Spicy Taco Bell Diablo Sauce Recipe To Fire Up Taco Night

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I recently tried Taco Bell Diablo Sauce , and it’s a game-changer. This sauce brings a fiery kick, perfect for spice lovers. It’s more than just heat; a unique blend of flavors enhances any dish. The smooth texture makes it easy to spread on tacos or burritos. In every packet, you’ll find a bold taste that elevates your meal. For those who love a spicy challenge, this sauce is a must-try.

Have you ever craved the fiery thrill of Taco Bell Diablo Sauce but found yourself miles away from the nearest Taco Bell?

I remember feeling this during my travels through Europe and the Middle East, where this sauce was nowhere in sight.

The intense desire for that unique, spicy kick led me to embark on a culinary quest to recreate it at home. 

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

During a recent visit to a friend’s house, we decided to attempt to make our version of this iconic sauce.

Inspired by the flavors we encountered in our travels and driven by our children’s love for spicy treats, we set out to capture the essence of Diablo Sauce. 

In this post, I’ll share our journey of trial and error, culminating in a homemade recipe that brings the heat and flavor of Taco Bell’s Diablo Sauce right into your kitchen. Get ready to add a burst of fiery taste to your meals with a recipe sure to impress.

What Is Taco Bell Diablo Sauce?

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce is a distinctively spicy hot sauce offered by the fast-food chain Taco Bell. This sauce stands out among Taco Bell’s variety of sauces due to its bold and smoky flavor profile known for its intense heat. 

It’s crafted from a blend of various peppers, including aji panca, chipotle, and chili, giving it a deep, complex taste. Diablo Sauce is popular among spice enthusiasts who seek an extra kick in their meals. 

It’s commonly used to add a fiery twist to tacos, burritos, and other Mexican-inspired dishes, elevating them with its unique heat and flavor.

History Of Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

Taco Bell’s Diablo Sauce was introduced in 2015, becoming an instant hit among customers seeking the hottest flavor in the chain’s sauce lineup. 

It was developed by Taco Bell’s culinary team, who aimed to create a sauce that surpassed their already popular Fire Sauce in terms of heat. 

The team focused on crafting a unique blend of peppers and spices, resulting in a sauce that brought intense heat and a depth of flavor. 

Diablo Sauce quickly gained a following for its bold, smoky taste, becoming a staple for those who crave the spiciest options at Taco Bell.

Interesting Facts About Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

Infused with a blend of spicy peppers, Taco Bell Diablo Sauce delivers intense heat and bold flavor, elevating your tacos and adding an exhilarating kick. Here are some interesting facts about the recipe:

Fiery Launch

Taco Bell introduced Diablo Sauce on Cinco de Mayo in 2015, aligning its fiery debut with a day celebrating Mexican heritage and culture.

Unique Pepper Blend

Unlike other Taco Bell sauces, Diablo Sauce features a blend of aji panca, chipotle, and chili peppers, offering a complex and smoky heat.

Limited Edition Turned Permanent

Originally launched as a limited-time offering, the overwhelming popularity of Diablo Sauce led to it becoming a permanent fixture on the Taco Bell menu.


Diablo Sauce is vegan, making it a favorite among plant-based eaters looking for a spicy kick.

Packaging Secrets

Each packet of Diablo Sauce features quirky, tongue-in-cheek sayings, adding a fun element to its intense flavor profile.

Global Inspiration

The sauce’s flavor is inspired by global cuisines, reflecting Taco Bell’s creative approach to traditional Mexican-inspired fast food.

Jar and Ingredients

What Are The Regional Adaptations Of This Sauce?

  • Mexican Twist: In Mexico, similar sauces often incorporate local chili varieties, adding a distinctly regional flavor.
  • Asian Fusion: In Asia, adaptations might include ingredients like soy or hoisin sauce for an umami-rich twist.
  • Indian Flair: Indian versions could blend in spices like cumin or garam masala, giving it a South Asian heat.
  • European Subtlety: The sauce is sometimes toned down with Mediterranean herbs for a milder taste in Europe.
  • Southern BBQ Influence: A BBQ-style adaptation with added smokiness and a hint of sweetness is popular in the American South.
  • Caribbean Zest: Caribbean adaptations might infuse tropical fruits like mango or pineapple for a sweet-heat balance.

