New Mexico Red Chili Sauce Recipe

Red Chili Sauce Recipe

How to Make a New Mexico Red Chili Sauce (Enchilada Sauce)

This all-purpose Mexican chili sauce, also commonly called enchilada sauce, can be used in almost any Mexican-inspired dish requiring red sauce, from enchiladas to tacos. Yes, you can purchase this at most supermarkets or Mexican markets or order on line, but what fun is that.

Homemade Mexican Red Chili Sauce Is Better Than Canned

Just like most sauce you make at home, they are going to be more tasty, more authentic and complement a meal better than a commercial sauce from a jar or can. I’m not saying you shouldn’t serve commercial sauces if you don’t want to make them from scratch, but the differences are vastly noticeable.

Best Served With:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Beans

Red New Mexico Chilies

New Mexico Chili Pepper

Image from Spice Specialist

The recipe calls for red New Mexico chilies. According to Wikipedia, New Mexico chilies possess an “earthy, sweet flavor with hints of acidity, grassiness, and dried cherry undertones”.  Another name for this pepper is New Mexican chili pepper.

They have a hint of sweet dried cherry and are considered mild compared to a jalapeno pepper with a Scoville rating of between 800 and 1,400 Scoville heat units. Then there are Hatch chilies that is a New Mexico chili but from the Hatch Valley near Hatch, New Mexico.

Chili Substitutes

Although this recipe features red New Mexico chilies, don’t let that stop you from trying other varieties of chilies. There are approximately 4,000 different varieties of chilies so you’ll have a lot to choose from. I’d suggest you pick your chili variety based on the amount of heat you want this sauce to have.

I suppose if you want this New Mexico Red Chili Sauce to be authentic, you should use peppers from New Mexico. Saying that, I don’t think it matters if you use a chili from California or some other region of the country.

New Mexico Red Chili Sauce

A great sauce for all your Mexican dishes

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time10 mins

Total Time20 mins

Course: Sauces

Cuisine: Mexican

Keyword: sauce

Servings: 8 people


  • 10 dried red New Mexican chilies
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 cup Mexican beer or vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 cups water


  • Oven roast the chiles until slightly darkened and fragrant, turning once. Since the peppers are dry, this will not take long, so keep an eye (and nose) on them at all times. Let cool until you can handle them.

  • Cut off the stem ends of the chiles and pour out the dried seeds. Cut or tear the chiles into pieces and set aside in a small bowl.

  • Saute the chopped onions and garlic in the vegetable oil until translucent and just starting to color. Add the salt and cumin to taste.

  • Meanwhile, heat the beer or stock until just below a boil and pour over the chiles. Let soak until softened.

  • Add the chiles and liquid along with the onion mixture to your blender. Pulse until smooth. Be careful when blending hot mixtures.

  • Return the puree to a sauce pan, add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thick and well-reduced, about an hour.

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