Basic Chile Sauce

Enchiladas in a chile sauce
Carin Krasner/Photodisc/Getty Images
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 12 to 18 servings
Ratings (9)

This is a simple way to make your chiles into a sauce. Fresh roasted chiles are ideal, although you may substitute frozen roasted chiles.

Use green chiles for chicken and pork dishes and red chiles for beef. Chile sauce is great in enchiladas or over burritos for a "wet" burrito.

What You'll Need

  • 2 lbs red or green chiles, roasted and skin removed (See below for chile options)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1/4 lime
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1-2 jalapenos seeded (optional for spiciness)
  • 2 cups drinking water

How to Make It

  1. After chiles are roasted and peeled,  cut the stem area off, and make a cut down the side of the chile. Open it up, and scrape the seeds out with a spoon.
  2. Blend chiles in food processor until chunky.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
  4. Use the finished sauce immediately, refrigerate it for 2 to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 6 months as desired.

Note: For a sauce made with dried red chiles, see how to rehydrate the chiles here.

Chile Options
Usually, you want to select larger chiles that are mild to medium in heat. There are not very many fresh, red chiles suitable for a chile sauce, but Chile Colorado chiles make a good choice.

There are many good choices for green chiles. The mildest one is an Anaheim or a California. The next one would be a Poblano, a dark green chile which is mild to medium in heat with a sweeter flavor. For a little more heat, use Pasilla chiles (also known as Chilaca.)

Depending on your region, you may have other chile options, or they may have different names. Just remember they need to be larger in size and mild to medium heat (your preference.) Jalapenos, Serranos and Habaneros are usually not suitable as a base for this sauce as they are far too powerful.​