Easy Taco Sauce recipe with tomato sauce and the perfect seasoning mix full of Mexican flavors. Quick homemade sauce with simple ingredients.
This amazing Taco Sauce is a quick, easy and delicious Sauce Recipe that goes with all your favorite Mexican Food Recipes. It’s the perfect sauce for Burritos and Tacos, or any dish you want to add a little heat and a lot of amazing flavor. The best part is that it’s made with canned tomato sauce and basic ingredients in less than 30 minutes.
About our Taco Sauce Recipe
Homemade Mexican Food Recipes are some of the best dinners, especially on busy nights! A delicious taco night is just so easy to throw together with whatever meat you have, for an easy meal in minutes. Plus since it’s an “assemble yourself” kind of dinner, you can easily turn those tacos into Taco Salads or Beef Burritos with the swap of a tortilla. But the real key to a delicious taco night is all the many toppings you can pile on your tacos!
One of the great things about this recipe is how easy it is. There’s really only a couple of steps and the whole thing will be done in less than 23 minutes. It’s easy to put on the stove while you get the rest of your dinner ready and just come back occasionally to stir it. It should be ready to go along with your tacos for the perfect at-home Mexican dinner!
Just like copycat Taco Bell Red Sauce, this homemade sauce is full of great flavor and is more budget friendly than a store-bought version. Plus since you are making it at home, you can play with the ingredients to make the sauce uniquely yours. The tangy tomato flavor, slight heat, and blend of delicious Mexican seasonings make it easy to pair with your other favorite flavorings as well as your favorite dishes.
Taco Sauce Ingredients
- Tomato Sauce: A can of tomato sauce is the base of this tasty taco topping! It makes it thicker than regular hot sauce and also helps add a tangy, savory and slightly sweet flavor.
- Water: The water thins out the tomato sauce for a Taco Sauce that is easy to pour. It also helps the spices dissolve so they blend into the other ingredients for a smooth, fully flavored topping.
- Vinegar: White vinegar adds extra tangy flavor to the sauce while helping bind everything together and bringing out the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Spices: A delicious mix of basic spices turns plain tomato sauce into an amazing taco sauce full of flavor and depth. There are smoky peppery flavors from paprika and chili powder, earthy pungent garlic and onion and lots of unique, woody cumin.
- Sugar: A little sugar helps round out the seasonings and balance all the flavors. It helps tame the heat so you get the hot pepper flavors without it being too spicy.
- Cayenne: Adding cayenne pepper gives your Taco Sauce some heat. You can always adjust it to make the sauce spicier or try adding other hot peppers like chipotle pepper powder for a little hot and smoky flavor.
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
- Saucepan: You will need a large enough pan that will fit all the sauce ingredients without it splashing out of the pan while it simmers. It’s also best to use a pan that is stainless steel that has a heavy bottom to make sure the heat stays evenly distributed. This will keep your sauce from scorching. If you don’t have a heavy bottomed pan, make sure to stir often to keep your sauce from burning.
- Glass Jars: It’s best to store your sauces and dressing in a glass air-tight container. The glass is going to block any odors and keep it fresh longer. Plus you won’t have to worry about the tomato-based sauce staining the container.
How to Make Taco Sauce
Time needed: 20 minutes.
- Combine the Ingredients
In a saucepan, add the tomato sauce, water, vinegar, spices, sugar, and cayenne pepper and stir well to combine.
- Cook the Sauce
Over medium heat, bring the sauce ingredients to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cool and Serve
After the sauce has thickened slightly and cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Let the sauce cool completely before serving and storing.
Making Taco Sauce Tips & Tricks
Whether you want more heat or less, make the sauce that’s right for you with these tips!
- Don’t Make your Sauce Too Hot!
- Even if you really like spicy food, you don’t want fiery hot sauce that makes your dish too spicy to eat. So to keep your sauce from being too hot, just increase a little bit of heat at a time. Remember, you can always make it hotter but it’s hard to make it milder.
- Turn Down the Heat
- If you do make your sauce too hot, add a tablespoon of tomato paste or two to tone it down. You want to use tomato paste instead of tomato sauce because it has lots more tangy tomato flavor plus natural sweetness the sauce doesn’t have that will balance the heat.
What to Pair With Taco Sauce
Fish Tacos: While of course this taco sauce is the perfect topping for any taco night, it especially makes a delicious sauce for Fish Tacos. Make it a creamy taco sauce by adding some sour cream or crema to the sauce then drizzle it on the tacos.
Queso Dip: Taco Sauce is a great way to give your Queso Dip some extra zing! Stir in ½ cup of taco sauce with the cheese dip, then serve with an extra swirl on top. Turn leftovers of the spicy creamy queso sauce into nachos the next day.
How to Store Taco Sauce
- Serve: You can keep Homemade Taco Sauce at room temperature for up to 1 week. Just let it cool then seal it in an airtight container.
- Store: For a longer shelf life, pour the sauce into a glass jar or another airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 2 months.
- Freeze: You can even freeze Taco Sauce for up to 6 months. Let it thaw in the fridge before you serve it over your dinner.
FAQ for Taco Sauce
Typically taco sauce is made with tomatoes or tomato sauce and has a blend of Mexican spices along with hot peppers added for heat. Hot Sauce on the other hand is usually just hot peppers, water and vinegar for a thinner and much spicier sauce.
Taco Sauce and Salsa differ in texture and ingredients a lot. Salsa is usually made with fresh tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers, where Taco Sauce is going to be a blend of dried spices with tomato sauce or paste, water, etc. Salsa is also mostly chunky where Taco Sauce is mostly smooth.
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 2/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Add all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan on medium heat and stir well.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Let cool before serving.
Taco Sauce Variations
- Mild Sauce: This taco sauce has some spice in it. If you prefer a more mild flavor, just take out the hot ingredients like cayenne pepper and chili powder.
- Spicy Sauce: If you have the opposite preference and wish this sauce had more heat, you can also make those adjustments. Try mixing some habanero peppers, chili pepper, or jalapeño in with the Taco Sauce.
- Flavor additions: You can experiment with the flavors by adding fresh ingredients. Try mixing in some taco seasoning, red pepper flakes, oregano, or coriander seeds. You can also squeeze in a little lime juice for some tang and garnish the sauce with cilantro leaves.
- Tomato: For more tomato flavor in your Homemade Taco Sauce mix in some tomato puree, crushed tomatoes, or diced tomatoes to go with the tomato sauce. The crushed or diced tomatoes will add some nice texture and make the sauce more similar to salsa.
- Add-ins: To make the sauce more even more like salsa or dip to serve with chips, you can mix in different vegetables. Diced and caramelized onions would taste great. You can also mix in corn, bell peppers, chopped tomatoes, and diced zucchini.