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Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

Make your tacos, quesadillas, and burritos complete with Taco Bell Diablo sauce!

Finally, you can stop hoarding all those extra packets. After testing dozens of recipes, I found THE ONE so you can skip the drive-thru.

Homemade Taco Bell Diablo Sauce
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Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

Taco Bell offers a variety of hot sauces, but Diablo is my poison of choice.

It’s the hottest one the fast-food chain offers. But it’s still tolerable, which is why I like it.

The secret to this unique blend are the peppers. It calls for aji panca paste, chipotle peppers, red pepper jalapeno powder, and more.

There’s no need to wait a week for the sauce to ferment, either. It comes together in 15 minutes. 

So forget the line and keep a big batch on hand all the time!


The key to creating this copycat Taco Bell recipe is using the right peppers and flavorings.

Here’s the list of everything you need:

  • Tomato Paste – The base of the sauce.
  • Vinegar – Just half a cup, to add a mild tanginess to the sauce.
  • Sugar – A little sweetness to offset the spiciness.
  • Aji Panca Paste –  A dark, smoky, and fruity pepper paste from Peru. 
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, Red Pepper Jalapeno Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, and Dried Chilies – This medley of pepper flavors yields that perfect diablo blend. 
  • Garlic and Onion Powders – For flavor.

Tips for the Best Sauce

Here are some tricks I’ve learned when making this sauce:

  • Don’t leave the sauce unattended. Give it a good stir now and then to prevent it from being too lumpy. It only takes 15 minutes to simmer the sauce. So don’t worry, you won’t have to stand in front of the stove that long.
  • Thin if too thick. If the sauce is too thick, just add a bit of water until it reaches your desired consistency. You can do so while simmering or straining the sauce.
  • Shop for ingredients online. Some ingredients, such as the aji panca sauce, may be hard to source. Don’t worry, you can get them from Amazon.
  • Choose your level of spice. Just mix up the peppers. For a mild sauce, use green bell peppers, jalapenos, and poblanos. For a moderately spicy sauce, use cayenne peppers, red bell peppers, and red jalapenos.
  • Wear gloves. Whichever pepper you choose, be sure to wear gloves when handling them. That way, you avoid painful pepper burns. Also, do not touch your eyes while doing so! Wash your hands well after, too.
  • Freshen up the flavor. Throw in a bit of coriander or a splash of lime juice.
  • Make it creamy. If you want a creamier sauce, add sour cream to the mix. For a lower calorie option, use Greek yogurt.

The World’s Hottest Pepper

Any guesses? If you think it’s the ghost pepper, you are mistaken!

The world’s hottest pepper is the aptly named Carolina Reaper, with a whopping 2 million Scoville heat units. 

It’s so hot that you’ll need to pair it with something sweet, such as peaches or mangoes, to balance it out and make it tolerable.

Homemade Taco Bell Diablo Sauce in a Small Container

What Can I Use This Sauce On?

Whether it’s sweet or savory, you can pretty much use this sauce on any dish you want to add heat to.

Whether it’s burgers and quesadillas, ramen and pasta, or cookies and ice cream, this diablo sauce will add a nice kick to your dinner or dessert.

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What Type of Vinegar Is Best?

Vinegar is an essential ingredient in making hot sauce. Its acidity balances out the heat from the peppers, creating a well-balanced flavor. 

Also, it gives the hot sauce an impressive shelf-life: I’m talking 4 weeks! Thanks to vinegar, you can whip up a large batch of hot sauce and not worry about it going bad.

For the best-tasting hot sauce, use either white distilled or apple cider vinegar.

I’m partial to apple cider because it adds a mild fruity flavor to the hot sauce, but either one works well.

How to Store

What I love about Taco Bell Diablo sauce is that it has a long shelf life. Store it in the fridge and you can enjoy it all month long!

To Store: Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate. Diablo sauce keeps well for up to a month in the fridge.

To Freeze: Pour sauce into freezer-safe bags and lay them flat in the freezer. Frozen diablo sauce will keep well for up to 3 months.

To Thaw: Transfer the frozen sauce into the fridge until liquid.

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce


  • 1 (16-oz) can tomato paste

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/2 cup vinegar

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons Aji Panca paste

  • 2 tablespoons Chipotle Peppers in Adobo

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 2 tablespoons smoked red pepper jalapeno powder

  • 3 tablespoons red pepper flakes

  • 15 dried chilies


  • Stir the tomato paste, water, and vinegar in a large pot over medium heat. Mix in the sugar, Aji Panca paste, chipotle peppers, garlic powder, onion powder, jalapeno powder, red pepper flakes, and chilies. Let the mixture come to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
  • Pour the sauce through a mesh sieve to rid of lumps and seeds. Pour a bit of water as you strain if the sauce is too thick. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 4 weeks.
Taco Bell Diablo 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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