Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Guajillo Chiles

Overhead image of guajillo sauce in a round pan sitting on a red cloth on a wood table.

Here’s a simple recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Guajillo Chiles that you will want to put on everything! A delicious and versatile sauce for topping all your favorite Mexican food recipes from enchiladas to chilaquiles. Vegan, paleo-friendly, and gluten-free!



2 large or 3 small red bell peppers or 11.5 ounces jarred roasted red peppers

4 dried guajillo chiles

1 pound ripe tomatoes

3 cloves garlic, unpeeled

1 teaspoon dried oregano {preferably Mexican oregano}

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3/4 cup chili-soaking liquid or vegetable broth

2 tablespoon olive oil


Roast the peppers. Lay whole red bell peppers directly over a high gas flame on the stovetop and cook until charred and blackened on all sides, turning occasionally with tongs. If you don’t have a gas range you can broil them or skip this step and use jarred roasted peppers.

Once peppers are blackened remove from heat and place in a heatproof bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter until cool enough to handle. 

Peel off blackened skin, remove stem and seeds and rinse under cold water. Roughly chop and place in blender

Prep the guajillo chiles. Remove stems and seeds and rinse chiles. Heat a dry cast iron skillet or comal over medium heat (not too hot or they will burn and become bitter). Place chiles on hot comal and toast, turning frequently until they are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small saucepan, cover with water and simmer until soft, about 15 minutes. 

Char the vegetables. Meanwhile, char tomatoes, onion, and garlic on the hot comal until blackened on all sides. Check frequently as the garlic will cook first. Remove garlic and continue turning and charring vegetables, about 10-15 minutes. You can also do this under a broiler or on the grill. 

Blend the sauce. Remove garlic skin and transfer vegetables to the blender with the peppers. Add oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper, soaked guajillo chiles and 3/4 cup of the chili-soaking liquid or vegetable broth. Blend on high until very smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve if you’d like a super smooth sauce. 

Fry the sauce. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Stir in red pepper sauce (be careful it will spatter, so stir constantly) and bring to a simmer.

Cook about 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but not gloppy. If the sauce is too thick add a bit more chili-soaking liquid. Keep warm to serve immediately or remove from heat, let cool then cover and refrigerate for up to 7 days until ready to use. 

Keywords: guajillo chiles