Made with simple ingredients, and in less than 10 minutes, this recipe for Homemade Enchilada Sauce will add so much flavor to your meals!
When it comes to sauces and spice blends homemade is the way to go. Along with Homemade Taco Seasoning, Homemade Chicken Stock, and Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup, Homemade Enchilada sauce is one of my favorite DIY recipes.
Not only is the flavor of Homemade Enchilada Sauce superior to anything canned or jarred, but it is also lower in sodium, preservative-free, and made without MSG. It is naturally dairy-free, vegan-friendly, AND can be made gluten-free!
And I know you may be concerned that making enchilada sauce is complicated or requires specialty grocery items. Neither is true! This recipe for Homemade Enchilada Sauce happens to be incredibly easy to make and doesn't require any fancy ingredients. You are well on your way to enjoying some outrageously good enchiladas!
Notes On Ingredients
There may seem like a lot of ingredients in this recipe for Enchilada Sauce, but most of them are common spices you likely have in your spice cabinet. There are a few notes to keep in mind when selecting your ingredients to ensure you create an Enchilada Sauce that you will love.
- Chili powder: You want to be sure to use regular ground chili powder, not Ancho Chili Powder or Cayenne Pepper. I
- Mexican Oregano: Mexican oregano has citrus undertones and pairs well in this sauce. However, regular dried oregano will also work. Do not feel like you have to purchase Mexican oregano to make this recipe.
- Tomato Paste: Tomato Paste will give the enchilada sauce a richness that makes it taste as if the flavors have developed from hours of simmering--when in fact it comes together in minutes.
- Oil: Use a neutral oil, such as canola, grapeseed, or vegetable oil. This is not the time to use olive oil, as it can overpower the other flavors.
- Flour: You need a bit of flour to thicken the enchilada sauce, use either an all-purpose or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.
- Broth: Either chicken stock or vegetable broth work with minimal differences in flavor. Use what you like and have on hand.
- 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
- Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until glistening over medium-high heat. This should take just a minute.
- Once the oil is heated, whisk in the flour and spices, forming a roux. 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, allow it to cook off for a minute or two. This is a crucial step to help rid the sauce of the raw taste of flour.
- Whisk in the tomato paste and then slowly whisk in the stock. It is best to add just a small amount of stock at a 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.
That's it! Your enchilada sauce is ready to be used immediately OR cooled and used at a later time.
Storing Enchilada Sauce
Homemade Enchilada Sauce can be stored, once cooled slightly, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. It is best to store enchilada 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.
- Spice Level: This is a fairly mild enchilada sauce as written. To increase the level of heat, add ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper, depending on how spicy you like your enchilada sauce.
- Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce: To keep this sauce gluten-free, use an all-purpose 1:1 gluten-free flour and ensure your broth is gluten-free.
- Lower-Sodium: For a low-sodium enchilada sauce, be sure to use unsalted or low-sodium broth and reduce the added salt by half to significantly decrease the level of sodium in this recipe.
How to Use Enchilada Sauce
You can use this homemade enchilada sauce in any recipe that calls for canned or jarred enchilada sauce. Below are a few of my favorite uses.
- Use this homemade enchilada sauce to make either Chicken Enchiladas or Vegetarian Enchiladas for a dinner everyone will love.
- Add ½ cup to Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili for a spicy kick of flavor.
- Cover bean burritos with enchilada sauce and cheese and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes to make simple Bean Enchiladas.
- Prep a quick Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole using this sauce in record time!
If you enjoyed this recipe for homemade enchilada sauce, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
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
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Mexican dried oregano
- ½ 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.