Join us for an adventure in flavor!

    Chile Colorado

    Our Chile Colorado recipe is ridiculously good. Tender beef chunks simmer in a tasty red sauce made from dried chili peppers and an assortment of seasonings.

    Like Beef Birria and Carne Adovada, this stew highlights what an amazing dish can be made using simple chili peppers.

    Chile Colorado is a flavorful and authentic Mexican stew. Tender beef chunks simmer in a tasty red sauce made from dried chili peppers.

    Everyone loves a good stew, and with winter stubbornly refusing to go away, I want to present one of my new favorites.

    An ancestor of our modern “chili con carne,” this traditional Mexican stew dates back centuries. And no, it’s not from Colorado. In this case, the word “colorado” translates to “red colored.”

    What makes this dish stand out is the dried chili peppers. Now don’t start grabbing for a glass of ice water, chili pepper doesn’t have to mean spicy. Ancho chilis have a smoky, paprika-like flavor. Guajillo peppers have a somewhat fruity and sweet flavor. Both are quite mild.

    Árbol chilis can pack some punch. I am just using a few here, but if you want to keep it tame, you can go ahead and leave them out altogether.

    I found all three varieties in the international section of our local supermarket. If you have a Mexican grocery store nearby, they will definitely carry these dried peppers. If all else fails, they are readily available online.

    A serving of red chili in a bowl along with rice and beans.

    So, Let’s Get Cooking This Mexican “Red-Colored” Chili!

    1. Prep The Chilis

    I start by removing the stems and seeds from the dried chilis. Then, I submerge them in water in a pot, bring it to a boil, and remove it from heat for 10 minutes.

    Dried chili peppers rehydrating in water.

    2. Make The Red Sauce

    I add the soaked chilis to a blender or food processor along with some of the soaking water, garlic cloves, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Then, I blend until smooth.

    If I want an even smoother sauce, I pass it through a fine mesh sieve. I’ve tried both ways, and I prefer the end result when I strain the sauce.

    Red chili pepper sauce in a pan.

    3. Brown The Meat

    I coat the cubed chuck roast with salt, pepper, and flour. Then, I give the beef a quick sear on all sides and remove it from the pot.

    Browned beef chunks on a plate.

    4. Sauté Onions

    I add the onions and cook them until they start to become soft. If you’re like me and get shivers when accidentally biting into a piece of onion, don’t worry – they will melt into the sauce. Then, I add some minced garlic and cook for another minute.

    5. Simmer Your Stew

    I add the beef and sauce to the pot, along with bay leaves. Then, I give it a good stir, bring it to a simmer, and cover it. I let it cook for about an hour and a half, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking.

    Beef in red chili sauce after cooking for an hour and a half.

    6. Reduce That Sauce

    At this point your stew is still pretty liquidy. I like it thicker, so after that initial simmer remove the lid to reduce the sauce. Keep on cooking until the beef is melt-in-your-mouth tender, about another hour.

    Red chili in a dutch oven after cooking.

    7. Serve It Up

    Honestly, it’s great just on its own. Or try some warmed corn tortillas on the side. They’re great for scooping up that succulent pork and amazing sauce.

    I love Chile Colorado served with some Mexican rice, pinto beans, and garnished with radish slices and lime wedges. This is a traditional way to serve it, and with good reason!

    Feel free to try other serving options. Let me know how you most enjoy it in the comments!

    Chile Colorado, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Bowl of chile colorado atop the Gypsy Plate.

    More Great Chili Recipes
    Ground Turkey Chili
    Smoky Chipotle Chili
    Chile Verde
    Black Bean Chili
    Cincinnati Chili

    Featured image for chile colorado recipe.

    Chile Colorado

    Yield: 6-8 servings
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
    Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes

    Chile Colorado is a flavorful and authentic Mexican stew. Tender beef chunks simmer in a tasty red sauce made from dried chili peppers.


    • 6 guajillo chilis (or New Mexico chilis)
    • 6 ancho chilis
    • 2-3 árbol chilis (optional)
    • 5 large cloves garlic, divided
    • 1 Tbsp oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
    • 1.5 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp salt
    • ½ tsp black pepper
    • 3 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1 inch chunks
    • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 2 bay leaves


    1. Cut the stems off and make a slit along the side to open them and discard the seeds. Add the chilis into a small pot and add water until they are completely submerged. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Do not discard soaking water.
    2. Transfer soaked chilis, 2.5 cups of the soaking water, 3 garlic cloves, oregano, cumin salt, and pepper to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
    3. If you prefer a smoother sauce (which we do), pour the prepared red sauce through a fine mesh sieve. Use a spoon to push down and work all of the liquid portion through the holes.
    4. Season the beef chunks generously with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear beef chunks on all sides, working in batches if necessary. Remove to a plate.
    5. Add the onion into the pot and sauté until it begins to soften. Add in remaining two garlic cloves (finely chopped), and cook for a minute.
    6. Add beef chunks back into the pot, along with red chili sauce and bay leaves. Mix well. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
    7. Remove cover from the pot. Continue cooking for and additional 1 hour, uncovered, until beef is tender and the sauce has reduced to a thick and rich consistency.
    8. Serve with rice, pinto beans, and garnishes like lime wedges and sliced radishes.


    1. This stew is not particularly spicy, but if you're really adverse to heat, omit the árbol chilis. If you like it spicy, add a few more!
    2. You can also follow the same recipe with short ribs or oxtail, just note that the cooking time will be a bit longer. Simply cook them whole, then shred the meat off of the bones once tender.
    3. If you're wondering where the tomatoes and beans are, they are not actually traditional chili ingredients, and were later added to variations. If you're dead set on having them in your chili, try our Ultimate Chili recipe.
    4. This stew can also be cooked in a slow cooker. After searing the beef, add all ingredients to your crockpot and cook covered for 4-5 hours on high, or 7-8 hours on low.
    5. Chile Colorado stores well and makes great leftovers. Don't all stews? Place cooled leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. My preferred reheating method is on stovetop over medium-low heat. Add a splash of water if it has thickened up too much.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 8 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 456Total Fat 30gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 141mgSodium 421mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 1gSugar 0gProtein 43g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

    Get griddling! Try these Blackstone Recipes!

    Never miss a recipe!

    Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      Search by Cuisine

      Travel a word of flavors with GypsyPlate. Sort our recpes by regions:

      GypsyPlate logo.
      Skip to Recipe