This Ranchero Sauce recipe packs a punch of flavor from sauteed tomatoes, onions and cilantro with the perfect amount of spice and smokiness. Serve it on huevos rancheros, tacos, burritos, tostadas and all your favorite Mexican dishes!
If you’re looking for a flavorful and bold sauce to serve alongside your favorite Mexican dishes, then you have got to try this homemade ranchero sauce!
What is Ranchero Sauce?
Ranchero sauce is an onion and tomato-based sauce that’s seasoned with a mixture of herbs and spices as well as a touch of heat from jalapenos and chipotle peppers.
It’s well known as the delicious sauce that’s used to make huevos rancheros, and it’s become so popular in Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine that people have started to make the sauce by itself to put on other dishes!
I like to think of it as a cooked salsa that can be served with just about anything that needs a hint of spice!
Ingredients in Ranchero Sauce
To make ranchero sauce, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Tomatoes: All you need are 3 diced plum tomatoes. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but they cook down with the onions and release a lot of liquid.
- Onions and Garlic: These are sauteed with the tomatoes and jalapenos to give the sauce a well-rounded flavor.
- Jalapenos: I removed the seeds and veins from the pepper to keep it on the mild side, but you can leave them in if you want it a little more spicy.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: This adds a nice smoky element to the sauce that takes it to a whole new level. I added 2 but feel free to add only 1 if you want it mild. If you’re not a fan of chipotle peppers, you can leave it out completely for a very mild ranchero sauce.
- Chicken Stock: This helps to bring some moisture back into the sauce after it’s been cooking on the stove for 10 minutes. It also helps to thin out the mixture so it can be blended nicely.
- Herbs and Spices: Some salt, paprika and dried Mexican oregano (or regular dried oregano) add a tasty Mexican flavor.
- Cilantro and Lime Juice: Brightens the sauce up a bit and adds a touch of acidity to compliment the smokiness of the chipotles.
How to make Ranchero Sauce
Making ranchero sauce is super easy and only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. First, heat up some olive oil in a skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Then add in the tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and all the spices and saute for 10 minutes.
At this point, the tomatoes and onions will have cooked down and a lot of the water in the vegetables will have evaporated. To add some moisture back into the concentrated mixture, mix in some chicken stock or water (I like to use chicken stock for added flavor) and cook for about another 30 seconds.
Remove the sauce from the heat and mix in cilantro and lime juice.
Transfer the mixture to a blender or to a bowl if using an immersion blender, and pulse a few times to mix everything together to a slightly chunky consistency.
If you want the mixture smooth like in the photos above, puree the sauce until it’s completely blended.
Whether you leave the sauce slightly chunky or smooth is totally personal preference. I like to leave it a little chunky if I’m making it specifically for huevos rancheros, but if I’m making it to eat with other dishes, I like it smooth. It’s totally up to you!
What to serve with Ranchero Sauce
One of my favorite things about this sauce is that it’s so versatile. In addition to serving it with huevos rancheros, ranchero sauce is great on so many Mexican dishes including:
- Chicken Taquitos (Baked or Fried)
- Easy Chicken Tacos
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Easy Steak Fajitas
- Carne Asada
- or with Homemade Tortilla Chips!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 large white onion, diced
- 3 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (or water)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (about the juice of 1 lime)
- Heat olive oil in a medium skillet or pot over medium-high heat.
- Add onions, tomatoes, jalapeno, chipotle pepper, garlic, salt, paprika and dried oregano. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions and peppers soften and the mixture becomes very concentrated.
- Add chicken stock, stir to combine and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice.
- Using an immersion blender or regular stand blender, carefully blend the mixture until it reaches the consistency you want. A few pulses will leave the ranchero sauce slightly chunky, or you can puree it until it's completely smooth.
- Taste and season with more salt if necessary. Serve immediately on top of eggs, tacos, burritos and all your favorite Mexican foods.