Guajillo Sauce is one of those things I love to keep in the freezer. When I don’t know that to make for dinner, I know this sauce has my back.
You’re never at a loss ‘cuz this sauce is boss. Just add protein and BOOM! Dinner is ready!
Guajillo Pronunciation: “Goo-wah-HEE-oh.”
Guajillo Pepper is also called “Guajillo Chile” or “Guajillo Chili.”
Where to Buy Guajillo Peppers
This is a very common and popular Mexican chile.
Look for them in the Hispanic section in your local grocery store.
You can always buy them online. (affiliate)
Guajillo vs. Ancho Peppers
Substitute for Guajillo Peppers:
- Ancho Pepper
- Pasilla Pepper
- New Mexico Chile
If a recipe calls for Guajillo Chile and you have none in the cupboard, you more than likely can substitute for one of these chiles.
It will change the flavor because not all chiles are alike. However, in a pinch, go for it.
How to Make Guajillo Sauce
- With a damp paper towel, gently wipe off any dust.
- Cut off the stem.
The guajillo peppers seeds are inside. You do not want to add these in your Guajillo Sauce.
Depending on the chile, you might not be able to get all the seeds out. That’s why straining is important.
- With your scissors, cut the chile lengthwise.
- Do this over the kitchen sink, or a trash can.
There are people who don’t do this step. They will take the stems off and leave the seeds inside. Then strain to remove the seeds.
You can very easily do that, but it will make your sauce spicier.
For a less spicy sauce, remove the seeds.
Be sure to discard as many of the guajillo pepper seeds as you can. If there are any veins, remove those too.
Some people will toast the chile before doing this.
Toasting the chiles will enhance the flavor, making your sauce richer and fuller. It’s up to you. Regardless, the Guajillo Sauce will still be tasty.
- Put all the chile dried chile in a stock pot with water.
- Use enough water to cover the chiles. About 4 cups.
- Bring the water to a boil. Then turn off the heat, leaving the chiles inside the stockpot.
They will only be in the hot water for about 5 minutes, or until pliable.
I’ve seen people do this without boiling. They just leave the chiles in cold water, but the rehydration process takes longer.
• Discard the water.
There are a lot of Mexican recipes that use the water from the rehydration process.
I’m guilty of using this water too. I’ve stopped doing that.
Mainly because I go back and forth to Mexico, and some of the dried chiles will have dust. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll even find bugs in the chile. EEK!
Again, clean the chiles with a damp paper towel before rehydrating. Very important!
- Add the chiles, water, onion, garlic to the blender.
- Blend until smooth.
How hot is a Guajillo Chile?
If you can handle a jalapeño, you can handle the heat of a guajillo chile.
A guajillo pepper is not as hot as a jalapeño.
The spiciest guajillo can reach 5,000 Scoville heat units.
If the sauce is too thick, add some water. Don’t add too much. About 1/2 cup water. Just enough to be able to strain the sauce.
Then… add some more water to the blender. Just to get any remaining sauce that might be lingering at the bottom of the blender.
- Strain the sauce.
- With the back of your cooking spoon, push out as much of the sauce.
- Discard any bit and pieces left in the strainer.
Guajillo Sauce freezes extremely well. Put it into a freezable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible. It lasts up to 5 months in the freezer.
Guajillo Sauce in the fridge will last up to 5 days.
I usually make two batches. One to use now, and another to freezer for later.
The strained sauce goes back in the pot and gets boiled. To freeze, you need the sauce to cool.
How to use the guajillo sauce:
- Sear any protein – chicken, beef, pork, fish.
- Add the sauce.
- Simmer until the protein is fully cooked.
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- Stock pot
- Kitchen scissors
- With a damp paper towel, wipe off any dust on the peppers.
- Remove the stems, seeds, and veins of the guajillo peppers
- Add 4 cups water and the cleaned peppers to a stock pot.
- Put the lid on, and bring to a boil.
- Turn heat off, leaving the peppers inside.
- Wait for 5 minutes, or until the chiles are pliable.
- Discard the water.
- Rinse the pot and set aside until ready to use.
- To a blender, add the rehydrated peppers, garlic, onion, cumin, and salt.
- Add 4 1/2 cups water to the blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Strain the sauce.
- Return the sauce to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Boil for 5 minutes.
- Taste for salt.
More Mexican Recipes using Guajillo Peppers:
Camarones a la Diabla, or Mexican Deviled Shrimp. Also called “Shrimp Diablo.” This is Mexican spicy food at its finest. Made with juicy, plump shrimp. You’ll want to lick the plate clean.
Birria de Res, or Mexican Beef Stew, is an authentic Mexican food recipe that is hearty and full of robust, deep flavor. Tender and juicy meat that’s delicious all year long.
Sink your teeth into this sandwich. A Pambazo is bread dipped in guajillo sauce, stuffed with chorizo con papas, then fried. It’s a tasty guilty pleasure.