Pipián Rojo

The story behind my discovery of Pipián Rojo is an interesting one, because my husband told me about it. His massage therapist is of Mexican descent, and obviously they were discussing food during his massage. That in itself is interesting. I mean, I’d do that, but I didn’t think my husband would! In any case, she told him about this sauce, Pipián Rojo, and he asked me to find a recipe for it.

Before going to my Mexican cookbooks, I looked online and found a recipe by Mely Martinez, whose blog, Mexico in My Kitchen, I already follow. It sounded exactly how my husband described it, with peanuts, pepitas, sesame seeds, chile peppers, all combined in a red sauce.

Here’s a photo from Mely’s blog post on Pipián Rojo, and one that shows her lovely face!

Turns out this sauce belongs to the family of sauces called mole, (pronounced mo-lay), which means sauce. Here’s an explanation from Wikipedia: Mole (/ˈmoʊleɪ/, /ˈmoʊli/ Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmole]; from Nahuatl mōlli, “sauce”) is a traditional sauce originally used in Mexican cuisine, as well as for dishes based on these sauces.

Outside Mexico, it often refers specifically to mole poblano. In contemporary Mexico, the term is used for a number of sauces, some quite dissimilar, including black, red/colorado, yellow, green, almendrado, de olla, huaxmole, guacamole and pipián. Generally, a mole sauce contains a fruit, chili pepper, nut and such spices as black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, and chocolate.

Mely writes that this classic sauce originates from her home town of Tampico, Tamaulipas, and although she’s been blogging for years, she only posted on Pipián Rojo in 2016. It just didn’t seem so “fancy” to her I’m guessing!

Well I’m glad she did, because it was fantastic. The first time I made it I cooked chicken in the sauce. Next time it might be beef, or pork, or shrimp…

Pipián Rojo Sauce
by Mely Martinez
printable recipe below

2 Ancho peppers
2 guajillo peppers
1 chipotle pepper
1/4 cup peanuts
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1″ stick cinnamon
2 cloves
2 allspice berries
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small tomato
1/3 medium white onion
2 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper

Have a pot with 2 cups of water standing by the stove.

Begin by toasting the peppers in a skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds per side. Notice I was so excited to start making this that I forgot to de-stem the peppers! So I did it after they cooled down. Then place in the water.

Then toast the nuts and seeds. The peanuts will take about 90 seconds, the pumpkin seeds toast fairly quickly; get them out as soon as they brown and start wanting to jump.

The sesame seeds take a few seconds. I actually used my seed toaster for them because I’ve experienced them popping out of a hot skillet all over the kitchen!

Place all of the toasted nuts and seeds in the water.

Next, slightly toast the cinnamon, cumin seeds, cloves, and allspice berries. Also place them in the water.

Finally, roast the tomatoes, onion and garlic, turning occasionally to obtain even roasting. Place these in the water as well.

Place the pot on the stove and cook over a medium-high heat. Simmer for about 8 minutes, then set aside to let the ingredients soften.

Place the sauce ingredients in a blender and process just enough to blend the ingredients. Then pour into a skillet.

When the sauce is hot, add pieces of meat, pork or chicken, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If the sauce seems to thick, thin with water or broth. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the meat with the sauce with rice and warm corn tortillas.

The only mistake I made with this recipe was not to make a quadruple recipe. This sauce is so good I could drink it.



By Published On: October 2nd, 201873 Comments on Pipián Rojo

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. cookingwithauntjuju.com October 2, 2018 at 6:55 AM - Reply

    My kind of sauce – need to shop for the peppers!

    • chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 7:52 AM - Reply

      I was really incredible. Such a depth of flavor!

  2. chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 7:51 AM - Reply

    It really was. Can’t wait to make it again!

  3. mencanmakehomes October 2, 2018 at 8:25 AM - Reply

    amazing colors have the peppers developed after toasting them ! great dish :)

    • chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 2:33 PM - Reply

      Thank you so much!

  4. Jodi October 2, 2018 at 9:25 AM - Reply

    looks and sounds delish!!!

    • chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 2:33 PM - Reply

      Thank you Jodi!

