All you need is a few simple pantry ingredients to make this easy homemade Enchilada Sauce! This recipe is healthier than what you would buy at the store, and much lower in sodium.
Mexican food is my jam!  Ever since our short time living in Mexico, my husband and I regularly make homemade Mexican food.  Some of our favorites include Smothered Chicken Burritos, Authentic Mexican Rice, and Tres Leches Cake.
A mason jar filled with homemade enchilada sauce and a spoon lifting sauce up.
Enchilada Sauce

Before living in Mexico I would always buy canned enchilada sauce (which is pretty overpriced).  Since then I’ve learned how extremely easy and delicious homemade enchilada sauce is, and I could never go back to the canned stuff.  This is the best enchilada sauce because you can make it with simple ingredients you likely have on hand.  

I make this enchilada sauce recipe to go with my favorite cheese enchiladas and these delicious (vegetarian) sweet potato and black bean enchiladas.

Ingredients in enchilada sauce:
  • 3 Tablespoons oil
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon oregano leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients needed for enchilada sauce including tomato sauce, beef broth, flour, oil, garlic and spices.

What is the difference between red and green enchilada sauce?

The difference between red and green enchilada sauce is mainly in the type of chili that was used to make the sauce.  Red enchilada sauce is made with red chilies (in this recipe, ground red chilies or chili powder) and green enchilada sauce is made with green chilis.

Some enchilada sauce is made without chilies and instead the taste and color revolves around tomatoes, tomatillos, and chili powder.  There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to make enchilada sauce.

Is red or green sauce spicer?

Red chiles tend to have a slightly sweeter tastes so red enchilada sauce is often more mild.  Because green enchilada sauce is made with green ingredients including green chiles, tomatillos, and sometime jalapeños, it tends to have a larger heat range.  Sometimes it’s spicy but it doesn’t have to be.

In my experience, the generic red and green enchilada sauces found in the cans at the store are not spicy.

How to make enchilada sauce:

Stir together the oil, flour, chili powder, and cumin in a saucepan on low heat.  Once it gets bubbly, add the beef broth, tomato sauce, oregano, garlic, and salt.  Stir to combine and simmer on low heat for 15 min, stirring occasionally.

Side by side photos of a saucepan with the ingredients to make enchilada sauce and the other saucepan with beef broth being poured into the pot.

Leftover enchilada sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week, or you can freeze enchilada sauce for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.

Red enchilada sauce being poured over enchiladas in a white casserole dish.

Here are all of my Mexican recipes. Some of my favorites include:


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A mason jar filled with homemade enchilada sauce and a spoon lifting sauce up.
Prep 5 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 15 mins
Add to Meal Plan


  • 3 Tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • salt to taste


  • 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. 

Storing Enchilada Sauce:


This recipe makes 4 cups of enchilada sauce.


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.

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About The Author

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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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This was really amazing! The only change I made was to halve the oil and really I just dumped all the ingredients at once into my Pampered Chef cooking blender. 20 minutes later we had the most amazing sauce. My husband said it didn’t taste bitter like canned enchilada sauces, and asked me to save the recipe (he NEVER asks that). So YAY!

  2. I love your recipes! I want to make this sauce for a dinner with my sister-in-law who can’t have gluten (she has celiac disease). Should I substitute the flour with cornstarch? Also do you canned tomato sauce? Thanks so much!

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