This Guajillo Sauce Recipe is made with guajillo chiles, chiles de arbol, tomato puree, cumin, white vinegar and cilantro blended into perfection.
Guajillo sauce is a type of sauce made with guajillo chilies as the main ingredient. Guajillo chilies are a type of dried chili pepper that is widely used in Mexican cuisine. The sauce is typically made by rehydrating the dried guajillo chilies and then blending them with other ingredients, such as tomatoes, garlic, onion, vinegar, and spices like cumin, oregano, and black pepper.
The resulting sauce has a deep, rich flavor with a slightly sweet and smoky taste, and a moderate level of heat. It can be used in a variety of ways, including as a marinade for meats, as a dipping sauce for vegetables or chips, or as a topping for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.
Guajillo sauce is a versatile sauce that can be adjusted to taste by varying the amount of chilies and spices used. It is a popular sauce in Mexican cuisine and is often used to add flavor and heat to dishes.
- What are guajillo chilies?
- How to use guajillo chile sauce
- Tips for buying guajillo peppers
- How To Make Chile Guajillo Sauce
- What is a good substitute for guajillo chiles?
- Can I use guajillo peppers that are a bit old?
- Guajillo Sauce Recipe Variations
- How to store Guajillo Sauce
- Guajillo Sauce Recipe Top tips
- Guajillo Sauce Recipe
- Food safety
What are guajillo chilies?
Guajillo chilies are a type of dried chili pepper that is widely used in Mexican cuisine. They are named after the town of Guajillo in the state of Zacatecas, Mexico. Guajillo chilies are long, slender, and pointed, with a deep red color when fully matured. They are moderately hot, with a Scoville heat rating of 2,500 to 5,000, which is similar to the heat level of a jalapeño pepper.
Guajillo chilies are commonly used in a variety of Mexican dishes, including sauces, stews, soups, and marinades. They have a slightly sweet and smoky flavor with a hint of tanginess, which makes them a versatile ingredient in many different types of recipes. Guajillo chilies are typically soaked in hot water or broth to rehydrate them before being used in cooking, and they can also be toasted or fried to enhance their flavor.
How to use guajillo chile sauce
- As a marinade: Use the guajillo chile sauce as a marinade for meats such as chicken, beef, or pork.
- As a topping: Drizzle the guajillo chile sauce over tacos, enchiladas, tostadas, or any Mexican dish that could use a bit of extra flavor.
- As a dipping sauce: Serve the guajillo chile sauce as a dipping sauce for tortilla chips or veggies.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Guajillo dried chilies
See recipe card for quantities for Guajillo Chili Sauce.
Tips for buying guajillo peppers
- Look for whole, dried guajillo peppers: When buying guajillo peppers, look for whole, dried peppers that are still intact. Avoid buying broken, crushed, or stale peppers, as they may be less flavorful.
- Check the color: Guajillo peppers should have a deep, rich red color when they are fully matured. Avoid buying peppers that have a dull, brownish color, as this may indicate that they are old or have been improperly stored.
- Smell the peppers: Take a whiff of the guajillo peppers before buying them. They should have a slightly sweet and smoky aroma. If they smell musty or moldy, they may be past their prime.
- Check for flexibility: Gently bend the peppers to check their flexibility. They should be slightly pliable, but not brittle or crumbly. If they are too stiff or brittle, they may be old or dried out.
- Buy from a reputable source: Purchase guajillo peppers from a reputable source, such as a specialty food store or a trusted online retailer. This can help ensure that you are getting high-quality, fresh peppers that are suitable for cooking.
How To Make Chile Guajillo Sauce
Remove the stems and seeds from the dried Guajillo chilies. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the chilies, garlic, onion, and tomatoes, and cook for 10-15 minutes, until they are softened.
Pour everything to a blender along with 1 cups of that water.
Add the cumin, oregano, and salt to the blender, and puree until smooth, adding more of that chili water as needed to achieve your desired consistency.
Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any leftover bits of skin or seeds. Taste and adjust the salt as needed.
Hint: Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your liking. If you prefer a spicier sauce, add more of the chili seeds. If you prefer a mild sauce, add less seeds.
What is a good substitute for guajillo chiles?
If you are looking for a substitute for guajillo chiles, there are several other types of dried chiles that can be used instead. Some of the best substitutes include:
- Ancho chiles: Ancho chiles are mild in heat and have a slightly sweet flavor, which makes them a good substitute for guajillo chiles.
- Pasilla chiles: Pasilla chiles have a smoky and earthy flavor and are slightly hotter than guajillo chiles, but they can be used as a substitute in most recipes.
- New Mexico chiles: New Mexico chiles have a similar heat level to guajillo chiles and are slightly fruitier in flavor.
