Preparing a ranchero sauce that’s thick and rich enough to cradle an egg makes this an easy way to make huevos rancheros. Tomato based and full of fresh chopped vegetables, eggs never had it so good.
Where Did I Learn To Make This Recipe?
This recipe for Ranchero Sauce comes from a very old Mexican Cookbook I purchased nearly 40 years ago at a garage sale. Chock full of recipes from moms south of the border, some of our favorite authentic Mexican recipes have come from this book.
One of my big take-aways from this book is this easy recipe for how to make the best rancheros sauce for huevos rancheros. A classic Mexican Breakfast where eggs are served with a tortilla and salsa = Ranch Eggs.
Most huevos rancheros recipes you’ll find the eggs are fried and then served with warmed or fried corn tortillas. For this hands-off version, the process becomes easier as the eggs are tucked into this chunky thick luscious rancheros sauce and baked. An easy version to a classic recipe.
What is Rancheros Sauce?
Ranchero sauce is a flavorful tomato and vegetable based sauce seasoned with your favorite Mexican spices. Its most popular use is as a base for Huevos Rancheros.
When you make ranchero sauce, you’re basically making a Mexican sofrito. A tomato based sauce that seasoned with all of your favorite fresh veggies. Just like a sofrito to make the Spanish dish, Paella.
This ranchero sauce starts with a sauté of sweet orange bell pepper, sweet onion, garlic and Poblano chiles in olive oil until soft and almost caramelized.
Cumin and Mexican Oregano are added to spice things up. Chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and water are stirred in for a gentle simmer.
You end up with an incredibly flavored sweet and savory thick sauce to create wells to house the eggs.
Which makes things super easy because it’s simply baked in the oven for a no-mess easy Huevos Rancheros recipe.
The end result is a little different than the Huevos Rancheros that you might find in a Tex-Mex style restaurant, as there’s no refried beans involved. And no fried eggs that require a juggling to be prepared all at the same time.
If you’ve been wanting to learn how to make rancheros sauce at home, I’d urge you to give this easy version a try.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Tomato Paste: Rich tomato paste may be my favorite pantry item of all times. It’s concentrated, it’s rich in flavor and adds nuance and body to this easy ranchero sauce.
- Orange Bell Pepper: I’ve chosen orange bell pepper for it’s sweetness and the color variation it adds to the overall appearance of the sauce.
- Cotija Cheese: Cotija is a Mexican crumbling cheese, dry in texture and salty in flavor. Its makes a great topping for any Mexican entree
- Diced Tomatoes: Any canned chopped tomatoes will work, but I choose Red Gold Brand because they are chopped smaller and will break down quicker to make any sauce. (I’ve received no compensation for mentioning this brand)
- Eggs: 4 large eggs.
- Spices and Seasonings: Cumin and Mexican Oregano. Go hand in hand to season so many Mexican entrees.
- Poblano Peppers: One of my favorite chile pepper varieties I use in Mexican recipes. Earthy, and similar in flavor to green bell peppers, Poblano peppers bring a kick of heat.
- Onion and Garlic: Sweet or yellow onion and fresh cloves of garlic.
- Cilantro: Optional, for garnish.
Pro-Tip: With it’s sticky texture, garlic can be a chore to chop. Try grating peeled garlic using a micro-plane zester, or thin slicing it with a Mandolin Slicer.
Ingredient Substitutions and Swaps
- Bell Pepper: Substitute a red or yellow bell pepper for the orange bell pepper. All of these are a sweeter variety of bell pepper than green bell peppers and will add color.
- Chile Pepper: If you want to bring more heat to the overall flavor, substitute Jalapeno Peppers for the poblano peppers. I would still devein and remove seeds to temper the heat a bit. Use 4 good sized jalapenos. Anaheim chile peppers are milder and can be used. And to make things even easier, use 2 4-ounce cans of chopped Hatch Chile peppers, which can easily be found on the Mexican food aisle at the grocery store.
- Oregano: Mexican oregano is preferred because of the lemon and citrus flavor it brings, which compliments almost any Mexican food recipe. If you don’t have it, substitute with marjoram, which carries a similar flavor profile.
- Tortillas: Rather than warm flour tortillas, heat some corn tortillas by wrapping them in a damp towel, placing them in a plastic bag. Don’t seal the bag and microwave them for about 3 minutes at 50% power. Serve the eggs and sauce over the corn tortillas rather than on the side. Using corn tortillas will also make this a more healthy huevos rancheros by reducing carbs.
