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Taco Sauce


posted: 05/20/23

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Homemade Taco Sauce is so easy to make, you’ll never buy a bottle of it again. Made with really simple ingredients that you can control, you will adore this easy sauce for tacos.

bottle of homemade Taco Sauce on a wooden board, tomatoes sitting in background

As you know, I love making homemade condiments. Typically, I already have all of the ingredients in my pantry and they come together in a snap. Not only that, but I can control things like spice and salt, resulting in a recipe that is exactly what I want at a cheaper price.

This taco sauce is no different. It is made with simple spices and a tomato base. It is easy to make, and so delicious on tacos. You will love this simple and delicious sauce!

Taco Sauce Ingredients

Here is an overview of what makes up this homemade taco sauce recipe and their role in the sauce. My guess is you have many of these in your pantry already! For the measurements and full recipe, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Olive oil: Used to cook the garlic and onion.
  • Yellow onion: Adds a savory depth and slight sweetness to the sauce. I like to blend the sauce at the end, but if you don’t want to do that, make sure to dice the onion fine.
  • Garlic: Adds another layer of flavor to the sauce.
  • Kosher salt: If you’re using table salt, start with half of the amount.
  • Cumin: Adds an earthy and slightly spicy flavor to the sauce. It’s a common spice in many Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, contributing to the distinctive taste of taco sauce.
  • Chili powder: Adds a smoky and subtle heat to the sauce.
  • Paprika: Provides a mild, sweet, and slightly peppery flavor to the sauce. It also gives the sauce a vibrant red color.
  • Cayenne pepper: Adds a fiery kick to the sauce. A perk of making your own sauce is adjusting the heat to your preferences. If you like a spicier sauce, increase the amount of cayenne pepper after you taste the sauce.
  • Tomato sauce: Canned tomato sauce is just pureed tomatoes. It forms the base of the taco sauce, providing a rich, tangy flavor and smooth texture.
  • Chicken stock: Thins the sauce so it pours easily and adds depth and richness that plain water wouldn’t.
  • White vinegar: Provides acidity and tanginess to balance the sweetness of the tomatoes and sugar which helps to enhance the overall flavor of the sauce.
  • Sugar: Brings a touch of sweetness to the sauce, rounding out its flavors and balancing the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar, just like in my homemade spaghetti sauce recipe.
overhead of pot of homemade taco sauce with tomatoes sitting beside

How to Make Taco Sauce

This homemade taco sauce is so easy and delicious, you will make it once and won’t ever look back to the store-bought stuff! For the full recipe and ingredient list with measurements, scroll to the recipe card below.

  1. Cook the onions and garlic. Sauté the garlic and onions in a saucepan with oil until the onion is translucent, about five minutes.
  2. Add the spices. Whisk the seasonings into the onion mixture and toast for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir in the tomato sauce, chicken stock, vinegar, and sugar.
  4. Cook the sauce. Let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes and enjoy right away or puree for a smoother texture.

Adjusting Homemade Taco Sauce

Like I said above, one of the best parts of making homemade condiments is adjusting the flavor to be exactly what you want it to be. Here are a few simple ways to adjust the flavor of your taco sauce. Anytime you add more of something, add a small amount, give it a good stir, and taste before adding more.

  • Make it spicier: Add more cayenne pepper to make the taco sauce spicier.
  • Decrease heat: Adding a bit more sugar can help balance the heat by adding sweetness.
  • Adjust the consistency: If the sauce still seems too thick, or was simmered over too high of a heat, add more chicken broth or water until it reaches your desired consistency.
Taco shells with taco ingredients with bottle of homemade taco sauce and tomatoes sitting behind

Blending Taco Sauce

This sauce can be enjoyed as is, but will be slightly chunky due to the onions. For a smooth sauce, use a blender or an immersion blender after cooking. Be careful when blending hot liquids – let the sauce cool slightly and blend in batches if necessary.

How to Use Taco Sauce

Using taco sauce is easy and adds delicious flavor to your tacos and nachos! Once you’ve prepared your taco ingredients (this taco meat recipe is delicious), simply spoon some taco sauce over the top. Taco sauce adds a zesty kick to your tacos with its blend of spices and tomatoes. It is also delicious on my Mexican Pizza and on taco pizza!

Storing Leftover Sauce

Store any leftover taco sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. I love to keep mine in a glass jar with a lid for easy use for lots of recipes. Always use your best discretion with anything leftover.

Freezing Taco Sauce

If you want your taco sauce to last longer than a week, freeze it! Put it in a freezer-safe container and keep it in the freezer for up to three months. When you’re ready to use it, thaw the sauce in the fridge or on the counter and enjoy!

Women's hand pouring bottle of homemade taco sauce over taco shells filled with taco meat, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and diced tomatoes.

Other Taco Inspired Recipes

After you make this taco sauce recipe, leave me a comment and let me know how you like it. It makes my day to hear from you!

bottle of homemade Taco Sauce on a wooden board, tomatoes sitting in background
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Taco Sauce

Serves: 40 tablespoons
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 23 minutes
Total: 28 minutes
Homemade Taco Sauce is so easy to make, you'll never buy a bottle of it again. Made with really simple ingredients that you can control, you will adore this easy sauce for tacos.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar


  • Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add in the onions and garlic and season with salt. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
    1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 small yellow onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Whisk in the spices and toast for 30 seconds.
    1 1/2 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Whisk in the tomato sauce, chicken stock, vinegar, and sugar.
    15 ounces tomato sauce, 1 cup chicken stock, 2 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Either leave it as is or transfer to a blender to puree.
  • Use immediately, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze in an airtight container for up to three months.
Serving: 1tablespoon Calories: 13kcal (1%) Carbohydrates: 2g (1%) Protein: 0.4g (1%) Fat: 1g (2%) Saturated Fat: 0.1g (1%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.3g Cholesterol: 0.2mg Sodium: 44mg (2%) Potassium: 66mg (2%) Fiber: 0.3g (1%) Sugar: 1g (1%) Vitamin A: 124IU (2%) Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) Calcium: 6mg (1%) Iron: 0.4mg (2%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Latin American
bottle of homemade Taco Sauce on a wooden board, tomatoes sitting in background

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Taco Sauce

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners