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Mexican Red Chile Sauce
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4 from 1 vote

Authentic Mexican Red Chile Sauce

Ancho chile peppers are the dried version of the poblano, while Pasilla chile peppers are the dried version of the chilaca pepper. Both are similar, yet different. They are often times mislabeled in many grocery stores.
Course Condiment
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword ancho, chile, pasilla peppers, red chile, sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Sheryl


  • 4 dried chiles 2 Ancho + 2 New Mexico or a combination of both
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
  • water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Optional (See Notes Below)

  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon


  • Remove the stem of each dried chile. Shake out as many of the seeds as possible. (Make sure you are wearing gloves, and avoid touching your eyes/face).
  • Heat your skillet on medium heat. Place your dried chiles on the skillet, pressing them down to toast them slightly on each side (10-15 seconds). You don't want to burn them or it will result in bitter sauce.
  • Add your chiles to a small saucepan, add water (just enough to cover). Bring to a boil, turn off the heat. Allow them to sit for up to 10 minutes to rehydrate.
  • Remove the chiles from the soaking water and place them in a blender. Add just under two cups of the soaking liquid. (If your soaking liquid is bitter then discard and add regular water).
  • Puree for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a skillet with the olive oil. Bring the sauce to a low simmer, add your salt, and any additional optional ingredients.
  • Brown sugar will tone down the spice, while cocoa/cacao will compliment the spicy sauce. Consider adding a pinch of any of the optional ingredients or more based on your preference.
  • Skim off the foam as the sauce simmers, then remove from the heat and store in a glass jar. Refrigerate and use within one week.


Feel free to make the following changes to remove any bitterness:
  • Using a tsp of chicken bouillon to the chiles as they simmer in the water (before being pureed)
Adding a 1/4-tsp of any of the following:
  • brown sugar
  • cacao powder
  • cumin
  • sugar
  • honey
  • ground whole cloves
  • cinnamon
  • tomato paste
Add ingredients based on your preference.