Red Chile Sauce

Authentic Red Chile Sauce made entirely from scratch is a thing of beauty — you can’t get anything like this out of a can!

I’ve been cooking and sharing from Meagan Micozzi’s cookbook The New Southwest for a couple of weeks now, and today marks my last post in the series. Sad, I know, but when you get to the bottom of the post you can enter to win a free copy of the book and continue exploring it on your own. For this last recipe I chose something I’ve wanted to tackle for a while now, and thankfully Meagan’s book gave me the perfect excuse. Red Chile Sauce is the very life-blood of Southwestern cooking; you can’t really pretend to know the cuisine until you’ve made this staple sauce from scratch. The process that transforms dry leathery peppers into a smooth rich sauce is multi-stepped, but simple, and so satisfying.


In the end you’re left with an authentic sauce that is itself the starting point for an endless list of traditional dishes, like enchiladas, tamales, chili, huevos rancheros… I’m looking forward to having a few jars in the freezer this winter.


Meagan calls for New Mexican or California dried chilies in the recipe. If you can’t find them in your grocery store, be sure to ask, they often stash them in out of the way spots. You can always buy them online, too. They keep forever, so I suggest stocking up for future sauce making. I used the California chiles, which are a little less hot than the New Mexico variety. My sauce had a perfect hint of heat, not overwhelming at all.


The additional flavors in this sauce, like the recipe itself, are simple. Roasted garlic, a few classic Southwestern herbs like cumin, coriander and oregano, and some salt. I added my own kick with a touch of sherry vinegar at the very end to satisfy my taste for a little tang in my sauce. I think it brought it to life.


I’ve really enjoyed cooking from The New Southwest these past few weeks. In this vibrant collection of recipes Meagan celebrates the culinary melting pot of “Native American, Mexican, Tex-Mex, and classic Americana”, a cuisine which she says is one of the most varied and inclusive she’s ever known. She takes it on from the fresh perspective of an outsider,  and, while respecting it, gives it playful nudges with recipes like Peanut Butter and Jelly Empanadas Coffee Rubbed Lamb Chops, and Caramel Soaked Mexican Pancakes. But there are plenty of classics in the collection, too, like my chile sauce, so you definitely get a dose of tradition along with the playfulness.


I think one of the qualities that sets The New Southwest apart is that it’s approachable on so many levels, from the recipes, to the photos, and even Meagan’s cheerful writing style. I don’t feel like I’m being ‘taught’, as much as I’m being included in an exciting journey. None of the recipes are complex, and for me that is key. When I leaf through a cookbook with elaborate recipes, no matter how fabulous they look,  my eyes glaze over…this one makes me want to dive right in. I highly recommend the book, I’ll bet you don’t have anything like it on your shelf!

2.95 from 19 votes

Red Chile Sauce

Yield 4 cups
Author Sue Moran


  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
  • salt
  • 8 ounces dried New Mexico or California red chile pods stemmed and seeded
  • 5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground oregano preferably Mexican
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper


  • Set the oven to 350F
  • Peel and toss the garlic cloves with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Wrap them in foil and roast for 30 minutes. The cloves will be softened and fragrant. Place the cloves in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the blade attachment,
  • Put the chile pods in a large heavy bottomed stockpot. Heat the pot over a medium flame and stir the chiles until they start to toast and release their aroma. This will take about 2-4 minutes, but watch carefully, they burn easily. Stir continuously.
  • Fill the pot with water, and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally so all the chiles get submerged, and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chilies, but reserve 5 cups of the cooking water.
  • Working in 2 batches, puree the chiles along with the garlic cloves. Run the machine until the chiles are ground down to a smooth, thick paste, and stop to scrape down the sides of the machine if necessary. Process in the reserved liquid and run until smooth. Again, you will need to do this in batches so your machine doesn't overflow.
  • Strain the sauce through mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Be sure to push the sauce through with the back of a spoon to get all the liquid through. Discard the solids.
  • Set the same pan over medium heat add 5 tablespoons of oil, and then add the flour, stirring until it forms a paste. Add in the spices, and stir continuously until smooth.
  • Whisk in the chile mixture, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
  • Cool the sauce and then store in tightly closed containers in the refrigerator.

notes and variations

This recipe is from The New Southwest
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


Now for some fun news — I’m excited to tell you that Hippocrene Books is giving away free copies to 14 lucky readers! Just leave a comment at the end of this post, and follow the instructions below  for more ways to enter. Are you feeling lucky? I hope so!



