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El Pato Sauce Recipe

Are you looking for a more flavorful tomato sauce?…An El Pato style sauce?

El Pato, a renowned Mexican brand, has been a kitchen staple for many lovers of spicy cuisine.

Known for its vibrant red color and zesty kick, El Pato’s tomato sauce is often the secret ingredient that elevates a wide variety of dishes.

However, what if you could capture the essence of this tantalizingly tangy and spicy concoction right in your home kitchen?

That’s where my recipe comes in.

I’m going to show you how to recreate this delicious El Pato sauce, using simple, readily available ingredients, to achieve that perfect balance of tomatoey goodness and fiery heat.

This homemade version not only matches the trademark vibrant color and spicy kick of El Pato sauce but also allows you to tweak the flavor to your personal preference, making it truly your own.

Once you’ve whipped up a batch, you’ll find it’s a perfect pairing for a range of dishes.

Whether you’re spicing up soups, stews, or tacos, enhancing the flavor of enchiladas or chiles rellenos, marinating your favorite meats, or simply using it as a robust dip for tortilla chips, this homemade El Pato sauce is sure to take your meals to the next level.

What Do You Need To Make El Pato Sauce?

Diced Tomatoes

These are the base of the sauce, providing body and a fresh, slightly sweet flavor.

Canned diced tomatoes are a convenient choice, as they’re already peeled and chopped.

They’re also cooked during the canning process, which can help deepen their flavor.

Using fresh tomatoes is also an option, especially when they’re in season.

Jalapeno Peppers

Jalapenos contribute to the heat and spice of the sauce.

Removing the seeds and membranes can reduce their heat if desired.

If you want a spicier sauce, consider using hotter peppers like serranos or habaneros, but do so cautiously.


Garlic gives the sauce a rich, savory depth.

Freshly minced garlic is usually more flavorful and aromatic than jarred or dried versions.


Onions add a slightly sweet and savory flavor that balances out the heat from the peppers.

White or yellow onions are typically used in sauces, but red onions can also work for a slightly different flavor.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This adds a tangy flavor that balances out the sweetness of the tomatoes and onions.

It also helps to preserve the sauce. White vinegar or lime juice could be used as alternatives.


Salt enhances the flavors of all the other ingredients.

You can adjust the amount of salt based on your personal preference and dietary needs.

Ground Cumin

Cumin adds a warm, earthy flavor that’s characteristic of many Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes.


Oregano brings a hint of bitterness and a slight hint of sweetness that complements the tomatoes and spices.

Mexican oregano is more commonly used in Mexican cuisine, but Mediterranean oregano can be used as a substitute.

Black Pepper

Black pepper adds a bit of heat and a slight floral note. You can adjust the amount based on your personal preference.


Cilantro provides a fresh, herby note that contrasts with the rich, spicy flavors of the sauce.

Some people have a genetic trait that makes cilantro taste soapy, so this ingredient is optional.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is used to sauté the onions, garlic, and peppers, helping to bring out their flavors.

Any neutral oil, like canola or vegetable oil, could be used as a substitute.

How To Make El Pato Sauce

Alright, let’s get started on this spicy and delicious El Pato sauce!

Step One: First, let’s heat up that olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Get it nice and warm but not smoking.

Step Two: Now, toss in your chopped onion. You’re gonna cook that until it starts getting translucent. That’s when you know the onions are releasing their sweet flavors.

Step Three: Time to turn up the heat a notch. Add in the minced garlic and chopped jalapenos. Let them cook for about 1-2 minutes – just until you can smell that garlic filling up your kitchen.

Step Four: Next, let’s add those diced tomatoes into the mix, juice and all. They’re gonna give your sauce that perfect base.

Step Five: Now, we’re gonna pour in the apple cider vinegar, and sprinkle in the salt, cumin, oregano, and black pepper. These will give your sauce that tangy, spicy kick it needs.

Step Six: Give everything a good stir and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. This will let all those flavors get to know each other and become best friends.

Step Seven: After it’s done simmering, take the saucepan off the heat. If you like your sauce smoother, you can blend it up with an immersion blender or a regular blender. Just make sure to let it cool a bit if you’re using a regular blender – safety first!

Step Eight: If you’re a cilantro fan, now’s the time to stir it in. It’ll give your sauce that fresh, herby touch.

