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Top 8 Most Popular Mexican Taco Sauces

Mexican taco sauces are liquid or creamy condiments used to add flavour, heat and spice to tacos, one of the most iconic dishes in Mexican cuisine.

These sauces are essential to enhance the flavour of the main ingredients in tacos, be it meat, chicken, fish, vegetables, etc. 

Here are some of the most common sauces used in Mexican tacos:

The 8 tastiest sauces for tacos.

Salsa verde cruda

Salsa verde cruda is a fresh, spicy salsa that is prepared without cooking any of the main ingredients. Its main base is usually tomatillo verde, a type of green tomato, and green chillies. 

This sauce is typically Mexican and is used as a condiment or accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes, especially in Aztec cuisine in dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and more.

The basic ingredients of salsa verde cruda usually include:

Tomatillos verdes: These are small green tomatoes similar to cherry tomatoes, which have a slightly acidic and fresh taste.

  • Green chillies: Fresh green chillies, such as serrano or jalapeño chillies, are used to give the sauce a spicy kick. The amount of chillies can vary according to your preference and tolerance for spiciness.
  • Onion: White or red onion is added for flavour and a touch of sweetness.
  • Garlic: Garlic is used to give an aromatic and slightly spicy flavour.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds freshness and herbal flavour to the sauce.
  • Lemon or lime juice: The citric acid in the lemon or lime juice enhances the flavour and helps balance the ingredients.

Preparing raw salsa verde usually involves simply blending all of these ingredients in a blender or food processor to a smooth consistency. 

The resulting sauce is vibrant, tangy and fresh, perfect for adding flavour and a touch of heat and colour to your favourite recipes. 

Red taco sauce

Red taco sauce is a red tomato sauce commonly used as a condiment or accompaniment to tacos and other Mexican dishes. 

This sauce usually has a rich and slightly spicy flavour, and can be customised in terms of spice level and other additional ingredients according to individual preferences.

Red taco sauce usually has a balanced flavour between tomato, chilli and other ingredients, and can vary in spiciness depending on personal preference and the specific recipe. Common ingredients in a red taco sauce may include:

  • Red tomatoes: These are the base of the sauce and give it its characteristic colour.
  • Red chillies: Dried or fresh red chillies are used to give the sauce a spicy kick. Dried chillies, such as guajillo or ancho chillies, are common in many red taco sauce recipes.
  • Garlic: Garlic is added for flavour and depth.
  • Onion: Onion, either raw or cooked, is used in some recipes to add flavour and texture to the sauce.
  • Spices: Cumin, oregano, pepper and other spices may be included for additional flavour.

The preparation of red taco sauce usually involves lightly toasting the dried chillies, then blending them with the tomatoes, garlic, onion and spices in a blender or food processor. 

The resulting sauce is served alongside the tacos, where it is mixed with the main ingredients and adds a delicious flavour and spicy kick to each bite. The exact recipe may vary according to region and personal preference.

Avocado salsa verde

Salsa verde with avocado, also known as “green avocado salsa” or “green guacamole,” is a variation of the classic guacamole salsa that incorporates additional ingredients, such as green tomatillos and green chilies, to give it a fresher flavour and vibrant green colour. 

This salsa is creamy and usually has a balance between the smooth, creamy flavour of the avocado and the spicy, tangy taste of the other ingredients.

Typical ingredients in an avocado salsa verde include:

  • Ripe avocados: These are the main base and give the salsa its creamy texture.
  • Green tomatillos: These small green tomatoes are used to give a fresh, tangy flavour to the salsa. They can be lightly roasted before adding them to enhance their flavour.
  • Green chillies: Fresh green chillies, such as jalapeños or serranos, are used to add a touch of heat to the sauce. The amount of chillies is adjusted according to your preference for spiciness.
  • Onion: White or purple onion is added to add flavour and texture to the sauce.
  • Garlic: Garlic is used to provide an aromatic flavour.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro is added to give a fresh, herbal flavour to the sauce.

Lemon or lime juice: The citric acid in the lemon or lime juice helps to enhance the flavour and balance it, as well as maintain the bright green colour of the sauce.

The preparation of salsa verde with avocado usually involves blending all these ingredients in a blender or food processor to a smooth, creamy consistency. 

The resulting salsa is perfect for serving with nachos, tacos, burritos, enchiladas or as an appetizer with tortilla chips. 

Habanero red sauce

Habanero red sauce is a spicy and very popular sauce in Mexican cuisine, made mainly with habanero peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic and other ingredients. 

Its distinguishing feature is its intense spiciness, as the habanero pepper is one of the hottest chillies commonly found. 

In addition to its spiciness, habanero red sauce often has a citrus and fruity flavour thanks to the tomatoes and may have a hint of acidity.

Common ingredients in a habanero red sauce include:

  • Red habanero chillies: These chillies are the main base of the sauce and give it its intense spiciness.
  • Red tomatoes: The tomatoes add flavour and help balance the spiciness of the habanero.
  • Onion: The onion is used to add flavour and texture to the sauce.
  • Garlic: Garlic is added for flavour and depth.
  • Lemon or lime juice: The citric acid in the lemon or lime juice enhances and regulates the flavour and helps balance the intensity of the habanero pepper.

The preparation of this sauce usually involves roasting the habanero peppers and tomatoes until they are well toasted and then blending them with the onion, garlic, lime juice and salt in a blender or food processor. 

The consistency of the sauce can vary from runny to thicker, depending on personal preference.

This red habanero pepper sauce is used as a condiment or accompaniment to a wide variety of Mexican dishes, such as tacos, grilled meats, seafood, and other ingredients that benefit from a spicy and flavourful touch.