 Enter to win a copy of The New Southwest!

1. Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this blog post letting me know what your favorite Southwestern dish is.
2. Tons of optional entries in rafflecopter widget.

Hippocrene will be supplying 14 copies of The New Southwest by Meagan Micozzi for this giveaway, in conjunction with The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight. Contest is open to anybody with a shipping address in the USA. Submissions will be accepted via the rafflecopter widget through 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, November 3, 2013. Fourteen winners will be chosen by random draw, verified, and be notified by email (from Heather at girlichef) within 48 hours of the close of this contest. The winner should respond within 24 hours of notification, or a new winner will be drawn in their place. Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


I was sent a free copy of The New Southwest, but all opinions are my own.





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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    August 26, 2016 at 7:29 am

    SW cooking rocks my boat! Drat, I have too many favorite dishes to pick just one… just like favorite cookbooks. Winning a copy of TNS would be a treat, but your posts have convinced me I NEED to purchase a copy and cook my way through the recipes.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2016 at 12:02 am

    Real cornmeal tamales!
    Mexican is my favorite..thanks for the recipe..I am pinning.
    I am so fortunate to have the best Latin/Mexican market 10 minutes from me..of all places Florida!
    Thanks. I hope to win! ???????

    • Reply
      August 26, 2016 at 7:31 am

      The giveaway has ended Vickie, sorry! But I hope you try this sauce, especially if you have such a great market nearby. We have lots of them here in LA, too. And I agree, tamles are sooooo good.

      • Reply
        August 27, 2016 at 10:15 pm

        So it has. Haha. Oh well.
        I will make it. I pinned the recipe. I will put the cookbook on my list to purchase too.
        Thanks for the information on the cookbook and the recipe too.

        • Reply
          August 28, 2016 at 7:46 am

          You’re so welcome <3

  • Reply
    August 25, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    I’d love to try this, though I’d try to leave the flour out. Many thanks.

  • Reply
    August 14, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    I am new to the green chilli, and her sister the red chili. We seem to be addicted to it. We would love a cookbook to try the yummy things in it. Thank you for doing a cookbook. We love all enchiladas .

  • Reply
    Carole Eidsvoog
    August 18, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I love chile verde, especially made with Hatch chilies!

    • Reply
      August 18, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      I just bought a whole new bag of hatch chiles at the farmers market, and I’m having fun figuring out what to do next!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Does mole count? And anything with guacamole, of course.

  • Reply
    J Ogden
    November 3, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    LOVE Pasole.. this is the main course every Christmas Eve and makes for a special meal year after year..with tamales on the side, of course 🙂

  • Reply
    November 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I’ve had a string of New Mexico chilies hanging in my house from a road trip to the southwest, and this sauce would be great with Carne Adovada!

  • Reply
    Susanna meetze
    November 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Your sauce looks great! I’ll have to try it too.

  • Reply
    Morgen mayeda
    November 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Chicken tortilla soup or cheese enchiladas! Yum!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Authentic Chili Rellenos, refried beans, and mexican rice! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Enchiladas anyway, anytime, anywhere!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Chicken tortilla soup.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I would love to have this cookbook.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Tamales and enchiladas!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Since we are planning to move to the SW in the near future, this would be a great welcome.

  • Reply
    Anna Prewitt
    November 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Sour cream enchilada , Spanish Rice

  • Reply
    Susie P.
    November 3, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Homemade chips and salsa! Love thin and crispy tortilla chips.

  • Reply
    Jennifer M
    November 2, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Any kind of taco on a corn tortilla with avocado!

  • Reply
    faleen fedol
    November 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I make some delicious veggie patties with black beans, corn and onion, among other ingredients. Then i lightly fry them in a bit of olive oil until crispy on the edges and cooked thru and serve them on a toasted onion roll with some melted Monterey Jack on them and some pineapple salsa.

  • Reply
    November 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm


  • Reply
    Elisabeth Steadman
    November 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    My favorite of all time is probably chiles rellenos. Yum. But I can’t eat those any more!

    I do love enchiladas, too. I just made a huge batch from scratch, just like yours, for a Halloween party. But my sauce always turns out MUCH darker even though I use the same chiles. I wonder why?

    The sauce freezes beautifully, and so do pans of the enchiladas. Great to have on hand.

