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Taco bell sauce recipe (copycat)

Taco bell sauce recipe (copycat)

We love the Taco Bell sauce, mild in particular. When we realized that we could buy jars of it at the grocery store we got super excited. But then, it became a bit challenging to find it on the shelves. This is why I decided to figure out how to make the Taco bell sauce recipe at home.

If you want to know how to make the Taco Bell red sauce, then you have come to the right place. It took quite a bit more experimenting than I expected to get this right.

Can you freeze taco sauce?

Yes, you can freeze taco sauce. The first step is to make sure that the sauce is cool to at least room temperature. Then place the taco bell sauce in freezer bags and seal the bags. Place the bags in the freezer for up to 6 months. 

How long will homemade taco sauce last?

Homemade taco sauce will last up to a month in the refrigerator. The key to storing taco bell sauce is to keep it in an airtight container. I also like to push it to the back of the fridge. Remember that homemade sauces won’t have the preservatives that store-bought taco sauces have.

Ingredients in Taco bell sauce

Tomato paste – When testing this recipe I figured out that starting with tomato paste instead of tomato sauce allowed me to control the consistency of the sauce much better.

Water – Lately, I have been using filtered water in my recipes and it really makes a difference

Cornstarch – This serves as a thickening agent.

Vinegar – Vinegar adds that twang flavor that Taco Bell sauce has. I wound up using more than I thought that I would. This was my surprise ingredient.

Sugar – This is so important to the recipe. I tried to make this recipe without it but it just wasn’t the Taco Bell red sauce that I know and love without it.

Chili powder – This is a foundational ingredient in all taco sauces or at least all that I have ever made.


Cayenne pepper – This is an optional ingredient. The more that you use the hotter the taco sauce will be. I used a tiny dash of cayenne pepper in my batch of red Taco Bell sauce.

How to make the Taco Bell sauce recipe (copycat version)

Step 1: Add the tomato paste and water to a large mixing bowl. Whisk the ingredients together until they are fully combined. When you are whisking these ingredients keep in mind the consistency of Taco Bell red sauce. If you need to add more water to make it thin, feel comfortable doing so at this step. Also, keep in the back of your mind that the sauce will thicken up when you heat it up starting in the next step.

Step 2: Add the sauce that you just whisked together into a large saucepan over medium heat.

Step 3: Add in all of the other ingredients. Whisk to combine everything. Be sure to use a whisk that is friendly to your pot. Don’t use a metal whisk on a non-stick coated saucepan.

Step 4: Bring the sauce to a boil. Once it starts boiling, set the temperature to the lowest setting. Watch this step carefully. We don’t want the sauce to boil for more than a moment.

Step 5: Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce starts to reduce. Stir often.

Step 6: Turn off the heat and allow the sauce to come to room temperature.

Step 7: Pour the room temperature taco sauce into a container with a lid.

Step 8: Serve the sauce or place it in the fridge for later use.

Taco bell sauce recipe (copycat)

Taco bell sauce recipe (copycat)

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes

This is how we make the Taco bell red sauce recipe.


  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1 3/4 c water
  • 2 t cornstarch
  • 4 T vinegar
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 2 t salt
  • dash cayenne pepper


  1. In a large bowl whisk together the tomato paste and water. 
  2. Add the tomato paste mixture to a large saucepan.
  3. Add in all of the additional ingredients.
  4. Stir completely.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Boil for one minute.
  7. Turn to the lowest simmer possible.
  8. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the sauce starts to reduce.
  9. Turn off the heat.
  10. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.
  11. Pour into a glass container with a lid.
  12. Serve as desired.

Did you make this recipe?

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