Taco Bell Red Sauce (Copycat)

5 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Taco Bell Red Sauce (Copycat) is your favorite fast food mild hot sauce perfect to top any Mexican food. Made with chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper.

This Taco Bell Sauce is the easy condiment recipe you absolutely need for your next Mexican Dinner night. Use it to top Baked Chicken Tacos, Beef Burritos, and any other Mexican recipes your family loves. 

Taco Bell Red Sauce in pan


If you’re a fan of Taco Bell, then you’re sure to know the iconic flavor of Taco Bell Red Sauce. The classic Taco Bell flavor hot sauce has some spice, but is not too hot. It adds a nice zing to your taco dinner without being too spicy. Thanks to this recipe, there’s no need to wait in a drive-thru or smuggle extra sauce packets out of your local Taco Bell. You can make the perfect Taco Bell Red Sauce right from your home.

This sauce goes great on tacos, quesadillas, burritos, or even nachos. For the perfect Mexican dinner try serving this taco sauce with Oven Baked Beef Tacos, Carne Asada Tacos, or any easy taco dinners. With ingredients as simple as tortillas, ground beef, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, and this easy taco sauce you’ll have the perfect Taco Bell style dinner from your own home in no time.

The great thing about copycat recipes like this Taco Bell sauce are that you get restaurant-quality flavor without actually having to go to a restaurant. This easy recipe is great to keep in your pantry or refrigerate. Because the hot sauce stores well, you can make a big batch and keep it for the next time you make a Mexican dinner. It’s so much better to have a big homemade bottle in your fridge than keeping leftover Taco Bell sauce packets in your drawers.



e, sugar, spices, and water in a sauce pan. Once you’ve mixed together the ingredients and brought it to a boil, you can serve the hot sauce or store it for later. If you have fresh tomatoes, try making your own tomato sauce instead of using one from a can.

  1. Wash the tomatoes. Peel the skin off the tomatoes, then cut them in half and core them and remove any seeds.
  2. Coarsely chop the tomatoes then heat them in a pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Put the tomatoes in a food processor or use an immersion blender to make tomato puree. They should have a similar consistency to salsa.
  4. Put the tomato sauce in a jar or other airtight container to store until using.

Taco Bell Bean Burrito on plate


  • Mild Sauce: If you’d like a more mild red sauce simply take out some of the hot ingredients. Adjust the cayenne pepper and other ingredients according to taste.
  • Extra Spicy Sauce: On the other hand, you can make this mild sauce a lot more hot. Try adding in some habanero peppers, chili pepper or jalapeño to make it more similar to a sriracha sauce.
  • Fire Sauce: Another classic Taco Bell Hot Sauce is their Fire Sauce. This one is much more hot, so we’d only recommend it if you want a lot of spice. Combine 1 can tomato paste, 3 cups Water, 3 tablespoons Vinegar, 3 tablespoons finely minced Jalapeno slices, 1 tablespoon Chili Powder, 1 tablespoon dried Onion flakes, 2 teaspoons Salt, 2 teaspoons Cornstarch, 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, 1 teaspoon Sugar, ¼ teaspoon Onion powder, 1 dash Garlic powder. Mix these ingredients together and prepare them in a sauce pan just like the Red Sauce recipe.



  • Serve: You can keep Taco Bell Sauce at room temperature for up to a week. Be sure to seal it in an airtight container and store it in a dry cool place.
  • Store: To keep Taco Bell Red Sauce store it in a bottle or canning jar. It will stay good in the fridge for up to 2 months.
  • Freeze: You can even freeze the hot sauce for 6 months. Let the sauce defrost in the fridge before serving it on your next Mexican-style dinner.

Taco Bell Red Sauce ingredients

Pin this recipe now to remember it later

Pin Recipe

Taco Bell Red Sauce (Copycat)

Taco Bell Red Sauce (Copycat) is your favorite fast food mild hot sauce perfect to top any Mexican food. Made with chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper.
Yield 5 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Add all the ingredients to a large saucepan and stir well.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.


