Homemade Enchilada Sauce

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Homemade Enchilada Sauce is a must-have staple that will enhance any Tex-Mex or south-of-the-border dish. The great thing about my homemade enchilada sauce recipe is that can control the ingredients to keep out the preservatives or MSG that are in some store-bought versions.

We love adding this homemade enchilada sauce to Beef Enchilada Dip, or enchilada soup. Homemade is always better!

A jar of homemade enchilada sauce with cilantro and tomatoes

What is Enchilada Sauce?

Enchiladas are a soft corn tortillas rolled around shredded or ground meat or chicken, then smothered in enchilada sauce and baked in the oven. Enchilada sauce is zesty and flavorful. Hence, it forms the basis of many other Mexican dishes too. You can spoon it over tacos, or use it to enhance the filling in burritos or chimichangas.

What’s in Enchilada Sauce?

Authentic enchilada sauce is basically chili powder simmered in a broth with garlic, onion, tomato paste/sauce and thickened with flour. I start by browning the flour with some oil until it’s fragrant, this step only takes a few minutes but adds a lot of flavor!

While this is a red enchilada sauce, there are other variations (like the green enchilada sauce I add to my creamy chicken enchiladas).

Green enchilada sauce is a little less spicy than red enchilada sauce. Instead of tomato paste and red chili powder, green enchilada sauce recipes use roasted and peeled poblano peppers, cumin, and oregano. You can roast the poblanos as you would make any roasted peppers.

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A pot of enchilada sauce ready for making homemade enchiladas

How to Make Enchilada Sauce

Making enchilada sauce is simple, and literally takes only minutes and requires almost no prep work! You’ll make a sort of a roux with the tomato sauce and broth.

  1. Place oil and flour in a pan and cook until light brown and fragrant.
  2. Stir all the spices and seasoning ingredients and cook for one minute more.
  3. Add the liquids in slowly, stirring as you add to prevent lumps. (It will be thick at first, keep on stirring after each addition until smooth).
  4. Simmer for a few minutes more, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour this sauce over a pan of baked enchiladas for an authentic Mexican meal that your family will love.

Note: This enchilada sauce recipe has been updated (2019) for improved flavor and consistency.

4.5 from 2 votes
Review Recipe

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Dip, Dressing
Cuisine American, Mexican, Tex Mex
This homemade enchilada sauce is perfect on chicken enchiladas or any other recipe you have in mind! 


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cans tomato sauce 15 ounces each
  • 3 cups chicken broth

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  1. Heat oil in a saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook 2-3 minutes while stirring until fragrant and nutty smelling.

  2. Stir in chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and oregano. Cook 1 minute more.

  3. Add tomato sauce and broth a little at a time, stirring between each addition until smooth. 

  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer 2-3 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Information is based on 1 tablespoon of enchilada sauce.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 15, Sodium: 155mg, Potassium: 71mg, Carbohydrates: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2.3%, Vitamin C: 1.8%, Calcium: 0.3%, Iron: 1.5%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword enchilada sauce
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This homemade enchilada sauce is an easy homemade sauce that's perfect on chicken enchiladas, tacos, burritos, or any other dish you can think of! #spendwithpennies #enchiladas #enchilada #enchiladasauce #tacosauce #mexicansauce

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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  1. Just made this and it was very good. Not hard to make at all. I would probably double all of the spices because we like food a bit more spicy! It was rather mild.

  2. When you say to add broth in this recipe, what kind of broth? Chicken, beef or vegetable, or does it matter? Looking forward to making this!

  3. Holly I am going to make this sauce it sounds amazing. How much does the recipe yield. And what do I have to do to can this I like to make enough to store some in my pantry. Also do you know if I need to add lemon juice due to the tomatoe in it. And also the canning salt. I would appreciate your input on this thank you Rosa

    1. This makes about 4 cups. I don’t have experience in canning so I can’t answer your questions. Hopefully another reader has some experience and advice!

  4. Holly, I am astounded at how uniformly successful your recipes are to execute in my kitchen. They are so consistent in taste and satisfaction, which is quite rare in my experience. I’ve visited a lot of foodie-type websites, and yours is by far the best and the most well-rounded. The ingredients lists are always simple, the instructions are clear, and the results are delicious. My latest success is this enchilada sauce. Never again will I buy the stuff. I’m now about to go create the Beef Enchilada Casserole — from your site. Yayay You for being so …. honourable (?)!

    1. Ruthielil, Thank you so much for such a kind and lovely message, you’ve truly made my week. I’m so happy you have found the recipes easy to follow and you’ve enjoyed them!

  5. Have you ever frozen this sauce? Or canned it? Would pouring it into a canning jar hot (so it would seal) and keeping it in the fridge be OK?

      1. Doesn’t matter, I’ll just freeze the rest. This is the BEST red enchilada sauce I have ever had1
        I used some of the sauce leftover from the crock pot enchiladas (amazing and going into the rotation!) to make “enchilada bread” for a Super Bowl gathering Mixed cooked chicken, shredded pepper jack and some of the sauce rolled up in a “canned” pizza dough and baked. More sauce for dipping. It was a hit.

  6. I’m a fan of making sauces from scratch rather than buying them off a shelf. This one is definitely going on the list of one of my favourites! And so is your website :) Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  7. Thanks for the recipe share; I was actually searching the web looking for an Enchilada Sauce recipe – and so far, this one is the best!!