New Mexico Red Chile Paste

New Mexico Red Chile paste made with NM red chile and chile de arbol

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A couple of months ago, I posted a Chile de Arbol Salsa made with those tiny and HOT chile de arbol peppers.  After making several batches throughout the summer I finally had an epiphany to make a batch of chile paste so that when we get the craving for salsa, the prep time is cut by more than half because the initial paste is already made.  The only problem is that a “batch” of chile de arbol paste yields an unbearably hot paste by most people’s standards, including mine.  To solve this, I used a blend of New Mexico dried red chile and chile de arbol.  The resulting paste is still hot, but has a wonderful flavor that complements a variety of dishes:  salsas, soups, stews, enchiladas sauce, aiolis and spreads. This paste can be frozen in 1 to 2 tablespoon servings and added to any dish that needs a tasty bite of heat.

As you’ll see in the instructions, instead of lightly toasting the chile pods in a dry skillet then rehydrating in hot water as many chile paste recipes do, I rehydrate and toast the chiles at the same time by simmering them in hot oil with garlic and seasoning. The benefit to this other than saving some time, is that this process yields a wonderful bottle of chile infused oil that you can use for many other purposes.  If you are like me, your pantry has at least three infused oils at all times, so one more never hurts.

Red Chile Paste
A very spicy New Mexico red chile paste made with chile de arbol and NM red chiles #redchile #dearbol @mjskitchen

A very spicy chile paste made with chile de arbol and New Mexico red chiles
Print or Save Recipe
New Mexico Red Chile Paste with Chile de Arbol (Recipe)
20 mins
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
This recipe yields a spicy red chile paste that can be added to soups, stews and beans as well as a small bottle of infused chile oil.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Condiments, Sauces & Dressings
Cuisine: Mexican, New Mexico
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 ounce dried red chile pods, stems removed and seeds shaken out*
  • 1 ounce dried chile de arbol pods, stems removed and seeds shaken out*
  • ½ tsp. coriander seeds
  • 4 large garlic cloves, cut in half
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • ½ roasted bell pepper or 1 Roma tomato, peeled, chopped and drained*
  1. Add the oil, chile pods, coriander and garlic to a sauce pan or skillet. If the oil doesn't just cover the chile pods, then add more.
  2. Slowly heat to a simmer (the garlic and pepper should be at a slow, steady sizzle). Simmer on low for 15 minutes.**

  3. Remove from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, carefully scoop the chiles, garlic, and coriander out of the oil and into a blender. To filter the remaining oil for use later, let cool, then strain into a clean bottle.

  4. To the chiles, add the salt, vinegar, roasted bell pepper (or 1/2 tomato), and 3 Tbsp. of the reserved chile oil.
  5. Blend to a puree’. If the mixture gets too thick, add more oil or more roasted bell pepper (or tomato). You want the puree’ to be the consistency of a paste.
  6. Use within 3 to 5 days or freeze in an ice tray by scooping 1 to 2 Tbsp. of the paste into each cube compartment.

**By simmering in hot oil, the peppers and garlic will start to brown. If the oil is too hot, they could easily burn, so keep an eye on them. If the garlic starts to turn brown within 10 minutes, turn down the heat. If the peppers turn black, then they are burned and should be tossed. After 15 minutes you want the garlic a light brown and the peppers should be a dark rich red color, not black.
Kitchen Notes

Chiles – Dried chile peppers all have different flavors and heat levels, but pretty much any pepper can be used in this chile paste. Of course we love the flavor of New Mexico red chile, and thanks to my friends at Diaz Farms, I’m now hooked on chile de arbol as well. These two peppers blended together to make a very unique and spicy paste. If you don’t have these peppers, I would recommend ancho (dried poblano) as a substitute for the NM red chile and chile pequin, Thai bird’s eye or cayenne in place of the chile de arbol – in other words, a medium to medium hot chile and a hot chile. You may want to change of the ratio depending on the heat levels of the peppers. A 1:1 ratio yields a HOT paste whereas 2:1 yields medium.