  5. Kelly, RD October 2, 2018 at 10:34 AM - Reply

    I bet that is so packed with flavor and I love ANYTHING with avocados and corn tortillas! The combination of spices reminds me a little of Indian dishes.

    • chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 2:33 PM - Reply

      I just mentioned that in a comment! I love when cashews or almonds are used in cream sauces in Indian cuisine. Such flavor!

      • Kelly, RD October 4, 2018 at 7:53 PM

        And nice crunch too!

  6. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons October 2, 2018 at 11:01 AM - Reply

    Sounds delicious! Definitely pinned for the future, just need to find the chilies.

    • chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 2:32 PM - Reply

      I guess that’s one benefit of living in the south. But they’re always Amazon!

  7. Our Growing Paynes October 2, 2018 at 11:16 AM - Reply

    I haven’t heard of guajillo peppers, must keep my eye out for it. What a delicious sauce!

    • chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 2:31 PM - Reply

      Oh, they’re fantastic. Well, they all are, actually! And so fun to play with!

  8. Healthy World Cuisine October 2, 2018 at 1:59 PM - Reply

    We are in LOVE with this recipe. Depth of flavor, aromatic, warm, comforting and everything we are craving now. Another fabulous use for pepitas. Seriously, why do you have to live so far away?!? Take Care

    • chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 2:30 PM - Reply

      I can say the same thing! Yes, I love creamed nuts in Indian food, and they’re just as wonderful in Mexican dishes, obviously! Amazing what they add to a sauce.

  9. chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 2:31 PM - Reply

    That’s what I’m going to use next time I make this sauce, which will be soon!

  10. FrugalHausfrau October 2, 2018 at 3:33 PM - Reply

    My mouth is watering and this looks right up my ally, Mimi! Your photos are just gorgeus. I see you tweaked your blog look a bit, too – or am I just nuts?

    • chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 4:17 PM - Reply

      Nope, I’m a season freak. On December the background will be red, and there will be falling snow!!!

      • FrugalHausfrau October 3, 2018 at 8:09 AM

        I get the snow, too. I’m not sure how
        (Christmas magic?!) The autumn colors set your photography off beautifully, though!

      • chef mimi October 3, 2018 at 8:26 AM

        Thank you! The snow is a WordPress thing.

  11. chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 4:16 PM - Reply

    That’s exactly why I love blogging. Well, I love following food blogs – there’s always something new to learn! No, it’s not spicy hot at all. Just super flavorful. I know, I thought it was really funny that he came home and asked me to find this recipe!

  12. chef mimi October 2, 2018 at 6:48 PM - Reply

    I can’t wait to make it again!

  13. nahdalaskitchen October 3, 2018 at 3:16 AM - Reply

    Fantastic recipe~! I see a bowl of this coming out of my kitchen in the very near future :)

    • chef mimi October 3, 2018 at 9:27 AM - Reply

      You will love it!

  14. Chica Andaluza October 3, 2018 at 4:06 AM - Reply

    Looks and sounds incredible!

    • chef mimi October 3, 2018 at 9:28 AM - Reply

      It truly was incredible. Can’t wait to make it again.

  15. David @ Spiced October 3, 2018 at 6:58 AM - Reply

    I love learning about new sauces! I wasn’t familiar with Pipián Rojo until now, but I definitely want to try this out. The idea of roasting peanuts and then blending ’em into a sauce sounds super interesting. Looks delicious, Mimi! :-)

    • chef mimi October 3, 2018 at 7:51 AM - Reply

      Thanks. You taste all of the flavors, but it’s not a peanut sauce, or just a chile pepper sauce. It’s a wonderful combo of flavors, with great texture to boot!

  16. Karen (Back Road Journal) October 3, 2018 at 7:03 AM - Reply

    This sounds great, I’ll be trying it soon. When I make a green mole, I make a big batch and freeze part of it…it freezes well.

    • chef mimi October 3, 2018 at 7:50 AM - Reply

      I will be making this again soon, with beef for my husband, and I’ll definitely make more!

  17. kitchenriffs October 3, 2018 at 9:54 AM - Reply

    I’ve heard of this sauce, but have never had it in a restaurant, and have never made it. It sounds terrific — loads of flavor in this. Thanks!

