This homemade enchilada sauce takes 5 minutes to make and produces a thick, rich, delicious sauce that’s so much better than anything you can buy in a can.

Enchilada Sauce in a glass jar

Homemade Enchilada Sauce…….

Seriously? Why bother. It’s so much easier to buy it in a can…. Really? Or so I used to think!

Well, I’m here to to tell ya friends, it’s really not at all easier.

You can have an authentic enchilada sauce with much less effort and time than it takes for you to drive to the market, wait in cashier’s line, and drive home and open the can.

Wait! How about a little more great news. You probably already have all the ingredients you need to make this terrific sauce in your pantry at this very moment.

This red enchilada sauce is so, so, so much better than the any stuff you can get in a can.

It’s beyond easy and quick to make. In fact, in the time it takes you to read this blog post and pull out all the ingredients for this recipe, you could have already made a batch of this and have it ready to use!

5 Minutes is really all it takes to have this sauce bubbling away on your cooktop.

It comes out gloriously thick and much richer than the stuff you get in the can.

It also cost about half as much as to make versus buying a small can. Not only that, this recipe makes about double the amount of that little can. Now that’s a savings that worth 5 minutes of prep in my book!

Trust me, if you’re anything like me, this is a recipe you’ll be making often!

Enchilada Sauce in a red ceramic ladle

Enchilada Sauce isn’t just for enchiladas!

Oh no, Oh no! It has soooo many uses, so let me tell you other ways we use it and show you a few other blog links I like that use enchilada sauce!

This delicious enchilada sauce is obviously perfect for bathing your homemade enchiladas, but don’t think the fun has to stop there!

This is the perfect sauce to toss chicken, beef, or pork in, to use in a homemade burrito. Think you might want to take the delicious train to the next stop…….

That’s right my friend, place those rolled up burritos in an oven proof baking dish, pour some of this enchilada sauce over the top to cover them, and top it all off with some glorious grated cheese. Broil a safe distance from the heating element until the sauce is set and the cheese is all melty delicious. Top with some sliced green onion or fresh chopped cilantro as desired.

Breakfast is a great time to whip up a batch.

This is my go-to sauce for making Huevos Rancheros. I fry up corn tortillas in a skillet with a little bit of vegetable oil then set them aside.

Pour some of this enchilada sauce in the skillet until it generously covers the bottom and comes up the sides a little, then make a little div0t in the sauce with the back of a large spoon and crack an egg right in the divot.

Top again with sliced green onions or cilantro. Very often, breakfast gets eaten right there over the cooktop straight out of the skillet.

It takes some restraint to get these babies plated up!

Spices For Enchilada Sauce

One of hubby’s favorite ways we use this sauce is our version of Steak Ranchero.

He grills up some onion and bell pepper slices. Then cooks 1-2 steaks, lets the steaks rest then slices them.

We serve the sliced steak, sliced onion and pepper smothered in warmed enchilada sauce!

Enchilada Sauce in a glass jar

Recipe Notes For Enchilada Sauce:

Color~ the color of your sauce will depend on the chili powder you use. Sometimes it’ll be an on the red sauce and sometimes it’ll be on the brown side. Both are equally delicious. Commercial chili powder is a mix of different dried ground chilies so the variety of types they use, can and will, affect the color.

Chili Powder~ Okay, so if you like things with a mild flavor NO worries. Chili powder generally is very mild. It has all the wonderful, complex flavors of dried chilies with virtually none of the heat. Now, if you want heat, you can easily make simple adjustments to accommodate your preference.

I buy the large container of Chili Powder at Costco.

It’s nothing exotic, in fact, it’s made by McCormick, the well knows spice supplier.  I use it a lot in my cooking in all sorts of dishes.

I keep it in the fridge to keep the large quantity fresh. I really like the flavor of it and I find it works really well in my recipes.

I also very much love the price of it from Costco. BTW~I do not get paid by Costco to say any this. I wish!

If you have a favorite chili powder feel free to use it. Each spice company has their own blend of chilies, so they all taste a little different.

You can even get adventurous and mix your own chili powder or add specific chili powders, Ancho chili powder, for example to your taste. If you mix your own chili powders up, I’d love to hear from you about it!

Cook’s Illustrated wrote an article rating different chili powders.

Their number one favorite was Morton & Basset Chili Powder. I’ve never heard of or seen that brand at any of my local grocery stores. It would be interesting to try if you ever happen upon it. Please let me know if you do and how you like it!

Enchilada Sauce in a ceramic bowl garnished with cilantro

Chicken Broth~ I generally use homemade or commercial chicken broth depending on what I have on hand.

If you’d like you can switch the chicken broth for either vegetable or beef broth. Actually, in a pinch, even water will work.

Heat It Up~ if you want to add heat to your enchilada sauce you can add the cayenne powder in addition to the chili powder or hot sauce to the sauce after you add the chicken broth.

Some spice companies like Penzey’s make chili powders that come in different heat levels.

One that my son loves is Penzey’s Medium Hot Chili Powder.(Again, not being endorsed here)  He says it adds just the right amount of heat to start things off with. For him, it’s a good baseline, kinda his minimum amount of heat.

He goes on to add some extra cayenne powder and Cholula Hot Sauce as well. He loves things spicyyyyy!

 Enchiladas in a blue baking dish topped with Enchilada Sauce

More Sauce Recipes:

Enchilada Sauce in a Glass Jar
4.75 from 4 votes

Enchilada Sauce

This homemade enchilada sauce takes 5 minutes to make and produces a thick, rich, delicious sauce that's so much better than anything you can buy in a can.

Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 Cups
Calories 355 kcal
Author Kathleen


  • 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 2 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 6 Ounces Tomato Paste
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sugar


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Sprinkle flour over oil and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in chili powder and continue to cook for another 30 seconds.
  2. Whisk in stock, tomato paste, oregano,  cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Nutrition Facts
Enchilada Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 355 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 40%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 1210mg 50%
Potassium 566mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 6g
Protein 10g 20%
Vitamin A 71.2%
Vitamin C 0.7%
Calcium 7.4%
Iron 22.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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