Simply THE BEST Red Enchilada Sauce EVER!

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Yes, that is a very bold and dramatic title, but like I said in my post about Refried Beans, I have only been exposed to the canned versions of beans and enchilada sauces.  If I had known how GREAT these foods were when you make them yourself, I would have been eating (and making!) them years ago!

And for those of you who are wondering (or worrying) enchilada sauce is NOT hot.  Not unless you want it to be, which is another reason to make it yourself.  It’s the cayenne pepper (and sometimes chili powder) that controls how much heat there is.

This enchilada sauce is WORLDS better than ANYTHING canned, I promise you!  The 1st time I made it, the chili powder was a bit much as I fast discovered the flavors get better (and a little stronger) as they sit.


Also, you can use beef broth, chicken broth or vegetable.  But whatever you use, be SURE to check the salt as you are making it.  Nothing can ruin a sauce quicker than too much salt.

I use my homemade chicken broth which contains ZERO salt.  So the recipe has a 1/4 teaspoon of salt added to reflect that.  If you are using boxed broth, I would omit the added salt and taste it AFTER it simmers and decide if you need to add any.

But just be warned:  you will probably never see a can of red enchilada sauce in you shopping cart again.


Simply THE BEST Red Enchilada Sauce EVER!

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: approx 1 1/2 - 2 cups depending on how much you reduce it 1x


  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (if using boxed broth taste first before adding)
  • 2 cups chicken broth


  1. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over med/low heat. Add the flour and whisk for approx. 1 minute
  2. Add all the spices and stir.
  3. Gradually and slowly add the broth, whisking to prevent any lumps.
  4. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until enchilada sauce thickens.
  5. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge.


Calories 110; Fat 7.75 gr; Chol 0; Sodium 427.5; Carbs 9.5; Fiber 2 gr; Sugar .6 gr; Protein 2 gr


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup

GLUTEN FREE:  To make this gluten free, simply use a GF flour
VEGETARIAN:  To make this vegetarian, simply use a vegetable broth
VEGAN:  Same as vegetarian

This enchilada sauce goes great in these Shredded Chicken Enchiladas!





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  1. Penny Villegas says:

    This is the best enchilada sauce i’ve ever made. I would love to know if it could be canned? I would love to can it.

  2. Love this sauce. I made enchiladas for my children. Using this sauce. They are very picky about enchiladas. But said they were better than any they had ever had. I am wondering if you could can this and have it ready at a moment’s notice?

  3. This sauce is very much like the one I’ve been making for 40 years. My wonderful mom n law taught me this among many other great recipes. We also call it gravy. We make it on holidays and put it over our turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, and anything else we have.

  4. No tomato sauce or tomato paste?

  5. THANK YOU for this recipe!!! I make a Mexican dish at least once a week and we love Enchiladas! Tonight I’m making a layered Enchilada Casserole and I’m so excited to have a fresh sauce NOT CANNED! I try to go as unprocessed as possible so this is a real treat for me and my family! YOU ROCK and it’s so EASY!

  6. Marcy Roland says:

    Absolutely excellent enchilada sauce. Super easy to make. This has made it to my favorite recipe list.

  7. Jake D from Iowa says:

    Amazing sauce and so easy to make with ingredients most people have in their cupboards all the time. I will literally NEVER buy canned sauce again! Family loves it and I’ve shared your recipe with several people. I ran a family restaurant for many years and Mexican food was a major part of my menu. Wish I had this recipe back then! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Seriously excellent. No way on the cinnamon for me, just because I have experimented before. I was leary of the vinegar, but tested before adding and the sauce was a tad bland. Added the vinegar, stirred and retested after a couple minutes and ohh sweet baby Jesus in a Manger that’s good.
    I added 1/2 tsp of the sauce from a can of adobo chilies after making sure to follow your recipe just to kick it up a tad and this is my favorite red Chile sauce ever. Great job

  9. I just made the mixture, and put it in the oven, I am super excited to try it! Thank you so much for the recipe! I am extremely allergic to MSG, and buy nothing out of a can if I can help it! Ill let you know how it turns out! Thanks again!

  10. Karen Hodges says:

    Never buying another can of sauce…so easy and so good. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Super easy and much better than canned

  12. I just have to let you know that your enchilada sauce is the only one I make and use now. I’ve been making it for over a year now and I love it. I get so many compliments on it too. Thank you for sharing your recipe with us.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wow, husband and kid said best enchiladas ever! Going to use the sauce with
    Cheese enchiladas for my hindu friends who love to try new food.

  14. This is a very good and simple enchilada sauce. For those critical that it is not authentic, yes you can make more elaborate sauce with toasting Chile’s, etc, but one doesn’t always have time to do that. And this is really perfectly good and easier alternative. My mom would usually make it this way. A few notes why that make or break the final results:
    – the chili is important! It is the main ingredient after all. I prefer New Mexico Chili and it comes in mild, med, hot, and very hot. California chili is also good.
    – don’t over cook the chili after adding to rue. Just a minute is good or it can get bitter.

  15. Melissa LaBarrere says:

    This sauce was amazing! The only complaint from my family was that there was not enough of it!

  16. Made this sauce tonight and I added some cinnamon so my kids would eat it n and used beef broth, it was delicious! This will b our new go to sauce! Thanks!

  17. Not to be rude but this is not how you make enchilada sauce.

    • This is an easier way to make the enchilada sauce without having to go through the process of cooking dried chilies,etc. And some people may not be able to get the dry chilies so powder is acceptable. I use this method myself and the recipe is good Debi! I have tried a similar recipe so nothing wrong with it! Beats using that awful canned stuff!

  18. I’m wanting to make enchiladas tonight, but don’t have chicken broth available, and really don’t want to go to the store. Will it hurt anything to use beef broth? I’m making venison enchiladas, so I’m actually thinking beef broth may be better?

  19. I’ve made this before and it’s really delicious. I know people think it’s hard to do this rue, but if you do you will never go back to a can again. My mom and grandmother alway did their own sauces but i’ve seem to have lost the recipe book they did for me. I’ve had to resort to Pintrest for a lot of recipes that I can’t seem to remember, and asking my mom and grandma is not an option. Thank you for posting!

  20. I just made this sauce to use for dinner tonight. Like many other pinners, I too will be giving up the canned sauce! This sauce is delicious! I added a dash of cayenne for a little extra heat and a little lime juice too. I can’t wait until dinner is ready! Thanks for the great recipe!

  21. Hi, i would like to try this but can i use ibdian chili powder as am not sure what chili powder you used. Thanks

  22. Jacqueline says:

    How long can it be stored in the fridge?

  23. Brittany DeHerrera says:

    I made the sauce. Have to say it was my first attempt at making homemade enchilada sauce. It was delicious, thank you for sharing your recipe.

  24. Princess says:

    Super excited to say I’m trying this tomorrow. I hope it all works out. I’m nervous. Judging from comments I feel like it should be good. I’ve had tex Mex before but gosh it’s been years that I don’t remember what it taste like. But again judging from comments I’m sure it’ll fine. Quick question however , I just left the store and forgot the EVOO, on account of me being lazy how bad will it taste if I use regular oil vegetable oil?

  25. Anonymous says:

    I made this sauce about a month ago and it was a hit at my house. We are all fans of Tex Mex style and this was perfect. The folks who didn’t like the recipe are probably accustomed to interior Mexico sauces. My kids probably wouldn’t touch it if I put ancho chiles in it. Someone else commented that it ruined taco night?

    • Thanks so much. I’ve been looking for a recipe similar to the one my Mexican friend makes., with NO TOMATO! Can’t wait to try.

  26. Christina Lyle says:

    Can the enchilada sauce be made and canned ?
    Thank you
    Christina Lyle

  27. Victoria says:

    Scared this will be too spicy for 11 yr old????? How to spice it down? Or is is already “mild”?
    Happy Cinco

  28. This really was the best enchilada sauce! Goodbye store-bought! Hello home-made! Thanks for your creativity in this lovely dish!

