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Mexican Adobo Sauce

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  • Prep 25 min
  • Total 60 min
  • Servings 5
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by: Sonia Mendez Garcia
Updated Jul 20, 2017
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  • 4 quarts water, plus 1 cup separate
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 serrano chili peppers, stems removed
  • 1 white onion, peeled and sliced into quarters
  • 4 garlic cloves, leave skins on
  • 6 ancho chili pepper, stems and seeds removed
  • 6 guajillo or California chili peppers, stems and seeds removed
  • 6 japones chili peppers
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


  • 1
    Pour the 4 quarts of water in a large pot and heat to medium/low heat on back burner.
  • 2
    Line a large skillet with foil paper and preheat to medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, serrano peppers, onion and garlic cloves. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning as needed, until you get some nice browning. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • 3
    While the tomato mixture is cooking, on the other side preheat a large griddle pan to medium heat for 3 minutes. Add chile ancho, guajillo or California, and japones peppers to the hot griddle. Toast the peppers for no more the 3 to 4 minutes, turning often, or they will burn and become bitter. Remove from heat and transfer to pot with hot water. Turn the heat slightly to bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for another 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the water and transfer the peppers to the blender. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  • 4
    Remove the skins from the garlic and add them to the blender. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the blender, including the 1 cup of reserved water. Blend on the highest speed until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more water. Taste for salt. Let the adobo sauce cool completely before storing. It will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks to 4 months in the freezer.

Expert Tips

  • tip 1
    When making chile-based sauces, you could strain them through a fine wire mesh strainer to create a smoother and silkier finish.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • One of my family’s absolute favorite dishes that my mom would prepare was pork chile colorado. It was prepared with homemade Mexican adobo sauce and seared pork that would slow cook for hours. The dried chile ancho, guajillos and japones really give this Mexican adobo sauce those traditional flavors that I grew up with. This adobo sauce can be used in a variety of authentic Mexican recipes. You can use it as is for marinating your favorite meats or seafood. Add a little broth to the adobo and it becomes an enchilada sauce or a great braising liquid for seared beef or pork dishes.
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