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Spicy Bravas Sauce, Spain’s Most Beloved Smoky Sauce (Easy 10-Min Recipe)

Written By: Byron | August 21, 2023
Bravas sauce

No journey into Spanish cuisine is complete without trying the much-loved Bravas sauce. Famed for the popular tapas “Patatas Bravas”, this super-easy 10-Minute Spicy Bravas Sauce Recipe is sure to elevate your tapas game.

Drizzle it on fried potatoes, as a sauce to simmer chicken pieces in the oven, or use it to spice up some breakfast eggs, this versatile sauce is sure to get your tastebuds going! This recipe makes enough sauce (around 6.7fl. Oz / 200ml) to serve 4 people as part of a tapas dish, but it can be easily scaled to suit any recipe requirements.

Main Meal Recipes | Sauces & Sides Recipe | Chicken Recipe | Bravas | Easy Recipe | Healthy | Mediterranean Recipe | Made in under 1 hour | Spicy Recipe

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Serving:

6.7 fl. oz / 200ml

Ready in:

~10 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fried potatoes

How to Make Spicy Bravas Sauce

Ingredients

 

  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish La Vera Smoked Paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (add more for a thicker consistency)
  • 1-2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Jerez Sherry Vinegar

Equipment needed

Method

  • Step 1 – Prepare stock

    • Prepare and heat your vegetable or chicken stock. Once boiling, turn down low and allow to simmer until needed. (check out our homemade chicken stock recipe here)

    Step 2 – Prepare sauce

    • In a large pan or skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, if it is smoking it is too hot. Add the garlic slices and cook for 1 minute or until golden. 
    • Remove the garlic from the pan and discard. Reduce heat to low.
    • Add the tomato paste and stir through, then add the smoked paprika, red pepper (chili) flakes. Mix into the oil until you get a paste.
    • Add a little of the all-purpose flour at a time and stir to combine. Once the flour is absorbed, slowly add the vegetable broth and keep stirring constantly until the broth is incorporated. This should take around 3 minutes.
    • Keep stirring and adding stock until you have the desired consistency (add more stock for a thinner sauce), then remove from the heat. 

    Step 3 – Check consistency and serve

    • Remove from the heat once you have the desired consistency. Add the sherry vinegar, and stir through. Your sauce will thicken slightly while standing.

 Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

What Is Bravas Sauce

Bravas sauce, also known as salsa brava, is a popular Spanish sauce commonly used as a condiment for various dishes, especially in tapas dishes. If you’ve spent any time in Spain, it’s likely you’ve come across the tasty bravas sauce.

It is often associated with the classic Spanish dish “patatas bravas,” which consists of deep-fried potato chunks served with bravas sauce on top. Bravas sauce is characterized by its vibrant reddish-orange color, which comes from tomatoes and smoked Spanish paprika. The sauce is known for its rich and slightly spicy flavor profile.

The main ingredients in bravas sauce typically include tomatoes or tomato paste, red bell peppers, olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and a combination of spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, and chili flakes.

How Spicy Is Bravas Sauce?

Bravas sauce is intended to be mildly spicy. It will have just enough heat for you to notice, but not to overpower the other flavors in the recipe. Spice intensity can easily be adjusted to suit personal taste. Simply add or omit the desired amount of chili to suit. For a layered spiced flavor, add some cayenne pepper.

Where Does Bravas Sauce Originate?

Depending on where you pose the question within Spain, you will receive varying responses. Nevertheless, many assert that the birthplace of patatas bravas, Spain’s most beloved tapas, is Madrid. 

The residents of Madrid, known as Madrileños, hold a particular fondness for this uncomplicated tapas dish, and it graces the menus of a vast majority of tapas bars across the city. 

One of the earliest claims to the origin of bravas sauce comes from the aptly named ‘Las Bravas‘ tapas bar. Established in 1933, the bar asserts that it concocted the now-famous bravas sauce in 1950, subsequently patenting the ‘Las Bravas’ sauce recipe in 1960.

Want to discover more of Madrid’s amazing tapas scene: Check out our complete Madrid tapas walking tours with 4 FREE downloadable maps. 

Best Paprika To Use For Bravas Sauce

Use Spanish La Vera Smoked Paprika when making Bravas sauce. It is not spicy however it will give your bravas sauce a delicious smoky flavor that’s pretty hard to beat! If you’re looking to make a spicy version, we suggest adding cayenne pepper or some extra crushed chili flakes. 

Pimentón de la Vera (paprika) works best for making Bravas sauce, and it also works well in meat dishes (try this smoky sweet potato chorizo recipe), stews, rice dishes, and soups. It can also be sprinkled on meals for added color and flavor. We also love it in vegan and vegetarian dishes because of the bold smoky taste (this is our favorite example – Chickpea stew / Potaje de garbanzos).

A pan of Spanish chicken with smoky Bravas sauce sits at a table setting.

Recipe Suggestions for Bravas sauce

Patatas Bravas

Bravas sauce is very versatile and can be used in a number of recipes. Of course, the most famous recipe that uses Bravas sauce is Patatas Bravas, a classic Spanish tapas that is made with delicious roasted or deep-fried potato pieces drizzled with lots of spicy Bravas sauce. You’ll find Ptatas Bravas all over the Iberian peninsula. 

