DIY: Homemade Garlic Chile Sauce

by Shawnda on July 11, 2012

in Condiments,DIY

Homemade Garlic Chile Sauce

Oh, sriracha. I adore that stuff. At some point in the last year or so, it supplanted Tobasco as my favorite hot sauce. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, and with a nice dose of garlic, it’s far more flavorful than the little bottle with the red lid.

And with only 5 ingredients, it’s so easy to make your own garlic chile sauce at home. Fresher. And with less (no!) xanthum gum.

The red bell peppers give body to the sauce as well as sweeten it naturally (no added sugar!). And then you’ll get the heat. If you’re not big on heat, consider using less peppers than the recipe calls for (the original recipe called for 4 habaneros or other spicy red or orange peppers).

I used tepin chiles after my 2-year-old stumbled upon a small bush growing wild in our backyard. “Strawberry hurt” were the first words she finally muttered after several minutes of crying and drooling like she had rabies. And for good reason – tepin chiles are hot.

Tepin Chiles

Like, crazy *@&!#% hot. They’re either almost as hot as habanero peppers or as hot as habanero peppers, depending on which site you look at. They’re the official native pepper of Texas (the distinction is important so as not to offend jalapenos) and mostly grow wild because the seeds won’t germinate unless they’ve passed through a bird.

Our wild little plant is growing in the neglected corner of the backyard… right under a power line.

Because the sauce doesn’t have any commercial thickeners, the texture will resemble a fresh, homemade tomato salsa. And after the flavors get a chance to settle for a few days, you’re only problem will be figuring out how to work a spoonful of the vibrant red-orange sauce into everything from breakfast to dessert :)
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Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cherry Barbecue Sauce

“UUUGHHH. I hope you’re not making brownies again.”

Ugh? Brownies?

I’ve know the man for 8+ years and I’m pretty sure those two words have never been uttered in the same sentence. Who says something like that?

Other than someone who has seen a new pan of brownies on the counter every week for the last month+. Brownies with cherries that I roasted in port, brownies with cherries that I roasted in a stout, brownies with just plain roasted cherries, and brownies with just plain fresh cherries…

Maybe he had a point.

Cherry Barbecue Sauce

So I put that bag of cherries in the cart (along with 3 others) and pushed along, mumbling something about how I had plans to make a couple of savory recipes in the upcoming week.

I was totally lying, though. I had fully intended to make brownies again. But instead, I made barbecue sauce. More accurately, I semi-made barbecue sauce.

A couple of weeks ago, I shoved a bottle of barbecue sauce into the back corner of the fridge. It was harsh and vinegary. We didn’t care for it enough to use it again on its own but I couldn’t bring myself to throw a nearly full bottle away. Instead, we “fixed” it. I made a sweet cherry reduction and stirred that into the sauce, the concoction really benefiting from the addition of sweet cherries. More mellow, a little sweeter, and with nice cherry flavor, the sauce paired fantastically with a simple pulled pork for a unique twist on the sandwich.
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Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

We have previously discussed my obsession love for homemade ranch dressing. Or straight-off-the-shelf-in-a-squeeze-bottle ranch dressing. And I know you guys love it, too – it’s consistently in the top 10 recipes visited here.

And if you like the spicy, smokey flavors of chipotle peppers, you’re going to love this version, too.

We’ve been keeping a jar of Chipotle Ranch Dressing in the fridge lately, instead of the regular ranch or my absolute favorite – Chuy’s-inspired creamy jalapeno.

The spicy, smokey flavors transform a boring grilled chicken salad into a reason to actually crave salad. Because I just don’t do that normally. We use it instead of mayo or mustard on our Texican burgers. And the cool, spicy sauce makes a rockstar dipper for sweet potato fries.

We bake our sweet potato fries in a spice mix. I don’t like to coat them with anything else and have gotten pretty good results (read: not floppy fries) using the method below. But a naked sweet potato fry will never, ever be crispy like a white potato fry. A fact I’ll happily accept as long as there’s a bowl of chipotle ranch nearby.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing infused with smokey, spicy chipotle peppers is the perfect dipper for baked sweet potato fries.


  • For the chipotle ranch dressing:
  • 3/4 cup mayo (low fat is fine)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (low fat is fine, I replace half or all with fat-free Greek yogurt)
  • 2-3 canned chipotle peppers with 1 Tbsp sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 small bunch of chives
  • Small handful of cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk (optional)
  • For the sweet potato fries:
  • 3-4 Tbsp oil (coconut recommended)
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes (2 medium, no longer than ~5-6 inches long)
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder (substitute regular chile powder if you can
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper


  1. To make the dressing, place all dressing ingredients except the buttermilk in a blender.
  2. Blend for 10 seconds. Check consistency and blend in buttermilk if desired (less buttermilk for dipping, more for dressing).
  3. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge for a week or more.
  4. To make the fries, coat a baking sheet with 3 Tbsp of oil, adding the last Tbsp if necessary. (I like the flavor of coconut oil with sweet potato fries).
  5. Preheat the oven and baking sheet to 450. (This is a little over the smoking point of moist cooking oils, including coconut. You want enough to nicely coat the baking sheet, not pool - this will keep it from smoking too much.)
  6. Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch sticks (no longer than ~5 inches long).
  7. In a large zipper bag, mix the dry spices together.
  8. Add the sweet potato fries, zip close, and shake to coat the fries evenly.
  9. Carefully put the fries onto the baking sheet and bake for ~20 minutes, flipping halfway through - this is easier to do by shaking the pan if you place the fries parallel to the long side of the pan, a couple of back-and-forth shakes and you're done.
  10. Turn on the broiler for the last 1-2 minutes, just until the tips of the fries begin to turn black. Don't walk away - they can burn in no time.
  11. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate in a single layer until ready to serve.


Yields: ~4 servings of fries and ~2 cups of dressing

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 35 minutes



Pimento Cheese

Growing up, my mom adored Pimento Cheese sandwiches. And as a kid who saw nothing more than a scary bowl of nuclear orange spread, I couldn’t get passed the word Pimento. Yet I could knock back a bag of dye- and preservative-laden fried chip-puff thingies, no questions asked. She’d slather a big spoonful on a slice of soft white bread, fold it in half, and grab a soda. I’m pretty sure that was her version of my chips & queso and a margarita lunch :)

When it was time for our church’s dinner on the grounds, mom always made a towering plate of Pimento Cheese sandwiches, crusts removed and cut into 4 dainty triangles. Pimento cheese sandwiches and enchiladas, those were her potluck specialties.

The store-bought variety is loaded with a lot of… stuff. It’s incredibly easy to make your own at home and skip on the the filler and preservatives. It’s essentially grated cheddar cheese (I use a mix of sharp cheddar and horseradish white cheddar for a kick), roasted red pepper, garlic, salt, and a dash of Worcestershire held together with as little mayo as possible. A food processor makes quick work of it but a cheese grater and a fork are just as effective.

Pimento Cheese

There’s almost nothing you can do with Pimento Cheese that will ever top slathering it on a slice of soft, smooshy off-the-shelf white sandwich bread. That doesn’t mean we can’t try. We eat it with crackers and baked pita chips. With toasted bread rounds. And on hamburgers with a fried green tomato slice. We call it “The Southern.” And as you’d imagine, we don’t have that one very often.

Side note: Yes, we have names for every burger combo that we’ve ever eaten. It’s probably a little weird.

Some other ideas and ways to make and eat Pimento Cheese:
Pimento Cheese, by Pink Parsley
Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs, by Branny Boils Over
Pimento Cheese Fritters, by Pink Parsley
Baked Tex-Mex Pimento Cheese Dip, by Pink Parsley

Do you see a pattern? I think Josie might be the only person on earth who loves Pimento Cheese more than me :)

Pimento Cheese

The southern favorite gets a kick with horseradish white cheddar.


  • 4 oz sharp cheddar
  • 4 oz white horseradish cheddar
  • Dash of Worcestershire
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, torn into 3-4 pieces
  • 1/4-1/3 cup light mayo


  1. If using a food processor, use the blade to shred the cheese.
  2. Remove a handful of cheese from the bowl and set aside.
  3. Switch to the chopper blade and add the garlic clove, 1/4 cup of mayo, a dash of Worcestershire, the red pepper, a pinch of salt and pepper and process 8-10 seconds.
  4. Return the shredded cheese to the bowl and pulse 1-2 times.
  5. Store in the fridge, will keep a week plus.
  6. If not using a food processor, grate the cheese and finely mince the garlic.
  7. Stir the minced garlic, Worcestershire, and mayo together with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  8. Finely dice the roasted red pepper and add it to the bowl along with the cheese.
  9. Stir until thoroughly combined and then take fork and mash the cheese until you reach desired consistency.


Yields: ~1 1/2 cups

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 15 minutes