Homemade Ranchero Sauce

By Updated on

Homemade Ranchero Sauce is made with fresh tomatoes, peppers, chicken broth, lime juice and a flavorful combination of spices. This delicious homemade Mexican sauce is the perfect balance of zesty, bright, spicy, and smoky. It guarantees to take your favorite dishes to the next level!


When it comes to homemade sauces to keep in your back pocket, Ranchero Sauce is an absolute must. Most widely known as the delicious sauce that gives life to the classic Huevos Rancheros dish, this smoky and flavorful condiment is beyond amazing.

Ranchero Sauce is a tomato-based sauce with tons of incredible flavor from ingredients like jalapenos, chipotle peppers, lime juice, and fresh cilantro. It’s got a lot of the same ingredients as many salsas, with the key difference being that it’s cooked.

This delicious sauce has gained tons of popularity in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, so it’s often paired with a variety of dishes from tacos and taquitos to burrito bowls and even as a dip for chips. It also is used in dishes like Camarones Rancheros, Bistec Ranchero, and Pollo Ranchero.

I’ve always been an avid believer in a sauce’s ability to take a dish from good to great. However, many store-bought sauces are usually full of artificial sugars, preservatives, and other not-so-great ingredients.

The desire to create cleaner alternatives is why I first started experimenting with homemade versions of my favorite sauce and salsa recipes. (Pico de Gallo and Salsa Verde, I’m looking at you!) This healthy, homemade Ranchero Sauce has quickly become a household favorite.

Easy to make, wholesome, and just a tad spicy, Ranchero Sauce is the perfect addition to your favorite tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and more. Personally, I love using it to top off these Five Minute Healthy Breakfast Tacos, but you can really serve this sauce with just about anything.

You can refrigerate the leftovers for up to 7 days, so Ranchero Sauce is great for making ahead of time to enjoy throughout the week. However, don’t just take my word for it. Go ahead and give this sauce a go, you’re gonna love it!

Authentic ranchero sauce in a glass jar with blended tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, and spices.

Key Ingredients

To make this dish, you’re going to need the following key ingredients:

  • Roma tomatoes: I love using Roma tomatoes as the base for this flavorful dish, but feel free to use any similarly-sized fresh tomatoes.
  • Jalapeno and onion: If you’re looking for a more mild condiment, feel free to remove the seeds of the jalapeno or swap in a poblano pepper. Any type of onions can be used, although white is traditional.
  • Chipotle pepper: This is one of the key elements to creating the smoky and delicious flavor of this dish. I typically only use 1, but feel free to use 2 if you like more of a kick.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds tons of brightness and enhances the flavors of the dish. If you don’t like cilantro, you can leave it out.
  • Chicken broth: This helps to thin out the consistency of the sauce without taking away from the flavor. For a vegetarian sauce, feel free to use vegetable broth.
  • Lime juice: This adds the perfect amount of acidity to brighten up the flavors of the dish. It also helps to balance out some of the heat from the peppers.
  • Herbs and spices: Ancho chile powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, and salt add a ton of delicious Mexican flavors to the sauce.

Recipe Tips and Variations

Here are my top tips to help you make this dish your own:

  • Not a spice lover? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. To lessen the heat of this dish, try removing the seeds from your jalapeno pepper. If that’s still a bit too spicy, you can use only half of a chipotle pepper or leave it out altogether.
  • Want more spice? On the flip side, if you’re looking for more of a kick, feel free to double up on the jalapeno and/or chipotle pepper.
  • Go vegan. To make this recipe vegan and vegetarian-friendly, all you have to do is swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth or water.
  • Looking for a thinner texture? Just add more broth!

How to Serve Ranchero Sauce

This smoky and spicy condiment is the perfect addition to any taco, burrito, wings, burger, and taquitos. Seriously, you can drizzle this sauce atop almost anything. If you’re in need of a little inspiration, here are some of my favorite ways to serve Ranchero Sauce:

  • Tacos and Fajitas. Ranchero Sauce is a great way for spicing up your favorite tacos and fajitas. Try serving this dish with these Grilled Chicken Tacos, Shrimp Tacos, or Steak Fajitas.
  • Burrito bowls and Tostadas. Every good burrito bowl needs a delicious, creamy sauce to go with it. Luckily for you, Ranchero Sauce is the perfect compliment to these Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls or these Bean Tostadas.
  • Wings. What are wings without a good dipping sauce?! For some Tex-Mex flair on favorite wings, try pairing them with this sauce.
  • Eggs. If you’re anything like me, then you like your eggs served with a little heat. You can never go wrong with a breakfast dish like this mouth-watering Huevos Rancheros.
  • Enchiladas: Ranchero sauce is very similar to enchilada sauce, so it can also be used for homemade enchiladas.

Mexican ranchero sauce with chipotle peppers, jalapeno, tomatoes, onion, and garlic blended in a glass container.

How to Store Ranchero Sauce

A few of the reasons I am obsessed with this condiment are that it goes with absolutely anything and stores really well. To store leftover Ranchero Sauce, all you have to do is seal it up in an airtight storage container or jar. Once properly sealed, you can store it one of two ways:

  • In the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • In the freezer for up to 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish:

Yes! While many store-bought sauces are full of added sugars and preservatives, this sauce is chock-full of fresh and wholesome ingredients.

There are a few easy tricks to making this dish less spicy. First, you could try removing the seeds from your jalapeno. However, if it is still too hot for your liking, you can swap the chipotle pepper for a generous sprinkle of smoked paprika. That way, you get the smoky flavor without the added spice.

To make this dish vegan, all you have to do is swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth or water.

Jar of homemade tomato ranchero sauce with a napkin with tomatoes on the side.
The Recipe
Loading Video…

Homemade Ranchero Sauce

  • Print
  • Download
  • Send to your inbox


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano (preferable Mexican)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juice

Like this Recipe? Try our Meal Plans!

Slender Kitchen Meal Plans
  • Weekly Meal Plans
  • Easy Shopping List
  • Healthy, Low Carb, & Vegetarian
  • Nutritional Information


(Hide Media)

Switch to prevent your screen from going dark.


Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and jalapeños. Cool for 5-7 minutes until softening. Then add the tomatoes, chipotle pepper, garlic, ancho chile powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook for 5-7minutes until the onions and peppers are softened and tomatoes are breaking down and concentrated..

Tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and chipotle peppers simmering in a pan for ranchero sauce.

Turn off the heat and stir in the chicken broth, cilantro, and lime juice.

Lime juice and cilantro being added to a skillet with simmering ranchero sauce.

Use an immersion blender to blend into a smooth sauce OR add to a blender and blend until smooth. Let cool and store in the fridge.

Homeamde ranchero sauce being poured into a glass jar.


This equipment section may contain affiliate links to products we recommend.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 47
Calories from Fat 25
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 281mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 2g
Protein 1g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

user image
About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Homemade Ranchero Sauce
user image
user image
Diane Barnett
August 22, 2023 - 14:23
How do I make this Ranchero sauce a deep red color? I see this in your recipes but cannot find a recipe for a bright red salsa. The one is an orange color. Thanks. Diane
user image
September 19, 2023 - 09:13
For a deeper red color, I would add 2-3 rehydrated dried guajillo peppers or other dried chiles that have a deep red color. Also using canned tomatoes or tomato puree (instead of fresh) will deepen the red color.
user image
December 20, 2022 - 21:43
Add a Rating:
So good! Made Huevos Rancheros and used the leftovers on enchiladas.
Instagram Icon
Did you make this?

Snap a picture and show us what you made on Instagram or Facebook. Tag us using @SlenderKitchen or #slenderkitchen.