    • chef mimi October 3, 2018 at 10:23 AM - Reply

      Yes. Flavorful, and a great texture. I’m making more!

  18. Dawn @ Girl Heart Food October 3, 2018 at 12:58 PM - Reply

    I’ve never heard of this before, but from the looks of all those yummy ingredients, I know I’d love it! I bet this sauce would taste good on just about anything. I’d need lots of rice for soaking it all up.Great recipe :) !!

    • chef mimi October 3, 2018 at 3:14 PM - Reply

      I agree. I’m actually going to make it tonight with beef tenderloin for my husband. That should be great.

  19. StefanGourmet October 4, 2018 at 1:50 AM - Reply

    I don’t do enough Mexican cooking, mostly for lack of inspiration and reference (I mean for Italian cooking, I know exactly what everything is supposed to taste like). So thanks for providing this inspiration, as this surely looks like something we would enjoy.

    • chef mimi October 4, 2018 at 6:21 AM - Reply

      I think you would definitely enjoy this. It has a great depth of flavor. Hope you can find these chile peppers.

      • StefanGourmet October 4, 2018 at 12:02 PM

        There is an online shop that carries them. I still store them in the same box that Richard used to ship my first batch of chiles.

      • chef mimi October 4, 2018 at 2:35 PM

        What a great idea.

  20. neil@neilshealthymeals.com October 4, 2018 at 5:24 AM - Reply

    I had to look up online to see if I would be able to get Ancho Chillies (plus I hadn’t heard of them before) and I was surprised that I can. In fact a large supermarket near stocks them. Not so with guajillo peppers unfortunately. Although I note Google suggested several different kinds of peppers as substitutions. I do like the look of this tasty sauce! The ingredient list is mouthwatering.

    • chef mimi October 4, 2018 at 6:24 AM - Reply

      When my daughter lived in London, I also had to bring Sriracha sauce and salsa to her when I visited. So I’m not surprised your chile pepper choices are limited. Just use ancho chile peppers for this recipe and that will work. The sauce is really fun and has a wonderful texture.

  21. chef mimi October 4, 2018 at 6:24 AM - Reply

    Yes! Such wonderful flavors and the texture is fun as well. Can’t wait to serve it with shrimp.

  22. karrie / Tasty Ever After October 4, 2018 at 9:45 AM - Reply

    This looks incredible! We just found out this past Tuesday that our favorite Mexican restaurant closed (on Taco Tuesday no less!). Told Hubby we need to make some good Mexican food this weekend and now I see this recipe! Perfect timing AND I have all the ingredients already. YAY!!!!

    • chef mimi October 4, 2018 at 9:48 AM - Reply

      Oh no! That’s terrible!!! Glad you have the ingredients. I just did it by memory, and the sauce came out perfectly. And so easy. This time I added cut up tenderloin (beef) and it was fabulous.

  23. sippitysup October 4, 2018 at 11:21 AM - Reply

    I bought a jar of a chunkier (whole peanuts) version when I was recently in Baja. It seemed an unusual combination to me for Mexican cuisine that’s why I bought it, but now I see it’s not so unheard of… GREG

    • chef mimi October 4, 2018 at 11:49 AM - Reply

      The peanut, pumpkin and sesame seed combination is fabulous! I just made some more and used cut up tenderloin. A really nice texture, as well. Made it from memory, also. It’s so easy!

  24. jenniferguerrero1 October 4, 2018 at 8:47 PM - Reply

    That looks divine, Mimi! Now I need to go check out your friend’s blog!

    • chef mimi October 5, 2018 at 7:40 AM - Reply

      Yes, you do! I just made the sauce again. It is indeed divine.

  25. Ron October 5, 2018 at 7:53 AM - Reply

    Mimi, once again you nailed it. Pipián Rojo is one of my favorite Mexican sauces. I often used it with chicken when living in the US, but now find it with a nice piece of cod or pork setting on top of brown rice.

    • chef mimi October 5, 2018 at 7:58 AM - Reply

      That sounds good! I just made it with tenderloin, shrimp is next!

