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

Looking for more Mexican recipes? Try my Tacos Al Pastor, Chicken Quesadillas or Horchata.

The best enchilada sauce recipe in a bowl with a spoon lifting some up, ready to be used in a recipe.

The Enchilada Sauce that ruined me (in the best way)

I’m going to stand proudly on my soapbox for a moment because this homemade red enchilada sauce recipe deserves our attention, and will steal your heart. It’s the easiest way to next-level some of our favorite dishes, like enchiladas, wet burritos, and tamale pie, with unbeatable flavor. But besides the fact that the taste superior to it’s “canned” counterparts, here are three more reason you should make enchilada sauce from scratch:

  1. Healthier, lower in sodium, and less inexpensive.
  2. Pantry ingredients – you probably have what you need to make it. And, if you’re looking for a more authentic version made with dried Mexican chiles, use this red chile sauce recipe, with beef broth in place of the pork broth.
  3. Quick – you can have this whipped up in just a few minutes, and the taste is unmatched to anything in a can.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Tomato Sauce
  • Flour: to thicken the sauce. For a gluten-free version, 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
All the ingredients needed to make an easy enchilada sauce recipe: tomato sauce, broth, oil, spices, garlic, and flour.

How to make Red Enchilada Sauce:

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

Oil, flour, and spices simmering in a pot on the stove.

Add beef broth, tomato sauce, garlic and salt. 

A quick enchilada sauce recipe simmering in a stainless steel pot on the stove.

Simmer on low heat for 15 min, stirring occasionally. 

Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:

To Make Ahead: Homemade enchilada sauce will keep in the fridge for up to one week.

To Freeze: Freeze in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

A simple Mexican enchilada sauce recipe, poured on top of cheese enchiladas.

Use Enchilada Sauce with:

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A bowl of homemade enchilada sauce with a spoon in it, lifting some out.
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 20 minutes
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  • In a saucepan stir oil, flour, chili powder, cumin, and oregano together. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes.
  • Add beef broth, tomato sauce, garlic and salt. Simmer on low heat for 15 min, stirring occasionally. 
  • Store in the fridge for up to 1 week. Use in a variety of recipes, like cheese enchiladas, loaded chicken enchiladas, and veggie enchiladas.


*Yields 4 cups of enchilada sauce.
Gluten Free Enchilada Sauce: Substitute 1 tablespoon cornstarch, in place of flour.
Enchilada sauce using dried Mexican chiles: use this red chile sauce recipe, with beef broth in place of the pork broth.
Freezing Instructions: Place in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.


Calories: 100kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 3gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.02gSodium: 596mgPotassium: 510mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2535IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 3mg

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*I originally shared this recipe in March 2013. Updated February 2019, April 2022 and April 2024.

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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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  1. 5 stars
    Okay, Lauren, here’s my enchilada story. I have always used canned sauce and I made them this time the same. The sauce I used kind of soaked in and were dry by the time we were to have leftovers tonight. So, I thought it’s about time that I did a sauce from scratch since my hubby is a sauce guy. I found yours and made a half batch just to make sure we liked it. Well, my husband kept going to the pot to slather more and more on!!!! It was so totally yummy!!! I agree with a lot of the other reviewers who are saying good bye to the can!!! Thank you for a wonderful recipe that I’ll use over and over again!

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