Salsa de Chile Ancho (Chile Ancho Sauce)

A simple and basic red chile sauce that is good for tamale making, salsa's, braising, tacos, burritos and enchiladas!
Course Salsa/Sauces
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 7 cups



  • 8 ounces of dried chile ancho 15-20 peppers
  • Water to fill pot
  • 5 cups chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cumin
  • 4 large cloves of garlic or 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 TBS chicken base or bouillon
  • 4 TBS pork lard(manteca) or grapeseed oil



  • Fill a large pot with about 7 cups of water and heat to medium. Remove the stems and seeds from the chile ancho and transfer them into pot of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium/low and let the peppers slowly reconstitute. Stir now and then to turn peppers over. They will start to turn a brighter shade of red. Remove from heat and  let cool for 20 minutes before draining all the water.
  • Transfer the peppers to the blender. Add 5 cups of chicken broth or fresh water, oregano, cumin, garlic, pepper and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Using a wire mesh strainer, strain the sauce into a larger bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to push all the pulp through. If using a power blender, there is no need to strain the sauce.
  • In a large pot, preheat 4 tablespoons of lard or oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Pour in the sauce  from  the blender.  Mix in the chicken base or bouillon. Mix in the vinegar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and continue cooking for 20-25 minutes. Adjust the seasoning as it cooks to your liking. I added and extra 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) of cumin, oregano, pepper and the salt to taste. If you prefer a thicker sauce, whisk in the masa harina slurry. This will thicken the sauce and add a subtle corn flavor. Cook for another 10 minutes.


This sauce can be prepared with a mix of dried chiles like guajillo, California, pasilla. If you want to add some heat, there is chile de arbol, morita, chipotle or pulla.
Many times when I prepare chile sauces, instead of salt, I use a chicken bouillon powder. It adds more flavor than just using salt. The brand I use is the Knorr brand.