The Ultimate Guide to Canning Red and Green Chili Sauces

Canning Red and Green Chilli Sauces – The Complete Guide

Sauces are an essential component of many dishes, adding the perfect finishing touch. From spaghetti sauce to alfredo sauce to green chili sauce and more, sauces have the power to elevate the flavors of a meal. But making sauces from scratch can be time-consuming, especially during busy seasons. That’s where canning comes in handy. By canning your favorite sauces, such as red and green chili sauces, you can have them on hand whenever you need them.

Red and green chili sauce basics

Before we delve into the canning process, let’s first explore how red and green chili sauces are typically made. While there may be slight variations in the recipes, the basic methods remain the same. Red chili sauce, often used interchangeably with enchilada sauce, is a spicy and flavorful addition to Mexican dishes. Green chili sauce, on the other hand, has its own unique characteristics and texture.

Red Chili Sauce

To make red chili sauce, you’ll need dried ancho chiles (also known as pasilla chiles), guajillo chiles (for extra heat), water, garlic, cloves, pepper, salt, and olive oil. Start by cutting the chilies open and removing the stems and seeds. Heat a skillet over medium heat and lightly toast the chiles to release their flavors. Place the chilies in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover the chilies and bring to a boil. Let sit for 10 minutes, then puree the chilies with the seasoning. Strain the mixture into a skillet or saucepan. Add the olive oil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove any scum from the surface and your red chili sauce is ready to use or save for later.

Green Chili Sauce

The process for making green chili sauce is similar to that for red chili sauce. You’ll need olive oil, onion, garlic, green chiles, flour, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt, and water. Roast, peel, and seed the green chiles, then either dice or puree them. In a saucepan, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Mix the spices and flour together and coat the onion and garlic mixture with it. Add water and green chilies, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. When ready, the sauce can be used immediately or stored in glass jars for future use.

Uses for Red and Green Chili Sauces

Both red and green chili sauces offer a wide range of uses in the kitchen. Red chili sauce pairs well with dishes such as beef or cheese enchiladas, Mexican quinoa, enchilada dip, tamales, and more. It adds a delicious kick of flavor to a variety of Southwestern recipes. Often used in chicken enchiladas and similar dishes, green chile sauce can also be used as a salsa or topping to enhance the flavor and texture of a meal.

The Canning Process

When it comes to canning red and green chili sauces, the process is similar for both types. These sauces can be preserved using either a water bath or pressure canning method. Ingredients typically include peppers, spices, water, and oil, resulting in light sauces with good shelf life.
To begin, heat your mason jars by running them under hot water or in the dishwasher. Pour the sauces into the jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of headspace at the top. If the sauce contains chunks, gently stir it in the jar to eliminate any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, replace the lids and bands tightly, and process the jars according to your chosen canning method.
Canned red and green chili sauces can be stored in your pantry for a convenient and flavorful addition to your meals whenever you want.

Bottom line

Canning red and green chili sauces puts delicious homemade sauces at your fingertips. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can preserve the flavors of these versatile sauces and enjoy them long after the cooking process is complete. Whether you’re preparing a Mexican feast or looking to add a little flavor to your everyday meals, having canned red and green chili sauces on hand is sure to enhance your culinary creations.


Can I use fresh chiles instead of dried?

Yes, you can use fresh chilies instead of dried chilies in your chili sauce recipes. However, keep in mind that the flavor and consistency may vary slightly. Adjust the amounts to taste.

What is the shelf life of canned red and green chili sauce?

When properly canned and stored in a cool, dark place, red and green chili sauces may have a shelf life of up to 1 year. However, it’s always a good idea to check the jars for signs of spoilage before consuming.

Can I adjust the heat level of the sauces?

Absolutely! The heat level of the sauces can be adjusted to your liking. For milder sauces, reduce the amount of chili peppers used or remove the seeds and membranes, which contain most of the heat. For hotter sauces, add more chili peppers or leave some of the seeds in.

Do I need to sterilize jars before canning?

Yes, it’s important to sterilize canning jars before use to ensure food safety and proper preservation. You can sterilize the jars by boiling them in water for 10 minutes or running them through a dishwasher cycle.

Can I reuse mason jar lids for canning?

No, it is not recommended to reuse jar lids for canning. The sealing compound on the lids can deteriorate over time, resulting in an inadequate seal. It’s best to use new, unused jar lids for each canning session to ensure a proper seal and prevent potential spoilage.

How long should I process jars in a water bath canner?

Processing time in a water bath canner can vary depending on your altitude and the size of the jars. It is generally recommended to process pint-sized jars for about 15-20 minutes and quart-sized jars for 20-25 minutes. However, it’s important to consult a reliable canning guide or recipe for specific processing times based on your location and jar size.