Tex Mex paste is sweet, savory, and spicy — the perfect base for just about any dish, especially Texan and Mexican cuisine. Commonly used to make sauce or to marinate pork or chicken, Tex Mex paste also makes for a tasty addition to nachos, tacos, and burritos.
Tex Mex paste is a wonderful ingredient to have on hand, but it can be difficult to find sometimes. Thankfully, you can still recreate its wonderful flavors and take your dishes to the next level with these wonderful Tex Mex paste substitutes.
1. Achiote Paste
Achiote paste is made using a combination of dried herbs and spices, including annatto seeds, clove, cinnamon, garlic, oregano, and vinegar. It has a signature red or dark orange color and an earthy, nutty flavor. Popularly used in Mexican cuisine, achiote paste is considered one of the best stand-ins for Tex Mex paste.
While commonly used as a marinade, achiote paste is also excellent in soups, stews, grilled meat, and other dishes. It is easily spreadable and also comes in a powdered form, which is perfect for dry rubs. You can also add a little sugar and chili powder to mimic the flavor profile of Tex Mex paste more closely.
1 teaspoon Tex Mex paste = 1 teaspoon achiote paste.
2. Adobo Sauce
Adobo sauce is made with a mixture of dried herbs, garlic, and vinegar, similar to achiote paste. However, it also contains chili powder, which gives the sauce a nice kick of heat. This spicy sauce has a dark orange to brownish color and a barbecue-like texture and works amazingly as a Tex Mex substitute.
You can use adobo sauce to add an authentic Mexican flavor to a variety of dishes and take their appeal to the next level. It is commonly used in Mexican and Tex Mex food and is easily available in most grocery stores. However, if you can’t find adobo sauce, you can also make your own.
1 teaspoon Tex Mex paste = 2 teaspoons adobo sauce.
3. Chipotle Sauce
Chipotle sauce is made with smoked jalapenos, aromatic garlic, tangy lime, and creamy yogurt. It adds a mildly spicy taste to dishes, which makes it the perfect stand-in for Tex Mex paste especially in dishes like fajitas.
Since the heat in the chipotle sauce is quite mild, it works well for most palates. However, keep in mind that it has a thinner and runnier consistency as compared to Tex Mex paste, so you might want to add a little amount of tomato paste to thicken it up. Alternatively, you can use less liquid than your recipe calls for to achieve a similar consistency to Tex Mex paste in your dishes.
1 teaspoon Tex Mex paste = 1 teaspoon chipotle sauce. (Start with a small amount and adjust to taste.)
4. Paprika, Chili, and Tomato Mixture
Did you know you can substitute Tex Mex paste with a combination of ingredients that you likely already have in your cupboard? All you have to do is mix smoked paprika, chili powder, and tomato paste, then add it to dishes as you would add Tex Mex paste.
When used as a substitute, this mixture of paprika, chili, and tomato will give the dish a wonderful Tex Mex taste and will also provide a perfectly smooth consistency. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also add in some roasted jalapenos for a sweet, mellow flavor.
1 teaspoon Tex Mex paste = 1 teaspoon paprika + chili + tomato mixture.
Sriracha has a bright and zesty flavor that stands in stark contrast to the earthy, smoky flavors of Tex Mex paste. But, because it delivers a similar spicy and sweet kick as the original ingredient, it can be a wonderful stand-in for Tex Mex paste. It’s also readily available in most stores.
Sriracha can be used to flavor seafood, tacos, and grilled meats. However, it has a slightly different consistency than Tex Mex paste and can also be a touch too spicy. So, you may want to add a little mayonnaise to make it more palatable. And remember, sriracha loses flavor if it is cooked for a long time. So, it’s best to add it near the end of the cooking process or as a finishing touch.
1 teaspoon Tex Mex paste = 1 teaspoon sriracha. (Start with half the amount and adjust to your desired heat preference.)
6. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is a key ingredient in Tex Mex paste. Its sweet and tangy flavor as well as the smooth consistency makes it a good alternative to Tex Mex paste.
Tomato paste offers a good base flavor to various meat-based dishes as well as sauces and curries. It doesn’t have the same spiciness as Tex Mex paste, but that can be remedied by adding chili powder to it. Keep in mind that this will make the tomato paste thicker in consistency, so you’ll want to add some water to dilute it.
1 tablespoon Tex Mex paste = 1 tablespoon tomato paste + 1 teaspoon chili powder. (Add water to balance out the consistency if needed.)
7. Homemade Tex Mex Paste
Have you tried different substitutes and still feel they don’t match up to that perfect Tex Mex paste’s flavor? Well, why not make your own homemade Tex Mex paste? It will give you a very similar flavor, texture, and consistency and can be used in just about any recipe that calls for the star ingredient.
Here’s what you need to make it:
• 6 oz tomato paste
• 1 teaspoon coriander
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
• 1 teaspoon oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix all the ingredients to get a thick but spreadable consistency, then use it as you would use store-bought Tex Mex paste. You can also add a teaspoon of sugar to balance out its acidic flavors. Homemade Tex Mex paste keeps well in the fridge, so you can prepare a large batch and store extras for later use.
1 teaspoon Tex Mex paste = 1 teaspoon homemade Tex Mex paste.