Dried Chile de Arbol


Roasted Red Bell Pepper or Tomato – The bell pepper is used mainly to add more moisture to the paste in order to achieve a smooth consistency. As an added benefit, it also adds a little sweetness. If you don’t have a roasted bell pepper, use a medium sized tomato. I would recommend adding only 1/2 of it at first. If you need more moisture for a smoother texture, add the other half.


Storage – This paste keeps in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Freeze what you don’t use. To freeze, scoop 1 – 2 Tbsp. in each pocket of an ice tray and freeze. Once frozen, remove from the tray and transfer to a freezer bag. Throw a cube into soups, stews, salsas, or any dish in which you want a spicy, chile flavor. Below are several suggestions on how to use this paste.



A New Mexico red chile paste made with chile de arbol and NM red chile peppers. #chiledearbol


A delicious salsa made with red chile paste Chile de Arbol Salsa

Once you have this red chile paste, fresh or frozen, you can throw my chile de arbol salsa together in about 10 minutes.  Just saute’ ¼ cup chopped onion in a little oil for 2 minutes, add to a blender or food processor with a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes (drained), and pulse for a fine chop. Stir in 1 Tbsp. of red chile paste, chill for about an hour or overnight, and serve with your favorite chips.

OR if you like a chunky salsa, add 1 Tbsp. red chile paste to a can of semi-drained fire roasted diced tomatoes with some minced onion, and start eating. 🙂

This New Mexico Red Chile Paste can also be added to any of the following recipes:

Black-eyed Pea Chipotle Dip (replace the Chipotle with 1 Tbsp. paste)

Spicy Pumpkin and Red Chile Soup (Replace the red chile pods with 1 Tbsp. paste)

Tortilla Egg Sandwich (Replace the Jamaican Jerk with a 1 tsp. paste)

Braised Red Chile Chicken and Vegetables (replace some of the chile powder with about 1 tsp. paste)

Mafe’ – A West African Stew (replace the 2 hot peppers with 1 Tbsp. paste)

Red Chile Garlic Bread (replace the chile powder with paste)

Andouille and Black Bean Soup (add a little paste for flavor and heat)

Dried Beans (black bean, pinto beans, bolita beans)  – Add 1 to 2 Tbsp. to a pot of beans during the cooking process


This New Mexico Red Chile Paste was include the the DailyBuzz Food Top 9 Hot Sauce Recipes (September, 2013) and has been shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays  .


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64 Responses to “New Mexico Red Chile Paste”

  1. Louis March 31, 2015 at 6:07 am #

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  2. ___________ November 13, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

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  3. Cho Cam Ranh July 20, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    Thanks for finally talking about > Red Chile Paste | MJ’s
    Kitchen < Liked it!

  4. May 24, 2014 at 11:26 am #

    Hi there, everything is going sound here and ofcourse every one
    is sharing data, that’s in fact good, keep up writing.

  5. Spice Sherpa September 4, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    Perfect timing as autumn is starting to buzz and cooler temps are moving in. This is a beautiful color and perfect for the looming cold season! I’ll definitely be sharing. 🙂

    • mj September 5, 2013 at 2:57 am #

      Thanks so much! It definitely will warm you up from the inside out. 🙂

  6. Gomo | cHowDivine August 18, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    I love your chile paste/sauce recipes! And this is no exception. Another must try. I think I finally found someone who loves chiles as much as I do! :))

    • mj August 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

      You got that right! We’re a couple of spicy chicks! 🙂

  7. Nami | Just One Cookbook August 15, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    I’ve been working a lot to get used to my and my kids’ tongue/stomach to get used to heat. I think we improved a lot this year and I can’t wait to get a big spoon and scoop out this delicious looking red chile paste! My husband will really appreciate once we expand our spicy recipes into our meal routine!

  8. Terra August 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    I just showed my grill chef your lovely recipe. We both feel it would be fabulous in a rub, and that makes us happy. We have lived in the south so long, we love food with spice! Looks wonderful, Hugs, Terra

    • mj August 12, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

      Thanks Terra! Yes, it would be fabulous in a wet rub, making us all happy. 🙂

  9. Raymund August 11, 2013 at 2:31 am #

    I would love this on marinades in meats, yum!

