Ranchero Sauce Recipe – Love and Lemons

This ranchero sauce recipe calls for fresh ingredients like tomato, jalapeño, and onion. Spicy and bright, it’s delicious on Mexican and Tex Mex dishes!

Ranchero sauce

This ranchero sauce is zesty, spicy, tangy, and fresh. It’s the star component in my homemade huevos rancheros (recipe coming soon!), but this punchy sauce is good for so much more. Use it to make enchiladas or chilaquiles, or simply scoop it up with tortilla chips!

What is ranchero sauce?

Ranchero sauce is a spicy tomato-based sauce that originated in Northern Mexico.

It shares ingredients like tomatoes, chiles, and garlic with enchilada sauce and salsa roja, but some of its distinguishing features are that

  1. It contains fresh hot chiles like jalapeños.
  2. It’s always a cooked sauce, not a fresh salsa made of blended or chopped raw ingredients.

I can’t call my recipe 100% authentic, but it packs a punch of bright, spicy flavor. I think you’ll love it on Mexican and Tex Mex dishes!

Ranchero sauce recipe ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

This ranchero sauce recipe calls for simple, fresh ingredients:

  • Roma tomatoes – They create the sauce’s fresh tomato base.
  • White onion and garlic – For savory depth of flavor.
  • Jalapeño – It gives the sauce a spicy kick. Use just half a pepper or omit the jalapeño if you’re sensitive to spice. Removing the jalapeño’s seeds and membranes can help control the heat level too.
  • Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce – It adds rich, smoky flavor to the sauce.
  • Dried oregano – Any kind will do, but I especially love Mexican oregano here.
  • Vegetable broth – Make homemade vegetable broth, or use store-bought. In a pinch, sub water and season the sauce with extra salt.
  • Fresh cilantro – It adds fresh, aromatic flavor and pretty flecks of green.
  • Fresh lime juice – For brightness.
  • Cane sugar – I often skip the sugar when I make ranchero sauce with peak-season summer tomatoes. But if I make this recipe outside tomato season, my tomatoes are generally less sweet. Then, I add a pinch of sugar to balance the tangy, spicy flavors here.
  • Avocado oil – You’ll use it for cooking the veggies. Olive oil or vegetable oil works too.
  • And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Cooked tomatoes, onion, garlic, and jalapenos in saucepan with spoon

How to Make Ranchero Sauce

My method for how to make ranchero sauce is easy!

Start by sautéing the onions, tomatoes, jalapeño, chipotle, garlic, oregano, and salt. Cook them in a small saucepan over medium heat until the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

Next, add the vegetable broth. Simmer for another minute and remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the cilantro and lime juice.

Then, blend the sauce. I like to use an immersion blender for this step (I love this Vitamix one), blending the mixture in a large jar or deep bowl. If you prefer, puree it in an upright blender or pulse it in a food processor.

Finally, season to taste. Add the sugar to balance the sauce if necessary. Enjoy!

Blending homemade ranchero sauce in jar

How to Use Ranchero Sauce

Wondering what to serve with ranchero sauce? You’ve got options!

How do you like to use homemade ranchero sauce? Let me know in the comments!


Store ranchero sauce in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

It also freezes well for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Ranchero sauce recipe

More Favorite Sauces and Salsas

If you love this ranchero sauce recipe, try one of these flavorful sauces or salsas next:

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