Red Chile Sauce (Chile Powder)

Quick and easy to make Red Chile Sauce recipe made from red chile powder.  Perfect for Enchiladas, Chile Colorado, smothered burritos, and more! 

Packed with bold, spicy flavor, this Red Chile Sauce is the quick version when you want a delicious homemade sauce,  and will have you ditching the canned version for good. Ready in 20 minutes or less.

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Red Chile Sauce

My usual red chile sauce is made with New Mexico dried red chile pods, but every once in a while I make chile sauce made from red chile powder. Slather this on or under your huevos rancheros, enchiladas, dinner-sized burritos, or other New Mexico-inspired dish for a truly authentic finish.

Chile Powder vs Chili Powder: So what's the difference? 
  • Chile powder is made of pure ground dried chile pepper with no additives.

  • Chili powder is a blend of chile peppers and other spices, including cumin, peppercorn, oregano, and salt. 

  • Note: I prefer chile powder for a more authentic taste, but both types of chile powder deliver excellent taste.

    Ingredients for Red Chile Sauce Recipe


    • Red Chile Powder:  New Mexico Chile Powder, California Chile Powder, and Chimayo chile powder are all great choices.  Some red chile powders come in different levels of spiciness from mild to extra hot, so select the heat level you desire

    • Cooking Oil:  Vegetable oil, lard, bacon drippings, or olive oil works perfectly for this recipe.
    • Spices & Seasonings: Cumin, Mexican Oregano( do not use Italian oregano), Garlic powder, salt, sugar.
    • Flour:  All-purpose flour
    • Liquids: Water, chicken broth, or vegetable broth

    How to Make Red Chile Sauce from Chile Powder

    • In a 2-quart saucepan or skillet heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil to low to medium heat.
    • Whisk in the flour and cook until a light golden brown making a roux as a base for the red chile sauce. Add chile powder to the roux.

    • When the roux and chile powder have been blended completely, slowly add water or broth and cook to desired consistency.

    Red Chile Sauce in pot
    • Once the sauce shows signs of boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic powder, cumin, and oregano, and stir with a whisk to catch any lumps in the sauce.

    • Add salt to taste. If the sauce is a little bitter, add a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the sauce ...more if needed. Enjoy

    The Busy Abuelita - Homemade Red Chile sauce from chile pods

    Chilaquiles with Red Chile Sauce
    Chilaquiles with Red Chile Sauce

    Storing Red Chile Sauce

    • Red chile sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to six months.

    Red Chile Sauce