This homemade enchilada sauce is a blend of chili powder, chicken broth, seasonings and tomato, all simmered together to create a rich and hearty sauce. My red enchilada sauce is SO much better than anything you’d buy at the grocery store!
My family happens to love Mexican food, and I prepare it at least once a week. I like to make my own sauces and seasonings to go along with it such as pico de gallo, taco seasoning and this super easy enchilada sauce.
Enchiladas are a favorite in my house, and for good reason! Who doesn’t love tortillas and cheese drenched in flavorful sauce? This homemade enchilada sauce takes this classic dish to the next level and really turns it into something special.
What is enchilada sauce made of?
Enchilada sauce typically contains the following ingredients.
- Flour: A few tablespoons of all purpose flour serve as the thickening agent for the sauce.
- Oil: You’ll want to use a neutral flavored oil which is whisked together with the flour to create the roux, or thickener for the sauce.
- Broth: The broth serves as the liquid base for the sauce. I typically use chicken broth for the best flavor.
- Chili Powder: This seasoning is a blend of ground mild red chilies, garlic, onion and cumin, and sometimes contains other spices. You want to be sure you’re using an American chili powder, as chili powders in other countries can be quite spicy and often consist of ground hot chilies and nothing else.
- Spices: Aside from the chili powder, this recipe contains small amounts of cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano and smoked paprika.
- Sugar: I add a small pinch of sugar to my sauce just to round out the flavors and make sure there’s no bitter aftertaste from all the spices.
- Tomato Sauce: The tomato sauce adds flavor and body to the sauce, along with a vibrant red color.
How do you make enchilada sauce?
Start by cooking the flour and oil together in a pan to create the roux. Stir in the chili powder, along with the other spices. Whisk in the chicken broth a little at a time until the sauce is smooth, then add the tomato sauce. Bring everything to a simmer, then cook until the sauce has just thickened.
Tips for the perfect sauce
- Gradually whisk the broth into the roux to avoid any lumps in your sauce. If you end up with a few lumps, simply pour the sauce through a strainer.
- Homemade enchilada sauce will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 5-7 days and can be frozen for up to 4 months. I typically make a double batch so that I have extra for the freezer!
- You can use this sauce in any way you’d use canned sauce. A standard 10 ounce can contains a little more than one cup of sauce.
- If you prefer a thinner sauce, either cut the flour in half or add an extra 1/2 cup of broth. If you prefer a thicker sauce, let it simmer for longer until you reach your desired level of thickness.
This sauce is delicious as-is, but you can absolutely add other ingredients to customize the flavors to your tastes.
- Spicy: If you prefer a hot and spicy sauce, add crushed red pepper flakes, pureed canned chipotle pepper or hot sauce to taste.
- Creamy: Stir in 1/2 cup of either heavy cream or sour cream for a rich and indulgent take on the classic sauce.
- Gluten Free: Swap out the all purpose flour for a gluten free flour and use gluten free broth.
- Vegetarian: Use vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth.
Once you see how easy it is to make your own enchilada sauce, you’ll never go back to the canned version again!
Ways to Use homemade enchilada sauce
Homemade Enchilada Sauce Video
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or other neutral flavored oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- Place the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine.
- Cook the flour mixture for 1 minute, whisking occasionally.
- Add the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, sugar and salt to the pan. Whisk to combine.
- Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
- Slowly whisk in a little of the chicken broth at a time until you have a smooth mixture. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce has just thickened. Taste and add more salt if desired. Use immediately or cool and store in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.