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What Is Ancho Sauce?

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Have you come across Ancho sauce? Wondering what it is before deciding to use or taste some? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Today, I am going to be walking you through all you need to know.

So, what is Ancho sauce? Ancho sauce is a mild sauce based on Anchos- dried poblano peppers that are low on the spiciness scale, and instead are earthy, slightly smokey, and a little sweet in taste. As a sauce, it is mostly eaten with Enchiladas or other Mexican-inspired dishes, such as Chilaquiles.

A chili sauce that’s not too spicy?

Sounds rather interesting, right?

Well, it’s all due to the use of these interesting peppers that are allowed to grow on the vine for much longer, before being purposefully dried for their rich, deep flavors.

And then mixing with some other ingredients.

But what ones exactly and what kind of sauce does it end up? Let’s find out!

What Is Ancho Sauce Made Of?

Ancho sauce is typically made of ancho peppers, garlic, and other spices, herbs, and seasonings. Sometimes vinegar is used, other times oil. More infrequently, you will see tomatoes in the recipe too.

It all depends on the recipe you follow.

This is not a sauce that is universally the same.

It really does have a lot of variations.

There is not one Ancho sauce, there are several.

And that’s because many sauces become ancho sauces once these peppers are added.

So do bear that in mind.

You can even see the likes of honey, sugar onions, or even vegetable stock across the recipes.

At the same time,

What Does Ancho Sauce Taste Like?

Ancho sauce is often sweet, smokey, and earthy in flavor. Although the exact tastes and notes will depend on the recipe or the ingredients used.

Nevertheless, Ancho sauce is known for being bold in flavor, and many people also report getting hints of cherry, raisins, and prunes too.

How Spicy Is Ancho Sauce?

Most typical recipes of Ancho sauce are not spicy, instead of being very mild. That being said, there are variations and products that include Anchos, or may even be called Ancho sauce that can be very spicy.

It all depends on the ingredients that are used.

For ancho sauces that do not include any other types of chili, you should not expect much spice.

That being said, there are definitely recipes and brands that pair anchos with other chilis, like ghost chilis or habeneros, for instance.

And if other chilis are used, you can expect a super hot sauce. That’s not coming from the Anchos, though.

Nevertheless, you do need to be mindful and careful, especially if spice is not your thing.

Thankfully, Ancho sauce is generally very mild.

That’s because Ancho peppers only measure at around 1,000 Scoville units – which is about half the heat of mild Jalapeños.But not always.

Can You Buy Ancho Sauce?

You can buy Ancho sauce, although the products available are typically variations on the traditional recipe.

For instance, take the Humble House Ancho Smokey sauce.

You can get it over at Amazon, but this product is a blend of ancho and tamarind.

Here is the full ingredient list, for reference:

Aged Tamarind Chile Paste (Raisins, Tamarind Concentrate, Gluten-Free Soy Sauce, Balsamic Vinegar, Morita Chile, Ancho Chile, Kosher Salt) Vinegar, Cane Sugar, Fresh Garlic.

It has unbelievable reviews but provides tanginess from the tamarind that typical Ancho sauce does not offer.

And then there is the Ancho Masala Scorpion Reaper Hot Sauce By Bravado Spice.

Again, available on Amazon, this really is the hot variation.

Its ultra-hot, because a number of additional chilis are added, as we can see by the ingredient list below:

Moruga Scorpion, Carolina Reaper, Ghost Pepper, Rice Wine Vinegar, Roasted Garlic, Tomato Paste, Garam Masala, Medjool Dates, Ancho Chili & Salt

So if you like your spice it might be for you.

But this is again not your authentic Ancho, it’s just an interesting variety that includes ancho peppers.

How To Make Ancho Sauce

If you are looking to make an authentic Ancho sauce, the following recipe is for you. It’s naturally mild and very versatile.


  • 4 ounces of Dried Ancho Chilis
  • Water
  • 2 cups of Beef or Vegetable Stock
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled and Minced,
  • 1 Tablespoon of Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Ground Cumin
  • ½ Teaspoon of Ground Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil.


Step One: Place the Ancho chilis in a pot and add just enough water to cover them.

Step Two: Bring to the boil, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the Ancho chilis hydrate in the hot water until they become soft. Typically 15-20 minutes is needed.

Step Three: Carefully remove 1 cup of water and pour into a food processor or blender.

Step Four: Remove the Ancho chillis, and remove the seeds and stems with your hands or a suitable knife.

Step Five: Add the Ancho chilis to the food processor, or blender, along with the stock, sugar, garlic, and spices.

Step Six: Puree until the mixture is completely smooth and the ingredients are combined.

Step Seven: Add the new mixture back to the pot, ideally through a fine sieve, or a colander. Press until all liquid has been pressed through.

Step Eight: Heat the sauce on low heat for around 10-15 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Step Nine: Serve and enjoy, or pour into an airtight storage container where it should keep for up to 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator!

What To Eat Ancho Sauce With

Ancho sauce is incredibly versatile. In Mexican, Tex-Mex, and Southwestern cuisine, it is most commonly served with Enchiladas. Chilaquiles and tacos are great uses for this sauce too! 

That being said, you could use this sauce with a wide variety of foods, particularly meats like pork, ribs, or as a marinade for steak.

Some people like to add this sauce to sandwiches, burgers or even pizza too – particularly the store-bought varieties such as those from Humble House or Bravod Spice.


Ancho sauce; the not-so-spicy chili sauce.

Well at least if Anchos are the only peppers in there.

They are not always, however – so do be mindful!

Nevertheless and either way, this sauce is known to provide a lot of flavor so it’s certainly worth a try, whether you decide to buy some or make it yourself!

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