Authentic Dried Chile-Pepito Enchilada Sauce Recipe -
Authentic Dried Chile-Pepito Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Authentic Dried Chile-Pepito Enchilada Sauce

Recipe by  

"Real enchilada sauce made from dried chiles and optional ground pumpkin seeds, rich with indigenous flavors. Use in any traditional enchilada recipe."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 12 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    35 mins

    1 hr 10 mins


  1. Bring the water to a boil, and set aside. Rinse and pat the ancho chiles dry, then tear out the stems and cores, and tear open the chiles. Scrape out seeds and veins, leaving the flesh intact. Tear the chiles into 1- to 2-inch pieces.
  2. Place the ancho pieces, onion, and garlic into a dry cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, and toast, stirring constantly, until the chiles are fragrant and show browned spots, about 5 minutes. In a small separate skillet over medium heat, toast the ground cumin just until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Watch carefully, the cumin will burn easily. Pour the toasted cumin into the skillet with the ancho mixture; pour in the hot water.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the ancho peppers are rehydrated and moist and the mixture is reduced, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt, agave syrup, and lemon juice. Remove from heat and let cool for about 15 minutes.
  4. Pour the ancho mixture into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway full. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the mixture moving before leaving it on to puree. Stop the blender after about 30 seconds, and add the chile de arbol peppers, pumpkin seeds, oregano, and roma tomatoes. Puree in batches if needed until smooth and thickened.
  5. Return the blended sauce to the cast-iron skillet, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, for about 15 more minutes to blend flavors.
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  • Cook's Note
  • Excellent for making traditional enchiladas. Simply warm corn tortillas in a little oil, dip in sauce, and then fill with shredded cheese, black beans and perhaps a tablespoon or two of roast vegetable such as eggplant or butternut squash. Put a couple tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a flat roasting pan and cover with a ladle of sauce. Line up filled tortillas in the pan and cover with sauce. Top with a little shredded cheese and bake in a very slow oven (about 300 degrees F/150 degrees C) for approx. 30 minutes to blend flavors.

Reviews More Reviews

Jul 02, 2011

Amazing flavor. Authentic smokey flavor. Used honey to balance the bitterness the skins left and used guajillo and Padilla peppers. Took 35 min and was well worth it.

Feb 28, 2012

I liked this one better than the other one I tried forRed Enchilada Sauce on this website....more depth of flavor. I was lazy and just put everything in the crockpot to simmer while I was at work. Used half for enchiladas and the other half for the Enchilada Meatballs on this site that also needed the same sauce. I had just bought the agave nectar for another recipe so I was glad there was something else I could use it in.


7 Ratings

Jan 03, 2013

Love the authenticity. I used what I had and omitted what I didn't and it was still fantastic. A keeper.

Jan 04, 2015

I loved the smokey, authentic flavor, but I had to play with it to get it to be really great. In the future I'll use my homemade chicken stock instead of water. (I actually cooked it down and added about a cup and a half of stock, and it made a huge difference to supplying those needed low and medium notes.) I also had to add three times the amount of honey and twice the amount of lemon juice called for. I used Pasilla Negro chiles instead of the ancho, because my grocery store didn't have ancho. I also used two chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce (Goya product) instead of the other chiles. A couple extra spoonfuls of the adobo sauce really improved the flavor as well, supplying those missing lower notes. I'll make this again, but will make sure to use the above changes to get a fuller flavor.

Oct 22, 2014

Prepared this in a NO salt method. Very good sauce. As mentioned by another review, I used honey to balance the bitter. Wasn't sure initially as to me enchilada sauce doesn't have a great taste by itself. I made the slow-cooker Posole' from here and you could smell the effort and work that went into the sauce. I doubled this recipe and I ended up canning 7 pints. '

Jan 08, 2014

Truly authentic, I added some chicken broth to make enchiladas. I didn't use chili arbol, instead I used chipotle chilis that my husband made last summer. It's a great sauce!!


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  • Calories
  • 114 kcal
  • 6%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 15.8 g
  • 5%
  • Cholesterol
  • 0 mg
  • 0%
  • Fat
  • 5 g
  • 8%
  • Fiber
  • 4.8 g
  • 19%
  • Protein
  • 4.7 g
  • 9%
  • Sodium
  • 15 mg
  • < 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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