Ranchero Sauce (Salsa Ranchero)

5 from 3 votes

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Ranchero Sauce lands a tomato and pepper packed punch of flavor. Drizzle this vibrant sauce over your favorite Mexican or Tex Mex dish.

Ranchero sauce in large bowl with wooden spoon

Originally served with huevos rancheros, this Mexican tomato sauce has become popular for use in many recipes because of its zesty blend of seasonings and its combination of peppers that bring the heat.

Try this delicious sauce on Stacked Green Chili Chicken Tostadas or drizzle over Tex Mex Refried Bean Dip for a little extra kick. 

While this sauce compliments most any Mexican or Tex Mex meal, you won’t want to limit yourself to one type of cuisine. Use this as a dip, or a marinade, or spread it on burgers to add some spice to your next BBQ. 

What is Ranchero Sauce?

Ranchero sauce is a tomato-based sauce seasoned with onions, cilantro, and the perfect blend of peppers for flavor and spice. 

I like to think of it as a cooked and blended salsa that has too many uses to list but is perfect for adding flavor and some spice to whatever you’re cooking.

This sauce was popularized by the traditional Mexican breakfast dish huevos rancheros but people loved it so much that it quickly spread across the border and is enjoyed all across the states. Ranchero Sauce is often made by itself and used in many different kinds of dishes.

fresh plum tomatoes, yellow onion, chile peppers and seasonings to make Mexican tomato sauce


  • Plum tomatoes – These are your base for the sauce and will reduce down when cooked and produce plenty of liquid for the sauce
  • White Onion and Garlic Cloves – These are sauteed with the tomatoes and jalapenos, all the flavors melding for a perfect sauce. 
  • Jalapeno – When dicing these remove the seeds and veins for a mild sauce.
  • Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce – These add a distinctly smoky flavor to the sauce. I add one to mine, but for some extra spice, feel free to add a second one in there.
  • Seasonings and Spices – A little salt, Ancho chile powder, cumin, cayenne powder, dried Mexican oregano, and cilantro add authentic Mexican flavor.
  • Chicken Stock and Lime –  The lime gives just the right amount of zing to this sauce and adding chicken stock will replenish some of the moisture after the sauce has been simmering for 10 minutes. This added liquid will also help you get a smooth blend when the cooking is done.

How to make Mexican Tomato Sauce

Making this recipe couldn’t be more simple. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how little effort goes in compared to such a delicious payoff.

ranchero sauce in saucepan, before pureeing

Saute the vegetables.

  1. Add all the ingredients except for the chicken stock, cilantro, and lime, to a hot skillet
  1. Saute for about 10 minutes until everything softens and thickens to a nice concentration.

Add the chicken stock.

  1. Stir in the chicken stock, then remove your skillet from the heat and add the cilantro and lime.


  1. Carefully blend the mixture until it’s smooth or the consistency you like.
thick red homemade tomato sauce in glass measuring cup

Serving Suggestions

Of course, huevos rancheros will always be the classic way to serve this Mexican tomato sauce, but it really goes great with any Mexican or Tex Mex dish. A few suggestions: 

Red ranchero sauce in large bowl with wooden spoon


  • Keep any leftover sauce in a covered container in the fridge for up to a week.
  • When it comes time to blend, a couple of short pulses in the blender will create a chunkier salsa-like sauce. For a smooth, pourable sauce, blend completely.
  • For a spicier sauce, keep jalapenos seeds and veins in the mix when dicing
  • If the peppers cause a burning sensation in your fingers, rub olive oil on the painful spots. Then, wash them well with soap and water. The olive oil will dissolve the capsaicin, the chemical compound in peppers that causes the burning sensation.
Mexican tomato sauce in small glass jar

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Ranchero Sauce (Salsa Ranchero)

5 from 3 votes
Ranchero Sauce lands a tomato and pepper packed punch of flavor. Drizzle this vibrant sauce over your favorite Mexican or Tex Mex dish.
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 22 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large white onion diced
  • 1 lb plum tomatoes chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ancho chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime 2 tbsp juice


  • Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, chipotle pepper, salt, ancho, cumin, cayenne powders and Mexican oregano. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and the mixture becomes thick and concentrated.
  • Add the chicken stock, stir to combine and cook for another minute. 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 for a slightly chunky sauce, or you can puree it until it’s completely smooth.
  • Use immediately or store in covered container and refrigerate for 1 week.


Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1811IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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    1. I find this more flavor than heat, but feel free to omit or lessen the cayenne powder for less heat Denise. Hope you give this one a go!

  1. 5 stars
    Awesome recipe from along the Rio grande river and a norteno ranch recipe,I grew up along long rows of Jalapenos, Bell peppers rows,tomato fields. Thumps up!