This recipe for chile colorado is a traditional Mexican dish made with tender beef that’s been slow cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce. It’s the perfect filling for burritos, enchiladas and tacos!

Mexican beef in red sauce is one of my favorite things to order at restaurants, but it’s actually quite easy to make at home! Serve it with pinto beans and pico de gallo for the ultimate meal.

Chile Colorado Recipe | Mexican Beef | Chili Colorado #beef #chilies #mexicanfood #dinner #dinneratthezoo

Chile colorado on a plate served with rice and beans.

I love Mexican food. In fact, before we had kids, my husband and I used to eat at our neighborhood Mexican restaurant every week! These days, with three kids under 7, we don’t go out to eat that much. I decided it was time to learn how to make our favorite Mexican food at home. This recipe for chile colorado is my interpretation of the version at our local restaurant. It’s the perfect versatile and flavorful meat for including in any number of culinary creations.

Our restaurant makes amazing chile colorado burritos, but at home I tend to serve the meat along with plenty of tortillas and fun toppings so that everyone can easily customize their own meal.

How do you make chile colorado?

This recipe consists of two components: the beef and the sauce. The sauce is made in the blender and primarily consists of ingredients that you likely already have in the house. I use a combination of  fire roasted tomatoes and RO*TEL Tomatoes in my colorado sauce, they add so much depth of flavor and I love the bit of heat that the tomatoes add. If your family doesn’t like a lot of spice, you can use a second can of the fire roasted tomatoes in lieu of the RO*TEL.

A bowl of chile colorado served with tortillas, beans and avocado.

The sauce does contain one ingredient that you probably don’t have in your pantry – dried ancho chiles. These chiles come in bags in either the spice or ethnic aisle of most stores and are not spicy at all. The chiles and tomatoes create a smooth and bold sauce that pairs perfectly with the beef.

Cans of tomatoes and dried chiles on a plate.

The other components of the sauce are garlic, onions, spices and chicken broth. Cutting onions has always been my nemesis, the tears just flow like crazy! That’s all changed now that I’ve discovered an awesome kitchen hack. If you put an onion in the freezer for 15 minutes before cutting it, the cold inhibits the release of the onion’s eye irritating chemicals which means no more tears!

The beef needs to cook for a few hours to become meltingly tender. You can either make it in the oven or put your chile colorado in the slow cooker; I’ve provided directions for both methods. While the meat does take some time to cook, this recipe makes a double batch. This means you can eat half for dinner the night you make it and put the rest in the freezer for another night.

Seared beef cubes in a pan.

Once your chile colorado is done, it’s time to assemble a fixings bar for everyone to create their own meal. I serve a variety of tortillas, rice and beans, sliced radishes, crumbled cotija cheese, lime wedges, chopped cilantro and avocado.

Mexican stewed beef served with bowls of rice and beans.

Mexican night is made easier with the help of some ingredients like canned tomatoes and by making a double batch so that you can cook once and eat twice!

A plate of Mexican beef with rice and beans.

More Mexican recipes you’ll love

4.87 from 15 votes

Chile Colorado

AuthorSara Welch
This recipe for chile colorado is a traditional Mexican dish made with tender beef that's been slow cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce. It's the perfect filling for burritos, enchiladas and tacos! #YesYouCAN ad
This recipe for chile colorado is a traditional Mexican dish made with tender beef that's been slow cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce. It's the perfect filling for burritos and tacos!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Serves 8 servings


  • For the sauce:
  • 1 teaspoon of olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 whole dried ancho chiles
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of Hunt's Fire Roasted Tomatoes undrained
  • 1 10-ounce can of RO*TEL Tomatoes undrained if you don't like spice, you can use a second can of the Hunt's Fire Roasted Tomatoes instead
  • 1 cup of chicken or beef broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the meat:
  • 2 teaspoons of olive or vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 pounds beef chuck roast or stew meat cut into 1 and 1/2 inch cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For serving:
  • Corn or flour tortillas, Sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, cotija cheese, sliced radishes, sour cream


  • For the sauce:
  • Place the chiles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • While the chiles are soaking, heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook 4-6 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Add the cumin, oregano, Hunt's Fire Roasted Tomatoes, RO*TEL tomatoes and chicken broth to the pot. Turn up the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Take the chiles out of the hot water and cut in half; remove the seeds and stems.
  • Place the chiles in a blender along with the tomato mixture and blend until completely smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • For the meat: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat the oil in a large pot. Season the beef with salt and pepper to taste. Place the meat in the pot in a single layer and cook for 4-6 minutes or until browned. You may need to do this step in batches.Place all of the browned meat into the pot and pour the sauce over the top. Cover the pot and bake for 3 hours or until meat is very tender. Serve the meat with tortillas, Mexican rice, pinto beans, chopped cilantro, cheese, lime wedges, radishes and sour cream.
  • SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Prepare the sauce as directed. Season the meat with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over the meat. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.


Freeze It: The beef and sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months in a resealable container or freezer bag. To thaw, place in the fridge for 6-8 hours then pour the beef and sauce into a pan and warm over low heat until hot.


Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 279mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g

This post was sponsored by ConAgra foods. This post was originally published on May 3, 2016 and was updated on January 15, 2018 with new content.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe 4 times, and making it again this weekend! I follow the recipe and use chuck roast. I love it! The meat is so tender and the sauce is delicious!!! Thank you for a wonderful meal!

  2. 5 stars
    Tremendously! The amazing recipe, Me and my family really enjoyed this recipe, and now I am making the different recipes from your site at weekend. Thank you, guys.

  3. 4 stars
    I have this in the oven right now and can’t wait! The only deviance was one Chipotle pepper in adabo added to the blender. I’m confused though. At the top it says “prep time 30 mins, cook time 1.5 hours ttl 2 hours” but in the instructions it says “bake for 3 hours”. Which is it?

  4. Hi!
    I’m about to make this recipe, but I chipotle peppers. Would this be ok to use instead of ancho chiles?