A jar of homemade adobo sauce with a spoon resting inside and garlic cloves and dried chipotles on the side.
Christopher Hirsheimer
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Adobo Sauce

Adobo sauce is best known for being the sweetly earthy sauce that bathes canned chipotle peppers. It’s an authentic and ridiculously versatile Mexican staple that’s easy to DIY. Here’s how to make it at home.
Two tamales on a white plate.
Angie Zoobkoff
2 of 9

Red Chile Pork Tamales

These red chile pork tamales are the real authentic Mexican deal. And they taste as though they were lovingly crafted by the loveliest abuela imaginable, crafted to be slightly spicy with pulled pork. Here’s how to make them at home, step by step.

This is the best tamale recipe. I get compliments and praise from everyone I give them to whenever I make them. The recipe is perfect.

Three blue bowls filled with ancho chile soup on a wooden table.
Weldon Owen
3 of 9

Ancho Chile Soup

This ancho chile soup recipe is made with a chile-spiked broth, queso fresco, avocado, sour cream, and fried tortilla strips.
Two enchiladas de mole poblano on a white plate, topped with thinly sliced white onion.
Eva Kolenko
4 of 9

Enchiladas de Mole Poblano

These enchiladas de mole poblano are an authentic Mexican celebration dish made with tortillas stuffed with tender chicken and smothered in a chocolate and chile mole sauce.
Four ancho pork and potato tacos topped with cubed pork and potatoes, sliced radish, sour cream, and cilantro.
CB Creatives, Inc.
5 of 9

Ancho Pork and Potato Tacos

These ancho pork and potato tacos are a cheater’s way to have tacos on the table in just 45 minutes by relying on spice-rubbed pork chops and tender potatoes wrapped in corn tortillas.

This ancho pork tacos recipe is perfect for Taco Night!

Yvonne Z.
A white bowl filled with New Mexican red pork chili, garnished with red onion and cilantro.
America’s Test Kitchen
6 of 9

New Mexican Red Pork Chili

This New Mexican red pork chili is made in the slow cooker using cubed pork butt, chili powder, broth, chipotle chiles, coffee, raisins, and cilantro. It’s easy, set-it-and-forget-it comfort food.
A large silver spoon holding a scoop of homemade chili powder with some spilled on the side.
7 of 9

Homemade Chili Powder

With this homemade chili powder in your pantry, you’ll never need (or want!) the store-bought stuff again.
An oval bowl filled with braised pork in red chile sauce with a spoon resting on the side and a stack of tortillas and dried peppers on the side.
Eric Wolfinger
8 of 9

Braised Pork in Red Chile Sauce

This braised pork in red chile sauce is made by slowly cooking pork butt in a smoky, spicy homemade ancho chile sauce. You’ll want to have plenty of tortillas on hand to soak up that sauce.

This recipe for braised pork in red chile sauce is too good to be this easy and this versatile! If there were a Nobel Prize for cooking this would be my nomination. Hands down and even after 50+ years of cooking!

Garlic, chile, and cumin roast chicken on a white platter with a serving fork, beside empty plates and glasses of wine.
Angie Mosier
9 of 9

Garlic, Chile, and Cumin Roast Chicken

Rubbed and marinated in a spicy adobo-like sauce of dried chiles, abundant garlic, toasted cumin, and olive oil, this easy roast chicken is packed with flavor. Some of the rub chars a little as the bird roasts, adding another wonderful dimension. The chicken is delicious hot, at room temperature, or cold. You’ll like having leftovers; they are great for sandwiches and tortas.

Dried Chiles FAQs

How long can I store dried chiles?

If stored properly in a cool, dark, dry place, dried whole chiles will stay fresh for up to 2 years. If you live in a dry climate, store the chiles in a lidded jar or sealed container away from sunlight. For warm, humid climates, stash your chiles in the freezer.

Always inspect the peppers before using them. They should have some flexibility and a light fragrance. If they look moldy or are very brittle, toss them and buy a new batch.

How do you toast dried chiles?

Many recipes with dried chiles require you to toast them before using. This helps to enhance the flavor of the peppers. There are a couple of simple options for toasting dried chiles.

For the stovetop method, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high until hot. Add the chiles and let them toast just until they become fragrant and begin to soften, about 30 seconds per side. Use tongs to transfer them to a plate to cool. Note that if you are sensitive to spice, you will want to have your stove fan on.

Alternatively, you can toast dried chiles on a baking sheet in the oven. Arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast in a 350°F oven until they smell fragrant, about 5 minutes. This is an excellent option if you’re toasting many peppers at once.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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  1. Thank YOU! I have been waiting for someone to guide me on how to use dried chilies. I love them when I eat out and really want to use them at home also. I live in California and I have access to many different kinds of dried whole chilies and ground chilies. The thrill of making my own chili powder is huge and I can’t wait to make the pork red chili dish and the tacos, well, don’t get me started.
    You have a really wonderful blog and I really enjoy all the emails I get with your recipes or the picks you offer from your chef friends.

    1. Thank you so much, Judith. We look forward to hearing the results as you try these recipes.