Homemade Colorado Sauce

Spice up your kitchen with our Homemade Colorado Sauce recipe! An easy and delicious game-changer, it’s the key to unforgettable Colorado Chicken Tacos, Tamales, and Quesadillas.

Homemade Colorado sauce in a jar.

Are you ready to spice up your kitchen adventures? This sauce is not only vibrant but also flavor-packed and can transform even the simplest dishes into mouthwatering meals! Add a little zing to your meals without too much fuss.

The possibilities are endless! Its unique blend of spices and ingredients brings a touch of Colorado’s bold culinary style right to your table. What’s more, whipping up a batch of this homemade delight means you’re in control of the flavors – tweak it to your heart’s content! So, grab your apron, and let’s get saucy with Homemade Colorado Sauce. Use this Colorado Sauce in recipes like Chicken Enchiladas, Huevos Rancheros, and Queso Fundido Colorado for a satisfying meal!

A jar with homemade Colorado sauce served on a table.

What is Colorado sauce?

Colorado sauce is the same as “Chile Colorado Sauce”. The term “Colorado” is “red” in Spanish and it refers to the rich, red color of the sauce. Chile Colorado sauce is a traditional Mexican red chile sauce made primarily from a blend of dried chile peppers, along with other ingredients like garlic, spices, and sometimes a liquid base like chicken or vegetable stock. It’s a key component in the dish known as Chile Colorado, typically featuring beef or pork simmered in this flavorful, red chili sauce. The sauce’s depth and complexity make it a popular choice for enhancing various authentic Mexican recipes, including burritos and Mexican rice.

Reasons to Love This Sauce

  • Homemade Colorado Sauce is perfect for chicken, beef, or vegetarian dishes, it complements a wide range of meals.
  • Homemade Colorado Sauce is a healthier option. Making it at home allows for healthier ingredient choices, cutting down on preservatives and additives.
  • Homemade versions guarantee freshness that enhances the overall flavor and quality.
  • When stored properly, homemade sauce can have a long shelf life.
  • Colorado sauce can enhance simple dishes. Wrap it up with rice and beans in a corn tortilla, and you’ve got a winning combo.

Recipe Ingredients

Colorado sauce in a Mason jar with a lid on the table, and a spoon resting on it.
  • New Mexico Chiles: These are essential for the sauce’s base and contribute a deep, earthy flavor.
  • Ancho Chili Peppers: Ancho chilies add a sweet and smoky taste.
  • Chipotle Chili Pepper: Chipotle provides a distinctive smoky heat, adding complexity to the sauce.
  • Garlic: Garlic adds a pungent, aromatic depth that is fundamental in many sauces.
  • Chicken Stock: This serves as the liquid base and helps to blend the flavors and determine the sauce’s consistency.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations

  • Guajillo Boost: For a different flavor, switch out one or two of the New Mexico or Ancho chiles with Guajillo chiles. This adds a bit of fruity and smoky goodness, taking your Homemade Colorado Sauce to the next level.
  • Add Beans: Toss in a cup of cooked black beans during the final stages of simmering. This will create a heartier and more protein-packed version of your sauce.
  • Broth Selection: Choose vegetable broth for a lighter, vegetarian-friendly option. Alternatively, beef broth offers a richer, more robust taste.
  • Roasted Garlic Option: Instead of raw garlic, use roasted garlic cloves. This adds a milder, sweeter garlic flavor that complements the chilies.

How to Make Homemade Colorado Sauce

Step #1: Remove the stems and seeds from all the chili peppers and chop them into small pieces. Wash your hands, then fill a bowl with hot water.

Step #2: Soak the chili peppers in the hot water for 10-15 minutes, until they soften. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the soaking water.

Step #3: Transfer the soaked peppers to a blender and add the garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander, oil, and salt.

Step #4: Pulse the blender a few times. Then, add the stock and the reserved soaking water. Puree until smooth.

Step #5: Place a large sauté pan over medium heat on your stovetop. Holding a fine mesh sieve over the pan, pour the contents of the blender through the sieve to strain out any remaining solids. Discard the solids.

Step #6: Bring the sauce to a soft boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until it reaches your desired consistency.

A jar with homemade Colorado sauce.

