This quick and easy Enchilada Sauce recipe uses simple pantry ingredients and only takes 15 minutes to make. It’s more cost effective, healthier, and tastes better than anything in a can!

Looking for more Mexican recipes? Try my Pollo Fundido, Esquites (Mexican Street Corn), or Tres Leches Cake!

A bowl of homemade enchilada sauce with a spoon in it, lifting some out.

Why I love this recipe:

  • All around BETTER – Homemade enchilada sauce is healthier, lower in sodium, and more inexpensive than the canned alternative.
  • Pantry Ingredients – This simple recipe uses ingredients that are probably already in your pantry. If you’re looking for an enchilada sauce made from real dried Mexican chiles, use this red chile sauce recipe, with beef broth in place of the pork broth.
  • Quick – Whipping this sauce up is faster than a trip to the store, AND it tastes so much better than anything in a can.

Ingredients in Enchilada Sauce:

  • Tomato Sauce
  • Flour: to thicken the sauce. For a gluten-free enchilada sauce recipe, substitute 1 tablespoon cornstarch for the flour.
  • Beef Broth: Vegetable broth of chicken broth would also work.
  • Oil: vegetable, canola or avocado oil.
  • Dry Spices: Oregano, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper
  • Garlic
The ingredients needed to make enchilada sauce.

How to make Enchilada Sauce:

Stir oil, flour, chili powder, cumin and oregano in a saucepan on low heat until bubbly.

Oil, flour and dry spices in a saucepan, stirred together.

Add beef broth, tomato sauce, garlic and salt. 

Tomato sauce and broth added to a saucepan with spices and flour, to make enchilada sauce.

Simmer on low heat for 15 min, stirring occasionally. 

Red vs. Green Enchilada Sauce:

The main difference between red and green enchilada sauce is the type of chili that was used.  Red enchilada sauce is made with red chilies (in this recipe, ground red chilies or chili powder). Green enchilada sauce is made with green chilis, tomatillos, and sometimes jalapeños, so it tends to have a larger heat range. It can be spicy, but doesn’t have to be.

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: Make the sauce and store in the fridge for up to one week.

To Freeze: Place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.

Red enchilada sauce poured over a pan full of filled flour and rolled flour tortillas.

Recipes that use Enchilada Sauce:

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Recipe

A bowl of homemade enchilada sauce with a spoon in it, lifting some out.
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 15 minutes
Save Recipe

Ingredients
 
 

Instructions
 

  • Stir oil, flour, chili powder, cumin and oregano in a saucepan on low heat until bubbly.
  • Add beef broth, tomato sauce, garlic and salt. Simmer on low heat for 15 min, stirring occasionally. 
  • Stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. Use in a variety of recipes, like cheese enchiladas, loaded chicken enchiladas, and veggie enchiladas.

Notes

*Yields 4 cups of enchilada sauce.
Gluten free enchilada sauce: Substitute 1 tablespoon cornstarch, in place of flour.
Make Ahead Instructions: Make the sauce and store in the fridge for up to one week.
Freezing Instructions: Place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.

Nutrition

Calories: 158kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSodium: 1251mgPotassium: 598mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 680IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 41mgIron: 3mg

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*I originally shared this recipe in March 2013. Updated February 2019 and April 2022.

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. Glorified tomato sauce. For enchilada sauce, you need ancho peppers, pasilla peppers, or the like.
    Never in my years of cooking enchilada sauce have I ever used beef broth, you use chicken broth.
    This is just tomato sauce with chili and cumin.

  2. My family really liked this recipe. We have never made homemade enchilada sauce before. We made the recipe as stated. We found it to be medium spicy some heat but not overwhelming. I used inexpensive spices from Aldi/Walmart. Definitely will make again!

  3. 1 star
    Unfortunately this recipe did not work for me. I think 1 tbsp of cumin is too much. I should have started with 1 tsp and went from there. The amount of cumin really made everything stink. I think the chili powder I used was too spicy as well. My husband loves really spicy food, and he was choking on this. I wasted good ingredients on this and am really disappointed. Don’t recommend

  4. 5 stars
    Tried it. Love it. Mods: addtn of 1/2 tsp garlic powder (instead of clove), 1 tsp onion powder, 2 c Vegetable broth (Better Than Bouillon). No salt/pepper.
    Thus far I have tried and loved your gumbo, chicken stock, key lime pie, and now this. Might have to have your cookbook. Thank you for the time and work you putting into all of this. 🙏❤️

  5. 5 stars
    I love this enchilada sauce, but the chilli powder I used was really spicy and I didn’t know that. I even halved the amount of chilli powder you called in the recipe. I assumed all chilli powders were mild 🤣😅… my 2 1/2 year old son and his grandpa couldn’t handle it. If I use the same one again (Fiesta brand from the Mexican section in Walmart) then I’d probably have to cut it down to a teaspoon or two.

    Note to self: read the labels and check to see if chilli peppers are the first ingredient in the chilli powder 🤣 or choose mild chilli powder

  6. 5 stars
    This sauce is the best sauce I have ever had! It reminds me of the sauce I ate as a child on enchiladas. I make refried beans and spanish rice to go with my enchiladas, and I always add a little sauce in the beans and rice, too! Thank you so much for this recipe!

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