- Cheese: Feta cheese is similar to Cotija, with just tangier flavor. It can be used in substitution for the Cotija.
- Chipotle: Trying adding a healthy teaspoon sauce from a can Chipotles in Adobo. This will add a lovely smoky flavor to the ranchero sauce.
- Fresh Tomatoes: If you’re smack dab in the middle of fresh tomato season, by all means use those beauties. You’ll need about 8 medium sized tomatoes. Just chop them and don’t forget to scrape all of that juice from the cutting boards into the recipe.
Step by Step Instructions, It’s Easy
Starting with fresh produce and adding the rich flavor of tomato, this ranchero sauce is a true treat. This is a chance to hone those knife skills. Try chopping the vegetables in even pieces. This will insure even cooking, a professional appearance, and pride in skill set.
- Step 1: Start making the easy ranchero sauce by chopping and sauteeing the vegetables in olive oil until tender.
- Step 2: Add the tomato paste and the chopped tomatoes.
- Step 3: Add the water (or stock). Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat and simmer until the sauce thickens into a lush gravy type consistency.
Step 4: Using a large spoon, or soup ladle, make wells in the sauce. Carefully break eggs into the wells.
Step 5: Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes or until eggs have cooked to desired doneness. Use a large serving spoon to scoop out individual portions to plates and voila! You have an easy huevos rancheros recipe for breakfast.
Ranchero Sauce FAQ’S
The instruction in this recipe call to bake these eggs for 10 – 15 minutes depending on the doneness you’re seeking. For soft yolk eggs, bake 10 – 12 minutes. For medium yolk eggs, cook for 15 minutes. For hard yolk eggs, cook for about 18 minutes.
Not in my books. Rancheros sauce is a thick luscious combination to tomato paste and sauce combined with copped vegetables, rather than blended vegetables. The result is much different than salsa that you’d serve with tortilla chips.
Even though both sauces are tomato based, Enchilada Sauce is a much thinner product traditionally made with tomato sauce, broth and seasonings rather than tomatoes, tomato paste and vegetables.
What To Serve With Ranchero Sauce
If you have leftovers, store Rancheros Sauce in an air-tight container for up to a week.
Ranchero Sauce for Huevos Rancheros
I hope you give this special version of rancheros sauce. Once the dicing and chopping is all done, it makes for an easy method to bake Huevos Rancheros. And if you’re looking for an even easier Mexican breakfast, take a lood at Heuvos a la Mexicana, an easy Mexican scrambled egg recipe.
You’ll see a lot of rancheros sauce recipes that call for blending using an immersion blender or food processor. I love this authentic version by keeping the sauce thick and chunky.
More Mexican Breakfast Recipes:
And if you’re looking for even more breakfast recipe ideas, don’t miss my Breakfast Category. You’ll find lots of eye opening, welcome the morning ideas. Including the most popular breakfast recipe on my site for Home Fried Potatoes with Ham.
Ranchero Sauce for Ranch Eggs
- 2 small sweet onions chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 orange bell peppers chopped
- 2 poblano peppers deveined, deseeded, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil or shortening
- 2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano dried
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cans tomatoes diced, or two large ripe tomatoes chpped
- 1/2 Cup Tomato paste
- 1/2 Cup Water or chicken broth
- 4 large eggs
- 2 Tablespoons Cilantro leaves chopped
- 1 large avocado pitted, peeled and sliced or rough chopped
- Cotija cheese for garnish
- In an oven safe skillet (cast iron works great) Saute the onions, garlic, bell peppers and chiles in the oil until soft and golden.
- Add the oregano, cumin and salt/pepper to taste. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato paste together with the water (or stock). Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens.
- Using the back of a large serving spoon or soup ladle, make 4 wells in the sauce.
- Carefully break the eggs into the wells.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes or until eggs have cooked to desired doneness.
- Use a large serving spoon to transfer eggs/tomato sauce to serving plates. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, crumbled creese, avocado slices and a warm flour tortilla.
Authentic Ranchero Sauce for Huevos Rancheros … It’s What’s for Breakfast.
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Why Trust These Recipes? Lea Ann Brown has lived, worked and played in Colorado for 45 years. She has immersed herself in the Colorado Culinary space, is a Culinary School Graduate and publishes her Colorado food Blog, Cooking On The Ranch.