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
 
 

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 made a half recipe of this for the Tamale Pie recipe and it is soooooooooooo much better than canned enchilada sauce! Love the flavor!

  2. 5 stars
    This has now become my go to red sauce recipe. Have now made it several times always comes out great. It’s a keeper for sure!! Quick and easy.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious and so easy to make!! We use it in enchiladas and quesadillas and we’ll never buy in a can now. Thanks!

  4. 5 stars
    This is now my go to enchilada sauce. Perfect spices – not to spicy, just right. You can spice it up if you like with other hotter chili powders. Made it now over five times. Hubby loves it. Will never buy it in a can.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and it was the first time I’ve ever made wet burritos. I followed the recipe to T and it came out perfect for my wet burritos. It was easy and yet still had a lot of flavor. Thank you I will be using this recipe again for sure.

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious! My husband prefers red enchilada sauce but I don’t like the ones that come from a can. Even my picky son liked it! I’m keeping this recipe!

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