How to make red chile sauce for enchiladas and tamales

Homemade Red Chile Sauce for Tamales

Earthy and Wonderful with flavor. Homemade Red Chile Sauce made from dried chile peppers Perfect sauce for Tamales or Enchiladas.

Course sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword red chile, sauce
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 36 kcal
Author Lea Ann Brown


  • 15 dried Guajillo Chile
  • 15 dried New Mexico Dried Chile
  • 2-3 dried Pasilla Chile
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Mexican Pickling Spice Be sure to include the dried red chile pepper in addition to the tablespoon
  • 1 small onion rough chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cumin seed toasted
  • 2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water from boiled chile


  1. Remove the tops of the chiles and shake out as much of the seeds as possible. In a large pot, add chiles, Mexican pickling spices, onion and garlic cloves Add enough water to cover. Cover and cook on low for about an hour.

  2. Once the chiles have cooled some, and are soft, in batches transfer to a food processor. Use a slotted spoon to make sure you get the spices and the garlic.  Puree until smooth adding some of the chicken broth and the chle water to each batch. 

  3. Place a strainer over a large bowl. Pour the pureed chile sauce into the strainer and with the back of a wooden spoon, push the mixture through the strainer to remove skins, remaining seeds and any remaining chunks of spices.

  4. Once the chile mixture is strained, adjust seasonings. I'm a cumin fan, so I always add ground cumin and salt. I like to add in 1/8 cup cider vinegar 1 tablespoon sugar to balance flavors.

  5. In place of the New Mexico Dried Chile, you can use an assortment. Nora peppers are nice, and I've used Mulata dried peppers. Each combo will add a different nuance of flavor to your sauce.

Recipe Notes

Most times I'm braising a pork shoulder BUTT at the time I'm making this sauce. For enchiladas, or tamales. Don't hesitate to add a couple big spoonfuls of the pork broth to this sauce. It will add some great flavor.

If you're not using right away, divide into 1 cup servings and freeze. This will last for nearly a year.


Nutrition Facts
Homemade Red Chile Sauce for Tamales
Amount Per Serving
Calories 36 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 631mg27%
Potassium 244mg7%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 1468IU29%
Vitamin C 11mg13%
Calcium 32mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.