Recipe for Mexican Chiltomate Sauce

May 19, 2021  |  By Peg Kern
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Do you know where tomatoes come from? They first grew in the western part of South America, and were subsequently cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas over a thousand years ago before being introduced into Europe during the Sixteenth Century. Hailing from Mexico’s Yucatan region, Chiltomate is considered one of the world’s oldest tomato sauces. It is both easy to make and delicious, and is traditionally served with grilled meats. This recipe hails from the late David Sterling of our fabulous Culinary Yucatan cooking vacation.

See all our cooking vacations in Mexico.

Spicy Mexican Peppers

Mexican Chiltomate Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Cook method: grill 


  • 1 kilo Roma tomatoes
  • 1 habanero pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 t. salt (or to taste)
  • 2 T sour orange juice (or, if you can’t find sour oranges, substitute 2 parts fresh lime juice, and 1 part each orange and grapefruit juices)

Learn more about Mexican cuisine.

Grilled tomatoes and meat


  1. Grill the tomatoes over an open fire in a grill basket or on a cast iron skillet until charred. Do the same with the chile, garlic, and onion.
  2. Mash the habanero and the garlic together until a paste. Remove the steps of the tomatoes, cut them in half and squeeze out the seeds. Coarsely chop the pulp and mash with the garlic and chile.
  3. Finely chop the onion and add to the tomato mixture with the salt and juice. Stir and adjust seasoning to taste.

Pre-Columbian ruins in MexicoYou can make this and many other authentic Yucatecan recipes on our 4-night or 6-night cooking vacation Culinary Yucatan.

Try more of chef David’s authentic Mexican recipes:

And learn about two of our newest culinary vacations in Mexico.

By Peg Kern

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