Pressure Cooker Red Enchilada Sauce

One of my favorite things to get at Mexican/Tex-Mex eateries is a burrito smothered in sauce.  Depending on the place, it’s either red sauce or green sauce, but definitely red sauce over green.  A friend of mine has been trying to recreate the red sauce from her favorite Mexican eatery.  While this recipe wasn’t an exact copy, it was close enough for me to enjoy the heck out of it.

One of the steps in making a red enchilada sauce is to take your dried chiles and boil them for about half an hour to soften them up.  Being the lazy cook that I am, I thought to myself “why not just pressurize them with liquid and the rest of the ingredients for a fraction of that time?”  It was worth a shot, so I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised that it worked very well.  I wound up making a second batch and sending a friend home with it.

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She put it in a nice little jar to keep it fresh in her fridge.  I asked her to let me know how she likes it.  She let me know by sending me pictures of all of the things that she has been eating her enchilada sauce with.

Taco Pie, which I found to be a bit boring on its own, is taken to a whole new level when topped with red enchilada sauce.  It really adds a new dimension to the dish without a whole lot of extra work.

The following morning, it was a bagel topped with a fried egg drenched in the sauce.  Both she and her sister made sure that not a single drop of the red enchilada sauce went to waste.  The sauce didn’t last long, and she was asking me to share the recipe.  So, here it is!

Pressure Cooker Red Enchilada Sauce


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 oz dried guajillo chiles
  • 1 oz dried pasilla chiles
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)


Remove the stems from the dried chiles.  Discard the seeds if desired.  Set aside.

Set the pressure cooker to Saute and add the oil.  When hot, add the onions and cook until they start to soften and turn translucent.  Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant (about 2-3 minutes), then add the tomato.  Continue cooking until the tomato starts to release some of the liquid.

Add the chiles, seasonings, beef broth/stock, and cinnamon stick (if using).  Seal the pressure cooker, switch the setting to Manual (high pressure), and set the timer to 10 minutes.  When the timer runs out, allow the pressure to release naturally.

Remove the cinnamon stick and transfer the mixture to a blender and puree, then pass the puree through a mesh strainer to remove the pulp.  Serve hot, or allow to cool completely and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

Makes about 1 quart.

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