It is quick and easy to learn how to make Taco Bell red sauce at home. This authentic copycat recipe is just like the red sauce packets you get at the restaurants, mild with a hint of sweet chili seasoning. However, when you make your own, there are no additives that commercial products put in their food.

taco bell red sauce in a bowl with napkin and chips by it

🌮 Taco Bell restaurants are known for fast Mexican-themed menu items. However, did you know it’s quick and inexpensive to make the same great foods homemade?

The classic red sauce is a great recipe to start with. When you make homemade Taco Bell red sauce, you will have the perfect mild sauce to go with all your favorite Mexican dishes. The sauce will go great tossed with Roasted Jalapeno Peppers or Cownboy Candy aka: Candied Jalapenos.

😊 Why this recipe works

  • Taco Bell red sauce is a classic condiment that the whole family will enjoy putting on homemade Mexican recipes.
  • It’s easy to make a large quantity with this recipe instead of opening tiny packs.
  • When you make your copycat red sauce, there are no extra preservatives in your recipe.
  • It’s an easy condiment recipe that you can mix up quickly and serve warm or cool as a taco seasoning.
  • When I make my copycat recipes I first print the acutal ingedients in the sacue. I then mark out all the preservatives and then create my recipe so it is authentic as possible.

🛒 Ingredient notes

There is no magic ingredient to this all-around basic red sauce. What makes it tastes so good is the combination of classic Mexican seasonings simmered together to infuse the flavors into the tomato sauce.

taco bell homemade sauce ingredients
  • 8 ounces of tomato sauce: Be sure and buy a good quality tomato sauce. You don’t want a watered-down sauce with any other seasonings or additives.
  • 1/2 cup of water: Most of the water will evaporate as you simmer the sauce. However, if you feel your sauce is getting thick before it is finished cooking, you can turn down the heat and add a few more tablespoons of water.
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar: White vinegar is mild, and it gives you just a slight tang and complements the sweetness of the tomatoes.
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder: Not all chili powders are created equal. Again, don’t skimp. Purchase a good quality mild chili powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt: This recipe calls for garlic powder and garlic salt. Using garlic salt in place of regular salt will infuse more flavor into your sauce.
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika: Use plain, not smoked paprika

See the recipe card for a complete list and quantities.

🔪 Step by step instructions

  1. The first step is to place the tomato sauce in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
    Add the seasonings, sugar, and vinegar. Stir until all the seasons are blended well.
taco bell copycat red sauce in a pan getting ready to simmer

2. Reduce the heat to medium-low heat to get a low simmer.
Simmer for 30 minutes, string every 10 minutes to ensure that the sauce is not sticking or burning.

Note* Stoves heat differently, so keep an eye on your heat setting. If need be, turn it down to the lowest setting. You want to keep your sauce warm but not boiling.


3. Remove the sauce from the stove and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.
To store the red sauce, pour it into a glass jar and put on a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several days until you need to use it.

Hint: If you are hosting a Mexican dinner party a fun idea would be to fill 3-Ounce Mini Hot Sauce Bottles and place a bottle at each place setting. Then they can take their bottle home as a gift. How cute is that?

🔥 Variations

This is a mild sauce recipe, but if you would like your sauce spicier, you can add more cayenne pepper or pickled jalapenos.

Serving ideas for homemade taco sauce

Taco Bell’s red sauce is a great addition to a variety of Mexican meals. 

Breakfast: Warm a flour tortilla for breakfast and fill it with scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese. Top with red sauce and roll like a burrito. It’s a great breakfast on the go.

Mexican pizza: This taco bell red sauce recipe would be great to use as the sauce on a Mexican pizza. Spread the sauce over the crust, then top with ground beef that has been seasoned with homemade Mexican seasoning. Add red bell peppers, chopped onions, cowboy candied jalapeno peppers, and cheese.

Salad: Drizzle the red sauce on Mexican Rice Salad. It’s the perfect budget-friendly salad bursting with flavor and is a hearty dish made with black beans, whole grain brown rice, colorful veggies all tossed in a cilantro lime dressing.

❓ FAQ

What is in Taco Bell’s red sauce?

Taco Bell’s red sauce has Tomato puree (tomato paste, water), vinegar, food starch or xanthan gum, salt, chili spices, sugar, natural flavors, potassium sorbate, and sodium benzoate (P), maltodextrin, garlic concentrate, and soy.

Who makes Taco Bell’s sauces?

Taco Bell’s sauce used to only come in the small blister packs you would get from Taco Bell restaurants. However, the chain has partnered with Kraft Foods to sell the sauces in 7.5-ounce bottles in supermarkets.

taco bell red sauce in a bowl with napkin and chips by it
4.67 from 3 ratings

How To Make Taco Bell Red Sauce (Authentic Copycat Recipe)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 16
It is quick and easy to learn how to make Taco Bell red sauce at home. This authentic copycat recipe is just like the red sauce packets you get at the restaurants, mild with a hint of sweet chili seasoning. However, when you make your own, there are no additives that commercial products put in their food.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

  • 8 ounces tomato sauce, Note* Not spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, mild
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions
 

  • The first step is to place the tomato sauce in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the seasonings, sugar, water, and vinegar. Stir to blend well. Reduce the heat to medium-low heat to get a low simmer.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes, string every 10 minutes to ensure that the sauce is not sticking or burning. Stoves heat differently, so keep an eye on your heat setting. If need be, turn it down to the lowest setting. You want to keep your sauce warm but not boiling.
  • Remove the sauce from the stove and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.
  • To store the red sauce, pour it into a glass jar and put on a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate. The sauce will keep for several days until you need to use it.

Notes

Serving ideas for homemade taco sauce

Taco Bell’s red sauce is a great addition to a variety of Mexican meals. 
Breakfast: Warm a flour tortilla for breakfast and fill it with scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese. Top with red sauce and roll like a burrito. It’s a great breakfast on the go.
Mexican pizza: This taco bell red sauce recipe would be great to use as the sauce on a Mexican pizza. Spread the sauce over the crust, then top with ground beef that has been seasoned with homemade Mexican seasoning. Add red bell peppers, chopped onions, cowboy candied jalapeno peppers, and cheese.
Salad: Drizzle the red sauce on Mexican Rice Salad. It’s the perfect budget-friendly salad bursting with flavor and is a hearty dish made with black beans, whole grain brown rice, colorful veggies all tossed in a cilantro lime dressing.
Hint: If you are hosting a Mexican dinner party a fun idea would be to fill 3-Ounce Mini Hot Sauce Bottles and place a bottle at each place setting. Then they can take their bottle home as a gift. How cute is that?
Serving: 1g, Calories: 17kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 396mg, Potassium: 153mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 238IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 15mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Gina Dickson
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