Expert Tips

  • Selecting Chilies: Opt for fresh, pliable dried chilies, which indicate they’re not too old.
  • Control the Spice Level with Seeds: For a milder sauce, remove more seeds from the chilies. The seeds contain most of the heat, so adjusting the amount lets you tailor the spiciness to your preference.
  • Slow Simmer for Flavor Development: Allow the sauce to simmer slowly on low heat. This helps the flavors to meld together harmoniously and reduces the risk of burning, which can impart a bitter taste.
  • Strain Thoroughly: Strain the sauce thoroughly using a fine mesh strainer. This step is crucial to ensure a smooth, velvety texture, removing any gritty or unblended particles.
  • Stir Constantly When Reducing: Regular stirring is essential when simmering the sauce. It prevents the sauce from sticking to the pan and burning, which can ruin the flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make Homemade Colorado Sauce in a Dutch oven?

Absolutely!

Can I incorporate veggies into my Homemade Colorado Sauce?

Certainly! Feel free to get creative. Add diced bell peppers, onions, or potatoes during the cooking process for a hearty twist. These veggies absorb the rich flavors, enhancing your Homemade Colorado Sauce with a delightful and nutritious touch.

Can I use Colorado Sauce as a marinade?

Yes, it’s great as a marinade for meats or vegetables.

Can I find the ingredients for Colorado Sauce at a regular grocery store?

Yes, most ingredients for Colorado Sauce, like dried chili peppers, spices, and garlic, are readily available at grocery stores. Alternatively, they can also be easily found and ordered through Amazon, especially if you’re looking for specific types of chilies or ingredients.

Storage Info

To store Homemade Colorado Sauce, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will remain good for up to one week. For longer storage, freeze the sauce; it will keep well for about 3 months in the freezer. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, simply warm it in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Did you try this recipe? Leave a ⭐️ rating below and share it on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Homemade Colorado sauce in a Mason jar on a table.

Homemade Colorado Sauce Recipe

Homemade Colorado Sauce, easy and delicious! Use it with chicken to make Colorado Chicken Tacos, Colorado Chicken Tamales or Colorado Chicken Quesadillas.
4.3 from 28 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Condiments & Sauces
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 256kcal
Author: Linda
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 dried New Mexico chili peppers
  • 2 dried Ancho chili peppers
  • 1 dried Chipotle chili pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic - peeled
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 cup grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chicken stock

Instructions

  • Remove the stems and seeds from all the chili peppers and tear them into small pieces. Wash your hands, then fill a bowl with hot water.
  • Soak the chili peppers in the hot water for 10-15 minutes, until they soften. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the soaking water.
  • Transfer the soaked peppers to a blender and add the garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander, oil, and salt.
  • Pulse the blender a few times. Then, add the stock and the reserved soaking water. Puree until smooth.
  • Place a large sauté pan over medium heat on your stovetop. Holding a fine mesh sieve over the pan, pour the contents of the blender through the sieve to strain out any remaining solids. Discard the solids.
  • Bring the sauce to a soft boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until it reaches your desired consistency.

NOTES

Storage Info:
To store Homemade Colorado Sauce, place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will remain good for up to one week. For longer storage, freeze the sauce; it will keep well for about 3 months in the freezer. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, simply warm it in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 1058mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g

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About the Author

Linda

Hi, I'm Linda! Welcome to The Wanderlust Kitchen, where I share recipes and travel adventures from all around the world. Here you'll find a world of recipes you can have confidence in. These recipes celebrate authentic food heritage as well as modern techniques and ingredients. Be adventurous and try a new recipe and travel somewhere you have never been before.  Bon Appétit! Bon Voyage!  

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Comments:

  1. This is VERY MUCH the base of my recipe for traditional pork Posole!!! It’s almost exactly your sauce, with chicken broth, the liquid after I pressure cook the pork, shredded pork/hominy/onions/garlic/serranos (or habaneros/poblanos/anaheims/ any other pepper you want, based on heat!). Serve over rice (my daughter actually loves it over smashed potatoes, but I usually do it with rice that I saute with cumin seeds/onion/garlic, and use chicken broth instead of water)… Ahhhhhhhmazing!!!

  2. This looks fantastic! Do you have any recommendations as to the spice and chilli brands you use?

    1. Hi Christine,

      I typically use Simple Organic, Frontier Organic or McCormick Organic for bottled spices like the cumin and coriander.
      For the dried chilis, if you can’t find them in your grocery store, you can find them on Amazon.
      I have added links to my preferred spices and chilis into the recipe card for this recipe, so check them out there.

      – Linda

  3. I think I could come up with about 5000 things to put this sauce on, not the least of which would be my spoon. Yum!!

    1. I’m so glad you like it, Karen! I completely botched posting my enchilada recipe (blonde moment) but intend to get it up later this week!