What Is Ancho Paste Made Of? (All You Need To Know)

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The ancho chili is something that sounds quite two-dimensional when deciding what recipes will suit this and might have you scratching your head.

But you’ll find this ingredient comes in many forms and can add spice to Mexican and Southwestern dishes. 

These chilies have been known to be sweet, and some have said they even have notes of chocolate.

So you can expect these reactions if you add a paste version to your recipes.

What Is Ancho Paste Made Of? (All You Need To Know)

But how can you use a paste to get that same great flavor, all the while sticking with an easy-to-cook paste instead of the flakes or whole version of the chili? 

In this guide, we show you a detailed breakdown of each ingredient and the sort of dishes that this padre would work wonders with.

Read on to spruce up your meals for the next mealtime you’re preparing for. 

Ancho Chili Paste Breakdown

Suppose you were to go into a store and buy a jar of this paste.

In that case, you’ll find that it’s made of water, dried ancho or Morita chilies, salt, 2% of citric acid, potassium sorbate, and sodium benzoate as preservatives there’s a slight similarity with other sauces and kinds of ketchup. 

The use of preservatives and sodium is enough to keep this condiment fresh for up to 36 months and can be used in dressings, dips, and mayonnaise spreads.

Amazingly, you can make this paste for yourself, and all you need is some dried ancho peppers.

A handful of dried guajillo peppers, olive oil, a small chopped onion, garlic cloves, and salt to improve the taste. 

You’ll find this all-purpose paste recipe to work as a flavoring for stews, pasta sauces, and even tortilla recipesl.

Where the spread of the flavor is more noticeable, and heightens the other flavors you combine with it.

Are Ancho Chilis Hot?

If you’re not a fan of chilis and don’t like the instances where there is that intensity.

You’ll be surprised to know that these chilis are surprisingly mild and have hints of a rich smoky flavor.

With sweet to moderate heat and a mild paprika flavor. 

If we’re judging ancho chillis by their warmth, it scores around 1,000- 2,000 on the Scoville scale.

Which is low compared to Jalapeños which can score anywhere between 2,500- 8,000 Scoville heat units.

You might have noticed from the homemade variety of ancho paste that it uses guajillo chilis.

Which are a bit spicier at 2,500-5,000 heat units, but you’ll find they have fruity and green tea notes to them. 

Because of the slight kick with intensity, you’ll notice that people use the guajillo chilis in salsas or in chili con carne.

As you could use ancho chilis as well, as long as you get a balance of the two as you don’t want to go overboard with the spice.

You could also experiment with these chilis in the form of powder, and if you’re making this at home as well.

You could use some crushed red pepper if you want to add more spice, as varieties of these run from 15,000-30,000 Scoville heat units.

Now we’ve broken down what you can get in your chili paste, there are many recipes that can benefit from it, which we will explore next.

What Dishes Work Best With Ancho Paste?

What Dishes Work Best With Ancho Paste?

Chile Soup

We’ve started this list with something simple yet so versatile, which you can use paste or dried chilis.

Combined with the pasilla chilies and queso fresco is going to give you flavors that go in all sorts of flavors.

You can add some tomato onion and serve some corn tortillas on the side to mix it up, or if you want a more filling meal.

You can add fresh cilantro, which you can substitute for oregano or something milder if you prefer.

With this recipe, it’s all about getting the right balance of the mild heat from the chillis alongside the spices with the potent fresco cheese.

So make sure to measure out your ingredients before you get started.

Ancho Brined Chicken

Here’s an idea for if you want to improve your roast chicken dinners and want a change with your brine ingredients.

If you find that vegetable or fruity varieties just don’t do it for you, and all you need is a fresh or rotisserie chicken or turkey.

Once you’ve added your brine that can have ancho paste, garlic cloves, and even cinnamon sticks.

You can bake or grill the meat, which can produce a smoky and succulent piece that is full of flavor.

You want to ensure that your brine is adequately spread across the chicken or turkey.

So the taste finds its way to the center and doesn’t affect the consistency, as an overload of acidic ingredients can turn the meat mushy.

Here is another way that you can add as many or as few chilis as you like.

And you can add some ground ancho chilies if you thought the paste itself wasn’t enough.  


There are many Mexican dishes that use the ancho chile as a staple in their preparation, and the quesadillas are no exception.

With a simple snack that you can use pretty much any combination you like. 

You can spread some of the paste inside the tortillas with some Gruyère and Monterey cheese and some store-bought or homemade salsa.

Where you can use some leftover chicken pieces as well for a nice crispy texture.

You’ll find that when you cook your tortillas in a pan.

The ingredients will mix together, and here is where you can create some interesting combinations. 

Ancho Chili Truffles

We thought we’d include a dessert in this list.

As you can experience some spice with some regular or bittersweet chocolate for a combination that gives you a silky truffle with a lot of flavors packed inside. 

You can make these with some heavy cream, ground or paste ancho chilies, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, broken-up chocolate, and some ground spices like cilantro if you decide you want a step up in the heat. 

We can’t guarantee that everyone is going to like these.

But testing out the various flavors with that classic mild ancho taste is going to have some exciting results.

And you can chill them for longer to improve the consistency if you want more bite to your truffles.

If you’re not a fan of cayenne peppers, maybe you could try some grounded regular or hot paprika spice which can be just as plentiful as the cayenne pepper. 

The Bottom Line

Now you have a good idea of how this paste is made and how it can work in various dishes.

You could perhaps expand your horizons and try out different recipes from different regions to see where the ancho paste can come in great use. 

You don’t have to stick to Mexican cuisine, but you’ll find these recipes are packed full of flavor and leave you with a unique aftertaste.