Guajillo Chile Salsa

A Versatile Mild Salsa

Try this very simple salsa made with guajillo chile peppers, a mild dried chile with a complex fruity flavor. It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico for making salsas.

In this recipe, the chiles aren’t toasted as they are in many other salsa recipes which allows the flavor of the guajillo to come through.

Don’t like your salsas too hot? This is a good one for you, rich chile flavor but with less burn. This a versatile salsa that goes well with many dishes.

Guajillo Chile Pepper Salsa in Serving Bowl

Try this guajillo chile sauce on tacos, enchiladas, chicken, scrambled eggs or on cactus salad.

This type of salsa is typical in the state of Guanajuato. It’s perfect for making enchiladas mineras.

Guajillo Chile Salsa Recipe

How to Make

Gather your ingredients:

  • 16 guajillo chiles, also called chile cascabel ancho
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. salt + as needed

Choosing Guajillo Chiles

Choose peppers that are soft and pliable that have a mild fresh fruity smell. Brittle chiles are stale, lack flavor, and may be bitter. Learn more about how to choose them here.

Ingredients Guajillo Chile Salsa

Remove the stems, seeds, and veins from the chiles. Discard.

Cleaned Guajillo Chile Peppers

Peel the cloves of garlic.

Peeled Garlic on Cutting Board

Chop the cilantro. You can use the stems.

Chopped Cilantro on Cutting Board

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan. Add just enough water to cover the ingredients, about 2 cups.

Soaking Guajillo Chiles in Pan

Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 minute then turn off the heat. Allow the ingredients to soak for 15 minutes.

Notice how the chiles have absorbed water and changed color after the have reconstituted.

Soaked Guajillo Peppers in Pan

Pour all of the ingredients including 2 cups of the soaking water into the blender. 

Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add a little soaking water if needed to blend.

Guajillo Peppers in Blender

Strain the mixture back into a bowl. Press the remaining pulp firmly with the back of your spoon to release all of the flavor.

Straining Guajillo Salsa Base

Discard the pulp that remains in the strainer.

Guajillo Chile Pulp in Strainer

Now it’s time to season the sauce. You do this by frying the base in hot oil. Start by heating a pan to medium-hot then add 2 tbsps. of cooking oil.

Adding Oil to Pan

Pour the chile base into the hot oil. Add up to 1 cup of soaking water to get the desired consistency.

At this point, the sauce will be a little bit runny and will lightly coat the back of a spoon. It will thicken as it simmers.

Guajillo Sauce Base in Pan

Season with 1 tsp. of salt. At the end of cooking, you can add more salt to taste if needed.

Seasoning Guajillo Salsa with Salt

Turn the heat to low then simmer the salsa for 30 minutes until it thickens. At this point, the sauce will coat the back of a spoon without being too runny.

The salsa will take on a beautiful dark red color during simmering. Looks delicious, doesn’t it?

Simmering Guajillo Salsa in Pan

Rest the Salsa for Best Flavor

Let the salsa rest for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to come together. Try not to skip this step. Resting 4 to 6 hours gives even better results.

Adjusting the Salsa

  • If the salsa is too thick, add 1/4 cup of water at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  • If the salsa is too thin, simmer until enough water has evaporated until the desired consistency is reached.
  • If you find the salsa to be too bitter for your tastes, add 1 tablespoon of sugar to reduce the bitterness.
Guanajuato Guajillo Salsa in Serving Bowl

Equipment needed:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Saucepan
  • Blender
  • Strainer
  • Mixing bowl
  • Kitchen spoon

Provecho! Let us know what you think of this recipe in the comments below.

Guajillo Chile Salsa Recipe
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3.9 from 20 votes

Guajillo Chile Salsa Recipe

Easy, simple Guanajuato style salsa recipe made with guajillo chile, a mild dried chile pepper with a complex fruity flavor. Great on tacos, enchiladas, chicken, scrambled eggs or on cactus salad.
Course Salsa
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword guajillo peppers, mild, salsa, Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 38kcal
Author Douglas Cullen

Ingredients

  • 16 guajillo chiles also called chile cascabel ancho
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  • Remove the stems, seeds, and veins from the chiles. Discard.
  • Peel the cloves of garlic.
  • Chop the cilantro. You can use the stems.
  • Put all the ingredients in a pan.
  • Add just enough water to cover the ingredients, about 4 cups.
  • Bring the water to a boil then reduce the heat to low.
  • Simmer for 1 minute then turn off the heat.
  • Allow the ingredients to soak for 15 minutes. The dried chiles will reconstitute at this time.
  • Pour all of the ingredients including 2 cups the soaking water into the blender.
  • Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add a little water if needed to blend.
  • Strain the mixture into mixing a bowl. Discard the paste that remains in the strainer.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in your saucepan over medium heat then add the strained salsa and 1 tsp. salt.
  • Turn the heat to low. Add up to a cup of soaking water to get the desired consistency. 
  • Simmer the salsa for 30 minutes until it thickens. The salsa will darken in color during this time.
  • Taste the salsa and add salt if needed to get the desired taste.

Notes

  • The flavor of the salsa will deepen if you let is rest for a few hours before serving.
  • If you find the salsa to be too bitter for your tastes, add 1 tablespoon of sugar to reduce the bitterness.
  • This salsa freezes well. Portion it in freezer bags and it will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/3 cup | Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Sodium: 4mg | Sugar: 4g

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25 comments… add one
  • Judy Crawford

    Can this sauce be frozen?

  • Jupiter Rios

    Sauce turned out delicious and as it cooked it takes on this silky beautiful red color that my Aunt from Guanajuato would prepare for us as young children.

  • Lu Schneider

    Love this salsa i added 2 chilies puya to my last batch

  • Cathy Cullen

    This is just what I was looking for. It has that nice deep Guajillo flavor. Thank you!

  • Emma

    Es mejor usar caldo de pollo, o agua en lugar de el agua donde se hidrataron los chiles, porque eso le da un sabor amargo.

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