish, and enjoy!
Red Chili Sauce

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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