Big thanks goes to The Hatch Chile Store for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own :0)
Living in New Mexico for 30+ years and gaining my culinary education here, let me share with you what I’ve learned about how to make the most delicious, authentic, Red Chile Sauce from dried chili (chile) pods.
Red chili pods are hand-picked when ripe, then dried by the sun to preserve them. Authentic Red Chile sauce is made when dried chili pods are re-hydrated in hot water or broth, blended in a blender until smooth, then cooked on a stovetop to further blend and deepen the flavor. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and used in all sorts of recipes, such as: Huevos Rancheros, Carne Adovada, Posole, Enchiladas, etc. Below I’ll share with you important tips and methods that I have learned over the years to streamline this recipe, and make it THE BEST recipe for Red Chile Sauce on the web!
Wondering how to make red chile sauce from chile powder? Click here for the instructions.
Just for reference, Chile with an “e”, is how we spell and reference chile peppers in NM, but I totally get that most of the world spells this word with an “i”. Not to be confused with “chili” the stew. (Texas invention.) Yes, it is actually QUITE confusing, but that’s just how it is. I will be using the New Mexican spelling “chile’’ in most of this article.
In order to create the most delicious and authentic Red Chile Sauce, sourcing high-quality chile pods is essential. Not all chili pods are created equal. That’s why I’ll never use anything but verified Hatch Chiles in my New Mexican cooking. The quality is fantastic, and there really is something special about the flavor of this natively grown chile!
How to make Red Chile Sauce from Dried Chile Pods
Once you have your bag of Hatch dried chili, begin to make your sauce by creating what I’ll call your “re-hydrating” broth. I enjoy complementing the natural flavor of the chile with onion, garlic, dried herbs and chicken bullion. I usually add these into the pot raw, but sometimes, if I feel like it, I’ll sauté the onion and garlic in a little bit of butter until golden brown before continuing with the recipe.
Adding depth of flavor is an important part of being a great cook, and I think it really makes my Red Chile Sauce stand out. Some in New Mexico are chile ‘purists’, and scoff at the thought of using anything but water and chili pods to make their sauce. That’s not me.
Measure out 4 ounces of dried chile pods. If you don’t have a food scale, this is roughly as many as will fit into a 4-cup measuring cup. Dried chili pods can still have quite a bit of capsaicin, the chemical that gives chiles their spicy-hot flavor. I strongly recommend wearing gloves whenever handling chiles. Rip the pods into smaller pieces over a large bowl, discarding the stems. I am a mild chile sauce person (I know I’m a wimp), and I dump a lot of the seeds out and discard them as well. If you like it hot, by all means leave the seeds in with your ripped chile pieces.
When your broth is at a simmer or low boil, stir in the ripped chiles. Cover and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. This simmering speeds up the process of the individual flavors of chile pepper, onion, herbs, etc. to meld together.
Separate by pouring the mixture through a strainer. SAVE THE BROTH. Why don’t I just pour the entire contents of the pot right into a blender? Because if you do that you’ll get chunks of chile in there that will never get blended properly, and you won’t get a completely smooth consistency. The trick here is to add just a small amount of liquid into the blender to keep the solids close to the blades, so that everything gets blended nice and smooth. Then just add broth as needed to thin out the sauce to your liking.
If you plan to serve your Red Chile Sauce right away, it should be cooked a little further on the stove. Why? Because it will taste better; the heat speeds up the process of deepening the flavor notes of this sauce. Feel free to use the same pot as for the broth (why dirty yet another pot or pan???) I used a pan in the pic below JUST so you could see it better :0)
You can totally skip this step if you’re in a hurry, especially if you’re going to cook the sauce again, as in enchiladas. You can also skip it if you’re making your sauce a day ahead, as the flavors will naturally deepen as it sits in the fridge overnight.
There are so many uses for this sauce– smothering your morning eggs, or a burrito, spicing up a soft taco, the flavor base for Pork Posole, and my personal favorite, Red Chile Pork Ribs. You can find more recipe ideas for Authentic Red Chile Sauce made with Dried Chili Pods in my cookbook, New Mexican Food Made Easy. Available in bookstores, libraries and Amazon.
I am just in love with this deep-red color! You’ve just gotta spice up your life with a little Red Chile Sauce now and then.
And don’t forget to order your Genuine Hatch Chile from The Hatch Chile store– the premier online resource for all Hatch chile products, fresh, frozen, dried, jarred; however you like it, they’ve got it!