The name “patatas bravas” translates to “brave potatoes,” and the dish’s name reflects the spiciness of the Bravas sauce.  The level of spiciness can vary from mild to quite hot, depending on the specific recipe.

Check out our Spicy Patatas Bravas recipe here.

Spanish Chicken In Smoky Bravas Sauce (Spicy Recipe)

With a cook time of around 1 hour, this delicious Spanish chicken is sure to become a household favorite. Check out the Spanish Chicken in Smoky Bravas sauce recipe

Bravas Eggs

Never have a dull breakfast again with this stellar breakfast recipe idea. Poach or fry eggs and serve them on a bed of sautéed spinach or other greens. Drizzle bravas sauce over the top for a spicy twist on a breakfast favorite.

Bravas Stuffed Peppers 

Mix bravas sauce with cooked rice, ground meat, and vegetables, then stuff bell peppers and bake until tender. Oh soooo good!

Bravas Sauce FAQs

Can I adjust the spice level of the sauce? 

Absolutely. The spiciness of bravas sauce can be tailored to your taste preferences. You can adjust the amount of cayenne pepper or other chili peppers you use in the recipe. 

Can I make the sauce ahead of time? 

Yes, you can make bravas sauce ahead of time. In fact, the flavors tend to develop and intensify if you allow the sauce to sit for a few hours or overnight. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When reheating, do so gently over low heat to prevent scorching.

What can I do if the sauce is too thick or too thin? 

If the sauce is too thick, you can thin it out by adding a little water, vegetable broth, or even a splash of wine or vinegar. If the sauce is too thin, continue simmering it over low heat to allow some of the moisture to evaporate and thicken the sauce.

Can I freeze bravas sauce? 

Yes, you can freeze bravas sauce for later use. Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. Thaw the sauce in the refrigerator overnight, or on the countertop for a few hours (depending on how hot the weather is), and then gently reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Can Bravas sauce be reheated in the microwave?

Yes. Use a microwave-safe container and reheat your bravas sauce in intervals of 20-30 seconds. Stir between each time. 

Can I customize the sauce with additional ingredients? 

Experiment by adding roasted red peppers, chipotle peppers, roasted garlic, or even a touch of honey for sweetness. 

Nutrition Facts 

Serving size: 40ml

Servings: 4

Amount per serving

 

Calories

128

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 12.9g

17%

Saturated Fat 1.9g

9%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 199mg

9%

Total Carbohydrate 3.9g

1%

Dietary Fiber 0.5g

2%

Total Sugars 1.2g

 

Protein 0.9g

 

Vitamin D 0mcg

0%

Calcium 10mg

1%

Iron 0mg

2%

Potassium 102mg

2%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Bravas sauce

Spicy Bravas Sauce, Spain's Most Beloved Smoky Sauce (Easy 10-Min Recipe)

Byron
Drizzle it on potatoes, as a sauce to simmer chicken pieces in the oven, or use it to spice up some breakfast eggs, this versatile sauce is sure to get your tastebuds going! This recipe makes enough sauce (around 6.7fl. Oz / 200ml) to serve 4 people as part of a tapas dish, but it can be easily scaled to suit any recipe requirements.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course appertizer, sauce, Side Dish, tapas
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
Servings 1 6.7 fl. oz (200ml)
Calories 128 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large pan 12-inch skillet (30cm)
  • 1 medium-sized bowl
  • 1 pan (for the stock)
  • Ladle and Sieve or mesh strainer

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish La Vera smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper chili flakes
  • 1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour add more for a thicker consistency
  • 1-2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Jerez sherry vinegar

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Prepare stock

  • Prepare and heat your vegetable or chicken stock. Once boiling, turn down low and allow to simmer until needed.
    A large pot of homemade chicken stock

Step 2 - Prepare sauce

  • In a large pan or skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, if it is smoking it is too hot. Add the garlic slices and cook for 1 minute or until golden.
    Some sliced garlic cooks inn a pan witth some olive oil.
  • Remove the garlic from the pan and discard. Reduce heat to low.
    Some browned garlic is removed from a pan of oil.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir through, then add the smoked paprika, red pepper (chili) flakes. Mix into the oil until you get a paste.
    Tomato paste is added to hot oil in a large pan.
  • Add a little of the all-purpose flour at a time and stir to combine. Once the flour is absorbed, slowly add some of the vegetable broth and keep stirring constantly until the broth is incorporated. This should take around 3 minutes.
    Flour is added to a pan.

Step 3 - Check consistency and serve

  • Add more of the stock if you want the sauce thinner and stir for another minute or so. Remove from the heat once you have the desired consistency. Add the sherry vinegar, and stir through. Your sauce will thicken slightly while standing.
    Bravas sauce is stirred in a pan.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 40mlCalories: 128kcalCarbohydrates: 3.9gProtein: 0.9gFat: 12.9gSaturated Fat: 1.9gSodium: 199mgPotassium: 102mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 1.2gCalcium: 10mg
Keyword 10-minute recipe, bravas sauce, paprika, patatas bravas, sauce, smoked paprika