What Will Make You Love This Taco Bell Diablo Sauce?

  • Intense Heat: Its fiery kick satisfies spice enthusiasts, making it a thrilling addition to any meal.
  • Flavor Depth: Beyond the heat, it offers a complex blend of smokiness and spices, enhancing the food’s taste.
  • Versatility: Works wonders on various dishes, from tacos to burgers, adding a unique twist.
  • Easy to Make: The recipe is straightforward, allowing even novice cooks to create this sauce at home.
  • Customizable: Adjust the spice level or add ingredients to suit your palate.
  • Vegan-Friendly: It’s a plant-based sauce, making it an excellent option for diverse dietary preferences.
  • Conversation Starter: Its bold flavor can spark discussions among guests at your gatherings.
  • Long Shelf Life: Homemade versions can be stored for extended periods, ensuring you always have some on hand.
Bowl and Spoon

Ingredients List

Tomato Paste16 oz (1 can)
Water¾ cup
Vinegar½ cup
Sugar¾ cup
Aji Panca Paste2 tbsp
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo2 tbsp
Garlic Powder1 tsp
Onion Powder1 tsp
Smoked Red Pepper Jalapeno Powder2 tbsp
Red Pepper Flakes3 tbsp
Dried Chilies15

Ingredient Tips

  • Tomato Paste Quality: Choose a high-quality tomato paste for a richer, more authentic base flavor.
  • Water Adjustment: Adjust water quantity for desired consistency; less for thicker sauce, more for thinner.
  • Vinegar Varieties: Experiment with different types of vinegar (like apple cider or white) to tweak the tanginess.
  • Balancing Sugar: If the sauce is too spicy, increase sugar slightly to balance the heat.
  • Aji Panca Authenticity: Use authentic aji panca paste for traditional Peruvian flavor; it’s milder than other chili pastes.
  • Chipotle in Adobo: These add a smoky depth; finely chop them for a smoother sauce.
  • Garlic and Onion Powder Quality: Fresh, high-quality powders make a noticeable difference in flavor depth.

What Are The Variations Of Taco Bell Diablo Sauce Recipe?

  • Milder Version: Reduce the chili content and increase tomato paste for a less spicy variant.
  • Extra Hot Edition: Add more dried chilies or a dash of ghost pepper for an intense heat upgrade.
  • Smoky BBQ Twist: Introduce liquid smoke or smoked paprika for a barbecue flavor infusion.
  • Sweet and Spicy Balance: Mix in honey or maple syrup to create a sweet contrast to the heat.
  • Tangy Take: Incorporate lime or lemon juice for a citrusy tang.
  • Herbal Hint: Add cilantro or oregano for a fresh, herby dimension.
  • Creamy Blend: Stir in some Greek yogurt or sour cream for a smoother, creamier texture.
  • Asian-Inspired: Mix in soy sauce and a hint of ginger for an East Asian twist.

Recipe Directions

  • Combine the tomato paste, water, and vinegar in a large pot. Heat over medium heat.
  • Gradually mix the sugar, Aji Panca paste, chipotle peppers, garlic powder, onion powder, jalapeno powder, red pepper flakes, and dried chilies.
  • Stir the mixture continuously and bring it to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  • After simmering, remove the pot from heat and allow the sauce to cool completely.
  • To ensure a smooth consistency, pour the sauce through a mesh sieve. Add a bit of water while straining if the sauce is too thick.
  • Transfer the sauce to an airtight container for storage.


If you prefer a fermented version for added depth, let the sauce sit in a jar with a loose lid at room temperature for 2-3 days before straining. This will allow natural fermentation. After fermentation, strain and store in the refrigerator.

Make your food extra tasty with taco bell diablo sauce recipe – add a yummy, spicy twist to your favorite dishes.

Scaling The Taco Bell Diablo Sauce Recipe

Scaling the Taco Bell Diablo Sauce recipe is straightforward. To double the larger gatherings recipe, double all ingredients, maintaining the same proportions. 

For instance, use 32 oz of tomato paste and 1½ cups of water. Conversely, to make a smaller batch, halve each ingredient, like 8 oz of tomato paste and ⅜ cup of water. Always ensure the balance of spices and liquids is consistent with the original ratios. 

Adjust the cooking time slightly, especially for larger quantities, to ensure even cooking and flavor development. This approach allows for flexibility in serving sizes while maintaining the sauce’s signature taste.

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

Can This Sauce Be Used As A Marinade, Dipping Sauce, Or Dressing For Salads?

Absolutely, the Taco Bell Diablo Sauce is incredibly versatile. As a marinade, it imparts a smoky, spicy flavor to meats, tofu, or vegetables, enhancing their taste before cooking. 

When used as a dipping sauce, it adds a fiery kick to appetizers like nachos, chicken wings, or vegetable sticks. 

Furthermore, as a salad dressing, it can offer a bold and zesty twist, especially when mixed with a bit of olive oil or yogurt for a smoother consistency. 

Its rich flavor makes it a great addition to various dishes, elevating them with its distinctive heat and smokiness.

What Are The Best Dishes To Accompany Taco Bell Diablo Sauce?

Classic Tacos

The sauce adds a fiery twist to beef, chicken, or veggie tacos.

Loaded Nachos

Drizzle over nachos topped with cheese, beans, and jalapeños for extra heat.

Grilled Chicken

Use as a marinade or topping for a spicy kick.

Breakfast Burritos

Elevate your morning with the sauce in egg and sausage burritos.


A perfect spicy complement to cheese or chicken quesadillas.

Baked Potatoes

Add a burst of flavor to buttered or sour cream-topped baked potatoes.

Veggie Burgers

Spice up plant-based burgers with a liberal application.

Fried Rice

Mix in for a unique, spicy twist on this classic dish.

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

What Are Some Classic Dishes That Feature Taco Bell Diablo Sauce?

  • Diablo Grilled Chicken Tacos: Grilled chicken tacos enhanced with the boldness of Diablo Sauce.
  • Spicy Diablo Burritos: Burritos filled with rice, beans, and meat, drizzled with the sauce for extra heat.
  • Diablo Nachos Supreme: Loaded nachos topped with cheese, jalapeños, and a generous helping of Diablo Sauce.
  • Fiery Diablo Quesadillas: Cheese quesadillas are made more intense with a smear of Diablo Sauce.
  • Diablo Breakfast Wrap: A morning wrap with eggs, sausage, and a splash of Diablo Sauce.
  • Spicy Diablo Bean Dip: A bean dip recipe featuring the sauce, perfect for parties.
  • Diablo Stuffed Peppers: Bell peppers stuffed with spiced meat or vegetables, with Diablo Sauce for added zest.

What Are The Key Flavor Profiles And Taste Sensations That Taco Bell Diablo Sauce Offers?

  • Spicy Heat: A dominant fiery sensation from the blend of peppers, catering to spice enthusiasts.
  • Smoky Undertones: Subtle smokiness, particularly from the chipotle peppers and smoked jalapeño powder.
  • Tangy Zest: A noticeable tanginess imparted by vinegar, balancing the sauce’s heat.
  • Sweet Notes: Slight sweetness from sugar, providing a counterbalance to the spice.
  • Rich Tomato Base: The tomato paste creates a deep, rich backdrop for the other flavors.
  • Garlic and Onion Depth: Savory notes from garlic and onion powders add complexity.
  • Herbal Hints: Trace flavors of herbs, depending on the specific blend of spices used.
Jar and Spoon

Can This Sauce Be Stored And Preserved For Future Use? What Is Its Shelf Life?

Yes, Taco Bell Diablo Sauce can be stored and preserved for future use. Once prepared, the sauce should be cooled completely and then transferred to an airtight container. 

It can be stored in the refrigerator, which typically remains fresh for up to 2 weeks. For extended shelf life, you can freeze the sauce; it freezes well and lasts several months in the freezer. 

When ready to use, simply thaw it in the refrigerator. Always check the sauce for signs of spoilage before using, such as an off smell or mold, especially if it has been stored for a while.

What Are The Substitutes For Taco Bell Diablo Sauce?

  • Homemade Hot Sauce: Blend various chilies, vinegar, and spices for a DIY hot sauce.
  • Sriracha: Offers a garlicky, spicy kick, though less smoky.
  • Tabasco: A classic choice for heat, but with a thinner consistency.
  • Harissa Paste: North African chili paste, spicy with a different flavor profile.
  • Chipotle in Adobo Sauce: Provides smokiness and heat, albeit less intense.
  • Sambal Oelek: Indonesian chili paste, spicy and straightforward.
  • Gochujang: Korean chili paste brings heat with a hint of sweetness.
Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

How To Adjust The Consistency Of The Sauce?

Adjusting the consistency of the sauce is quite straightforward:

  • To Thicken: If the sauce is too thin, simmer it longer to reduce and thicken. Alternatively, a small amount of cornstarch mixed with water can be added and cooked until the desired consistency is reached.
  • To Thin Out: If the sauce is too thick, gradually add water or more vinegar, stirring constantly until you achieve the preferred consistency. This not only thins the sauce but can also balance the flavors.

Should We Serve The Sauce Cold Or Warm?

The serving temperature of Taco Bell Diablo Sauce largely depends on the dish you’re pairing it with. Generally, it’s served at room temperature or slightly chilled, mainly as a condiment for tacos, burritos, or dipping sauce. 

This enhances its flavor and makes it more refreshing, especially with spicy dishes. However, if you’re using it as a marinade or in hot dishes like casseroles or soups, warming the sauce slightly can help it blend better with other ingredients. 

Always ensure it complements the temperature and texture of the main dish for the best culinary experience.

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

Nutritional Values

The Taco Bell Diablo Sauce is low in calories and fat, with about 10-15 calories per tablespoon. It contains minimal protein and is sugar-conscious, though it can be high in sodium. 

The sauce provides small amounts of Vitamin A and C from the chili peppers and tomato base. Still, it’s more valued for its flavor than significant nutritional benefits.

What Are The Total Calories In Taco Bell Diablo Sauce?

The total calories in homemade Taco Bell Diablo Sauce requires considering the caloric content of each ingredient. 

Assuming the recipe yields about 2 cups, the estimated total calories are approximately 400-500 calories for the entire batch. 

This calculation is based on the combined caloric values of the tomato paste, sugar, and minor contributions from the other ingredients. The sauce is relatively low in calories per serving, especially in small quantities.

Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

Experience a burst of yumminess in every bite with Taco Bell Diablo Sauce – it’s incredible!

Dietary Restrictions Of The Taco Bell Diablo Sauce

  • Gluten-Free: The recipe is naturally gluten-free, suitable for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
  • Vegan: Contains no animal products, making it appropriate for vegan diets.
  • Dairy-Free: No dairy ingredients are used, suitable for lactose intolerance or dairy-free preferences.
  • Nut-Free: Free from nuts, safe for individuals with nut allergies.
  • Low-Fat: The recipe is inherently low in fat.
  • Sugar Content: Contains sugar, which may be considered for diabetic or low-sugar diets.
  • Nightshade Vegetables: These contain tomatoes and peppers, which are nightshade and might be problematic for certain inflammatory or autoimmune conditions.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

What Are The Common Mistakes While Making This Sauce?

  • Overcooking: Excessive heat can burn the spices, altering the sauce’s flavor.
  • Inconsistent Spice Levels: The chili peppers and spices are not adjusted according to personal heat preference.
  • Ignoring Quality of Ingredients: Using low-quality or stale spices can produce less flavorful sauce.
  • Incorrect Consistency: Failing to adjust the water or vinegar for desired thickness.
  • Not Straining Properly: Skipping the straining step can leave the sauce lumpy or with seeds.
  • Rushing the Cooling Process: Not allowing the sauce to cool appropriately before storing can affect its texture and preservation.
  • Improper Storage: Storing the sauce in a non-airtight container can spoil it quickly.

What Are Some Creative Uses Of Leftover Sauce?

  • Spicy Mayo: Mix with mayonnaise for a zesty spread on sandwiches or burgers.
  • Barbecue Marinade: Combine with BBQ sauce for a fiery marinade for meats.
  • Salad Dressing: Whisk with olive oil and lemon juice for a spicy salad dressing.
  • Spicy Pizza Topping: Drizzle over pizza for added heat.
  • Stir-fry Infusion: Add to stir-fries for a smoky, spicy flavor.
  • Spicy Hummus: Blend into hummus for a kick.
  • Fiery Soup Base: Stir into soups or stews for depth and spice.
Bowl and Spoon

Special Tools & Equipment Needed

  • Large Pot: For simmering the sauce ingredients.
  • Wooden Spoon: Essential for stirring the sauce to prevent burning.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurate measurement of ingredients.
  • Blender or Food Processor: Useful for blending ingredients to a smooth consistency, if desired.
  • Fine Mesh Sieve: For straining the sauce to remove lumps and seeds.
  • Airtight Containers: For storing the sauce in the fridge or freezer.
  • Stove: For cooking and simmering the sauce.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: For chopping chipotle peppers, if using whole.

Frequently Asked Questions  

Can I Make This Sauce Less Spicy?

Yes, you can adjust the spiciness by reducing the amount of chipotle peppers, jalapeno powder, red pepper flakes, and dried chilies. Using fewer spicy ingredients will lower the heat level while maintaining the sauce’s overall flavor.

Is This Sauce Suitable For A Vegan Diet?

Absolutely, the Taco Bell Diablo Sauce recipe is vegan-friendly as it contains no animal products. All the ingredients, including the spices and tomato paste, are plant-based.

How Long Can I Store This Sauce?

The sauce can last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator when stored in an airtight container. You can freeze it for extended storage, which will remain good for several months. Always check for signs of spoilage before use.

Can I Use Fresh Chilies Instead Of Dried Ones?

Yes, fresh chilies can be used as a substitute for dried ones. However, the flavor profile may change slightly, and the sauce might be less intense. Adjust the quantity based on your desired spice level.

What Are Some Good Pairings With This Sauce?

This sauce pairs well with a variety of dishes like tacos, burritos, grilled meats, roasted vegetables, nachos, and even as a spicy twist in salad dressings. Its versatility makes it a great addition to Mexican-inspired dishes and everyday meals.

Spicy Taco Bell Diablo Sauce Recipe To Fire Up Taco Night

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Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Sauces


Prep time


Cooking time




Ferment/Rest Time



The Taco Bell Diablo Sauce is a robust, fiery hot sauce known for its intense heat and deep, smoky flavor. This homemade version captures the essence of the original, blending a variety of peppers like aji panca and chipotle, along with spices, to create a spicy and flavorful sauce. It’s a versatile condiment that can elevate any dish, perfect for adding a kick to tacos, burritos, and more.


  • 16 oz 16 Tomato Paste

  • ¾ cup ¾ Water

  • ½ cup ½ Vinegar

  • ¾ cup ¾ Sugar

  • 2 tbsp 2 Aji Panca Paste

  • 2 tbsp 2 Chipotle Peppers In Adobo

  • 1 tsp 1 Garlic Powder

  • 1 tsp 1 Onion Powder

  • 2 tbsp 2 Smoked Red Pepper Jalapeno Powder

  • 3 tbsp 3 Red Pepper Flakes

  • 15 15 Dried Chilies

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Combine Base Ingredients
    Mix the tomato paste, water, and vinegar in a large pot.
    Place the pot over medium heat.
  • Add Spices
    Gradually stir in the sugar, Aji Panca paste, chipotle peppers, garlic powder, onion powder, jalapeno powder, red pepper flakes, and dried chilies.
    Ensure all ingredients are well combined.
  • Bring To Boil
    Continuously stir the mixture until it reaches a boil. This helps to prevent any ingredient from sticking to the bottom and burning.
  • Simmer
    Once boiling, reduce the heat to low.
    Allow the sauce to simmer gently for 15 minutes. This helps to meld the flavors together.
  • Cool The Sauce
    After simmering, remove the pot from the heat.
    Let the sauce cool completely to room temperature.
  • Strain The Sauce
    Place a mesh sieve over a bowl or container.
    Pour the sauce through the sieve to remove any lumps and seeds.
    If the sauce is too thick, add some water while straining to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Storage
    Transfer the strained sauce to an airtight container.
    Store in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on how long you plan to keep it.
  • Serving
    Use the Diablo Sauce as desired in your favorite dishes to add a bold, spicy flavor.
    Enjoy the homemade twist on this Taco Bell classic!

Recipe Video


  • Adjust the heat level by varying the amount and type of chili peppers.
  • The sauce’s flavor develops better if allowed to sit for a day after making it.
  • Strain for a smoother texture, but leave it unstrained for a more rustic feel.
  • If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a little water or vinegar.
  • Always wear gloves when handling the peppers to avoid skin irritation.
  • This sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for extended storage.

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