With just a few basic ingredients you can make your own Homemade Enchilada Sauce and you’ll never have to buy that canned stuff again.
Enchilada Sauce Recipe
If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I like to keep things pretty simple. So to make this recipe we’re not going to use dried peppers that need to be toasted and soaked and put in a blender. For one thing, dried peppers can be hard to find in some areas. I’m sure you could make an excellent sauce this way, but I’m going to let someone else do the blending. Mr. McCormick and Mr. Penzey do a fine job of it and they conveniently put the peppers in a little jar so you can buy it at a grocery store. They like to call it Chili Powder.
There are thousands of enchilada recipes out there and most have pretty much the same ingredients. Most of these are items that you probably have on hand.
Chili Powder. This is what gives the sauce it’s distinctive spicy heat. I have found that I like McCormick’s Hot Mexican Style chili powder. It’s a little bit spicier than regular American chili powder. If you live in a country other than the U.S., your chili powder could be a lot different than American. Australian chili powder is made mostly with cayenne pepper which would be way too spicy in the quantity I’ve specified. Make sure that you are using a spice that is not all cayenne pepper.
Oil and Flour. This is used for thickening of the sauce. I used canola oil but any neutral tasting vegetable oil or butter could be used. All-purpose flour was used here. If you are gluten free, you can use a gluten free flour blend.
Garlic powder/Onion powder/Cumin/Oregano. These are the classic spices that are in enchilada sauce. In this recipe I also added a small amount of cayenne pepper for an extra bit of heat. You can taste your sauce to see if it is spicy enough for you. Add cayenne pepper 1/4 teaspoon at a time to increase the heat.
Tomatoes. To keep this recipe simple, I used tomato sauce and paste. Fresh tomatoes could also be used, but you would have to use a blender to make a smooth sauce.
Chicken Broth. I used Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base to make the broth. You could also substitute vegetable broth or even beef broth for a slightly different flavor profile.
Making the sauce
Use a large saucepan and start by adding the oil and flour and stirring this together to form a roux. Let it cook for a couple minutes to remove the raw flour flavor.
Next, stir in the tomato paste and cook another minute or two.
I’m using my newest favorite kitchen gadget…a Scandinavian Whisk. It is so much better than a standard whisk when making gravy or this sauce. The whisking coils stay in contact with the pan and makes stirring this together super easy. Pick one of these up…you’ll love it.
Then add the broth and tomato sauce, whisking to prevent any lumps. Stir in the spices and bring the sauce to a boil.
That is it…you’ve made your own enchilada sauce. The recipe makes about 4 cups which can be placed in jars and refrigerated for at least a week. It could also be frozen and used when you need it.
Uses of enchilada sauce
Enchiladas. Smother your tortilla shells in this sauce , add some cheese on top and bake until the cheese is nice and melted. Also, take a look at my Easy Chicken Enchilada Skillet.
Soups and Casseroles. Anytime you’d like a Southwest flavored dish, try adding some of this sauce to it. Try some in my Cheesy Beef Noodle Bake.
Meats. Use it when frying chicken or use as a glaze on beef or pork roasts. How about spicy, pulled pork sandwiches? Start with my Electric Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches.
Nachos and Dips. Use it to add a little heat to your dips and nachos.
This is a super easy enchilada sauce to make and you probably have the ingredients in your pantry. Make a double batch and keep some in your freezer for the next time you are craving a spicy Southwest/Mexican inspired meal.
Simple Homemade Enchilada Sauce
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil or butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 can 15 oz. tomato sauce
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or distilled white vinegar)
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Use a large saucepan on medium heat and add oil and flour. Whisk together to form a roux and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and whisk together with the roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the chicken broth while whisking to prevent lumping then add the tomato sauce and spices. Whisk everything together and bring to a boil for several minutes to allow the spice flavors to blend well. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
- Use the sauce right away or store in jars refrigerated or in the freezer.
- A gluten free flour can be substituted for the wheat flour.
- Chicken broth or vegetable broth can be used. I'd try making this with beef broth for beef enchiladas.
- For a less spicy sauce, omit the cayenne pepper. For a spicier sauce, add cayenne pepper in 1/4 teaspoon increments until the right amount of heat is present.
- Store unused sauce in a jar...refrigerated for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Nutrition information is for approximately 1/4 cup sauce.
- This recipe makes approximately 3 1/2 cups of sauce
- You can thin the sauce with more broth if desired.