Apart from tacos, quesadillas, and burritos, Taco Bell Diablo sauce is one of the reasons I go there often.
With this homemade recipe, though, there’s no need to get in line to get ahold of my favorite hot sauce!
Because I love this sauce so much, I searched high and low to find its most accurate copycat.
After testing dozens of recipes, I finally found THE ONE. It’s so awesome!
If you’re as in love with the Diablo sauce as me, this recipe is a keeper! Not only does it taste just like the original, but it’s also easy to make.
It takes just 15 minutes and you’re done. It couldn’t get any easier than that.
Want to make your very own Taco Bell Diablo sauce? Let’s get to it, then.
Taco Bell Diablo Sauce
Taco Bell offers a variety of hot sauces to complement their food offerings. There’s verde, mild, hot, fire, and of course, my choice of poison: Diablo.
It’s the hottest one the food chain offers, but it is still tolerable, which is why I like it.
I am not a huge fan of hot sauces that are so hot, you can’t taste anything else anymore. The Diablo has just the right amount of heat.
The secret to this unique blend is a combination of aji panca paste, chipotle peppers, red pepper jalapeno powder, red pepper flakes, and dried chilies.
Traditionally, making hot sauce requires fermenting peppers for 5 to 7 days.
But there’s no need to wait that long to make this one! In fact, this hot sauce comes together in mere minutes.
- Tomato Paste – The base of the sauce.
- Vinegar – Just half a cup, to add a mild tanginess to the sauce.
- Sugar – A little sweetness to offset the spiciness.
- Aji Panca Paste – A dark, smoky, and fruity pepper paste from Peru.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo, Red Pepper Jalapeno Powder, Red Pepper Flakes, and Dried Chilies – This medley of pepper flavors yields that perfect diablo blend.
- Garlic and Onion Powders – For flavor.
Tips for the Best Sauce
- Do not leave the sauce unattended. Give it a good stir now and then to prevent it from being too lumpy. It only takes 15 minutes to simmer the sauce, so don’t worry, you won’t have to stand in front of the stove that long.
- If the sauce is too thick, just add a bit of water until it reaches your desired consistency. You can do so while simmering or straining the sauce.
- Some of the ingredients, such as the aji panca sauce, smoked red pepper jalapeno powder, and chipotle peppers in adobo, may be hard to source. Don’t worry, you can all get them from Amazon.
- You can use a myriad of peppers to achieve your preferred flavor, color, and spice level. Here are some options to choose from. Feel free to mix and match!
- For a mild sauce, use green bell peppers, jalapenos, and poblanos. You can take out the seeds from the peppers, too.
- For a moderately spicy sauce: cayenne peppers, red bell peppers, and red jalapenos.
- For a wildly hot sauce, use serranos, habaneros, and ghost peppers.
- Whichever pepper you choose, be sure to wear gloves when handling them, and do not touch your eyes while doing so! Wash your hands well after.
- Throw in a bit of coriander or a splash of lime juice for a fresh flavor.
- If you want a creamier sauce and don’t mind the extra calories, add sour cream to the mix. For a lighter option, use Greek yogurt.
- Diablo sauce keeps well for up to a month in the fridge, but if you want to extend its shelf-life even further, use the freezer.
Pour sauce into freezer-safe bags and lay them flat in the freezer. To thaw, transfer them into the fridge until liquid.
Frozen diablo sauce will keep well for up to 3 months.
The World’s Hottest Pepper
Any guesses? If you think it’s the ghost pepper, you are mistaken!
The world’s hottest pepper is the aptly named Carolina Reaper, with a whopping 2 million Scoville heat units.
It’s so hot that you’ll need to pair it with something sweet, such as peaches or mangoes, to balance it out and make it tolerable.
What Can I Use This Sauce On?
Whether it’s sweet or savory, you can pretty much use this sauce on any dish you want to add heat to.
Whether it’s burgers and quesadillas, ramen and pasta, or cookies and ice cream, this diablo sauce will add a nice kick to your dinner or dessert.
What Type of Vinegar Is Best?
Vinegar is an essential ingredient in making hot sauce. Its acidity balances out the heat from the peppers, creating a well-balanced flavor.
Also, it gives the hot sauce an impressive shelf-life: I’m talking 4 weeks! Thanks to vinegar, you can whip up a large batch of hot sauce and not worry about it going bad.
For the best-tasting hot sauce, use either white distilled or apple cider vinegar.
I’m partial to apple cider because it adds a mild fruity flavor to the hot sauce, but either one works well.