Step Nine: Take a taste and adjust the seasoning if you need to. Everyone’s taste buds are different, so make it perfect for you.

Step Ten: Let the sauce cool down, then pour it into a jar or an airtight container. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. So, you can enjoy spicy, flavorful dishes all week long!

Expert Tips When Making El Pato Sauce

Tip #1: Use Fresh Ingredients

High-quality ingredients can significantly enhance the flavor of your El Pato sauce.

Fresh garlic, ripe tomatoes, and quality spices will yield a more flavorful sauce.

If you’re using canned tomatoes, look for brands with minimal additives to ensure a clean, tomato-forward flavor.

Tip #2: Adjust The Spice Level

The heat in this sauce comes primarily from the jalapeno peppers.

You can adjust the heat level to your preference by adding more or fewer jalapenos, or by leaving in or removing the seeds and membranes (where much of the heat is stored).

For a milder sauce, deseed and devein the jalapenos.

Tip #3: Adjust The Acidity

The apple cider vinegar adds a tangy flavor to the sauce and balances the sweetness of the tomatoes.

If the sauce tastes too acidic for your liking, a pinch of sugar can help balance it out.

Conversely, if the sauce tastes too sweet or flat, an extra splash of vinegar can brighten it up.

Tip #4: Adjust The Texture

The texture of the sauce can be customized to your liking.

If you prefer a chunkier sauce, consider only lightly blending or mashing the sauce, or not blending it at all.

For a smoother, more uniform sauce, thoroughly blend the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency.

Tip #5: Storing

El Pato sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

For longer storage, you can freeze the sauce in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

What To Eat El Pato Sauce With?

Soups and Stews

Adding a spoonful or two of El Pato sauce to your soups or stews can significantly enhance their flavor.

It adds a hint of spice and tang that can balance out the richness of these dishes.


Whether you’re making fish, beef, chicken, or veggie tacos, a drizzle of El Pato sauce can add a delightful kick.

It complements the other ingredients and spices commonly used in tacos and brings out their flavors.


Pouring El Pato sauce over your enchiladas before baking them allows the spicy and tangy flavors to soak into the tortillas and filling.

It creates a dish that’s bursting with flavor in every bite.

Chiles Rellenos

Traditionally, Chiles Rellenos are served with a tomato-based sauce.

Swapping that out for El Pato sauce can give this classic dish a new twist, adding a spicier, more complex flavor profile.

Marinade for Meats

The flavors in El Pato sauce – the tang from the tomatoes and vinegar, the heat from the peppers, and the earthiness from the spices – make it an excellent marinade for meats.

It works particularly well for grilled chicken, beef, or pork.

Dip for Tortilla Chips

For a simple and delicious snack, use El Pato sauce as a dip for tortilla chips.

It’s a great way to spice up your usual chips and salsa, and it’s perfect for sharing at parties or during a game night.

Pasta Sauce

Consider using El Pato sauce as a base for a spicy pasta dish.

Mix it with some sauteed garlic and olive oil, toss in your cooked pasta, and finish with some grated cheese for an easy, flavorful meal.

Yield: 2.5 Cups

El Pato Sauce Recipe

El Pato Sauce Recipe

This homemade El Pato sauce recipe is a fiery blend of tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, and onion, simmered with earthy spices and a hint of tangy apple cider vinegar. It's versatile, adds a spicy kick, and infuses any dish with robust, savory flavors.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of fresh chopped cilantro (optional)


  1. Start by heating the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion to the saucepan, and cook until it begins to turn translucent.
  3. Add the minced garlic and chopped jalapenos to the saucepan and cook for about 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add the diced tomatoes (with their juice) into the saucepan.
  5. Next, add the apple cider vinegar, salt, cumin, oregano, and black pepper to the mixture.
  6. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will allow the flavors to meld together.
  7. After 10-15 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat. If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can use an immersion blender or a standard blender to puree the mixture. Make sure to allow the mixture to cool slightly if using a standard blender to avoid the risk of it exploding due to the heat.
  8. If you're using cilantro, stir it in at the end after the sauce has been blended.
  9. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  10. Allow the sauce to cool down before transferring it to a jar or airtight container. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 35Total Fat: 1gSodium: 200mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

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