It is important to remember that the habanero chilli is an extremely hot type of chilli, so caution should be exercised when adding it to the sauce and when serving it.

Molcajete red sauce

Salsa roja al molcajete is a variation of the traditional Mexican red sauce prepared using a molcajete, which is a volcanic stone mortar used in Mexican cuisine to grind and mix ingredients. 

This sauce is known for its authentic and rustic taste, as well as its slightly rough texture due to the grinding process in the molcajete.

Typical ingredients of a molcajete red sauce include:

  • Red tomatoes: These are the main base of the sauce and give it its characteristic colour and flavour.
  • Dried red chillies: Dried chillies, such as guajillo or ancho chillies, are used to add flavour and spice to the sauce.
  • Garlic: Garlic is added for aromatic flavour.
  • Onion: Onion is used to add flavour and texture.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro is added for herbal flavour and freshness.

The process of preparing the salsa roja al molcajete involves roasting the dried chillies dry on a hot comal or frying pan until they swell and release their aroma. 

The dried chillies are then ground together with the tomatoes, garlic, onion, onion, coriander and salt in the molcajete until a smooth, well-blended sauce is obtained.

This sauce is traditionally served in Mexican cuisine as an accompaniment or condiment for many dishes, such as tacos, enchiladas, carne asada, tamales and more. 

The molcajete preparation process gives the sauce a unique texture and authentic flavour that many enjoy in traditional Mexican cuisine.

Pico de gallo

Pico de gallo is a popular fresh salsa or condiment originating in Mexico, also known as “salsa fresca” or “salsa cruda.” 

It is prepared from fresh ingredients and chopped into small pieces, giving it a crunchy texture and refreshing flavour. 

Pico de gallo is commonly used as an accompaniment to all kinds of Mexican dishes and is served as a kind of salad or salsa.

The basic ingredients for traditional pico de gallo are:

  • Tomatoes: Fresh, ripe tomatoes are used and cut into small cubes.
  • Onion: White or purple onion is finely chopped and added to the pico de gallo for flavour and texture.
  • Chiles: Fresh chiles, such as jalapeños or serranos, can be used for a spicy kick. The amount of chillies varies according to your preference for spiciness.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro is added for freshness and a touch of herbal flavour.
  • Lemon or lime juice: The citric acid in the lemon or lime juice enhances the flavour and helps maintain the freshness of the ingredients.

The preparation of pico de gallo is very simple. Basically, all the ingredients are mixed together in a large bowl and stirred until well combined. 

The resulting sauce is ideal to serve with tacos, nachos, quesadillas, grilled meats, fish, seafood or as an appetizer with tortilla chips. 

The freshness of the ingredients and the combination of flavours make pico de gallo a very healthy and delicious option to accompany many recipes.

Drunken salsa

Salsa borracha” is a Mexican salsa that is characterised by a deep flavour and a thick texture due to the cooking of its ingredients. 

The name “borracha” refers to the inclusion of alcohol in the sauce, usually tequila or mezcal, which gives it a distinctive flavour and contributes to the name “borracha”.

Typical ingredients in a borracha sauce include:

  • Dried chillies: Dried chillies, such as ancho chillies or pasilla chillies, are roasted and hydrated before being incorporated into the sauce. These chillies add flavour and a hint of heat.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are roasted or toasted for a smoky flavour and then mixed with the chillies.
  • Garlic: Garlic is added to add flavour and depth to the sauce.
  • Onion: Onion is used to add flavour and texture.
  • Tequila or mezcal: Alcohol is added to the sauce to give it a unique, smoky flavour. The heat of cooking reduces the alcohol content, but the tequila or mezcal flavour is still present.
  • Oil: Used to cook the ingredients to achieve the desired texture.

Chicken or beef stock: Stock is added to thin and add body to the sauce, as well as to adjust its consistency.

Drunken salsa is typically prepared by roasting dried chillies and tomatoes, then blending them with the other ingredients and simmering until the sauce reduces and thickens. 

The result is a sauce with a smoky, spicy flavour with a certain now to tequila or mezcal.

Macha sauce

Salsa macha is a Mexican hot sauce that is characterised by its intense flavour and grainy texture due to the inclusion of dried ingredients such as dried chillies and nuts. 

This sauce originates from the state of Veracruz in Mexico, although it is also consumed in other regions of the country.

The basic ingredients of salsa macha usually include:

  • Dried chillies: Dried chillies are the main base of the sauce and give it its characteristic spicy flavour. Dried red chillies, such as chiles de árbol or chiles piquín, are used.
  • Oil: Oil, usually vegetable oil, is used to fry the dry ingredients and give the sauce a liquid texture.
  • Nuts: Nuts such as peanuts or almonds are added and roasted along with the dried chillies to add flavour and texture to the sauce.
  • Garlic: Garlic is used to add flavour and aroma to the sauce.
  • Vinegar or lemon juice: A little vinegar or lemon juice is added to give an acidic touch to the sauce.

The preparation of macha sauce typically involves roasting the dry chillies and dry fruits in a pan until fragrant and lightly browned. 

These ingredients are then ground or crushed together with garlic, vinegar or lime juice, and salt. The result is a sauce with a grainy texture due to the nuts and toasted chillies.

At Birra Taquerias we are experts in tacos and Mexican food with more than 30 years of experience (since 1989). If you want to taste authentic tacos in the purest Mexican style, we invite you to order to take away or come and try these and other traditional Mexican dishes in our establishments in C/ Don Pedro, 11 or in Plaza de las Comendadoras, 2.

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