I would be happy to chat with you about Authentic Red Chile Sauce made from dried chile pods, and how your Abuela made it, and your memories surrounding it. Experiencing delicious food is about making life memories with the people you love. Please rate the recipe and share a comment below, it always helps The Goldilocks Kitchen to continue to bring you the best recipes on the web!
Did you know I have a full-color cookbook with lots more easy and delicious New Mexican recipes? You can learn more about it here!
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Did you know I have a full-color cookbook with lots more easy and delicious New Mexican recipes? You can learn more about it here!Print
Authentic Red Chile Sauce from Dried Chili Pods
- Total Time: 17 minute
- Yield: 8–10 servings 1x
The real, authentic recipe for making traditional Red Chile (chili) Sauce from dried chili pods. The flavor is deeper and less bitter in this sauce than red chile made from chili powder. No matter how you spell it, this spicy condiment is the life blood of New Mexico, and in antiquity was made with chile pods plucked from hanging ristras. This sauce provides the base for many traditional dishes such as Huevos Rancheros, Enchiladas, and Carne Adovada. As we always ask- “Red or Green?”
Rating this recipe below in the comments is like giving it a thumbs up for the Google Algorithm. Thanks for your support!
- 3 cups water
- 2 teaspoons dried Mexican Oregano
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- pinch of ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder (or one cube)
- 4 ounces dried Hatch Red Chile pods
- 1 tablespoon honey
- In a medium saucepan, add 3 cups water, oregano, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt and bouillon. Bring to a low boil.
- While the water mixture is heating, put on some gloves and rip dried chile pods apart into 1-inch pieces, discarding the stems and dumping out excess seeds. (If you like it spicier, leave the seeds in.) When water mixture comes to a boil, stir in chile pieces and cover. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the chile-broth mixture from heat and carefully pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a 4-cup measuring cup or mixing bowl. Set broth aside; do not discard.
- Place all solids into a blender. Add 1 cup of strained broth and the honey. Blend for about 1 minute, or until the sauce is pureed and very thick. Blend in 1 additional cup of broth and taste. Adjust the sauce to taste and desired consistency by adding more broth, salt etc.
- If you plan to use the sauce immediately: pour into a large saucepan set over medium-low heat. Heat the Red Chile Sauce, stirring often, until it comes to a slow, gloppy boil. Cook for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let it cool until safe enough to handle.
- If you plan to use it later: you can skip step 5 and store the sauce in airtight containers placed in the refrigerator. Sauce can be stored for up to 4 days.
Some from NM are what I would call “chile purist” and simply use water and dried Hatch chiles to make this sauce. If you would like to try it this way, simply follow the recipe with water and dried chiles.
Curious about steps 5 and 6? The flavors of this sauce will slowly meld and deepen simply on its own, and the heat level will slightly increase as well over time. (I’m talking in terms of hours.) You can speed up this chemical process by adding heat if you desire to serve the sauce immediately. I personally like to make it ahead and save myself the extra step :0)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
- Category: Sauce
- Method: blender
- Cuisine: New Mexican
Keywords: Dried Chili Pods, Dried chile pods, Red chile, Red chile sauce, Hatch chile, Hatch green chile, Hatch green chili, chili sauce, chile sauce
I will surely gonna try this. I am from India we make many kind of red chilli sauce. This recipe is mouth watering, thanks for sharing.
Smoky, delicious. Doesn’t need the bouillon cube if you want to trim the sodium, since there’s plenty of flavor from everything else!
Marie Fullerton says
Excellent recipe! I left out the honey. Didn’t see a need for it, and didn’t want any kind of sweet after-taste. I simmered the chilis for 30 minutes instead of 10. Under-cooking guarantees there will be pieces of tough skin in the mixture that are almost impossible to get out. Got that tip from a friend who was raised in Mexico, and grew up making chili with her mother and grandmother.
Anushka Singh says
It’s useful information’s for me. i can try it on specials birthday
authentic red enchilada sauce this recipe was amazing ….
Thank you Jason! Glad you were amazed :0)
Adding coriander, cumin, and honey is not the authentic way of making Northern New Mexico hatch red chile. No es bueno!
Hi Shelina, thanks for your comment. I do mention in the article above that if you are a chile purist, to simply use water and chiles. However, I’ve had several friends and family (all fellow New Mexicans) say “muy deliciosa!”. This is the way I was taught to make chile sauce. :0)