Red Chile Sauce

Red chile sauce is a spicy Mexican sauce most commonly served with enchiladas and chiles rellenos.

Yield: about 1½ cups

Time: 15 minutes


  • medium saucepan
  • wooden spoon


  • 1 T corn or vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large chipotle chile or ancho chile, minced
  • 1 T adobo sauce
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t coriander, ground
  • ½ t dried oregano
  • 1 c tomato sauce
  • ¾ c water
  • 1 T lime juice
  • salt


Heat oil over medium heat, add onion, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chile, adobo sauce, and spices and cook another minute.

Add tomato sauce and water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 5 minutes. Add lime juice and a bit of salt, taste, and adjust seasonings.

Optional: for a perfectly smooth sauce, let it cool slightly then blend with an immersion blender.

Use now or let cool, place in airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.


Vegetarian cookbookAdapted from Jack Bishop’s A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen: Easy seasonal dishes for family and friends.

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Red chile sauce