When I ordered the very first meal I ever ate in New Mexico–it was at a restaurant in Gallup, and it was the year 1991–the waitress asked me, “Do you want red or green chile on that?” My response was, “It comes in colors?”

Yes, it does. And the taste of genuine New Mexico red chile sauce (some just call it New Mexico Red) is like nothing else. It’s also dirt simple to make. I made it last night and served it on some tamales from Trader Joe’s that came frozen. If you’re cooking anything Southwestern, you need this recipe. Warning: it’s spicy. Of course it is, it’s freaking chile sauce!


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons New Mexico red chile powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt


Heat the oil in a pan. Sprinkle in the flour and mix, cooking until the lumps of flour are slightly browned. Then add the chile powder and mix as best you can (it will be lumpy and unwieldy at this point).

Add water. Stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and all the lumps are gone.

Sprinkle in garlic and salt.

Cook for a few minutes on medium heat. Then, serve over your favorite Southwestern or Mexican dish.

Makes about 2 cups.

It really is that simple!