- Mulato chiles: Mulato chiles are similar in flavor to ancho chiles, but they are slightly sweeter and have a slightly different texture.
To use these substitutes in recipes that call for guajillo chiles, you can use the same amount of the substitute chile as the amount of guajillo chiles called for in the recipe. However, keep in mind that the flavor and heat level may vary slightly depending on the type of chile used, so adjust the recipe accordingly to achieve the desired taste.
Can I use guajillo peppers that are a bit old?
Dried guajillo peppers can last for a long time if stored properly in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. However, over time, the flavor and potency of the peppers may start to diminish.
If your guajillo peppers are a bit old, it's still possible to use them in recipes, but you may need to adjust the amount used to achieve the desired flavor and heat level. In general, older peppers will have a milder flavor and less heat compared to fresher peppers.
To make sure your older guajillo peppers are still good to use, check them for any signs of spoilage, such as mold, discoloration, or a rancid smell. If they appear to be in good condition, you can still use them in your recipes. However, if they show any signs of spoilage, it's best to discard them and get a fresh batch of peppers for your recipe.
Guajillo peppers: If you dont have guajillo peppers, you can use ancho, pasilla, New Mexico or Mulato chilies.
Garlic: If you do not have garlic, you can use shallots.
Onion: I used a red onion but yellow or white onion can be used as well.
Spices: Feel free to adjust to your liking. You can use paprika, chili powder, or cayenne.
Guajillo Sauce Recipe Variations
There are many variations of guajillo sauce that you can try to suit your taste preferences or the specific dish you are using it for. Here are a few variations to consider:
- Smoky guajillo sauce: To give your guajillo sauce a smoky flavor, you can roast the chilies, tomatoes, and garlic in the oven or over an open flame before blending them together.
- Spicy guajillo sauce: If you like your sauces on the spicier side, you can add other types of dried chili peppers to the guajillo chilies, such as arbol or cascabel peppers, or increase the amount of guajillo peppers used in the recipe.
- Sweet guajillo sauce: To balance out the heat of the sauce and add a touch of sweetness, you can add a small amount of honey, brown sugar, or agave nectar to the recipe.
- Tangy guajillo sauce: To add a tangy flavor to the sauce, you can mix in a small amount of lime juice or white vinegar.
- Creamy guajillo sauce: To create a creamy texture, you can add a dollop of sour cream, Greek yogurt, or avocado to the blended sauce.
Feel free to try my Homemade Sofrito Sauce.
To make guajillo sauce, you will need a few pieces of basic kitchen equipment:
- Cutting board: You will need a cutting board to chop the vegetables and remove the stems and seeds from the guajillo chilies.
- Kitchen knife: A sharp kitchen knife will be necessary to chop the vegetables and guajillo chilies.
- Saucepan or pot: You will need a saucepan or pot to simmer the guajillo chilies, vegetables, and broth together.
- Blender or food processor: To puree the cooked ingredients into a smooth sauce, you will need a blender or food processor. If using a blender, make sure it's heat-resistant, as blending hot liquids can be dangerous.
- Fine mesh strainer: After blending the sauce, you may need to strain it through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps or seeds.
- Spoon or spatula: You will need a spoon or spatula to scrape the sauce out of the blender or food processor and into the saucepan.
- Storage container: Once the sauce is finished, you will need a storage container to store it in the fridge or freezer until ready to use.
How to store Guajillo Sauce
Guajillo sauce can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. Here are the steps to properly store guajillo sauce:
- Let the sauce cool down: Allow the sauce to cool down to room temperature before storing.
- Use an airtight container: Transfer the sauce to an airtight container, such as a glass jar or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Make sure that the container is clean and completely dry.
- Label the container: Label the container with the date and contents of the sauce.
- Refrigerate or freeze: Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days or in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
If you are storing the sauce in the freezer, leave some space in the container for the sauce to expand as it freezes. When you're ready to use the sauce, defrost it in the refrigerator overnight or gently warm it on the stovetop. Properly storing your guajillo sauce will help preserve its flavor and prevent it from spoiling.
Guajillo Sauce Recipe Top tips
- Use high-quality guajillo chilies: To achieve the best flavor, use high-quality guajillo chilies that are fresh and not too old.
- Adjust heat to taste: Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your liking. If you prefer a spicier sauce, add more of the seeds. If you prefer a mild sauce, add less seeds.
- Strain the sauce: Straining the sauce through a fine mesh strainer after blending can help remove any seeds or pulp and result in a smoother texture.
- Serve the sauce warm: Guajillo sauce can be served cold or at room temperature, but it is best when served warm over your favorite dish.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove