Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Some things in life are just better when they are made from scratch. Take this homemade red enchilada sauce for example. After searching for just the sauce with just the right flavor, and without all the extra crap, I came to the conclusion that it would be just as easy to make it from scratch. And it really is.

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce from the @Shrinking Kitchen #Mexican #enchilada #sauce www.shrinkingkitchen.com

This homemade red enchilada sauce works wonderfully with your favorite rolled beef, chicken, or cheese enchiladas, as a base for your favorite south-of-the-border soup, in a spicy taco casserole, or any number of recipes that might need a little Tex-Mex flair.

My favorite way to use this wonderful homemade enchilada sauce? Rotisserie chicken enchiladas. I’ll share the recipe with you soon, I promise!

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Rating: 51

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3 - 3 1/2 cups of enchilada sauce

Serving Size: 1 recipe

This recipe is more than generous enough to make an 11 x 13" pan of enchiladas! I typically double the recipe and freeze half in a glass container for another time!


1 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons flour
1 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups lower sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoons onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin

Step by Step

  1. In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chili powder and flour whisking constantly to combine. Mixture will be a thick paste (roux).
  2. Slowly add in a small amount of tomato sauce whisking until the roux has dissolved. If you don't whisk, it will end up a lumpy mess! Once the roux is combined, add the rest of the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add in the rest of the spices, stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and use in your enchilada recipe, or cool and divide into containers for storage.
  6. Can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for 3 months.


For the entire recipe: WW PP 11 • Calories 391 • Fat 21.7g • Saturated Fat 3.5g • Cholesterol 0mg • Sodium 3665mg • Total Carbohydrates 49.2g • Dietary Fiber 13.8g • Sugars 20.7g • Protein 12.0g • Vitamin A 144% • Vitamin C 71% • Calcium 14% • Iron 65%


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  • emily231

    I came across this recipe tonight because at 4:30pm I looked
    into my pantry and realized I was all out of Enchilada sauce for tonight’s
    black bean and chicken enchiladas (all out of black beans too, so white beans
    it is!) And at 4:30 I can’t really run to the store especially since my toddler
    just passed out on the couch! So to Google I went, and this recipe is amazing! Who
    knew homemade enchilada sauce was so easy! Never again will I buy it. Now
    I can portion this out accordingly in my freezer (cause we always end up
    throwing away half those giant cans anyway) Thanks so much for posting! Any
    recipes on Green Enchilada sauce?

    • http://christy.shrinkingjeans.net Christy_TheSistherhood

      I’m so glad you stumbled across the recipe! I have been in the same position many times! Plus the canned sauce has ‘extra’ stuff that really isn’t necessary, and I try to avoid the unnecessary! I think we do have a salsa verde sauce which can be used as a green enchilada sauce.

      Here it is: http://shrinkingkitchen.com/roasted-tomatillo-salsa-verde/

  • JackD

    Your recipes are fine, but your website with the “3 People Unfriended You” connection is intended to disrupt PC operation. Even if I avoid the “Click Here” button, my computer freezes.

    • http://christy.shrinkingjeans.net Christy_TheSistherhood

      I’m sorry, but I have no idea what you are talking about! We don’t have anything that tells you that people have unfriended you. Perhaps your computer has contracted a virus?

  • Amy K

    Bookmarked this months ago to try, and finally got around to it today w/ veggie enchiladas. The only tweaks I made were to puree a can of fire-roasted tomatoes in place of the sauce (only had GIANT cans) & added a bit of chipotle in adobe, for a little heat. The texture was perfect – will definitely be making this more often!

  • http://www.facebook.com/krhoton1221 Kathryn Rhoton Howard

    I made this for smothered beef burritos. I didn’t feel like going to the store and I had all the ingredients, so I tried it out. The recipe I made it for requires the sauce and beef to sit in the crockpot for 8 hours. It’s still cooking, but the sauce smells delicious!! I’m really impressed by how easy it is! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/krhoton1221 Kathryn Rhoton Howard

    I should also mention that this only made 2 1/2 cups. I needed 3 cups so I had to add extra chicken broth.. I hope the flavor is still okay because of it.

  • Pingback: Black Bean & Yam Enchiladas - Shrinking Kitchen()

  • emma

    This was awsome. I add alittke twist to mine. I put sauteed onion in salt and pepper on top of the enchiladas. Great :)

  • I_Fortuna

    Has to be better than canned but authentic enchilada gravy (sauce) uses no tomatoes. Otherwise it is pretty close to authentic.

  • Denise

    i made this tonight and it was awesome!! thanks so much :)

  • Sooz

    When I made this I didn’t have garlic or onion powder and I only had diced tomatoes in a can, so I diced an onion sauteed it with some garlic added the chili powder and cumin powder pinch of salt and a cup and half of vegetable broth (we are vegetarians). Let that simmer for a bit the took my blending stick and in the same pot pureed it all then put it through a sieve. Let it simmer another 15 min. Didn’t need flour, it came out exactly like enchilada sauce should. Most excellent! I poured some on my homemade tamales and it reminded me of home! Gracias! Bookmarked this page :)

  • Pingback: Homemade Green Enchilada Sauce - Shrinking Kitchen()

  • Crystal

    I usually don’t leave comments on recipe blogs, but I found this recipe after my husband bought some canned sauce that had a ridiculous amount of sodium in it. I figured I’d try this as a lower sodium alternative (subbed no salt added tomato sauce and only used a sprinkle of salt) and it was AMAZING. So good! I couldn’t stop eating it! Thanks for the recipe :)

    • http://christy.shrinkingjeans.net Christy_TheSistherhood

      I’m so glad you loved it!! Thanks a bunch for your comment :-)

  • SouthParkMexican

    Perfect recipe if you leave out the tomatoes. Real enchilada sauce doesnt have tomatoes or tomato sauce ; )

    • http://christy.shrinkingjeans.net Christy_TheSistherhood

      Thanks! So what would you put in place of the tomato sauce? All of the canned stuff (which is gross, but what I’m going off of) has tomato sauce! Gracias :)

      • Heather Damron

        I’m wondering if it’s all chiles?

      • haylibug

        If you use the actual chili pods after boiling them, they get soft and mushy so when you blend them it forms a paste. That’s where you get the tomato like consistancy. You do have to stain the purée to get the pulp out wich makes a sauce. Some people will use a oil and flower roux to thicken it. Of piece then add your spices when you simmer. ;)

  • kpup

    A Hispanic friend just taught me how to make their family’s enchilada sauce they have used for generations with some twists for conviences. All she did was buy two large bags of nice dried red chilies. Take off the stems and rinse them. She crammed them into my blender. Added a nice big scoop (about 2tbsp) minced garlic, about 1-2 tsp oregano. Then filled the blend a little over half full with water. (You can use chicken broth if you want.) Then pushed the liquify button and left it running until everything was nice a creamy. While that was going on, she made a roux with just a little oil and flour. When chilies were creamy, she pour those into the roux and cooked until desired thickness. She salted it to taste. (We were using it to make tamales…teaching me.). This stuff is awesome and so easy! I will never buy canned sauce again! It’s even better made ahead of time and left in the refrigerator overnight.

    You make the sauce hot or mild by the chilies you get. Since we were making tamales for my daughter’s northern college friends, who she says are “heat weanies”, we used mild chilies. Try one though because each year the heat varies.

    • http://christy.shrinkingjeans.net Christy_TheSistherhood

      Wow! Thanks for sharing!!!!

  • Alsatia Brown

    Hello! My name is Alsatia Brown and I am a student at the University of North Florida. I have to make a magazine spread for a digital design class and I would really like to use this recipe in my spread. It would never be published but I would like to display the spread in my portfolio. I would of course credit you with the recipe. Could I please use it in my spread?

    • http://christy.shrinkingjeans.net Christy_TheSistherhood

      Absolutely! If you’d share it with us when it’s complete, that would be awesome! Good luck :)

      Christy Mensi
      The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans
      Shrinking Kitchen

      Check out our newest addition, the Shrinking Kitchen.
      Eat. Shrink. Drink.

  • JenSindermann

    This is a fabulous recipe! I had to omit the garlic cuz I’m allergic, but I kept everything else. Thank you, I’ve been looking for a long time for a great enchilada sauce and now I can just make it myself!

    • http://christy.shrinkingjeans.net Christy_TheSistherhood

      Thanks for your feedback! Glad you like it :-)

  • Michael Baumer

    Sorry, but authentic Mexican enchilada sauce does not contain tomato sauce or paste – just chili powder, spices and chicken stock.

    How hot your sauce is depends on what kind(s) of chilis you use – pasilla and guajillo are mildest, ancho is in the middle and arbol is hotter. Chipotles (which are smoked jalapenos) are fairly hot but they add a smoke flavor that some people don’t like in an enchilada sauce. I usually use several kinds of chili powder because each adds its own nuances.

    And, yes, enchiladas are traditionally made with corn tortillas, not flour. Flour is more likely to get soggy. One way to avoid this is to bake the enchiladas without the sauce, and then pour it over before serving, But they just taste better if there is sauce on the tortillas and filling while baking.

    • Rod

      Yeah, and “authentic” ones are nasty in just about every place I’ve been.

  • Heather

    Had my whole dinner planned about 30 minutes ago, went to get my can of enchilada sauce out of the pantry and it has mysteriously disappeared. I really didn’t want to go to plan B and make spaghetti as I am sick of it! Did a quick search for how I could turn spaghetti sauce into enchilada sauce and found your recipe. It is simmering on my stove right now and my kitchen smells delicious! Thank you for sharing this! It is so easy and fast….it may become a permanent staple in my fridge/freezer.

  • Daniel

    I make my red enchilada sauce from scratch but I use dried red chili peppers. Cut of the tops and remove the seeds, soak in boiling hot water for a few hours, remove to blender with a bit of the water and liquify, move it through a strainer and repeat until I have used it all up. Season with some oil, garlic and onion powder. tad of salt maybe and it’s done.

  • Joy Manda

    I made this – slightly modified (I hate it when people say that and yet I am saying it). No onion powder available so I finely chopped a small red onion. Put 3 T of chili instead of 2.5 and did not have low sodium chicken broth so I had to use reconstituted Knorr cubes – thus I left out the salt. (OH, THE LIFE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY – MAKES FOR INTERESTING FOOD!) The point is that I had found some REAL cheese from the U.S. and had some tortillas made by a gal here (didn’t want to take the time to do it myself) and thanks to you I have some very nice cheese enchiladas! :)

    • http://christy.shrinkingjeans.net Christy_TheSistherhood

      So glad you had a great meal of homemade cheese enchiladas! Glad you found a way to make it work :-)