All demo content is for sample purposes only, intended to represent a live site. Please use the RocketLauncher to install an equivalent of the demo, all images will be replaced with sample images.

2 December 2016

Make your own picante-style sauce at home with this recipe, with fresh tomatoes, spicy jalapenos, tangy apple cider vinegar and more. I use this sauce on practically everything. Can be served as a sauce or a salsa.

Dude! I’m excited. Why? Because we have a nice new big batch of PICANTE SAUCE in the fridge. Oh yeah! This is one of my very favorite sauces to keep around. Or is it a salsa?

I will let you decide!

The consistency is somewhere in between and it can be served easily as either a sauce in a bottle that you can douse over anything, or in a bowl with chips that you can serve salsa style.

Homemade Picante Sauce - Recipe

Doesn’t it look gorgeous? So many sauces do. This one has a tongue-grabbing mix of smokiness from the chipotle peppers and tanginess from the apple cider vinegar, not to mention HEAT and FLAVOR from that glorious mix of chili peppers we’ve added in.

This is the type of sauce or salsa recipe you can make with any type of chili peppers you’re in the mood for.

Looking for a mild version? Go with a couple large red, yellow or orange bell peppers. You’ll still get the smoky-sweet-tang you crave. Want a good mid-range heat level? Go with a mix from jalapenos to serranos or thai peppers.

Want some TRUE heat? Consider tossing in a couple habaneros, or a ghost pepper or perhaps a 7 pot. The thing is, you can vary this up to whatever heat level you prefer.

I usually like mine on the spicy side. Shocked? Amazed? I know.

Homemade Picante Sauce - Recipe

The sauce recipe is spectacularly easy to put together. I’ve included a VIDEO below that you can review with thequick steps. In a nutshell, to make your own homemade picante sauce, add all of your ingredients to a food processor or blender.

Next, process until smooth! Easy enough thus far!

Then, pour into a pan and heat through for about 20 minutes to let the flavors mingle. Turn off the heat and cool slightly.

Pour the picante sauce into a sterilized jar or into a serving bottle and you’re good to go. I keep mine in the fridge and spoon it over all sorts of dishes.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions I get on other sauces:

How long will this sauce keep?

It should keep a few months easily in the fridge, or even longer. It’s all about the acidity. To be technical, target level ph for shelf stable foods is below 4.6 ph, but should probably be lower for home cooks, around 4.0 or so, to account for errors. I have not measured the ph of this sauce, but I won’t have it around very long anyway. If you’re concerned, add more vinegar to lower the ph.

Where’d you get that sauce bottle?

I find them locally sometimes, but I also order through Amazon. Here is a link to some bottles I like (affiliate link, my friends!): Swing Top Glass Bottles, 8.5 Ounce – Set of 4. If you like the smaller bottles that most hot sauce makers use, here’s another link: Hot Sauce Bottles, 5 Oz – 24 Pack.

Can I process this hot sauce for longer storage?

Absolutely. Just be sure to use proper canning/jarring safety procedures.

What should I do with hot sauce?

Aside from drizzling it over anything you please, here’s a post I did about How to Cook with Hot Sauce. As if you need even MORE reasons to eat hot sauce. LOL. I hope you find it helpful!

Homemade Picante Sauce - Recipe

Picante sauce makes for a perfect holiday gift as well, so consider making a large batch and giving them as presents. Your friends and family will love you for it!

Patty’s Perspective

It is NOT possible to keep enough of this in our house. Plus, all the neighbors keep wanting to steal it.

