Mexican Red Sauce (Tamales & Chile Rellenos)

Serving Size: 4 cups of Red Sauce February 2022

Magic Mexican Red Sauce

Feb 2022, La Paz, BCS

This spicy sauce is good for Tamales, Chili Rellenos, Huevos Rancheros, or spreading on toast. If you have a couple of tomatoes on their last legs, this it is a good use for them.



  • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 roma tomatoes (Blanch them in hot water for a minute and peel skin off)
  • 1 seeded and stemmed jalapeno pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 bay laurel leaf
  • 1 (small) pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 (small) pinch ground cloves


1. Heat 1/4 cup corn oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

2. Finely chop the onion and garlic.

3. Sauté the onion and garlic mixture slowly in oil until translucent and golden.

4. Mix the 1/4 cup flour into the onions and garlic, cooking until flour is lightly browned.

5. Finely chop the Roma tomatoes. You should have about 1 cup chopped tomatoes.

6. Finely chop the jalapeno (without seeds).

7. Process (grind) all of the above in a food processor until it's a smooth puree. Return to the sauce pan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoons of salt.


Add water and salt and continue cooking it without processing it, resulting in a slightly chunky sauce. Mixing with a hand blender will smooth it out some.

8. Crush 3/4 teaspoon of Mexican oregano between your fingers and add it along with the fresh ground pepper, bay leaf, a pinch of ground cinnamon, and a pinch of ground cloves. Note: small pinches, these spices go a long way!

9. Bring mixture to a boil while whisking.

10. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until you have a nice thick sauce. Cover the saucepan, stir occasionally.

You can keep the sauce warm over low heat, whisking as needed to refresh consistency, or reheat and stir before serving. (And yes, remove the Bay Leaf before serving.)