    • Reply
      November 1, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      I was really surprised by the bright red, myself, since the dried chiles are very dark. Mine turned brighter red after they were cooked in the water.

  • Reply
    Julie Webber
    November 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Mole Poblano!!

  • Reply
    November 1, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Enchiladas have always been my favorite Mexican dish. I’m going to try this one this week!
    Thanks for the lovely postings and pictures. Keep up the good work.

  • Reply
    J Oldroyd
    November 1, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Sometimes I just have a real craving for good enchilidas. This sauce recipe sounds awesome.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Red chili chicken enchiladas, with fresh sopapillas and flan for dessert!

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

    My daughter and I made tamales a couple weeks ago, SO good! I make a pretty mean pozole as well.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    October 30, 2013 at 9:36 am

    My favorite – Quesadillas!

  • Reply
    October 30, 2013 at 4:04 am

    Homemade refried beans!

  • Reply
    Kris H
    October 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm


  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Carne Adovada

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Honestly, I don’t have a favorite Southwestern dish. I don’t anything about that cuisine…which is exactly why I need to add this book to my collection!! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    stacked enchiladas and a wonderful chile sauce I had in Denver

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Isn’t it amazing how we sometimes overlook the simplest of recipes like this one? It will be very inspiring to have a few jars of this red chile sauce stored up for future recipes. You will be able to create all kinds of masterpieces with this sauce 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristie P
    October 29, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Can’t wait to make this! My favorite are chile rellenos with real green chiles. So so good!

  • Reply
    sott kennedy
    October 29, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I have tried many of your recipes and can`t wait to try this one. thank you so much

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I love enchiladas, and this book looks fabulous!

  • Reply
    gina lovejoy
    October 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

    my all time favorite tamales. Oh love them love them

  • Reply
    [email protected] is How I Cook
    October 29, 2013 at 10:50 am

    For me, it is cheese enchiladas sprinkled with chopped white onion. That way the red or green chile is the star. And i love both!

  • Reply
    Barbara Bradford
    October 29, 2013 at 10:49 am

    My so far, all-time favorite is Rancheros Huevos. I am thinking your red sauce would be perfect to add a bit of heat. Thank you for the recipe

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I love anything with chili sauce-especially breakfast dishes.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Fish tacos Baja style! Thanks for the great recipes and beautiful photos, I am always looking forward to your next post!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann carlson
    October 29, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Can’t wait to try this sauce! Thanks.

  • Reply
    Stephanie Corrales
    October 29, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Having travelled to Arizona & New Mexico I have come to appreciate their LOVE of Chiles – Red and/or Green – with Hatch Chiles being one of the main staples in Southwest cuisine. I love the mix of cultures – Indigenous Pueblo, Spanish, & Cowboy – that influence SW Cooking; it’s hearty, homey, complete comfort food at it’s simplest & finest. Definitely food that warms the heart & soul…not to mention leaves this Californian craving more! Whatever you do, please don’t ask me to choose Red or Green because I’ll always say CHRISTMAS! Some may think I’m a glutton for punishment because you never know how hot the Chile is going to be until you eat it. Oh drat! Now I’m craving a sopapilla stuffed with Chile Verde, Jack Cheese, lettuce/tomato for lunch LOL!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 9:46 am

    My very favorite recipe from your site is the Green Tabasco Martini, followed closely by your Chile Verde with Chicken. I took the martini a step further by infusing vodka with cucumbers. Yummy.

    • Reply
      October 29, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Wow Phyllis, I’m going to have to try that!

      • Reply
        October 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

        I used 2-3 small unpeeled Armenian cucumbers from Trader Joes chopped in 1/4″ pieces. Put into a clean glass jar and added 1 750 bottle Ketel One vodka. Covered and put in a closet for 4 days. Strain back into original bottle, but save the pieces to use in the martini. You can use any vodka of choice. Thanks so much for that recipe and your entire site. Love it.

  • Reply
    Pam Capone
    October 29, 2013 at 9:36 am

    It’s between Migas and Stacked Chicken Enchiladas

  • Reply
    Jan R
    October 29, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I LOVE nachos…

  • Reply
    Jenny Hartin
    October 29, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Anything with corn.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 9:23 am

    The sauce looks absolutely amazing!

    and your photos so beautiful!

