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April 21, 2021 3 min read

Take your taco night up a few notches with your own homemade taco sauce from scratch! This simple, mild taco sauce packs all of that classic taco ancho chile flavor without the added MSG and preservatives that come in those tiny, pre-made seasoning packets. 

Mexican tacos make one of our favorite weeknight dinners that not only taste good but are easy as pie. After prepping a few ingredients and taco toppings, you simply toss them into a few bowls to allow everyone to build their own. 

Given their simplicity, we don’t plan on taking tacos off our dinner meal plans any time soon. We decided to make a taco sauce recipe from scratch instead of using a seasoning packet because they contain a few unnatural ingredients we’d rather avoid. 

We built this easy taco sauce recipe with ancho chiles with just enough spice to keep everyone happy, even those with more sensitive taste buds. 

Make your own taco sauce in 10 minutes, and either use right away, refrigerate, or freeze for future taco fiestas!


Authentic Mexican taco sauce recipe - Nutrition information

Per serving: 1 Tbsp

Calories: 9 kcal; Carbohydrates: 1.9 g; Protein: 0.4 g; Fat: 0.3 g; Sodium: 156 mg.

Homemade taco sauce recipe - FAQ

Buying taco sauce in your local grocery store is simple, but learning how to make taco sauce for yourself is even better. Check out our FAQ list below for any additional questions!

What is taco sauce?

Taco sauce is a deliciously-spiced sauce, usually mixed into our favorite taco proteins - think ground beef, pulled chicken, black beans, and more! 

Most Mexican taco sauce recipes start with a tomato base - usually a tomato puree, mixed with vinegar, sugar, and spices. The vinegar and tomato add some tangy acidity, and the sugar balances the warm spices and acid for a sweet, spicy sauce with plenty of complexity. 

We often see green taco sauce, too, which usually contains spicy green peppers and tomatillos in place of red tomatoes. Both sauces range from mild to spicy, though the green sauce tends to be a little more bitter. 

Why make your own?

Plenty of store-bought taco brands sell little packets of taco seasoning, and while these taste pretty good and are handy for quick dinners, they have quite a few ingredients that aren’t all that healthy to consume. 

Most pre-made taco seasoning contains MSG, additives, and a load of sodium - not great. While it’s true that MSG makes many foods taste delicious, there are also claims that it does some nasty stuff to your nerves and basic body functioning. 

Making your own taco sauce is so quick and tastes even better than the packaged stuff!

What is the difference between taco sauce and salsa?

Taco sauce primarily contains a dried chile base with onions, other spices, and possibly tomatoes, roasted before being blended into the sauce. 

Salsa contains a primary tomato base, with added fresh chiles and seasonings. Salsa is usually uncooked and tends to have a lighter, fresher flavor than taco sauce. 

Are ancho chiles spicy?

We wanted to keep our homemade taco sauce relatively mild to give it widespread appeal. Ancho chiles are our pepper of choice, aka dried poblano chile peppers.

Most poblanos are green when unripened, but to become anchos, they’re left on the plant to ripen until they turn a deep red tone. Then, farmers pick the ancho chiles from the plants and dry them, usually in the sun. 

The spice of ancho chiles is only 1,000-1,500 on the Scoville Scale, which is considered relatively mild. Jalapeños, on the other hand, measure at 2,000-8,000 SHU (Scoville heat units) for comparison. 

Plant-ripened anchos develop a sweet flavor that balances their spice and smells similar to a raisin. 

Can I make this taco sauce spicier?

Do you like a spicier taco sauce? No problem! You can easily adjust the spicy heat of this taco sauce by adding some extra cayenne. Double, or even triple the cayenne in the recipe, then taste and adjust as desired. 

You can toss in some red chili pepper flakes for good measure, or add a few drops of your favorite spicy hot sauce into the mix. 

Final notes & storage tips

You can use your simple taco sauce immediately or store it in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Or, toss your sauce in a freezer-safe container and freeze it for up to 3 months. 
This taco sauce is going to knock the socks off of anyone who tries it. Grab a few taco holders to make building and eating your homemade tacos a little less messy and a lot more fun!

Liked this taco sauce recipe? Check out our recipes for taco fillings and keto taco seasoning!

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