    • mj August 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

      Thanks Raymund! Yes, it would be great in a meat marinade, especially beef or pork.

  10. Charles August 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    Hi MJ – the colour of this paste is gorgeous! I don’t normally make chilli pastes… the only one I do is harissa (except I use habaneros) – it’s very nice… I wonder if you’ve tried it and/or would like it? That doesn’t involve any steps like toasting/drying/rehydrating or anything though so it’s really interesting to see how other pastes are made – thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:25 am #

      Thanks Charles! No – I have never made a paste with habaneros. I love their flavor, but their heat is unbearable for me. However, if I combine it with a milder pepper like I did here, it might work. Thanks for the idea!

  11. The Wimpy Vegetarian August 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    Pinning to make this ASAP! I love, love, love anything with chiles, and would love to make my own chile paste – and particularly your approach so I can end up with some fabulous infused oil. Genius recipe, MJ.

    • mj August 10, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      Thanks Susan! Hope you like it, but be sure to use it sparingly! It’s hot! 🙂

  12. Karen (Back Road Journal) August 7, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    This is a nice sounding recipe with the added benefit of chili infused oil. I like the tip about freezing the paste.

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      Thanks Karen! Ice trays are wonderful for freezing anything that works in small amounts – sauces, pastes, herbs, pestos. Love it!

  13. Debra August 7, 2013 at 3:36 am #

    Great idea. I have frozen pesto and jalapenos and home made hot sauce in ice trays. I bet this smells delicious.

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      Thanks Debra! I can see that, like me, you have some ice trays dedicated to freezing sauces and herbs. 🙂 It’s such a handle little trick!

  14. Hotly Spiced August 6, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    This chile paste is such a beautiful colour. It’s so good to make your own and I can see this being very handy for a number of dishes. xx

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:22 am #

      Thanks Charlie! Yes, the possibilities for this are endless! 🙂

  15. Carole August 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    Great idea, MJ. I have only made Thai chilli pastes – I’ll have to give this a go. Cheers

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:21 am #

      Thanks Carole! this is quite similar to thai paste, but the flavor is different because of the types of chiles I used.

  16. Nancy/SpicieFoodie August 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    What a brilliant idea to make the paste. I love chiles de arbol but as you said, they are so spicy. I also tone them down with other peppers like Ancho. I have never tried the New Mexico pepper but would love to. Thanks for sharing MJ:)

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:21 am #

      Thanks Nancy! I knew you would like this recipe because, like me, you are a chile de arbol fan. I can definitely see using this paste in your pork tacos. YUM!

  17. Soni August 6, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    This looks like the perfect condiment for my kitchen since I love chili flavors in anything 🙂 Chili infused oil also sounds incredible and so flavorful!!Love the bright red color 🙂

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      Thanks Soni! It is the perfect condiment and the infused oil is such a nice benefit from this recipe!

  18. Treat and Trick August 6, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    This is a must have in our kitchen! Your chile paste looks perfect!

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks Darlin! I agree – a must have!

  19. Ramona August 6, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    Okay… I’m not embarrassed to say that I am literally drooling at the photos you have right now. That chili paste looks like it’s calling me name… I love this idea of making such a yummy paste to jazz of dishes, Of course I would have to triple the batch…. because I would go through it too quickly. 🙂

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      Thanks Ramona! Yes, YOU would love it! I use it like you use your little chile peppers.

  20. Swathi August 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    These my kind of spice blend, I can make lot of dishes with this spicy goodness.

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      Thanks Swathi! I can definitely see it being used in a lot of your dishes!

  21. Liz August 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    What a wonderful idea!!! I’m sure I’d have to add wee amounts for my heat sensitive family, but I know it will add phenomenal flavor!

