Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe (2024)

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Homemade Enchilada Sauce is so much better than the ones found canned or jarred in supermarkets, and you can make it in just a few minutes! This is a bold and smoky sauce that adds incredible depth of flavor to your favorite enchilada recipes.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe (1)

We’ve made so many different enchilada sauces over the years that we really came to understand what makes a good sauce. We want a little bit of spice, a thick and creamy texture, and ingredients that you already have in your pantry. This sauce will change the way you approach enchilada night! Make a double batch and stick some in the freezer for later. Trust us on this one.

Canned enchilada sauce has a thin and runny texture, and we found that most recipes we found online didn’t have the deep, smoky flavors we were craving. This homemade enchilada sauce has an intense and bold flavor, and when it’s added to your favorite enchilada recipe it will blow your mind!

Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe (2)

Mild Homemade Enchilada Sauce

When made as directed, this is a pretty spicy sauce! That’s just how we like it, but if you want a milder flavor or you have little ones in the house we’d recommend using half or even none of the chipotle peppers in the recipe.

Chili Powder in Enchilada Sauce

In the US chili powder is generally a blend of spices that does include chilies but also has cumin, garlic powder, and herbs that dampen the heat of the chilies. In other countries, chili powder is made only from chilies! Keep this in mind when shopping for chili powder outside the US, so you don’t burn your mouth ;-)!

How to Use Enchilada Sauce

Of course, this sauce is made with enchiladas in mind! You could use it in so many other ways, though. Put it in your favorite soup for a kick of bold flavor, add a drizzle to nachos or dips, or add some into a casserole for some memorable flavor.

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Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe (3)

DID YOU ENJOY OUR HOMEMADE ENCHILADA SAUCE RECIPE?

If you enjoyed this recipe, it would help us tremendously if you left us a star rating in the comments below or on the recipe card. Do you have any questions about the recipe? Do you need a swap for any of the ingredients? We are here to help, just leave us a question in the comments below.

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Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe (4)

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

★★★★★5 from 2 reviews
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Description

Homemade Enchilada Sauce is so much better than the canned variety, and you can make it in just a few of minutes! This is a bold and smoky sauce that adds incredible depth of flavor to your favorite enchilada recipes.

Ingredients

Scale

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6oz tomato paste
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp agave or maple syrup
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (SEE NOTE 1)

Instructions

  1. To prepare the sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic, cumin, salt, and cinnamon and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and agave, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes
  2. Transfer the sauce to a blender, add the chipotle peppers and blend until smooth

Notes

  1. This amount of chipotle peppers yields a hot enchilada sauce. For a milder option, use half of the amount or omit it altogether.You may also use a prepared chipotle pepper paste which may be milder.
  2. In the US chili powder is generally a blend of spices that does include chilies but also has cumin, garlic powder, and herbs that dampen the heat of the chilies. In other countries, chili powder is made only from chilies! Keep this in mind when shopping for chili powder outside the US, so you don’t make it too spicy!
  • Category: Sauces and condiments
  • Method: Stovetope
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 31
  • Sugar: 2.6
  • Sodium: 70
  • Fat: 1.3
  • Saturated Fat: .2
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 4
  • Fiber: .8
  • Protein: ,7
  • Cholesterol: 0

Keywords: vegetarian, kosher, spicy, spices, gluten-free

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Steve says

    How can I store this to stay fresh and for how long?

    Reply

    • Vicky & Ruth says

      Store in a glass jar fitted with a tight lid in the fridge for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the enchilada sauce in a freezer bag and defrost before using.

      Reply

  2. Ash says

    I can’t find chipotle peppers in the uk supermarkets. How much chipotle paste do I use?

    Reply

    • Vicky and Ruth says

      Use the same amount of chipotle paste.

      Reply

    • Vicky and Ruth says

      Hi Ash, use the same amount of chipotle paste as chipotle peppers.

      Reply

  3. Kim says

    This enchilada sauce totally elevated my dish! I used an immersion blender to get the sauce really smooth. Wonderful flavor and you get a thick sauce without making a roux!

    Reply

    • Vicky and Ruth says

      Thank you! We are so happy to hear that you liked it!

      Reply

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Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe (2024)

FAQs

What is traditional enchilada sauce made of? ›

Instead, all the rich and savory flavors come from only a handful of ingredients – dried chiles, garlic, salt and Mexican chocolate. (Check out this easy enchilada sauce recipe for a 10-minute version made with easy-to-find pantry ingredients like chili powder, tomato paste and broth.)

What can I substitute for enchilada sauce? ›

Tomato sauce is a good way to replace enchilada sauce if you're looking for a milder alternative. It's easy to take a pre-made tomato sauce and spice it and add other ingredients to get closer to a real enchilada sauce.

What is the secret to good enchiladas? ›

The most important tip for avoiding soggy enchiladas is to briefly fry your tortillas in hot oil before you fill and roll. This creates a little bit of a barrier so that the tortillas don't soak up too much of the sauce and therefore start to break down.

Is there a difference between red enchilada sauce and enchilada sauce? ›

Red Chile is usually made from exactly that, red chile's. Some onion, garlic and spices to give it some depth. While enchilada sauce does use chile's, it adds tomato paste/sauce as well as extra stock or broth giving the sauce a bit more of a sweeter taste.

What kind of enchilada sauce is best? ›

Best Canned Enchilada Sauces
  • La Victoria Red Enchilada Sauce Traditional, Mild, 28 oz.
  • Old El Paso Mild Green Chile Enchilada Sauce.
  • 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Red Enchilada Sauce.
  • Las Palmas Red Enchilada Sauce, Medium.
  • HATCH CHILI COMPANY Organic Mild Red Enchilada Sauce, 15 OZ.
Dec 22, 2023

What is canned enchilada sauce made of? ›

Ingredients. Water, Tomato Puree (water, tomato paste), Modified Corn Starch. Contains 2% or less of: Sugar, Salt, Chile Pepper, Soybean Oil, Vinegar, Spice, Citric Acid, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Onion Powder, Natural Flavor, Color (black carrot and paprika extract).

What is normal enchilada sauce called? ›

The most common “red” enchilada sauce may also be called salsa roja, salsa roja para enchiladas, or mole rojo. This is a sauce made out of ancho/pasilla/New Mexico and/or Cascabel chiles, onion, garlic, tomatoes, broth, cumin, oregano, etc.

How to thicken up enchilada sauce? ›

Or you can omit the flour and instead add a cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch and cold water whisked together) to the sauce once it is simmering to thicken it. Make it creamy: Whisk in 1/2 cup of heavy cream to turn this recipe into a delicious creamy enchilada sauce.

What's the difference between salsa and enchilada sauce? ›

Salsa vs Enchilada Sauce

These two sauces might overlap in their ingredients, but the key difference is that enchilada sauce is thin, smooth, and served hot. It's also considered an important part of dishes like enchiladas, while salsa roja is a cold table sauce that can be added to anything.

What makes enchiladas taste better? ›

While some recipes use flour tortillas, corn tortillas are traditional — and for good reason — are the better option for enchiladas. Corn tortillas have a distinct flavor that plays a key part of the enchilada experience, compared to flour tortillas, which are more like a blank slate.

Should you cover enchiladas when you bake them? ›

Arrange enchiladas, seam-side down, in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Top with taco sauce and remaining 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, until cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Let cool briefly before serving.

What is the best melting cheese for enchiladas? ›

Monterey Jack is a mild, creamy cheese that melts easily and adds a smooth texture to the enchiladas.

How to make can enchilada sauce better? ›

Canned sauce is often thin, so making a roux to strengthen it can really help elevate your dish. Once the canned enchilada sauce is mixed in with this agent, adding in some chicken broth makes for some extra hearty flavor too, creating an especially well-rounded dish.

What sauce is similar to enchilada sauce? ›

Red Chile Sauce. Red chile sauce, made from dried red chiles, can also serve as a flavorful substitute for enchilada sauce. To make your own red chile sauce, rehydrate dried red chiles in hot water, then blend them with garlic, onion, and other spices to create a smooth and vibrant sauce.

Is Taco Bell red sauce just enchilada sauce? ›

Per Taco Bell's ingredient statements, the red Border sauce is made from a base of tomato puree. This makes sense, given that the base of most traditional salsas and enchilada sauces is tomatoes anyway. But some extra seasonings and ingredients go into creating this iconic sauce, as well.

How is enchilada sauce different from salsa? ›

Salsa vs Enchilada Sauce

These two sauces might overlap in their ingredients, but the key difference is that enchilada sauce is thin, smooth, and served hot. It's also considered an important part of dishes like enchiladas, while salsa roja is a cold table sauce that can be added to anything.

What is Las Palmas enchilada sauce made of? ›

Water, Dried Red Chile Peppers, Salt, Cottonseed Oil, Cider Vinegar, Fumaric Acid, Garlic Powder, Spice, Olive Oil. Product formulation and packaging may change.

What are enchiladas originally made of? ›

Later, the first Mexican cookbook, El Cocinero Mexicano, recorded accounts of this dish. Originally, the dish was an empty corn tortilla dipped in chili sauce. Over time, people stuffed the tortillas with various meats and cheeses and became the enchilada became the dish we know and love today.

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