Mexican adobo sauce is a cooking sauce made with different types of dried chilies and spices. This aromatic and delicious sauce is a staple in the Mexican gastronomy and used to make different dishes, from simmering meats and vegetables, to coating bread and tortillas.
When my mom wanted to spoil us she would cook pork ribs in adobo sauce. When she wanted to make something fancy she will cook adobo pork loin and when she’ll get bored of cooking the same dish for days, she will just make chicken adobo.
Those three dishes were always my mom’s favourites and all three were made with the same sauce: Mexican adobo.
What is adobo sauce?
The adobo is a cooking technique originate in Spain, this technique refers to the immersion of a raw food (usually meat) in a sauce prepared with spices and vinegar.
There are many types of adobo that vary from country to country. But in this post I’m going to talk about how to make Mexican adobo chile.
The Mexican adobo is a sauce prepared with various types of chilies, depending in the region in Mexico we can find different types of adobo, some use two types of chilies, others only one, with or without tomato, with or without onions and even spices can vary, but what everyone agrees on is that the adobo marinade is prepared always with vinegar.
Don’t worry if you can’t find all those types of chilies. You still can make this homemade adobo using only one type or using powdered Mexican chilies; many online stores are selling now the powdered version of pasilla, morita, ancho, guajillo, etc.
As a last resource, you can use paprika. Replace each piece of dried chili pepper with one tablespoon (or a little less) of ground paprika. You can also use a mix of sweet, smoked, and hot paprika for a more intense flavour.
How To Make Mexican Adobo
Using scissors cut the chiles in half lengthwise and discard the seeds. This operation can also be done after soaking the peppers, but if you want to toast them, you need to discard the seeds before placing the chilies in water (I’ll tell you more about this below).
Wash throughly the chilies under running water and place them in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and let them soak for about 30 minutes or until the water has almost cooled down.
PRO TIP: If you want a sauce with a slightly flavor of tatemado (toasted), before putting the chilies to soak you can toast them a bit on a comal or a cast iron pan, this changes the flavor of the sauce a little in a very delicious way!.
Place chilies in a blender and add all the spices. Add a teaspoon of salt, the vinegar and half a cup of the water where the chilies were soaked.
PRO TIP: If you want, you can use powdered spices, such as cumin, pepper, bay leaf, etc. Just remember that the amounts are slightly higher when the spices are powdered.
Blend until obtaining a thick and velvety sauce. Depending on the power of your blender this can take 3-4 minutes on high speed.
If you want the sauce with a rustic consistency, blend it only a couple of minutes. If on the contrary, you want a very smooth consistency, then blend for a longer time and strain the sauce into a bowl.
How To Store
- Divide the Mexican adobo sauce in a cube tray and freeze it until firm. Unmold the cubes and place them in bags for later uses. Very practical because you can use it in small amounts. Up to 6 months.
- Freezing in zipper bags is also very useful for when large amounts of marinade are needed, for example for a party or gatherings.
- Coat with Mexican adobo any protein you’d like, then place it in bags. A good idea to save time, thaw the meat and you no longer have to wait for it to marinate. I have frozen everything, chicken legs and wings, chicken breasts, pork ribs, fish, etc. Up to 3 months.
- Pour it into fridge-proof containers, cover and store in fridge for up to 15 days.
Useful Recipe Tips:
- I use very little salt because I prefer to add it to the dish that I will cook with this adobo sauce, but you can taste it after blending and decide whether or not to add more salt.
- With the ingredients for this recipe, you’ll get about 3 cups of Mexican adobo sauce. It depends on how big the chilies are and how many you’re adding of each. The important thing is to balance the quantity of chilies since the sauce should have the flavour of the three types that are used and not only from one.
- Once the sauce is finished, it can be used immediately, but if you want to keep it (which is what I do) you can do it by freezing it in cubes, in zip-loc bags or plastic containers. Since it contains vinegar and spices, it can last for up to 6 months in the freezer and about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- You can double this recipe to prepare a large batch.
How To Use
Mexican adobo sauce is a base recipe that you’ll need for many traditional dishes, such as birria or homemade chorizo. One of my favorite dishes to make with this sauce is Pork Ribs With Adobo which is also a perfect dish for filling pork tamales rojos. Also, if you omit the vinegar you can prepare this exactly recipe and use the sauce for Enchiladas, Red Pozole or Mole de Olla!
More mexican authentic recipes
- Molcajete sauce
- Chicken and cheese chipotle taquitos
- Vegan lentil tacos
- Green enchilada – aka enchiladas suizas
- Costillas con papas (mexican asado)
Mexican Adobo Sauce
- 3 dry ancho chilies (read notes)
- 5 dry guajillo chilies (read notes)
- 5 dry pasilla chilies (read notes)
- ½ cup white vinegar (120 ml)
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
- 1 tsp black pepper (whole)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp dry oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- Using scissors cut the chiles in half lengthwise and discard the seeds (see notes).
- Wash throughly the chilies and put them in a bowl. Cover them with boiling water and let them soak for at least 30 minutes or until the water has almost cooled down.
- In a blender put the chilies and all the spices. Add a teaspoon of salt, the vinegar and half a cup of the water where the chillies were soaked.
- Blend until obtaining a thick and velvety sauce. Depending on the power of your blender this can take 3-4 minutes.
- Replace each piece of dried pepper with one tablespoon (or a little less) of ground paprika. You can also use a mix of sweet, smoked, and hot paprika for a more intense flavour.
- If you want a sauce with a slightly flavor of tatemado (toasted), before putting the chilies to soak you can toast them on a comal or a cast iron pan, this changes the flavor of the sauce a little in a very delicious way!.
- If you wish, you can use powdered spices, such as cumin, pepper, bay leaf, etc.
- If you want the sauce with a rustic consistency, blend it only a couple of minutes. If on the contrary, you want a very smooth consistency, then blend for a longer time and strain the sauce to get rid of any discard from the chilies.
DID YOU ENJOY THIS RECIPE? Please, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you! Also, remember that you can share it using the buttons below and follow this blog on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE!