The Best Way To Upgrade The Sauce In Store-Bought Taco Kits

Who doesn't love taco night? A beloved tradition for many households, tacos are a delightful medley of flavors and textures that are highly customizable. But, it's a busy world, which is why many home cooks, understandably, turn to taco kits that include tortillas or tortilla shells, taco seasoning for meat or meat alternatives, and taco sauce. While store-bought taco kits provide convenience, those pre-packaged sauces can often leave taco lovers yearning for more excitement. Luckily, dialing up the flavor isn't all that difficult. With a tweak or two, you can bring a wan sauce up to your standards and transform a mundane taco night into a festival of flavors.

Our suggestion to elevate your taco experience is to inject a burst of spice, which can often be lacking from taco kits that attempt to cater to a wide range of tastes. The "taco sauce" included in those kits is more akin to "chili sauce" which you may still see in the grocery's condiment aisle. As such, they index heavily on acid, sweetness, cumin, and mild chili spice, and a touch of tomato, generally from concentrated tomato paste. So, for those who crave the fiery kick, consider stirring in a healthy dose of your favorite Mexican-style hot sauce. Whether it's a classic, like Valentina, a bright verde variety, or a scorching habanero-based sauce, adding a teaspoon or so can turn an insipid taco sauce into a spicy sensation. 

The spice is nice

Begin with a base taco sauce from a kit, as stated often a mild and generic option. To inject a burst of classic Mexican heat and flavor, introduce a few dashes of Tapatío hot sauce. Known for its well-balanced blend of red chili peppers, garlic, and vinegar, Tapatío brings a punch without overwhelming the palate. Its brightness complements the other ingredients in the taco sauce, adding depth and authenticity to the flavor profile.

For those seeking an extra kick with a verdant twist, turn to El Yucateco Chile Habanero. This verde hot sauce packs a serious punch with the fruity heat of green habanero peppers. A few dashes of this green elixir can infuse your taco sauce with a lively and piquant character, introducing a layer of complexity that tingles the taste buds.

To add a smoky dimension, reach for Cholula Chipotle Sauce. Made from chipotle, guajillo, arbol, and piquin peppers, this sauce imparts a delightful smokiness that harmonizes with the other components. The subtle, earthy undertones of chipotle enhance the overall profile, offering a savory contrast to the bright and zesty elements.

Experiment with the ratios to find the perfect balance that suits your taste preferences. The result? A custom taco sauce that marries the timeless essence of Mexican cuisine with a personalized touch. When crafting tacos from a kit, this customized sauce amalgamation will undoubtedly turn an ordinary meal into a spicy celebration of flavors.