Guajillo Red Pepper Paste

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

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4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, deveined and seeded
2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, deveined and seeded
2 canned chipotle chiles
1/2 cup chopped white onion
4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tsp. comino seeds
2 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
1 tsp. sea salt, or to taste


Soak the ancho and guajillo chiles in hot water to cover for about 1 hour. Remove the chiles from the water and reserve 2 cups of the soaking liquid.

Combine the chiles with the reserved soaking water (as needed), the chipotle, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt. Combine in a food processor and puree the ingredients until they have blended into a smooth thick paste. Use the soaking liquid as needed to moisten the mixture into a paste form. Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

Yields 2-3 cups.

Recommendations for use include:

Marinated chicken breasts (4-6 hours)
Chicken wings (6-8 hours)
Beef brisket (8 hours to overnight)
Spare ribs (8 hours to overnight).