  • Reply
    Sherry Libby
    October 29, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Chile Rellano’s are my favorite.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I can always go for enchiladas and am glad to see a red sauce that can be made in a larger batch to make popping a can open less likely to happen. That stuff is horrible. I have whirred tomatoes in a blender with other flavorings in lieu of the dreaded can but this stocked freezer approach is even quicker.
    Thanks for the book winning opportunity.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I LOVE anything southwest! I shake cayenne pepper into my hot or cold chocolate, and on just about everything I eat. Green Chili Tabasco? Yum!! This is one I’m going to try with my own dried chilies (to start out.)

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 4:52 am

    It looks like this is much more “do-able” than I would have thought! Wondering if this is a spicy version of the sauce or not.

    • Reply
      October 29, 2013 at 4:53 am

      and…. I love home made refried beans more than anything in the world!

      • Reply
        October 29, 2013 at 8:25 am

        This was totally doable, in fact I can see that once you make it, you can almost do it by eye the n
        ext time. And no, this wasn’t spicy, but I think chiles vary in their amount of heat, even among ones of the same variety, so you never know for sure what you’re going to get. I used California chiles, which are supposed to be fairly moderate in heat.

  • Reply
    October 29, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Chicken Enchiladas!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Migas! Although everything you have shown is fabulous.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    October 28, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I love the versatility of this sauce, it would be wonderful on enchiladas!

  • Reply
    Kiran @
    October 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    Divine! I love a good homemade sauce 🙂

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    It is hard to choose one favorite. So….. my three favorites are enchiladas, fajitas and guacamole. I really enjoy your posts. Thank you!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I love chimachangas, salsa, lots of cilantro on my food.

  • Reply
    Ouida Lampert
    October 28, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Yum, carnitas!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Love your red chile sauce – would also love the cookbook!
    Mary x

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Guacamole. Yum. I can eat it plain, on top of my enchiladas, in my burrito, with my chips. Muy bueno.

  • Reply
    Alison Arsenault
    October 28, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I am still trying out different recipes so I cannot say what is my favorite although I really enjoy Chicken Quesadillas

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Anything with Hatch chilies! I used to live near the 4 corners and the chili roasters would be outside the grocery store at this time of year. Loved the smell. I am making Chicken chili right now with Hatch chilies!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Chile rellenos casserole is my favorite Southwest dish! And the cookbook sounds fantastic, thanks!

  • Reply
    Cynthia bell
    October 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    The sauce looks delicious

  • Reply
    Cynthia bell
    October 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I love southwest cooking. I am from Texas this sauce looks delicious

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Oh, that sauce is SO gorgeous! I do love the many incarnations of enchiladas out there but have had poor luck making my own red sauce. Your photos and that ingredient list make me want to try again though. 😀

    • Reply
      October 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      It was super easy, Kelly, and much thicker and richer than the canned stuff.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    What a BEAUTIFUL post! I could drink that sauce. My favorite would be chorizo (homemade, of course) and eggs with fresh flour tortillas!

  • Reply
    Heather // girlichef
    October 28, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Oh man, I could use a few jars of that beautiful brick red sauce in my fridge! I’m so happy that you joined in The New Southwest Cookbook Spotlight, Sue :).

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 11:43 am

    favorite SW dish has got to be carne adovada made with fresh new mexican red chilie……

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 11:30 am

    My favorite southwestern dish is Choriza and Shrimp Quesadillas.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Enchiladas. thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Gotta be tamales!

  • Reply
    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes
    October 28, 2013 at 11:04 am

    What a beautiful, beautiful post, Sue! I am so thrilled that you chose to try this red chile sauce recipe – the flavor is one of my favorites and I love having it on hand, as you mentioned, to spice up meals of just about any variety. I am so thrilled that you enjoyed TNS, Sue, and was especially pleased to read your comments about the recipes being approachable. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Sue! I hope you continue to enjoy The New Southwest!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 10:58 am

    The book looks great! I am pretty partial to enchiladas. And churros!

  • Reply
    Jessica Erwin
    October 28, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I love enchiladas. I would love to win a copy of this cookbook!

  • Reply
    karen marie
    October 28, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Pick me! I’m a huge fan of SW cookery. Last night my brother made a delicious green chili sauce which we had on chicken enchiladas. I love enchiladas for their saucy, cheesy goodness.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 10:27 am

    That sauce looks terrific. I am really getting interested in this cookbook. I have read some about it.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2013 at 10:16 am

    My favorite is Migas… breakfast, lunch or dinner

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