  29. Kristina C says:

    This is awesome enchilada sauce. I made a recipe and a half and there was plenty for a whole pan of 8 enchiladas plus extra and we like our enchiladas saucy! The one change I made to this recipe was to use Knorr Tomato/Chicken bouillon instead of plain chicken broth. This recipe is SUPER easy and EXTRA yummy.

    Thank you for the recipe, Debi (-:

  30. I always thought enchilada sauce had tomatoes in it. Were those accidentally left out or am I totally mistaken about enchilada sauce?

  31. Mary Williams says:

    Thank you for your prompt reply.

  32. Mary Williams says:

    I was wondering about Weight Watchers information. Calories, fat grams, carbs, sugar, protein,.

    I am Mexican and I loved your enchulda sauce. And I am thrilled that it is organic, thinner in consistency than “authentic”, sooooooooo tasty. Thank you. I have made it twice now. My husband and son love it!!!!!

  33. This was absolutely wonderful! I’m just getting started cooking and am looking for recipes to replace “stock ingredients” that we use so often. Thank you!

  34. I’m confused that this enchilada sauce has no tomatoes or tomato sauce of any kind

    • I like to garnish fresh lettuce and tomatoes on top of my cooked enchiladas. I’m from New Mexico, and I hardly ever see tomatoes in red enchilada chili sauce.

      I will try this recipe in my posole tonight.

  35. How long will this keep in the fridge?

  36. Authentic Tex mex! Thanks just what I was looking for

  37. This turned out so yummy. First batch I made with hot chili powder and then second with mild. Happy girl here because I hate buying sauces I would always rather make it myself.

  38. Since I first made this sauce, I have never used store-bought again. I use it in enchiladas, as well as “enchilada stuffed shells.” I always have the ingredients, and making my own frees up some pantry space!

  39. Tasted like the stuff you get at Mexican restaurants. Not like canned at all. We loved it. Next time I’ll add a little more “kick”.

  40. Made it today with homemade broth and a little fresh lime juice. It turned out great. I’m going to make a large batch and can it.
    I will say that all of my spices were new from the store (and I made min wit a ltitle eXtra chili powder).
    Powdered dry spices like chili powder and cumin can lose their good flavors and kind of absorb the other flavors they may be close to in the spice cupboard. So if folks made this and thought it bland or that it tasted “off” may want to try again with fresh supplies.

    • I agree with you Jean on the spices. I try (and I use try lightly) to use my label maker and put the date on the bottom that I bought them. But you are right, older spices will not produce the same flavors as freshly bought ones.

    • Can this recipe be canned in a water bath?

  41. What makes it red? I’m missing something.

  42. I made this tonight, it was sooo good! Added a little tomato juice for kicks and it turned out great. I will never buy canned again!

  43. Could it be frozen?

  44. Easy sauce, very bland.

  45. The best is authentic. This is NOT authentic.

    • What would you do differently to make it authentic cab?

      • Hi. Use ancho chiles and take seeds out and throw in a pot that has boiling water throw in a few cloves of garlic and cover pot and let them soak like 30 minutes. Put chiles and garlic some sautéed onion, some salt a pinch of oregano and some broth and whirl away in blender. Add only a little broth at a time until desired thickness. I make a huge batch and freeze in quart size bags. This sauce is great for enchiladas.

  46. This sauce was quite good. A bit spicy for my taste, but my husband loves a little spice! 🙂

    • Thanks Katie! You can always dial it down a bit. I always make a recipe ‘as is’ the 1st go around and change it up to suit my taste the next time. Everyone in our family has a different tolerance when it comes to spices, my son being the spiciest and my husband being the lowest.

  47. I followed this recIpe exactly as written and it didn’t taste good at all! Taco night was definitely ruined at our house…I’m not sure what could have gone wrong but the flavor was very off.

  48. Simply the best sauce we have ever made


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