The Type Of Chilis You Need To Make Copycat Taco Bell Lava Sauce

We all have that one fast food staple that we can't get enough of. Some restaurants manage to keep us coming back just for their sauces, to the point that we may try to replicate them at home. Creative folks have come up with copycats of Papa John's garlic sauce and In-N-Out's burger sauce, and Mashed recipe developer Catherine Brookes delivered the goods with her copycat Taco Bell Lava Sauce recipe.

By basing her recipe on the red serrano chili, Brookes replicates Lava Sauce's fiery kick — and then some. With a similar taste to the red jalapeño, which is slightly sweeter than its green counterpart, red serrano chilis have the added benefit of being even hotter. They can range from 10,000 to 25,000 on the Scoville scale, which is pretty hot compared to the jalapeño's 5,000 SHU. Thanks to the spicier red serrano, Brookes ensures that the chili's heat is not diluted by the nacho cheese dip that's also mixed into the sauce.

Transforming red serrano chilis into Lava Sauce

To make enough sauce for eight servings, Brookes uses five red serrano chilis. She first slices and roasts them before blending them with apple cider, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, nacho cheese dip, paprika, salt, sugar, and a splash of water. Once the mixture is nice and smooth, she has a tangy, delicious sauce that carries with it the red serrano's slow but powerful burn. You can serve this treat as a nacho dip or drizzle it over your taco or burrito — the choice is yours.

Having a great sauce that echoes fast food staples can be fun, and given Taco Bell's tendency to discontinue, bring back, and re-discontinue Lava Sauce despite its firm position as a fan favorite, it's also a culinary conservation effort. Recipe developers like Catherine Brookes, who can help us bring restaurant greats into our homes, deserve all of our praise for their efforts and creativity. After all, Taco Bell giveth, but Taco Bell may taketh away.