  26. Jeff the Chef October 5, 2018 at 8:12 AM - Reply

    I’ve never had this sauce, but I already know I’m going to love it. I’m not sure if I know guajillo peppers, but I’m sure I can find them. The peanuts sound fantastic. I love peanuts in this sort of context. The rest of the cast of characters, from the pumpkin seeds to the sesame, the host of spices … how wonderful.

    • chef mimi October 5, 2018 at 8:13 AM - Reply

      You said it. I just made it again. Remove the cinnamon stick before blending! I might have forgotten to mention that. It is really flavorful, and has great texture. You’ll definitely love it!

  27. David October 5, 2018 at 10:20 AM - Reply

    Wow – never had a pipiân rojo! Cannot wait to try this!

    • chef mimi October 6, 2018 at 8:05 AM - Reply

      I’m pretty sure you’ll love it. And I know you can find all of the ingredients. Just made it with beef tenderloin and it’s so good.

  28. olivesandfeta October 6, 2018 at 12:51 PM - Reply

    Mmmm I love Mexican food and this looks so delicious 💖

    • chef mimi October 7, 2018 at 9:14 AM - Reply

      It is delicious, and has a lovely texture as well.

  29. Julie is Hostess At Heart October 6, 2018 at 6:55 PM - Reply

    John would just love this recipe (as would I) I’ll definitely be saving it. I hardly ever get massages but love them. I thought it was funny that your husband was talking about food. My husbands employees talk to him about my recipes too. Often requesting samples LOL!

    • chef mimi October 6, 2018 at 6:56 PM - Reply

      Oh that’s great! It was funny to think of my husband talking food. Really funny!

  30. chef mimi October 6, 2018 at 6:57 PM - Reply

    It’s easy to imagine this luscious sauce rich with nuts and seeds flavored with dried chile peppers, and turned into a red sauce. You definitely need to try it!

  31. Linger October 7, 2018 at 1:47 PM - Reply

    Hi Mimi.There must be such a depth of flavor in this recipe with all of these ingredients. It sounds fabulous. I will definitely have to try this. Thanks for posting!

    • chef mimi October 7, 2018 at 2:37 PM - Reply

      Yes, you taste the nuts then the chile peppers, the aromatics, all in a red sauce. It’s incredible.

  32. eliotthecat October 7, 2018 at 2:04 PM - Reply

    Oh, my. I’m not a huge mole fan but this sauce is speaking to me. I bet it would be so versatile!

    • chef mimi October 7, 2018 at 2:36 PM - Reply

      I’m learning how versatile it is! I’ve had real mole at a famous place in Houston and it was fabulous. Never have made it because i can’t get all of the ingredients.

  33. Elena Bourke October 8, 2018 at 10:48 AM - Reply


    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 11:40 AM - Reply

      It’s so good, and really easy. I’ve made it again, just throwing the ingredients together. But if you must follow a recipe, this is a great one!

  34. kathryninthekitchen October 8, 2018 at 4:02 PM - Reply

    I love the sound of this one Chef Mimi….Authentic home cooked Mexican food is a favourite in my house & this will be a hit with my Aussie/American adult children. My daughter is back from LA for a visit next week & this will be on the menu during her visit. Thanks!

    • chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 4:32 PM - Reply

      I made it again with beef, but basically just threw the ingredients together, no measuring, and it was perfect. They all work together so well.

  35. chef mimi October 8, 2018 at 4:30 PM - Reply

    And they all work together so well!

  36. Frank October 9, 2018 at 6:34 AM - Reply

    Definitely a keeper! The combination of flavors sounds incredible.

    • chef mimi October 9, 2018 at 7:00 AM - Reply

      I’ve already made it a second time! That’s a rare thing for me to do, with so many other dishes to try…

  37. chef mimi October 10, 2018 at 7:28 AM - Reply

    It truly is. And so easy to just throw together. Last time I made it I used beef broth instead of water.

  38. Marie October 10, 2018 at 10:17 PM - Reply

    Wow! This sauce look delicious and incredibly flavourful. It sounds like it would work well with all types of meat.

    • chef mimi October 11, 2018 at 7:09 AM - Reply

      Exactly. I just made it with tenderloin, and next is shrimp!

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