Guajillo sauce is a staple in Mexican cuisine. This simple recipe is made with just a few ingredients and freezes wonderfully too.
With a mild spicy flavor, this salsa is used to make countless dishes or to enjoy drizzled on tacos, quesadillas, and sopes.
Why you should make this guajillo sauce
This flavorful salsa is used in many Mexican recipes, from moles like this tesmole soup, to chicken birria, and even for making enchiladas. The recipe for guajillo chili sauce allows you to simplify many other recipes, especially if you make a large batch and freeze it.
This salsa guajillo can be also used as a marinade for chicken, pork, or other types of meat. But also for flavoring your tamales dough.
Also, this sauce is perfect to serve with totopos corn chips, making it an amazing appetizer for game days and parties.
What Are Guajillo Chiles?
Guajillo chiles are a mild spicer pepper native to Mexico. They are the dried version of mirasol chilies and their heat range is 2,500 to 5,000 on Scoville Heat Scale.
The dried chilies are used in many Mexican recipes, for making marinades, sauces, to use as garnish, and even to prepare marmalades. To bring out its flavor and aroma, guajillo chilies are often toasted on a comal or a cast-iron skillet.
And in order to make them easier to blend into the guajillo chili sauce, they are normally soaked in water for a couple of minutes to soften them a bit.
Guajillo chilies are a type of pepper that contains a small amount of capsaicin, this component not only is what gives the spiciness on chili peppers but is also considered an anti-inflammatory.
Where to find them? You can find guajillo peppers at Mexican online and local stores. Some supermarkets like Walmart or Kroger also have them available at the international aisle.
Tips for buying guajillo peppers
- Look for peppers that have a evenly dark-ish red color. The brighter the color, the newer the chiles are.
- The chilies should have a leathery texture, if it cracks when lightly bent, then means the chilies has been stored for a long period and they lack flavor.
The Step By Step Recipe
Use gloves to avoid irritating your hands when you clean the chilies.
First, remove the stem of each piece. Then, using kitchen shears, cut a chile longwise and open it.
The seeds will naturally fall down if you shake the chili peppers, so make sure you discard them all or use the tips of the shears to scrap the seeds.
If you want to remove some spiciness, cut the membranes as well, this is up to you.
Repeat all steps until you’ve cleaned all guajillo chiles.
Heat a cast-iron skillet or a comal over medium-low heat. Toast the guajillo chilies slightly, until fragrant (about 10 seconds per side).
Place toasted guajillos in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let them sit for 10 minutes.
Next, cut tomatoes into quarters and place them in a small pan. Add about 1 cup of water, just enough to cover slightly the tomatoes. Cover the pan and allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
Once tomatoes have cooled down, place them in a blender with the cooking water. Add onions, drain chilies and add to the blender as well. Add peppercorns, garlic, cumin seeds, oregano, and salt.
Blend until smooth. The longer you blend, the smoother the guajillo chile sauce will be.
Adjust salt taste, then transfer the guajillo salsa to a bowl and serve, or store for later uses as suggested below.
How To Use Guajillo Salsa
- APPETIZER: For dipping corn chips, bread, or raw vegetables.
- SOUPS: Add a few dollops in your sopita de fideo or in this pasta shell soup for a earthy kick.
- STEWS: Use it to make nopales with pork, or queso con chile rojo.
- TOPPING: Bring your tacos dorados to the next level with this guajillo sauce, or drizzle it over chicken sopes.
How To Store Guajillo Chile Sauce
This guajillo sauce stores amazing! If you made a small batch, just place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. And if you want to make a large batch for later uses, here’s what you can do:
- Divide the sauce into zip bags, or freeze-proof containers. Label them and freeze them for up to 6 months.
- Pour the guajillo chili sauce into ice cube molds. Once the sauce has frozen, unmold and transfer the cubes to freezer bags.
Your Questions Answered
How spicy is this sauce?
This guajillo sauce has a mild-spicy flavor.
How to sub guajillo chilies
You can use dried Anaheim or Hatch chili peppers that are very similar in flavor and spiciness.
My hands burn after cleaning the chilies, what can I do?
Wash them with neutral soap, dry them, and then gently rub your hands with vegetable oil.
Can I use guajillo peppers that are a bit old?
Yes, you can. As long as they’re not rotten, old guajillos can still be used even though their flavor maybe have faded and your salsa won’t be as flavored.
Watch How To Make Guajillo Chili Sauce
Did you know that eating chiles is good for your health? This article list 10 health benefits of eating hot peppers. Another good reason to make this guajillo sauce.
- 10 guajillo chili peppers
- 2 medium tomatoes (cut into quarters)
- 1 small onion (halved)
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- salt (taste)
- Heat a cast-iron skillet or a comal over medium-low heat.
- Toast the guajillo chilies slightly, until fragrant (about 10 seconds per side).
- Place toasted guajillos in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let them sit for 10 minutes.
- Add tomatoes in a small pan pour 1 cup of water. Cover the pan and allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Once tomatoes have cooled down, place them in a blender with the cooking water.
- Add drained chilies, onions, garlic, cumin seeds, oregano, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Blend until smooth. The longer you blend, the smoother the guajillo chile sauce will be.
- Adjust salt to taste, then transfer salsa to a bowl and serve.
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