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 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 15 mins
Save Recipe

Ingredients
 
 

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

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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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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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I started preparing my husband’s favorite enchilada casserole by request when I realized I didn’t have any enchilada sauce (I always keep one can in the pantry). Since I have been using your recipes for a while now, instead Googling it and wishing to pick a good one, I decided to just go to TBFS. Best move ever. It’s so easy to make and delicious. Much more delicious than the canned ones. Thank you so much. You made me look good.

  2. Hello,
    My family and I LOVE ALL of your recipes (I should comment on them more LOL). I’ll try to do that! I am putting this on my menu for next week and was wondering if I could use olive oil in lieu of veg/canola oil? Thank you for being so awesome!

  3. 5 stars
    Love making anything from scratch when I can especially when I have all the ingredients. This sauce came out delicious! In hindsight it s a little spice for my 10 and under crew. Is there a way to lessen the kick a bit at this point?

    I basically cook from TBFS everynight!

  4. 5 stars
    I LOVE enchiladas, I can’t handle spicy food. That being said, I found this recipe and was finally able to make the food I love without buying canned spicy sauce that I couldn’t eat. This has been my go-to since 2018. I switch the cumin and chili powder ratios, making this a flavorful family recipe. Sometimes I will use the broth from my beef roast (which I shred for the beef enchiladas) and use that with the traditional beef broth, making it even richer in flavor.

  5. Great recipe– I made some minor adjustments. 1. added a bit of tomato paste (had a can open) 2. 7-9 dried arbol chilis, stemmed/ seeded/ rehyrdated to add a bit of extra depth and a tad bit of spice.

    Wife asked me to save this sauce recipe.

  6. 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!

  7. 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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