Tex Mex Chili Gravy (Mexican Brown Gravy)

5 from 7 votes

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This Tex Mex chili gravy, also called Mexican brown gravy, has everything you love about traditional brown gravy with a zesty Mexican twist. One bite and this flavorful fusion recipe is sure to have you hooked!

closeup: ladle full of Mexican brown gravy with a bit pouring out into a pot


Today’s recipe for Mexican brown gravy is a shining example of Tex Mex Cuisine. This mouthwatering sauce has all the comforting flavors and textures of your favorite Thanksgiving gravy with the added bonus of Mexican spices. Fiercely flavorful, familiar, and rich all at once!

Chili gravy is simple and inexpensive to make. This recipe will yield about 3 cups, which is perfect for my Tex Mex cheese enchiladas and similar recipes. If you end up with leftovers, they can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

closeup: a ladle full of chili gravy over a pot with more gravy

For more enchilada sauce recipes, check out my homemade versions of Green, Red, and Authentic Enchilada Sauce.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Bacon Fat – Adds a rich, savory, and smoky flavor. Vegetable lard can be used instead. 
  • All-Purpose Flour Serves as a thickening agent without changing the flavor. 
  • Chili Seasoning – A flavorful blend featuring chile peppers, cumin, garlic, Mexican oregano, and more. Try my banging DIY version or look for it in the spice aisle. 
  • Ground Cumin – Infuses the gravy with a warm, smoky, and inviting flavor. 
  • Onion Powder – Adds a sweet pungency without the sharp bit of fresh onion. 
  • Garlic Powder Brings a pungent, zesty kick with a hint of earthy sweetness. 
  • Kosher Salt – Harmonizes and accentuates all the other ingredients without too much saltiness. 
  • Black Pepper – Perks up the recipe with a piney, peppery punch. 
  • Mexican Oregano – Offers a bright, grassy flavor with hints of citrus. Marjoram is the herb closest in flavor if you need a substitute. 
  • Beef Broth – Creates volume along with its rich, savory, aromatic profile.

How to Make Mexican Brown Gravy

  1. Brown the Flour. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon fat, heat, and then whisk in the flour. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture turns a light yellow to golden brown color. 
  2. Stir in Broth & Spices. Carefully pour in the broth along with the cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, Kosher salt, black pepper, and Mexican oregano. Whisk the gravy until it thickens and has a smooth texture. 
  3. Simmer. Reduce heat to low. Simmer the gravy for about 10 minutes, adding water or beef stock if a thinner texture if desired.
overhead: stirring chili gravy with a whisk
add beef broth

Tip From Kevin

What to do if your gravy is too thick

Thin out your chili gravy with a bit more broth or water. Just remember that any time you add additional ingredients, the recipe will come out a bit differently.

closeup: a ladle full of chili gravy over a pot with more gravy

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closeup: a ladle full of Mexican brown gravy over a pot with more gravy

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mexican brown gravy made of?


It’s a clever combination of classic brown gravy and Mexican chili sauce ingredients. 

Like all brown gravy recipes, chili gravy relies on fat (lard or bacon fat in this case), a flour-based roux, and beef broth as its savory, starchy, and smooth foundation. From there, spices transform average brown gravy into Mexican brown gravy. 

Smoky cumin, spicy chili powder, Mexican oregano, and zesty garlic infuse the recipe with a mouthwatering Mexican flavor. This mouthwatering mash-up of a recipe is the essence of Tex-Mex!

How do you thicken chili gravy?


If your Tex-Mex chili gravy comes out a little on the thin side, don’t panic. There are a few different ways to address the issue. 

Simmer & Reduce: One of the simplest ways to thicken Mexican brown gravy, or any gravy, is to simmer it longer. I prefer this method because it doesn’t alter the flavor profile of the recipe like other methods can. However, if 15 minutes doesn’t do the trick, it might be better to consider one of the other options. 
Add More Flour: Simply stir in a bit more or mix it with a little water first. Try ½ to 1 teaspoon at a time, stir, then wait a few minutes before adding more. 
Use A Cornstarch Slurry: Cornstarch is a reliably effective thickener, but you can’t add it straight to the Mexican brown gravy or it will create lumps. Instead, make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with an equal amount of water before whisking it into the sauce. 

How to use Mexican brown gravy?


Chili gravy is a Tex-Mex lover’s dream! Incorporate this sensational sauce into any and all of your favorite Tex-Mex, Mexican, or All-American meals. Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:

– It’s the ideal enchilada sauce for Tex Mex Cheese Enchiladas
– Swap into Carnitas Pulled Pork Enchiladas, Ground Beef Enchiladas, or other enchilada recipes. 
– Serve alongside Mexican side dishes like Charro Beans and Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice).
– Enjoy as you would any brown gravy with recipes like Roasted Mashed Potatoes or Pork Loin and Potatoes.
– Spoon some over savory meats like Marinated Grilled Flank Steak, Brined Turkey Breast, Grilled Pork Tenderloin, or Baked Cubano Chicken.

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Tex Mex Chili Gravy (Mexican Brown Gravy)

5 from 7 votes
Mexican Brown Gravy is a smooth, sensationally spiced sauce that is easy to make and perfect for jazzing up all your Tex-Mex favorites.
Servings: 9
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat, then whisk in the flour. Cook until it turns a light yellow to golden brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the spices, Mexican oregano and beef broth. Whisk until smooth and it starts to thicken. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Thin with more beef stock or water if needed for a gravy-like consistency.

Notes

  1. This makes about 3 cups total. Nutrition information based on 1/3 cup serving.
  2. Adapted from The Tex Mex Cookbook.

Nutrition

Calories: 87kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 535IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 19mg | 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: Sauces
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): tex mex chili gravy

Kevin

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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17 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    How come I never thought to do this with basic brown gravy. What an excellent idea! You list a number of uses. Imagine doing the same approach with say chicken broth and Indian curry spices, for example. Or your spice profile and chicken broth for chicken enchiladas, other chicken dishes or maybe even chicken nachos. I know we all want cheese on nachos. Or maybe a casserole. But change it up a bit. Your recipes always give mea springboard for my imagination. Thanks so much.

  2. Hello Kevin, I am looking forward to trying the Mexican brown gravy where can I find the mexican oregano? I will have to make mine gluten free I am also dealing with High Cholesterol and Taking High blood pressure medicine so what healthy oils will go with your recipe Hmmm maybe Avocado oil

    1. Hi Jill!
      You can find Mexican oregano in most markets where Mexican foods are, typically around the dried chiles, or order online. I know Winco, Fred Meyers, Safeway carry it too.

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve made this twice since your posting! So good with chips and over my enchiladas and today you posted enchiladas too. Good minds think alike! Thought I’d let you know Kevin. 🙂

    1. Katherine, on the post I write the following, hope this gives you some ideas! – It’s the ideal enchilada sauce for Tex Mex Cheese Enchiladas.
      – Swap into Carnitas Pulled Pork EnchiladasGround Beef Enchiladas, or other enchilada recipes. 
      – Serve alongside Mexican side dishes like Charro Beans and Arroz Rojo (Mexican Red Rice).
      – Enjoy as you would any brown gravy with recipes like Roasted Mashed Potatoes or Pork Loin and Potatoes.
      – Spoon some over savory meats like Marinated Grilled Flank SteakBrined Turkey BreastGrilled Pork Tenderloin, or Baked Cubano Chicken.
      Hope this helps. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    My husband will be home late tonight and I was trying to think of a sauce to use with a 1/2 lb of hamburger,
    I was thinking of using in a chili. This sounds perfect.