It is incredibly easy to make Homemade Enchilada Sauce and SO MUCH better tasting than any canned enchilada sauce. Made with simple ingredients, and in less than 10 minutes, this recipe for red enchilada sauce will add so much flavor to your meals!
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
This recipe for enchilada sauce has saved some of my favorite recipes. Most canned enchilada sauces have added preservatives and MSG, so for years I thought I shied away from recipes that called for enchilada sauce–which included my mom’s famous chicken enchiladas and my aunt’s enchilada soup.
And that made me sad. VERY sad.
For some reason, I assumed that making enchilada sauce from scratch would be time consuming or require a lot of specialized ingredients. Neither is true!Once I discovered how easy it is to make enchilada sauce from scratch and that I always have the staples on hand to whip up this sauce, I have been enjoying variations of enchiladas on repeat.
This enchilada sauce is perfectly spiced, super easy to make, and best of all, it is all natural! Plus, it is easily can made vegan friendly and gluten free, meaning that everyone can enjoy!
The ingredients for enchilada sauce are probably things you always have stocked in your kitchen. Plus you can adapt the recipe to make it gluten free and adjust your spices to your tastes.
- Spices: There are quite a few spices in enchilada sauce, but the most important of them is chili powder. You want to be sure to use regular ground chili powder, not Ancho Chili Powder or Cayenne Pepper. I also add in onion and garlic powder and a Mexican oregano. If you don’t have dried Mexican oregano, regular dried oregano will work no problem!
- Tomato Paste: Tomato Paste will give the enchilada sauce a richness that makes it taste like the flavors have developed from hours of simmering–when in fact it comes together in minutes.
- Oil: Just a small amount of oil that will help toast the spices and make the roux that will thicken this sauce.
- Flour: Flour is used to thicken the sauce. Use either all purpose or gluten free all purpose flour blend.
- Stock: Either chicken stock or vegetable broth work.
- Vinegar: The vinegar will help the flavors really pop and balance out this sauce with a bit of acidity. White vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used.
How to Make Enchilada Sauce
The first step to making enchilada sauce is to make the roux. A roux is simply equal parts flour and fat that is used to thicken dishes. Simply heat the oil in a heavy bottomed sauce pan until glistening over medium-high heat. This takes just a minute. Then whisk in the flour and spices. For this recipe, I prefer adding the spices to the roux as it cooks, giving the spices a chance to be slightly toasted which brings out their incredible flavor.
Once the roux has been formed and cooked for just a minute (this gets rid of the raw taste of flour and toasts the spices), whisk in the tomato paste and then slowly whisk in the stock. It is best to add just a small amount of stock at at time, whisking after each addition to incorporate fully and prevent lumps. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often, and then reduce the heat and simmer just until slightly thickened.
Remove the enchilada sauce from the heat and whisk in the vinegar. Use in any recipe that calls for enchilada sauce at this point, or let cool before storing.
Storing Enchilada Sauce
Once cooled, the enchilada sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months. I will note that it is best to store this sauce in glass jars in the fridge and thick freezer safe bags in the freezer, as plastic containers can be stained red from the sauce and absorb the smell of the sauce.
How to Use Enchilada Sauce
- Wake up breakfast with these cheesy, hearty, spiced Breakfast Enchiladas
- Smoother Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas with enchilada sauce for a dinner everyone will love.
- Add 1/2 cup to Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili for a spicy, flavor spin on this.
- Cover bean burritos with enchilada sauce and cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes to make Bean Enchiladas.
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil such as avocado oil or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt more as needed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, until just hot glistening. This only takes a minute or two.
- Add in flour, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and oregano and whisk together until thick paste forms. Cook for one minute to toast spices and to rid of the sauce of a raw flour taste.
- Whisk in tomato paste into the roux.
- Gradually, whisk in the remaining stock, whisking the entire time, until well incorporated and all lumps are removed. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in vinegar.
- Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.
- This recipe yields 2 cups. Nutritional information is based on the ENTIRE recipe. Most serving sizes are only 2-3 tablespoons.
- Be sure to use regular chili powder. Not cayenne pepper or Ancho Chili powder, as the final result would be extremely spicy.
- If you can't find Mexican oregano, regular dried oregano will work well.
- Vinegar allows the flavors to really pop--don't overlook this ingredient.
- If you find your sauce is at lumpy, you can strain it through a fine mesh strainer. You should not have any issues with lumps if you gradually whisked in the stock though.