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks Liz! Just keep the honey handy for those that can’t handle the heat. 🙂

  22. I like to use it as a base for a sandwich and then add some cheese and vegetables. It could go very well together 🙂

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      Thanks Marta! I love the idea of using it as a sandwich spread. I do use it on my breakfast tortilla egg sandwich. Love that morning heat. 🙂

  23. Reese August 5, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    My mouth waters by the shear look of the chili paste! The intense rich color of the paste is simply gorgeous. It is very similar to our Southeast Asian style chili paste known as sambal. We can’t live without sambal and it is the must-have condiment in every meal. I have no single doubt that your Southwestern chili paste will be very well received by Southeast Asian kitchens. LOVE! Will have to add this to my chili paste rotation. Thank you MJ for such a great recipe.

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      Thanks so much Reese! It is a beautiful color isn’t and it does look HOT which it is. 🙂 Yes, it is similar to sambal – just different peppers really from what I know about sambal. Since you and Mark do love sambal, I know that you’ll love this paste as well. I hope you get a chance to make it.

  24. Amber @ The Cook's Sister August 5, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Love this chile paste and your suggestions for recipes you could serve it with. Looks great, you must have devoured this chile paste in no time flat.

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:12 am #

      Thanks Amber! Actually, I have quite a bit left frozen as ice cubes in the freezer. It should last a couple of months, then I’ll make more. 🙂

  25. Jen @JuanitasCocina August 5, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    All I need is a spoon, or maybe a nice corn tortilla.

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:11 am #

      You and my BIL – Only you two could eat this with a spoon! Even I have to use it in small amount because a little goes a long way in flavor and heat.

  26. ChgoJohn August 5, 2013 at 2:02 am #

    I shudder to think how hot that chile de arbol paste must have been if it was too hot for you, MJ. I don’t know if I’ll ever make my own chile sauce; I don’t use it very often – yet. If and when I do, though, I know where to come for the recipe. Thanks!

    • mj August 8, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      Thank John! Yes, this was hot, but adding the red chile and the roasted bell pepper helped to tone it down. When you do decide to make your own chile sauce, you know I’m here to help. 🙂

  27. Tessa August 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    That looks so wickedly hot and delicious!

    • mj August 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      Well it it!! 🙂 Thanks Tessa!

  28. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef August 4, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    My tongue tingles just looking at that jar of chile paste!

    • mj August 4, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

      If you try it, your tongue would do more than tingle. 🙂 Thanks Maureen!

  29. Sissi August 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Extraordinary recipe! It’s always such an exciting moment to learn a new way to preserve or/and transform chile! I pickle chile in vinegar, I prepare different chile pastes and sauces with both fresh and dried produce… chile oil… but this is something I have never tasted or heard about. I will start drying chile (though I can forget about chile de arbol… and think about other varieties instead) and will certainly prepare this new fiery seasoning.
    In the meantime I’m late with your green chile powder…. My pickling craze is the only excuse 😉

    • mj August 4, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

      Thanks so much Sissi! I still need to give your pickled chile a try. I’ve never pickled chiles in vinegar before. Maybe this is the year to do that. We’re going to have a good chile crop. I’ll be buying some red ones to dry again this year. I love making sauces with dried red chiles during the colder months. Warms you up inside and out. 🙂

  30. steve August 4, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    MJ; Very well done, your Southwestern recipes are sure welcome here. Thanks.

    • mj August 4, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

      Thanks Steve! Keep checking in, because I have plenty more under my belt. 🙂

  31. Angie@Angie's Recipes August 4, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    I have many different kinds of oils in the pantry, but just two infused olive oils (herb, and lemon)..used to store a chilli pepper one too…love your chilli paste…can’t wait to give it a try!

    • mj August 4, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

      Thanks Angie! I knew you were a infused oil lover! Aren’t they great?

  32. john@kitchenriffs August 4, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    This is an inspired recipe! And one I definitely need to make. I use dried chile powders a lot because they’re convenient, but paste usually has better flavor. Love the combination of chiles you’ve used, too. And I can always use chile-infused oil! Really super post – thanks.

    • mj August 4, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      Thanks John! I hope you get a chance to make it. I have 3 types of chile paste in the freezer right now. The hard part is deciding which one to use when I make a dish. 🙂


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