Making Red Chile From Scratch

Growing up, I loved both green and red chile, but I think I favored green. As an adult, I prefer red – especially homemade red chile. It’s true, there’s nothing like the convenience of red chile in the frozen foods section or jarred and ready-to-eat red chile from the “Hispanic Foods” aisle at the grocery store. (I still find that amusing that in NM grocery stores still have such an aisle.)  Thing is, I’m kind of picky.  I think frozen chile often lacks in flavor and texture and the jarred stuff can get expensive when you like to smother everything in red chile. For me, nothing beats the silky smooth texture and pure taste of red chile that’s made from scratch and ground through a food mill.

For whatever reason, it takes me practically all day to make the stuff. In the end though, it’s totally worth it. I’ll have jars of homemade ready-to-eat frozen red chile in my basement freezer just begging to be poured on top of cheesy enchiladas and fresh tacos, stirred into piping hot posole, added to shredded pork for tamales, or simply spooned over papas and a fried egg.

Of course, there are health benefits associated with red chile: the capsaicin in red chile fights inflammation, it helps to clear congestion, it’s a good source of vitamins A and C, and it may speed your metabolism, among other benefits. You can brush up on your chile terminology here.

So without further ado, here’s how I do it:


Remove the seeds and stems


After soaking pods in water for at least a couple of hours, puree the pods with some of the leftover chile water.


After blending I strain the chile using a chinois and pestle to get an extra silky texture.


After straining, I add a little bit of oregano, garlic, and salt and lightly simmer for about 20 minutes. Then the chile is poured into jars ready to be frozen.

This is a basic recipe for red chile and allows me to thicken (with flour) or add more flavor with broth or other spices when I’m ready to use the chile.  What’s your red chile recipe?




2 responses to “Making Red Chile From Scratch

  1. Having a chinois is the most important step. I use a strainer for similar results, but without the appropriate tool, the chile is useless! Great recipe, looks oddly familiar.

    • Yup, my whole perspective changed once I tried the chinois for red chile. I kind of think if I had a more high powered blender that would yield a good result too. Alas, I’m stuck with my basic blender for now . . .

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