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.
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
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.
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.
Here are all of my Mexican recipes. Some of my favorites include:
Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe
- 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:
- 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.
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*I originally shared this recipe in March 2013. Updated February 2019.