Check Out Some My Other Popular Salsa Recipes

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS.Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Homemade Picante Sauce - Recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Homemade Picante Sauce - Recipe

Make your own picante-style sauce or salsa at home with this recipe, with fresh tomatoes, spicy jalapenos, tangy apple cider vinegar and more. I use this sauce on practically everything. Can be served as a sauce or a salsa.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Salsa
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: picante, salsa
Servings: 10
Calories: 49kcal


  • 10 dried chipotle peppers
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups mixed chili peppers chopped – jalapeno peppers are great here, as are serranos, or go with a variety
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • Juice from 1 small lime


  • Add the chipotle peppers to a small pot and cover them with water. Bring to a quick boil then remove from heat. Allow them to soften about 20 minutes. Remove the stems, chop them and add them to a food processor.
  • To the food processor, add tomatoes, jalapenos, serranos, onion and garlic. Process to roughly chop.
  • Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth.
  • Add the sauce to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Cool and store in sterilized jars, or use it right away.



Heat Factor: Mild, but with BIG flavor.


Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 79mg | Potassium: 200mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 470IU | Vitamin C: 15.4mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 0.9mg


  1. I can’t find dried chipotle chilies—could I substitute ancho chilies? If so, would it be a 1:1 ratio, and would I need to change anything else in the recipe?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Bekki, yes, though the flavors are different. Anchos are quite a bit larger than chipotles, so I would use 3-4 or so of them. You might need to add some extra liquid to your prefernce.

  2. My grocery store doesn’t have dried chipotle peppers. Can I use chipotle chili pepper powder? If yes, how much would I use? Thank you

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      You surely can, Laura. Use several tablespoons of powder in place of dried pods. You may want to start with a couple of tablespoons, then adjust from there to your preference. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  3. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe a few times now. I have tailored it to my taste. But this is so good, I would put this up against restaurant or store-bought salsa any day of the week! Phenomenal recipe. Thank you

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent! Thanks, Tom! I appreciate it. Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Hi – When I tried making my own refried beans, I quickly became confused as I learned that peppers have different names depending on whether they are dried or fresh. I accidentally bought dried ANCHO (poblano) peppers and ground them thinking I had adobo seasoning. Anyway, I have quite a bit left, lol, and I was wondering if I could use ancho powder in this recipe and still get good results? Can I substitute it for the dried chipotle…or use some in place of the cayenne? I plan to use fresh jalapeno and fresh orange, yellow, and red peppers, as well. Thank you for your help. 🙂

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Julie, you can definitely use ancho powder here. It would be quite delicious. Ancho powder tastes different from chipotle or cayenne, but definitely give it a go. Ancho is actually one of my favorite chili powders to use. Let me know how it turns out for you.

      1. 5 stars
        Wow! Really good flavor. Different….not like the typical taste you’d expect it to have. I can see how this could go on eggs, tacos, nachos, and just with chips. I’m making pork carnitas, so this should be nice. I have to tell you, though, that I used pasilla chiles b/c of course my local store had everything but the chipotle. A google search suggested them, so I went with it. I used half a tablespoon of cayenne, and half a tablespoon of the ancho powder. Sauce has a very dark red color. I gave my son some with chips, and he came back for more, so that’s good. It made a ton, too! I’ll have to freeze some and give some away. Thank you! 🙂

        1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

          Excellent, Julie! I’m so happy you like it! Enjoy.

  5. 5 stars
    Upped all quantities because I wanted to can this. Used 13 dried chipotle and approximately one cup of dried cayenne peppers to the soaking process and reserved the soaking liquid to use instead of water. Four cups of chopped fresh tomatoes, thirteen jalapeño with seeds, one large onion, and 6-7 cloves garlic. Seasoning are heaping tsp. cumin, Mexican oregano, kosher salt, 3/4 c. cider vinegar and juice of one lime.
    This recipe yielded four pints. The end product is a beautiful chili red color and 3 1/3 ????????????+ of heat.
    PS: processed in water bath 15 minutes. Ph tested 4. A tip is if it is necessary to increased the acidity you can either up the vinegar, lime or add citric acid.
    Great recipe!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      PERFECT, Diane! Thanks for the extra tips! I appreciate it.

  6. Can you use canned Chipotle peppers instead of the dried peppers?

    REPLY: Becky, yes, you can, but the flavor will be different from the adobe sauce. I would use a little and adjust to your personal tastes. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.