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21 June 2019

This is the best ranchero sauce recipe I have ever tasted, with  a base of diced tomato, jalapeno and onion, seasoned with a mixture of chili powders and seasonings. Perfect on huevos rancheros or any Mexican or Tex Mex dish.

A good ranchero sauce recipe is a must for any spicy or zesty food lover, and with this one, you’ve got yourself a GREAT recipe.

Ranchero sauce is incredibly easy to make, and with its collection of vibrant, earthy ingredients, you’ll be drizzling it over anything and everything for a pop of flavor. It’s a super versatile sauce that is flavorful and piquant, and this is the best one I’ve ever made.

Ranchero Sauce in a bowl, ready to serve

What is Ranchero Sauce?

Ranchero sauce is a flavorful tomato and chili pepper based sauce seasoned with a mixture of chili powders and herbs. You’ll find it in many Mexican and Tex Mex dishes around the border between the southern U.S. and Mexico, though because of its awesome flavor, it has quickly spread north through the states.

You may have tried a version of the sauce if you frequent Taco Bell, served in those tiny little packets you can pour over your tacos. This particular recipe is superior and far more authentic, though you’ll also find it’s rather addictive once you start cooking with it.

Let’s talk about how we make this awesome ranchero sauce recipe.

Ranchero Sauce in a bowl

Authentic Ranchero Sauce Ingredients

To make a great ranchero sauce, you need the following ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 16 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (or more as desired)
  • 1 tablespoon ancho powder
  • 1 tablespoon guajillo powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice from 1 lime (optional)
 

How to Make Homemade Ranchero Sauce

First, heat a large pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil.

Cook the onions and peppers down about 5 minutes to soften.

Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring a bit.

Cooking down the onions, jalapenos and garlic

Add the tomato, cilantro and chicken broth. Stir.

Stir in the cilantro, tomatoes and broth

Stir in the seasonings.

Add the seasonings

Bring to a quick boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes to let the flavors develop. The sauce will thicken up for you.

Simmering the Ranchero Sauce

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender) and pour in the lime juice. I used my stick blender.

Process until nice and smooth.

Processing the ranchero sauce with a stick blender

Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in a covered glass container.

Pouring the ranchero sauce into a jar

You can squeeze a bit of lime juice if you’d like at this point for a nice, fresh citrus pop, though it isn’t necessary. It’s wonderful on its own, but I love a good lime squeeze.

Ranchero Sauce in a jar, ready to serve

What to Serve with Ranchero Sauce?

Huevos Rancheros are most popularly served with ranchero sauce, but it’s great on enchiladas and other Mexican or Tex Mex dishes. Try spooning it over your tacos and burritos, drizzling it over plates of loaded nachos, though you don’t have to limit yourself to Mexican food. Spoon some over grilled burgers or chicken, or better yet, add some to a ground meat mixture for making zesty ranchero burgers.

Try it with some of my popular Mexican recipes:

It’s also great served as a salsa with tortilla chips.

Tacos al Pastor on a plate, ready to serve

The Best Sauce for Huevos Rancheros

I would be remiss if I didn’t emphasize how wonderful ranchero sauce is with the classic dish of Mexican Huevos Rancheros. It doesn’t get any better than lightly fried eggs served with easy homemade refried beans and this outstanding ranchero sauce spooned over it.

I could go on and on about how much I love this, but see it for yourself. Go make this Huevos Rancheros Recipe and let me know how much you love it. Don’t forget the ranchero sauce!

Why This Ranchero Sauce is the BEST!

Why is my ranchero sauce recipe different and better than others out there? Because of the combination of chili powders. I’m using a mixture of ancho, guajillo, chipotle and red pepper. such as cayenne or paprika that makes it very rich and earthy. such awesome flavor. Mine is the best! Bragging rights! Make it and you’ll know.

Ranchero Sauce Vs. Enchilada Sauce: What’s the Difference?

Ranchero sauce is more tomato based, more of a tomato sauce with lots of peppers, where enchilada sauce is usually made without tomatoes, and if it does contain tomatoes, they aren’t the focus. Enchilada sauce is usually milder in flavor and spice level, though you can often use them interchangeably.

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce - Ready to Serve

Ranchero Sauce Vs. Salsa: What’s the Difference?

Ranchero sauce is meant to be used as a cooking sauce or as a serving sauce to drizzle over finished dishes, however, you can actually serve it as a salsa. Salsas tend to be more chunky, so you can skip the step of processing your ranchero sauce and serve it up chunky, just like a salsa. It is great served warm or cold.

If you prefer your salsa with a thinner consistency, more pureed, you can easily do that as well. You might want to simmer it a bit in a pot to thicken it up if you prefer a thicker salsa. The choice is yours. So many options.

That’s it, my friends! I hope you enjoy your ranchero sauce! Let me know how you serve it up. I’d love to hear!

Try Some of My Other Popular Sauce Recipes

Ranchero Sauce on a spoon

Got any questions? Ask away! It’s such a good sauce. 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.

5 from 2 votes
Ranchero Sauce Recipe
Authentic Homemade Ranchero Sauce Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
This is the best ranchero sauce recipe I have ever tasted, with a base of diced tomato, jalapeno and onion, seasoned with a mixture of chili powders and seasonings. Perfect on huevos rancheros or any Mexican or Tex Mex dish.
Course: Main Course, Salsa, sauce
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: jalapenos, recipe, sauce, Tex-Mex
Servings: 14
Calories: 28 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 16 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro or more as desired
  • 1 tablespoon ancho powder
  • 1 tablespoon guajillo powder
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice from 1 lime optional
Instructions
  1. Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
  2. Cook the onions and peppers down about 5 minutes to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring a bit.
  4. Add the tomato and chicken broth. Stir.
  5. Stir in the cilantro and seasonings.
  6. Bring to a quick boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes to let the flavors develop. The sauce will thicken up for you.
  7. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and pour in the lime juice. I used my stick blender.
  8. Process until nice and smooth.
  9. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in a covered glass container.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Makes about 3.5 cups.

Nutrition Facts
Authentic Homemade Ranchero Sauce Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 28 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Sodium 80mg3%
Potassium 134mg4%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 645IU13%
Vitamin C 6.4mg8%
Calcium 23mg2%
Iron 0.8mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

4 comments

  1. Ingrid C. Hanson

    5 stars
    This recipe sounds terrific, and I think I’ll at least double it to freeze a bunch. I do have a question regarding the Nutrition Facts. It would be helpful to know just what amount constitutes a “serving.” Thanks!
    I love your blog and recipes! Keep up the good work!
    Ingrid

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Ingrid! I appreciate it. This makes about 3.5 cups, so I’m calculating a “serving” as a quarter cup. Please adjust as needed. That’s about how much I put on my huevos rancheros, or maybe more.

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I made this on Monday and have been adding it to dishes all week. Just dehydrated some as well and sent it to my son in CA.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Awesome, John! I love the idea of dehydrating it. So easy to rehydrate with just a bit of water. It’ll last forever that way!

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