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Adobo Sauce Recipe
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4.93 from 13 votes

Mexican Adobo Sauce Recipe

This homemade adobo sauce recipe is essential to Mexican cuisine, made with ancho and guajillo peppers for a smoky, sweet and spicy flavor for many dishes.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course, sauce
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: adobo, ancho, guajillo, sauce, spicy
Servings: 16 tablespoons
Calories: 19kcal


  • 4 guajillo peppers
  • 4 ancho peppers
  • 3 cups hot water or enough to cover the dried peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste optional for a milder flavor
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican cinnamon or use cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano or use oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sugar optional, to taste – see my NOTES on Optional Spices
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (use 1 cup for a thinner adobo sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar


  • Remove the stems from the guajillo and ancho peppers and remove the seeds. You may need to cut into the peppers for this, which is fine.
  • Heat a large pan to medium-high heat and dry toast the dried peppers a couple minutes per side. They will become more pliable and slightly puff up. This helps to release the oils for more flavor.
  • Place the dried pods in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Soak them for 15 minutes, or until they become very soft and rehydrate. Transfer the softened peppers to a food processor, but reserve the soaking liquid.
  • While the peppers are softening, heat olive oil in a medium pan and add the onion. Cook it down for 4-5 minutes to soften.
  • Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until you it becomes fragrant.
  • Add the tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, sugar and salt. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.
  • Stir in 1/2 cup chicken stock. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the mixture to the food processor along with the softened peppers, vinegar, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh water, or you can use the dark liquid from soaking the peppers. Process until smooth.
  • Adjust with salt and sugar to taste, and with a bit more water until you achieve your desired consistency. Strain if you’d like a thinner sauce, or use as-is.



Makes about 6 cups.


Calories: 19kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 494IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg