Red Enchilada Sauce

09.19.2018

Once you try this easy homemade Red Enchilada Sauce recipe you’ll never be able to go back to the canned stuff. It’s brimming with delicious flavor and it makes the best enchiladas! You might as well make a double batch and freeze half for later.

a ladle of Enchilada Sauce over a glass bowl

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

I’ve tried so many different recipes for enchilada sauce. I know a lot of people might say this is not an authentic Mexican enchilada sauce, and no it’s not. But this recipe has been my favorite.

I’ve tried enchilada sauce with whole dried chilies and I’ve tried enchilada sauces with many different kinds of chili powder but I just keep coming back to the traditional chili powder and tomato sauce based sauce.

It’s similar to what you’d find in a lot of Mexican restaurants here in the U.S. You know, the sauce on those extra cheesy delicious kind!

Feel free to adjust the amount of chili powder here to what you like best. If you find that it needs a little more flavor for your liking add more chili powder, if you find it’s too much then just cut back.

I like McCormick brand. Use what you like but skip past those $1 options.

homemade Enchilada Sauce ingredients

Red Enchilada Sauce Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil (or light olive oil)
  • Chili powder
  • All-purpose flour
  • Low-sodium chicken broth
  • Tomato sauce
  • Ground cumin
  • Cocoa powder
  • Granulated sugar
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Coriander
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

making in a metal saucepan Enchilada Sauce

How to Make Enchilada Sauce

In a medium saucepan, whisk together oil, chili powder and flour.

Heat mixture over medium heat, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and let simmer about 30 seconds (while stirring).

adding tomato sauce and broth to pot of Enchilada Sauce

While whisking pour in chicken broth and tomato sauce. Then add in cumin, cocoa powder, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander and cinnamon then season with salt and pepper to taste.

making Enchilada Sauce

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Let cool slightly then use as desired.

Enchilada Sauce in a metal saucepan

How to Use Enchilada Sauce

This sauce is great for chicken, beef, pork or veggie enchiladas. I like to spoon some of the sauce over the meat or veggie filling (and cheese) in the tortilla then wrap and place in a baking dish.

Then pour on lots of the sauce and spread to cover. And of course top with more cheese and bake to melt through.

I’ll be sharing the method for chicken enchiladas soon, so stay tuned.

Can I Use Vegetable Broth Instead of Chicken Broth?

Most likely, yes, although I haven’t tested that myself. Just make sure you’re using low-sodium vegetable broth still.

Can I Freeze Enchilada Sauce?

Yes, this easy enchilada sauce can be frozen for later. To freeze this red enchilada sauce, let it come to room temperature before pouring it into glass jars or freezer-safe containers. When you’re ready to use the frozen sauce, let it thaw completely in the fridge.

pouring red Enchilada Sauce over a pan of enchiladas

Tips for the Best Enchilada Sauce

  • The red enchilada sauce spices can burn easily, so keep an eye on them. It only needs to simmer and toast briefly to let those flavors bloom.
  • The pinch of ground cinnamon really makes this enchilada sauce recipe, so don’t omit it!
  • Make sure the tomato sauce is unflavored, otherwise it’ll throw off the taste of this sauce.

More Easy Mexican Recipes You’ll Love:

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Red Enchilada Sauce

5 from 20 votes

An easy to make, deliciously flavorful enchilada sauce! It's a thousand times better than canned and it makes the best enchiladas! You can make a double batch in a larger pan, then freeze half for later. 

Servings: 7
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan whisk together vegetable oil, chili powder and flour until smooth.

  2. Heat mixture over medium heat, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and let simmer about 15 seconds, while stirring*.

  3. While whisking pour in chicken broth and tomato sauce. Then add in cumin, cocoa powder, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander and cinnamon then season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

  5. Let cool slightly then use as desired (if you like the sauce a little less thinner you can thin with a bit of broth or water).

Recipe Notes

  • *Note that I haven't yet tried this on an electric stove top so you may need to pull it off before a simmer on an electric stove. It can burn easily so just keep an eye on it. It only needs to cook for a minute or two total but that can vary depending on how long it takes for your burner to heat up.
  • Recipe source: Cooking Classy
Nutrition Facts
Red Enchilada Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 88 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Sodium 235mg 10%
Potassium 218mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 19.7%
Vitamin C 2.9%
Calcium 1.9%
Iron 6.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Enchilada Sauce
Calories: 88 kcal
Author: Jaclyn

37 comments

  • Bee: This homemade sauce is so much better than the canned stuff. Great recipe! April 18, 2019 at 1:38pm Reply

  • Kellie: So good!!!!! Never will buy a can again!!!!! April 16, 2019 at 8:40am Reply

  • Terri: I have made this recipe now two times my husband loves enchiladas and the sauce is awesome! March 23, 2019 at 10:52am Reply

  • Jack: Very good. Loved the chocolate. March 17, 2019 at 8:47pm Reply

  • Rose V: Tastes great, easy to make! My husband love Mexican food. Roasted pablo peppers, stuffed them with mozzarella and cilantro and topped with the sauce. Will top with shredded cheese blend when serving…… can’t wait to taste it…. my own version of chilies rellanos!! March 3, 2019 at 3:30pm Reply

  • Chet Kastava: We just love this sauce and if there’s any left after cooking it, I can use it on various dishes. Today, I’m going with it for the base of Pork Tenderloin Posole with hominy and those lovely toppings. I found no adjustments needed in your directions using an electric stove. I’ve made it several times and it’s delicious. Thanks. February 25, 2019 at 7:25am Reply

  • Jeanne: Really good! Usually make mine with dried chiles but this was quick, easy and surprisingly delicious.
    Thank you. February 19, 2019 at 11:07pm Reply

  • Jody Covert: This was a very good, but as another reviewer mentioned, it’s a mole not enchilada sauce. February 14, 2019 at 6:23pm Reply

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