New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

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New Mexico Red Chile Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The KitchenFor years, I avoided red sauce with my Mexican foods. I was certain I just didn’t like it. In a pinch, I would use a store-bought red sauce, but I typically stuck with my favorite green chile in place of red.

While visiting my sister in New Mexico, she gave me red sauce from her freezer to use in the enchiladas that we were making. That was when I discovered the difference between a homemade sauce and a canned version.

This sauce is incredibly flavorful with as much heat as you desire; just purchase mild, medium or hot dried chile pods.

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As soon as we unpacked and settled back home, I called her for the recipe. Making red chile sauce was much simpler than I expected. I’ll definitely double this recipe next time I make it. I love being able to freeze it and keep it on hand for future meals as well.

New Mexico Red Chile Sauce recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen


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NM Red Chile Sauce

New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

5 from 4 votes
Recipe adapted from and with thanks to MJ's Kitchen
Servings: 6 servings


  • 40 dried red chile pods
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves I use Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Optional: plastic gloves


  • Over a large mixing bowl, break the stems off the pods and shake out the seeds. Break the pods into smaller pieces and drop the pieces into a waiting strainer. Once all the pods are broken, rinse with water and then place in a large pot. Add the water, the onion, garlic, oregano and salt.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10-20 minutes, until the pods are softened. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes. Puree using an immersion blender, a food processor or a blender. If you are using a blender, puree in batches, until the consistency is smooth. Transfer to a waiting bowl and puree the next batch.
  • For a smoother texture, blend the sauce again after it sits for half an hour or so. As an alternative, you can press the sauce through a sieve for the smoothest texture possible. If I am using the sauce immediately, for enchiladas or burritos, I don't bother with the sieve. If I am freezing it for use as a topping or for an undecided future use, the sieve is my preferred option. It takes a little longer, but it is worth the effort.
  • Divide into 1-2 cup portions and freeze what you won't be using in the next few days. Enjoy!
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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Betty says

    I was taught to make a rou while my chili was blending then add the chili and seasoning and simmer it until the foam cooked off. That’s how you could tell when the chili was done.

    • Mary Younkin says

      That’s interesting. I’ve watched a friend make their chile sauce using flour once before, but I’ve never done it that way myself. Isn’t it neat how many different methods there are for making our favorite foods, Betty?

  2. Sherri Rowell says

    My granddaughter and I made your hearty Italian beef soup yesterday and it was AMAZING 👍🏻 I have we have been cooking together once or twice a week and I have been looking for someone to follow for all our cooking , you might be the one 😊
    I want to make my own MILD red chili sauce Your recipe says 40 red chili’s , what kind ? How can I make this MILD! ? Are California chili’s mild ? Or can you recommend a SUPER MILD way to make this ?

    Thank You. Sherri

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Sherri, I’m so happy to hear that you’re enjoying the recipes. The heat in the chili sauce honestly depends on the peppers themselves. I typically just use less sauce if it’s spicier than I’d planned. That said, this is not an exceptionally hot sauce when made with the dried peppers. I buy the bag of dried red chili peppers that can usually be found in Walmart. I hope that helps!

  3. mjskitchen says

    Interesting that I just now got a ping for this recipe! What a yummy looking red chile!!! Can’t get enough of it can we? 🙂 Thanks so much for the shout out.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      That’s so weird. I’m guessing that a recent server move triggered the pings, MJ. This was so many years ago but I’ve seen alerts for many come through today.

  4. Glen Spencer says

    Hello Mary my name is Glenn thank you for putting that recipe out there I’m going to be making some chili here not sure what day tomorrow Thursday or Friday anyway I’m going to be using two cups of beans and 2 lb of hamburger and I’m wondering how many chili pods would I use to make the chili sauce because I’m guessing chili sauce and enchilada sauce are the same thing?Thank you5 stars