Enchilada Sauce

Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
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This homemade Enchilada Sauce will take your favorite enchilada recipes to the next level! Absolutely loaded with flavor, this sauce only takes 7 minutes to make. We promise that you’ll never want to cook with store-bought versions again!

Red enchilada sauce in a glass jar with a spoon.

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Why You’ll Love This Enchilada Sauce Recipe

This is the best enchilada sauce you’ve ever tasted – we promise! We can say that confidently, because our family has been making and refining it for over 10 years! Here are just a few reasons you’ll love it as much as we do:

  • So Easy: This red enchilada sauce only takes 7 minutes to make and uses ingredients you already have sitting in your spice drawer.
  • Make Ahead: Even though this recipe comes together really quickly, it’s nice to have homemade enchilada sauce on hand whenever you need it. We always make a double (or triple!) recipe to have for future weeknight dinners.
  • All That Flavor: The best part of making this enchilada sauce recipe is that you can make it your own! The base version as written is flavorful without being too spicy, which we prefer so the rest of the dish can shine. But it’s really easy to add some heat if you’d like. Either way, after one taste, you’ll never want to go back to jarred sauce ever again!

We love using this homemade enchilada sauce on … enchiladas! Some of our favorite recipes are the best vegetable enchiladas, gooey cheese enchiladas, and oh-so-tasty breakfast enchiladas. Get creative and enjoy!

Homemade enchilada sauce in a mason jar with a dish of enchiladas in the background.

What You’ll Need

With just a few ingredients, you’ll be able to whip up our homemade enchilada sauce in no time at all. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact amounts.

  • Olive Oil: We recommend using a nice fruity extra virgin olive oil since the flavor really does shine through.
  • Seasonings: We’ll be using ground cumin, adobo seasoning, garlic powder, white pepper, black pepper, ground coriander, and salt to taste.
  • Flour
  • Tomato Paste
  • Chicken Broth: You can also sub vegetable broth if you’d like to keep this sauce vegetarian.

How to Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce

This enchilada sauce recipe only takes SEVEN minutes from start to finish… Do you need any other reason to ditch the store-bought version for good? Check out the recipe card at the end of this post for detailed directions.

  • Cook: We’ll start with olive oil, all the seasonings, flour, and tomato paste cooked together for one minute. This will make a ‘roux-like’ consistency that’s really important for the overall taste and texture of the sauce.
  • Add Broth: Add the broth and cook for 5 minutes while whisking constantly. You’ll know it’s done when the enchilada sauce and nice and thick!
  • Store or Enjoy: That’s it! You can let it cool if you’re planning to store the sauce for later, or use hot in your favorite recipe.

Tips for Best Results

If you’re new to making homemade sauces, you’ll appreciate these tips and tricks.

  • Don’t Skip the Cook: It’s really important to not skip the step of cooking the flour with the spices. This is what thickens the sauce, and you definitely don’t want to taste raw flour!
  • Fresh Spices: We’re guilty of having spices we only use once in a blue moon. But did you know that spices start to lose their flavor and aroma fairly quickly? Some people say you should replace spices after 6 months. Others say 2 years. We tend to fall somewhere in the middle. Either way, this red enchilada sauce will be more flavorful the more potent your spices are. If you have a jar of cumin that’s been sitting on the shelf for 5 years, it might be time to replace it!
  • Spice It Up: It’s really easy to add some additional heat to this base recipe. Cayenne pepper adds a subtle, but powerful, kick. Start with a 1/2 teaspoon and go up from there. We’re partial to the smokey flavor of chipotle in adobo sauce. Add one pepper to start along with some of that rich, savory sauce. You’ll need to puree the enchilada sauce if you go this route (we certainly don’t like chunks of peppers in ours!). Hot sauce is another good option and there are so many versions out there. Just choose your favorite and enjoy!
Homemade enchilada sauce recipe in a jar with a spoon scooping some out.

What to Serve With Red Enchilada Sauce

We gave you a few options earlier in this post on how to use this amazing red enchilada sauce. But it doesn’t hurt to broaden your horizons even more! We love using this homemade sauce in our enchilada pasta, adobo chicken enchiladas, and buffalo chicken enchiladas too. When it comes to pairings, we’re pretty partial to the classics, so we’ll often reach for some chips and salsa (or salsa verde!) or our favorite guacamole. That makes for a pretty awesome and flavorful meal!

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Homemade enchilada sauce is super easy to store and holds up really well in the fridge and the freezer. It takes no extra effort to double (or triple) the recipe, and then you’ll always have sauce ready to go whenever you need it!

  • Refrigerate: Leftover sauce will be good for 7 days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container or glass jar. Be aware that the sauce may thicken a bit, but you can always thin it out with some additional broth.
  • Reheat: You can give your container of enchilada sauce a quick heat in the microwave, but it’ll heat well in whatever recipe you’re cooking. We usually let the sauce sit out on the counter for at least a half hour just so it’s not super cold when we want to use it.
  • Freeze: Before freezing, allow the sauce to cool completely to room temperature. Transfer to freezer-friendly bags and lay them flat to freeze. They’ll be good for up to 6 months.
Red enchilada sauce in a glass jar with a spoon.

More Homemade Sauce Recipes

Homemade enchilada sauce recipe in a jar with a spoon scooping some out.
4.5 from 98 votes
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Yield: 3 .5 cups sauce

Enchilada Sauce

This homemade Enchilada Sauce will take your favorite enchilada recipes to the next level! Absolutely loaded with flavor, this sauce only takes 7 minutes to make. We promise that you'll never want to cook with store-bought versions again!
Cook Time7 minutes
Total Time7 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons adobo seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt, to taste as needed

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  • In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add cumin, adobo, garlic powder, white pepper, coriander, black pepper, flour, and tomato paste.
  • Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool. Use in recipes as desired.
  • Store in an airtight container in fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to 6 months!



Serving: 12servings, Calories: 97kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 293mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g


Post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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5 stars
I have never been a huge fan of enchiladas. Something in the sauce never appealed to me. Until now! You have now changed my mind! What a difference homemade sauce makes. And so easy! Thank you!

This sauce gets a double thumbs up. One question, can you use chicken stock instead of chicken broth?

This enchilada sauce is delicious and easy. This is my go to sauce from now on.

I made this tonight and used with your vegetarian enchiladas (meatless Monday). I added the chipotle and the sauce was really good. I will definitely make this again. It was easy. Thanks!


[…] the best possible flavor, make your own homemade enchilada sauce. It makes a world of difference and only takes 7 minutes to whip up! You can absolutely use a […]


[…] if you have the time, we love this Homemade Enchilada Sauce from our sister site, The Novice Chef. It has tons of flavor and can be made ahead of time and even […]

4 stars
I made this sauce in a pinch, substituting gluten free AP flour for regular flour (about 2 tbsp). It was a massive hit!

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For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.