Tapatío Recipe

The Best Copycat Tapatío Sauce Recipe

Tapatío is an extremely popular hot sauce in the United States, in particular amongst Mexican Americans. It is a sauce with medium heat, and it is made out of red peppers, vinegar, garlic, and a number of spices. This sauce is extremely popular because of its rich pepper flavor and a hint of acidity. 

People who are from Guadalajara, Jalisco, have been nicknamed tapatío. This is the hometown of the companies founder and where he emigrated from. 

Making tapatío isn’t as hard as you think. This recipe will teach you how to make the best tapatío hot sauce from the comfort of your own home! Follow the tips and tricks in this post carefully to make the best hot sauce in town. 

Tapatío Recipe


This sauce is extremely popular because of its rich pepper flavor and a hint of acidity. This sauce is extremely popular because of its rich pepper flavor and a hint of acidity. 
Cuisine Mexican


  • 1 lb Fresno chiles
  • 15 Tbsp distilled vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ lb red peppers
  • 3 garlic cloves


Step 1: Trim the Stems off the Chiles and Grill

  • Start by removing the stems from the chiles, but be sure to leave the base where the stem and the chiles attach intact. This is apparently going to give them an extra kick and keeps them tasting fiery.
  • Once the chiles are prepped, toss them in plenty of olive oil and grill them. You can cook them on a pan if you don’t have a grill; just make sure they are covered in enough olive oil so that they don’t burn.

Step 2: Grill the Red Peppers

  • Do the same with the red peppers, but this time remove both the stem and the base of the stem. Again, cover the red peppers in plenty of olive oil and slice them into wedges before grilling.

Step 3: Blend with Vinegar

  • Blend the roasted peppers and chiles in a food processor or using a hand blender, and make sure you add plenty of vinegar to keep the blades moving.

Step 4: Strain and Smash

  • Push the mixture through a sieve. You want to smash the peppers and chiles as much as possible and push them through the small holes in the sieve so that the sauce gets a bit of body.
  • If you don’t push the mixture through the sieve, you will end up with a very watery sauce that will run out very fast. The trick is to blend the peppers and chiles in enough liquid during step three to make this step easier.

Step 5: Combine the Rest of the Ingredients

  • Once the mixture has been strained, add the water, vinegar, grated cloves of garlic, and salt. Stir the sauce well and use a hand blender to make it smooth if you don’t like the idea of biting into pieces of grated garlic.

Step 6: Leave to Chill for a Few Days

  • Don’t worry if you aren’t patient enough o leave the sauce in the refrigerator for a few days before you slather it over your food; however, the tapatío tastes far better if you leave the flavors to mingle for a while.

Tapatío Tips & Ideas

Recreating popular recipes at home gives you the freedom to swap and change ingredients, present the dish as you want, and really make it your own. If you love experimenting with different ingredients, or you want to learn some extra tips and tricks for making the perfect hot sauce, then the following information will help you greatly. 

Recipe Variations and Ingredient Swaps 

Serrano Chilies

If you like your hot sauce extra hot, then you may want to swap out the relatively mild Fresno chile for the serrano chile. The serrano is twice as hot as Fresno, so if you find yourself slathering on the sauce when it is made using Fresno chilies, you will only need to add a small splash to your food if you make the tapatío sauce using serrano chilies.

Roasted Garlic 

Fresh garlic has a very potent tang to it which some people don’t like. Swapping out the freshly grated garlic for roasted garlic cloves gives the sauce more depth of flavor. Just make sure not to use it if it’s too old, because rotten garlic will never taste good!

Paprika and other Spices

Tapatío sauce is traditionally spiced with a spice mix. If you like it spicy, you can add paprika and chile flakes to the sauce or any other sices that you like, for that matter. If you are unsure what will go best in the sauce, try new spices out in a small quantity of sauce so that it doesn’t go to waste if it doesn’t taste too good.  

Storing Tapatío Sauce  

storing tapatio

If you are going to all this trouble to make your own hot sauce, you want to make sure that it lasts as long as possible. This recipe contains plenty of vinegar which always helps sauces and other ingredients last longer, but there are some things you can do to help too. 

Storing the sauce in tightly sealed mason jars that open and reseal easily is the best for this sauce. Plastic containers aren’t as airtight as glass jars and therefore won’t work as well for storing this sauce. With that being said, if you are a huge hot sauce fan, then the sauce might not last long enough to go off! 

Related Reading: Spicy Gochugaru Substitutes

What Does Tapatío go With?

tapatio with enchilada

Fortunately, tapatío sauce goes with pretty much anything! You can enjoy it with traditional Mexican dishes, or you can splash it onto the food you have daily. Here are some of my favorites that almost scream for tapatío sauce. 

Here are my four favorite things to have with tapatío sauce, but you can add it to anything you like. In fact, it goes brilliantly with salad and other simple dishes just as well as it does with these main courses. Don’t hesitate to add it to your favorite food, especially if you like it hot! 

Cheese Toasties 

Yes, that is right, the simple cheese toasty tastes far more exotic with a splash of tapatío on top. I like to drizzle the sauce onto the toasty during preparation rather than when it is cooked as you get more even coverage. Splash some of the sauce over the cheese so that it melts together when you heat it. 


Tacos and tapatío are a match made in saucy heaven! Whether you are digging into meat tacos, veggie tacos, or prawn tacos, this sauce will help all of the flavors burst in your mouth! 


Mexican enchiladas are super easy to make at home, so why not enjoy them with your homemade tapatío sauce? I sometimes mix this sauce with mayonnaise to make a rich, creamy tapatío dipping sauce for my enchiladas.  


If you are a fan of Tabasco sauce, then there is no reason why you can’t have tapatío on your pizza instead! I particularly love this sauce on pizza that has plenty of jalapenos, sweetcorn, and chicken on top! If you are making the pizza at home, splash the sauce on top of the cheese before you add the toppings for an extra bit of spice. 

What do you think of the recipe in this article? If you have your own recipe for tapatío sauce or additional ingredients and suggestions that will make the sauce taste better, we will love to hear about it! Share your experiences, tips, and tricks with our readers and us in the comments section below!

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