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Enchilada Sauce

5 from 19 votes

posted: 01/23/20

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Enchilada Sauce is an easy homemade recipe and so much better than the store bought version. This recipe is a keeper and will take your enchiladas to the next level!

glass mason jar of enchilada sauce with cilantro next to it

For years I have had several recipes on my site that use red enchilada sauce, but I have often taken the short cut of the store bought version.

All of that changes now!

I have been working hard to develop this perfect Enchilada Sauce recipe, and it is absolutely amazing. The seasonings in it are inspired from a recipe in an old vegetarian cookbook my mom often used: Moosewood.

I used that as a starting off point and tweaked it until I had a recipe that knocked my socks off. Please note that this in no way is an authentic Mexican enchilada sauce that has a base of chiles. This is simply meant to take the place of what Americans are used to buying.

Reader Review

This recipe was SO simple! The entire family loved this one! (which is not an easy feat! lol) Thanks for sharing this, we could not be more satisfied!

overhead of a gray skillet on a marble counter with enchilada sauce recipe, next to a white and blue striped cloth napkin and fresh cilantro

Why it is Better Than Store Bought

If you are someone who shies away from homemade ingredients for convenience, I get it. But I would urge you to bend those rules for this recipe.

This homemade enchilada sauce comes together in just 20 minutes and most of the ingredients are things you probably already have in your pantry.

Thick and creamy, this recipe has the exact flavor that you are looking for. It is absolutely worth the extra time it will take to make it.

How to Make Enchilada Sauce

This will give you a brief overview of how easy this is.

Make sure you head to the bottom of this post to get the full list of measurements and a printable recipe.

  1. Sauté an onion in a little oil.
  2. Add in chili powder and cumin.
  3. Stir in flour.
  4. Slowly whisk in chicken stock and tomato sauce.
  5. Stir in minced garlic
  6. Simmer and then blend if you choose.

You don’t have to blend it at the end, but I like the smooth texture.

pouring homemade enchilada sauce over a baking dish full of beef enchiladas

Getting the Garlic Flavor Right

I want to point out a little tip I learned from Moosewood. We are adding the garlic towards the end because it brings a stronger flavor when added later. If you aren’t the biggest garlic fan, you can add it earlier with the onion.

close up overhead of thick and creamy red enchilada sauce in a mason jar


Use it right away or store it in the refrigerator (after it cools) in an airtight container for up to a week.

You can also freeze it in an airtight container, making sure you leave room for expansion. Store in your freezer for up to three months.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Chicken Enchilada Casserole is perfect easy comfort food. Just a touch easier than chicken enchiladas, you will love this make ahead and freezer friendly casserole!
overhead of a chicken enchilada casserole in a baking dish
a spoon dishing up red enchilada sauce recipe as it slowly drips off back into mason jar

Recipes Enchilada Sauce Will Work Great In

I have a GREAT Beef Enchilada recipe coming later this week, but until then here are some delicious recipes to use this in.

If you make this recipe, leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Share in my obsession with me!

a spoon dishing up red enchilada sauce recipe as it slowly drips off back into mason jar
5 from 19 votes

Enchilada Sauce

Serves: 2 cups
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 4 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Enchilada Sauce is an easy homemade recipe and so much better than the store bought version. This recipe is a keeper and will take your enchiladas to the next level!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic minced


  • Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add in the onions and season with salt. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Wisk in the cumin and chili powder and toast for 30 seconds.
  • Whisk in the all purpose flour.
  • Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, adding just a little at a time. Stir in the tomato sauce. Stir in the minced garlic.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. (I like to use a screen while it simmers.) Either leave it as is, or transfer to a blender to puree.
  • Use immediately, store in an airtight container in the refrigeator for up to 1 week, or freeze in an airtight container for up to three months.
Serving: 0.25cups Calories: 47kcal (2%) Carbohydrates: 8g (3%) Protein: 1g (2%) Fat: 2g (3%) Monounsaturated Fat: 1g Sodium: 427mg (19%) Potassium: 289mg (8%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 3g (3%) Vitamin A: 3IU Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) Calcium: 4mg Iron: 7mg (39%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Latin American
a spoon dishing up red enchilada sauce recipe as it slowly drips off back into mason jar

did you make this

Enchilada Sauce

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


    Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you & seeing what you made!

    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Misty says

    5 stars
    I tried your chicken enchilada recipe and decided to make your “un” authentic enchilada sauce. Its very tasty supereasy and hopefully my family will enjoy it. Super easy and came together nicely. Next step is to use it for the enchilada casserole. Bravo!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy you liked it, Misty!

  2. Evelyn says

    Hi Lisa,
    I am always looking for easy recipes and especially Mexican, so I am anxious to receive all of your recipes.
    Thanks so much for all of your work on these great sounding recipes.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you love them, Evelyn!

  3. Chantal says

    Hi Lisa, When you say tomato sauce, do you mean tomato purée?
    I love your recipes!
    Thanks, Chantal in Sweden

    • Lisa Longley says

      Correct! The ingredients should be just tomatoes, and it should be strained of all pulp and seeds.

  4. Susie says

    5 stars
    🥰🧡🐈 Lisa thank you again for another wonderful recipe… I had all the ingredients on hand, and it turned out beautifully…🥰
    So very easy and so much better than canned…🥰❤️
    … I made half of it a little spicier for the adults… And the grand children I kept it just as your recipe said and it was perfect. Thank you.🧡🐈🥰

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  5. Rick says

    5 stars
    I followed the recipe, made a double batch. There are only two brands of enchilada sauce available locally. Neither of them enhanced my enchiladas. I was glad to find this recipe, then ecstatic when I made it!
    I’ve used it many times now, the only variation is I match the stock to the meat. The enchiladas are magnificent!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad to hear that you liked it!

  6. Jerry Zimbelman says

    5 stars
    Made your enchilada sauce and was quite impressed added a little bit of jalapeno juice for punch and got rave reviews.thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad that you liked it!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners