Enchilada Sauce

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Homemade Enchilada Sauce-the best enchilada sauce and it’s incredibly easy to make, plus, it freezes beautifully! You will never buy store bought enchilada sauce again!

homemade enchilada sauce in jar

Enchiladas are one of my all-time favorite meals…and I am glad my boys love them too! They are a regular at our dinner table. Enchilada night is always a good night, especially when the enchiladas are made with homemade sauce!

This recipe for Homemade Enchilada Sauce is so much better than store bought canned stuff and I promise it is easy to make.

You will wonder where this sauce has been your whole life! You will be hooked after you make it for the first time and won’t ever go back to the canned sauce from the store.

enchilada sauce ingredients


It’s just a couple pantry ingredients that I would guess you already have in your kitchen. In fact, most of it will come from your spice rack! Here’s what we’re working with:

  • Vegetable oil or canola oil
  • Flour (can swap the flour for gluten-free flour or cornstarch)
  • Spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, onion powder, minced garlic)
  • Tomato paste
  • Vegetable broth (can use chicken broth if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian)

making enchilada sauce in pan with whisk

How to Make Enchilada Sauce

Friends, it is SO SIMPLE. I promise you can make this sauce! Everyone will be asking what the secret ingredient in your enchiladas is. It’s the sauce! Here’s how we make it:

  • Start with a large saucepan, vegetable oil, and medium heat! Add flour and whisk it for one minute. It will get nice and smooth! This is going to provide a nice, thick base for the sauce.
  • Add all the spices and garlic and stir. Note-the cayenne pepper is optional, it will add some nice heat, so start with a small pinch.
  • Whisk in the tomato paste until it’s totally combined. Slowly pour in the vegetable broth, continuing to whisk until it’s smooth and incorporated.
  • Let the sauce heat to a simmer on medium-low heat for about 10-12 minutes. You’ll notice the sauce thicken a bit! It will continue to thicken more as it cools.
  • Give it a little taste! Season with a bit more salt if you’d like.

How to Store the Sauce

It keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week (perfect for making ahead of time!), but you can also freeze it! To freeze, place cooled enchilada sauce in a jar or freezer container. Label and date the sauce and freeze for up to six months. Defrost before using.

This recipe makes about 2 cups of sauce, so you can double or even triple it and store it away for later. Trust me, you are going to want to always have it in your fridge or freezer.

Enchilada Recipes

You can use this recipe in any dish that calls for enchilada sauce! Here are a couple of my favorites:

enchiladas in pan with homemade enchilada sauce
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Homemade Enchilada Sauce

The best enchilada sauce and it’s incredibly easy to make, plus, it freezes beautifully! You will never buy store bought enchilada sauce again!
4.77 from 47 votes



  • In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for one minute. Add all the spices and garlic; stir for about a minute. Whisk in the tomato paste, then slowly pour in the vegetable broth, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth.
  • Let the sauce simmer over medium low heat for 10-12 minutes or until slightly thickened. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Taste and season with additional salt, if necessary.


Use less chili powder and no cayenne pepper for a milder enchilada sauce. You can always start with 2 tablespoons and add more!  


Calories: 75kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 478mg, Potassium: 123mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1398IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 17mg, Iron: 1mg
Keywords homemade

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Photos by Dishing Out Health

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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    1. Add the cayenne pepper, it is spicy! Start with a pinch, but you can add more to reach the spice level you want.

    1. It makes about 2 cups of sauce. It depends on the size of your enchiladas, if you are using small corn tortillas or large flour tortillas.

  1. How spicy is this sauce? My boys don’t like anything spicy. Can you leave out the chili pepper and up the other spices??

    1. It has a little kick. You can leave out the cayenne pepper and reduce the chili powder to 3 tablespoons. Taste and add more if you want.

  2. Maria I just made your Enchilada sauce it was delicious by far the best I have ever made I use 3TBlS of extra virgin coconut oil and added 4 garlic cloves because I like garlic left out the cayanne pepper and added 2 tablespoons s of fresh sausa and a little taco seasoning and less chili powder I also used organic reduced sodium chicken broth . the taste was delicious thank you such a delicious recipe.

  3. What kind of Chili powder is it you use? Is it spicy? Because I was a bit baffled by the four spoons of Chili powder. The only type we can buy here (the Netherlands) is very spicy, so I already toned it down to 1 table spoon. But even that is waaaay too much. And I did not even add any cayenne. I like spicy, and love e.g thai and indonesian, but this was not a nice kind of spicy. I already put in most of a tub of greek yoghurt, to try and tone it down; as my 15 month old son also has to eat it, but even with the yoghurt a spoonful of the sauce made my husband cough and go whewwww. So that is more than just a little kick. So I curious about the strength of the Chili you use 🙂 maybe I need to replace it with paprika powder?

    1. American chili powder is different, it isn’t as spicy. You defiantly need to use A LOT less.

  4. I don’t think that is a real enchilada sauce. The recipe I have from Mexico has guajillo chines, fresh tomato sauce, oregano, and onions. These thing with flour, I don’t know where it came from.

    1. 5 stars
      I agree I just started my enchilada recipe using guajillos peppers that I saw a lady on FB from Mexico.making the sauce I was so surprised how easy it was to make. It came out creamy and delicious The enchiladas were so delicious

  5. Is the chili powder in the recipe the chili powder blend of spices or a chile powder made from just chiles? I’ve had problems with way too much cumin in recipes that call for chili powder blend (has cumin in it) as well as additional cumin, so I want to be sure! Thanks!

  6. Can you be more specific about the CHILI POWDER: Are you referring to: (1) Chili Powder BLEND of dried chilies and spices or (2) CHILI POWDER as in Ancho Chile Powder, Chipotle Chile Powder, etc.

  7. 5 stars
    I NEVER comment or rate anything but this sauce changed my life. I will never buy canned enchilada sauce again. THANK YOU!

  8. 5 stars
    I have never made enchilada sauce before, but was out of it and really wanted enchiladas. Pinterest to the rescue. Came across this recipe and thought “better than nothing”. It was so ridiculously easy and SOOO much better than the canned crap. I did use tomatoe sauce cause I was out of tomatoe paste and it still turned out amazing. Will never buy that canned stuff again. Thank you

  9. 5 stars
    I will definitely never buy canned enchilada sauce ever again. It was easy to make quick and delicious! My boyfriend is super picky about his Mexican food and he absolutely loved it!!

  10. 5 stars
    This is delicious! I use low sodium tomato sauce and vegetable broth, as eating things with high
    sodium is not good for you even if you have normal blood pressure. It tastes as good as anything I
    have had at a mexican restaurant or out of a can.

  11. Can you substitute a different oil for the vegetable oil? I was thinking of avocado oil instead. Would that work?