Chile 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.
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You’re never at a loss ‘cuz this sauce is boss. Just add protein and BOOM! Dinner is ready!
Another one of my favorites and always in my fridge: Adobo Sauce
Guajillo Pronunciation: “Goo-wah-HEE-oh.”
You might also see it called “Guajillo Chile” or “Guajillo Chili.”
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Where to Buy them
This is a very common and popular Mexican chile. Look for them in the Hispanic section in your local grocery store. Or, Buy Them Online
Don’t confuse them with Ancho Peppers
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.
- Ancho Pepper
- Pasilla Pepper
- New Mexico Chile
It will change the flavor because not all chiles are alike. However, in a pinch, go for it.
Making the 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.
Recipes using Guajillo Peppers
- 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 and add 1 tomato to the blender.
Be sure to discard as many of the 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.
Cold Water Rehydration Method: Leave the chiles in cold water for 1 hour. No boiling necessary.
• Discard the water.
There are a lot of Mexican recipes that use the water from the rehydration process.
Dried chiles collect dust and perfect place for bugs to hide. That’s why you must throw out the water and use fresh water to make the sauce.
- Add the chiles, water, onion, garlic to the blender.
- Blend until smooth.
How hot is that pepper?
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 on the Scoville Scale.
If the sauce is too thick, add some water. Don’t add too much. About ½ 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 or up to 5 days in the fridge.
Word to the Wise: 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 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 2 cups water to the blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Heat olive oil in the stock pot.
- Add a strainer over the stock pot.
- Carefully strain the sauce into the pot, using the back of a spoon.
- Be very careful. It can splatter.
- Bring to a simmer.
- Cook the sauce for 8-10 minutes.
- Stir occasionally.
- Taste for salt.
Maggie Unzueta is the writer/blogger, photographer, recipe developer, videographer, and creator of In Mama Maggie's Kitchen. She has been developing easy and authentic Mexican food, Mexican-inspired recipes, and traveling tips since 2010. From family recipes to her extensive travels throughout Mexico, she brings traditional Mexican flavors from South of the Border and into your kitchen. Maggie has been featured in notable culinary websites and other media outlets. For more details, check out her About page.