New Mexico Red Chile Sauce

Vibrantly red with mild piquancy and earthiness from New Mexico dried chile powder and ground cumin, this chile sauce is the perfect balance to the cheesy, fried relleno, simple fried eggs, or tacos.

Hatch Chiles Rellenos
Photo: Photo by Caitlin Bensel / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen / Food Styling by Ali Ramee
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
2 cups


  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as grapeseed oil or peanut oil)

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 2 medium-size plum tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 6 tablespoons New Mexico dried red mild or medium-heat chile powder

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 cup water, plus more as needed

  • Granulated sugar, to taste (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until softened and lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chile powder, salt, and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture forms a chunky paste, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup water, and bring to a boil over medium. Boil, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.

  2. Transfer mixture to a blender. Secure lid on blender, and remove center insert from lid to allow steam to escape. Cover top with a clean towel, and process until smooth, about 1 minute, adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed, to thin mixture to tomato sauce consistency. Season to taste with salt; add sugar, if needed, to balance bitter chile powder.

Make Ahead

Red chile sauce can be chilled in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Find New Mexico dried red chile at Latin-American markets and online at

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