Calories: 21kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 476mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 327IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg

Taco Bell Red Sauce collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


Leave a comment & rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


    1. I haven’t canned Taco Bell Red Sauce before.

      Store: To keep Taco Bell Red Sauce store it in a bottle or canning jar. It will stay good in the fridge for up to 2 months.
      Freeze: You can even freeze the hot sauce for 6 months. Let the sauce defrost in the fridge before serving it on your next Mexican-style dinner.

  1. First, this recipe is a very respectable enchilada sauce as is. Remember, this is not “Taco sauce” like in the packets, this is the Red Sauce used especially for Bean burritos and enchiladas. It tastes great. IMO this is likely one of the better Taco Bell Red Sauce copycats. A few notes: It works better for me if I wait to add the white vinegar after all the other ingredients in the sauce have cooked and have already started cooling down. The vinegar seems to boil out if I do otherwise and my sauce loses the tangy/sharpness I prefer. The second batch I adjusted the amounts of Cumin and Chile Powder and added 0.5tsp Red Pepper to taste. The difference was 0.5tsp Red Pepper added and changed these amounts: 1.5tsp Cumin 1tsp Chile Powder. Bottom line; This is a great recipe as is and you’re free to spice it up or down to your personal taste without fear of making something inedible. Hurray!

  2. This will sound too bizarre to be true but the “red sauce” from Taco Bell, found in the bean burrito, actually has a similar / easy hack! Swiss Chalet dipping sauce (not gravy) is nearly spot on the same! I stumbled upon this years ago. Swiss Chalet has slightly modified it’s packets a bit, so there is a little change, but still the closest I’ve found. I have to agree with what others’ have said about the red sauce in the burritos is an enchilada sauce. That said; however, this recipe looks well worth trying 🙂 Yum!

  3. I thought the red sauce was great, and very tasty. Added a couple sprinkles of crushed red pepper to try and compensate for not having onion powder, and I loved this. Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  4. This is amazing it is just like taco bell !! I don’t go to taco bell that much myself I cook more at-home but when I did go the red sauce was my favorite thing about it lol !!! Thank you so much for sharing all your recipes I love all of them !!

  5. You do know that the Taco Bell “red sauce” is not the same as their taco sauce served in packets right? Taco Bell’s red sauce that’s served inside (for instance my favorite) their Bean burritos, is more like an enchilada sauce… The mild, hot, and fire Taco packets are more salsa related…..

  6. Excellent sauce, however, as mentioned below what goes in the Taco Bell burrito is actually just your standard run-of-the-mill enchilada sauce. Flour tortilla, refried beans, shredded cheddar, white onions and enchilada sauce (find a real authentic version that isn’t just tomato gravy). I have made these with their in store taco sauce and it still isn’t the same.

  7. I worked for Taco Bell in highschool. They actually serve a ‘red sauce’ that’s not a picante/hot sauce. It doesn’t come in packets. They put it on most of their burritos. This is not that sauce (or even close). This is a taco sauce recipe. The title of this recipe is very deceptive.

    1. Hi Sam, this isn’t a hot sauce. Would love to get input from you about what you would change. I taste test side by side with the original and aside from a slight texture difference from me not blending in a high speed blender I thought it was a pretty darn good copy. Do you have more details about the original recipe? Thanks!

      1. You can look at taco bell website and see ingredients list. You will see that one if the ingredients is tomato powder not tomato sauce. Which is why your consitency comes out different.

      2. This is not the red sauce that goes inside Taco Bell burritos. For example bean and cheese burrito uses a very thin like enchilada sauce. Now the packets are a different story. I like your recipe though!

  8. Oooooh – I’m so excited to find this recipe! Even though I don’t go to Taco Bell often, I’ve always loved their bean burritos. With plenty of red sauce, of course! Somehow it just never occurred to me that I could make it at home (although I’ve been known to squirrel away a few extra packets in the fridge lol)! So awesome to find this recipe – and loved that you showcased it exactly the way I’d use it … with bean burritos! 😉 Thank you so much!

  9. You never disappoint !!!
    I could tell this was like Taco Bell sauce just by smelling it while it cooked.
    I was simply amazed when I tasted it !!!
    Same exact flavor, with no crazy chemical preservatives–I couldn’t be more pleased.
    I can’t wait to share this–Thank you again !!
    Ps. I’m going to try the Fire Sauce next !