Simple, Classic Rancheros Sauce

Simple Classic Ranchero Sauce

A garden tomato based sauce with tomatoes, onions & peppers.


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, any color or a mixture, diced
  • 1 jalapeno or Serrano, minced, charred, peeled & deseeded, see note
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 29 ounce can of whole tomatoes & juice, tomatoes pulsed in a blender or crushed by hand. Fire roasted tomatoes, if you’d like. See note.
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vinegar, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, to taste
  • Salt to taste


Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan, add onion and peppers and cook until slightly softened. Add garlic, cumin and cayenne and cook for just a minute longer. Add tomatoes and juice and simmer until vegetables are cooked through and softened and sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. When a spoon is run through the sauce it should not immediately fill in.

Add the sugar, salt to taste and vinegar and cook for a minute or two longer to blend the flavors.

Feel free to increase/decrease the amounts of sugar, salt, Jalapeno or Serrano, cayenne, vinegar, etc. to suit your taste.


Notes: to prepare the jalapeno or serrano, char over a gas burner or put on a piece of foil on a sheet tray and broil, turning as needed until charred. When finished, put in a small bowl and cover for several minutes. Remove the charred coating.

Tomatoes: In the summer, I often use fresh tomatoes, about 2 pounds, peeled & seeded, with their juice.

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