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29 May 2020

A very flavorful quick and easy enchilada sauce recipe that is ready in only 10 minutes. So much better than canned sauce. Get those enchiladas ready!

Enchiladas are awesome! We could eat enchiladas any day of the week. Problem is, making a truly awesome homemade red enchilada sauce takes some time. If you’re like us, you don’t always have the time, but you still want awesome food.

So do we!

After some experimentation, I have a super quick version of an easy enchilada sauce that is quite delicious, and not only works on enchiladas, but on other meals as well. Try it on quesadillas, drizzled into a burrito, over tacos…you get the idea!

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce in a Bowl, ready for serving

What’s the Secret to Making Enchilada Sauce Fast?

The secret to making a quick and easy enchilada sauce that tastes great is chili powder. We start with a simple roux, which is a mixture of flour and oil or butter, then add chili powder, tomato paste and a few other seasonings. Very simple!

A good red enchilada sauce recipe usually starts from dried chili peppers that need to be rehydrated. It really is a GREAT enchilada sauce, but it does take time. When you don’t have the time but want enchiladas anyway, use this recipe. It is absolutely delicious.

The chili powder brings a LOT of flavor to the finished sauce. You’re sure to love it, and you can easily adjust the amount of chili powder used to fit your own taste preferences. And it is far better than any store bought version.

So, get your ingredients ready. Here is what you’ll need.

Red Enchilada Sauce in a Bowl

Easy Enchilada Sauce Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup red chili powder (ancho powder is GREAT here, or use a mix of ancho and guajillo, or your favorite blend)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Easy Homemade Enchilada Sauce for enchiladas

How to Make Easy Enchilada Sauce

Start with a Roux. Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the olive oil. Stir in the flour and keep stirring continually for 5 minutes, until the roux (flour and oil mixture) begins to brown. I shoot for the color of peanut butter or a copper penny for my roux.

Make the Enchilada Sauce. Stir in the chili powder, tomato paste, vegetable or chicken broth and seasonings until a sauce consistency forms. If it is too thick for your tastes, add in a bit more of the stock or a bit of water, a tablespoon at a time.

Develop the Flavor. Simmer the enchilada sauce for 3-5 minutes to let the flavors develop a bit. It should thicken up nicely for you.

Adjust to Your Tastes. Taste and adjust to your preference with salt and pepper – and maybe more spicy chili powder!

Serve. Your quick and easy enchilada sauce is ready to serve. Time to eat!

That’s it! I hope you enjoy your enchiladas, my friends! Such an easy recipe, isn’t it? It tastes very much like an authentic Mexican enchilada sauce. Definitely one of Patty’s favorites.

Thick and Rich Red Enchilada Sauce on a spoon

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • Tomato Sauce. You can easily make this recipe with tomato sauce instead of tomato paste. Just omit some of the broth so it won’t be too thin of a sauce. Or you can simmer it longer to thicken it.
  • The Flour. I use simple all-purpose flour for this recipe, though you can also use gluten-free flour or other flours, as long as they thicken the sauce properly.
  • Broth. You can use any type of broth or stock for this recipe. I usually use either chicken stock or a quick soup base that I just mix with water, making this crazy easy. You can also use vegetable broth, beef broth or others. If in a pinch, just use water.
  • Other Herbs. I like to keep my recipe simple with a few herbs and seasonings, but add in others to your preference. Cumin and oregano are a popular combo. Mexican oregano is great. Try it with dried basil.
  • Chili Powder. There are many different chili powders you can try for this recipe, though I would encourage you to experiment with combinations of them. Consider Mexican chili powders for more authentic flavor, such as ancho powder, chipotle powder, morita powder, chile de arbol and others. Or, use an American chili powder blend, which is also great here.
  • Simmering and Thickening. The recipe calls for a quick simmer of only 3-5 minutes, but you can simmer longer if you’d like to develop even more flavor. To do so, add in a bit more of your chosen stock or  some extra water. Simmer to reduce the overall liquid consistency. The easy enchilada sauce will thicken the longer you simmer, but again, you can very easily adjust the consistency with a bit more stock or water stirred in at the end.

Serving Suggestions for Easy Enchilada Sauce

Of course you can use this recipe to make quick and easy chicken, beef or black bean enchiladas, but it’s great with any type of Mexican cuisine. Try it out with carne asada as a saucy topping, spoon it over huevos rancheros, drizzle some over migas (Mexican scrambled eggs with crispy tortillas), use it to make sauce Chili Colorado, or sauce up your favorite burritos and tacos recipes

Honestly, I like to keep versions of this sauce in the fridge or even in my freezer for quick and easy uses. I can stir it into all sorts of soups and stews and love it spooned over nacho bowls. You can also use this for your next pasta instead of your typical pasta sauce for a Mexican or Southwest American spin. Mexican style pasta, anyone? Yes, I’m in!

Try These Other Enchilada Recipes

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce on a spoon

If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce on a spoon
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Quick and Easy Enchilada Sauce Recipe

A very flavorful quick and easy enchilada sauce recipe that is ready in only 10 minutes. So much better than canned sauce. Get those enchiladas ready!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: enchiladas, recipe, sauce, spicy
Servings: 4
Calories: 174kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup red chili powder (ancho powder is GREAT here, or use a combo of ancho and guajillo, or use your favorite blend)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat a large pan to medium heat. Add oil and get it nice and warm.
  • Stir in the flour. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir constantly, for 5 minutes, until the mixture browns.
  • Add in chili powder, tomato paste, broth, cumin and garlic powder. Stir to incorporate.
  • Allow the mixture to thicken up and become consistent, stirring often. If the enchilada sauce is too thick, swirl in in a bit more stock/broth or water a tablespoon at a time.
  • Simmer for 3-5 minutes to let the flavors develop.
  • Salt and pepper to taste, then set aside until ready to use.

Video

Notes

Makes 2 cups.
Tomato Sauce. You can easily make this recipe with tomato sauce instead of tomato paste. Just omit some of the broth so it won't be too thin of a sauce. Or you can simmer it longer to thicken it.
Broth. You can use any type of broth or stock for this recipe, or use water if out of stock.
Other Herbs. Cumin and oregano are a popular combo. Mexican oregano is great. Try it with dried basil.
Chili Powder. Consider Mexican chili powders for more authentic flavor, such as ancho powder, chipotle powder, morita powder, chile de arbol and others. Or, use an American chili powder blend.
Simmering and Thickening. Simmer longer for more developed flavor. Add more stock or water as needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 454mg | Potassium: 431mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 710IU | Vitamin C: 9.3mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1.6mg

NOTE: This recipe was updated on 5/29/20 to include new information, photos and video. It was originally published on 6/10/14.

 
Quick and Easy Enchilada Sauce

2 comments

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Jim! Yep, I do love it spicy for sure! Enjoy!






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