Best Homemade & QUICK Enchilada Sauce (Top 10 Ways to Use It!)

 Ditch the can, this Homemade Enchilada Sauce will make you feel like you’re at your favorite Mexican restaurant in ten minutes!

Ditch the can, feel like you're at your favorite Mexican restaurant in ten minutes! Homemade Enchilada sauce that is so good you'll top it on everything, even your eggs!

This Homemade Enchilada Sauce (which I am actually surprised I hadn’t posted yet) is the base recipe I use in more than half of my recipes. You haven’t seen a lot of Mexican recipes on the blog to this point and that seems to be in spite of the fact that we eat it a LOT. It is so easy to make I usually have it in my fridge and ALWAYS have it in my freezer because truth be told, I make it in 8 times the size. I scaled it down so you could make a quantity for one meal, but trust me, after you make it once you’ll be doing in it bulk too!

It can be hard sometimes to introduce spice into the diet of young kids, so this recipe is a perfect one not only for our toddler, but even our infant who at grilled chicken that was marinaded in this sauce overnight for dinner on Sunday. I find that probably 35-40% of our meals on a weekly basis work off of one of my “mother” sauces. No not the original mother sauces, our family’s version of them.

We have a small pool of sauces that get repurposed into a dozen or so meals each. They’re so easy I keep them on hand at all times so when it is 6:00 pm and I am completely drawing a blank on dinner I can go into the deep freeze, grab a sauce and make dinner. Want another one of our favorites? Zankou Chicken Armenian Garlic Paste. We use that sauce on so much I need to write a love letter to Zankou thanking them for this recipe. When you find a good sauce that will get eaten by everyone in the house, trust me you will get creative and use it on as much as you can. Speaking of using it on everything, here are some of the ways we use this sauce!

Ways to use this enchilada sauce:

  1. Duh, enchiladas. I mean what else would’ve been #1?
  2. Mexican Lasagna (I make mine with homemade tortillas, recipe forthcoming…soon)
  3. Chicken Tamale Bake (coming tomorrow)
  4. Taco Sauce
  5. Burritos “Enchilada Style” (This is a throwback to Baja Fresh’s enchilada style burritos…SO GOOD) – top the burrito with the Homemade Enchilada Sauce, some shredded cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
  6. Mix with sour cream for a creamy spicy sauce (top almost anything with this, like the Cheesecake Factory Tamale Corn Cakes)
  7. Mix with sour cream as a dip too, for things like taquitos
  8. Mix with Ranch Dressing for a taco salad
  9. Top your eggs with it for easy huevos rancheros
  10. Works as a great marinade for chicken/pork too. I sort of scrape off the excess and grill on my cast iron griddle.

So I was going to include photos of the process here, but as I edited them it felt so dull and not necessary. There are really no tricky parts to worry about here. This Homemade Enchilada Sauce is amazing and easy. That being said, if you have any questions, please feel free to sound off below! I am happy to answer any questions I can! Ditch the can, feel like you're at your favorite Mexican restaurant in ten minutes! Homemade Enchilada sauce that is so good you'll top it on everything, even your eggs!

PS, the glass in the picture is pretty much one of my favorite kitchen items (and from our wedding registry at Crate and Barrel no less!) They are old school French glasses that you buy with lids that you can put on the top and store. They are inexpensive and heavy duty (I haven’t broken one yet!) and they double for drinking glasses.S
Food Processor: Because pre-shredded cheeses contain an additive to avoid clumping they also don’t melt as well as you’d hope so I always shred my own

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Best Homemade Enchilada Sauce (And Quick!)

Ditch the can, feel like you're at your favorite Mexican restaurant in ten minutes! Homemade Enchilada sauce that is so good you'll top it on everything, even your eggs!
Yield 12 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Mexican
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth (water can work too)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • Heat the canola oil in a saucepan on medium heat.
  • Add the flour and chili powder and stir.
  • Cook until the bright red color turns a bit brown while stirring.
  • In a small bowl mix the tomato sauce with the rest of the ingredients until it is fully blended.
  • Add to your saucepan and whisk until fully mixed.
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat until thickened.


Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 60mg | Vitamin A: 595IU | Vitamin C: 1.6mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 0.7mg
Keyword: Best Homemade Enchilada Sauce, easy enchilada sauce

Ditch the can, feel like you're at your favorite Mexican restaurant in ten minutes! Homemade Enchilada sauce that is so good you'll top it on everything, even your eggs!

Ditch the can, feel like you're at your favorite Mexican restaurant in ten minutes! Homemade Enchilada sauce that is so good you'll top it on everything, even your eggs!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. This was so easy to make! A hit with the infamous 3 year old who NEVER eats dinner! Also a hit with the 16 month old and the hubby! Loved all around! Not too hot! Just enough spice and tons of flavor!

  2. Hi Sabrina,

    I loved this quick enchilada sauce! I used low-sodium tomato sauce (trying to watch the salt and planned on using this sauce for a Frito pie which has a lot of salt too). But I had two questions:

    I/4 cup seemed like a lot of oil. Could I have used less oil? Is the oil really that important to the flavor?

    Since I used low sodium tomato sauce, it was on the tangy (sour) side, which I didn’t mind, but my husband did.

    Any suggestions on making the taste less sour? I was going to add a bit of sugar, but I wanted to try your recipe just as is first. Then play around with ingredients on the next batch.

    Thanks so much for this great recipe. I can see myself using this quick to make sauce on soooo many dishes!!!


    1. Hello Linda, you can definitely add sugar to the tomato sauce. As for the oil, that’s more really a personal preference. I wouldn’t say it adds any flavor but rather a crispiness.
      Glad you guys enjoyed it none theless. Thank you for trying out my recipe.

  3. This sauce is soooooo much better than canned enchilada sauce. And it’s so easy to make. I see you also have a recipe for taco bell red sauce (which this really reminded me of that).

  4. So easy. So fast. So delicious. And even better the next day. I’d prep the 2nd half before starting so you don’t risk burning the flour and chili in the oil.

  5. Try at your own risk….I don’t mean to gross you guys out but….this recipe gave me the runs IMMEDIATELY after I was done eating. I don’t have a sensitive stomach but that sauce was burning in my stomach and had me running to the restroom. It was delicious at first but I regretted ever trying it.

    1. Hello Vanessa, I am so sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you. I hope you are recovered now and maybe a different recipe will sit better with you. Thank you for your support!

  6. This was so good and so easy to make. It made my kitchen smell amazing. I made shredded beef and bean enchiladas with it. It was restaurant quality all the way. Definitely a keeper. No more jarred sauce. The best part is that I always stock all the ingredients used for it.

  7. This smelled and tasted delicious! I didn’t have any tomato sauce so used an equal amount of pureed jarred salsa and reduced the chili powder to 2 Tbls. Will be saving this recipe!

    1. Hi, I’m just curious if you reduced the chili powder because it was just too much or you wanted it mild? My fiance doesn’t like spicy food at all so I’m just wondering if this would work.

  8. Love this sauce so much and I love knowing what’s in my food!
    I’ve been using canola oil per the recipe but generally use olive oil in everything…would olive oil change the taste too much? The sauce is amazing following the recipe and I don’t want to ruin it…lol

  9. Wow! This enchalada sauce is amazing.Absolutely the best I’ve ever had. Thanks for sharing this recipe

  10. This is an incredible sauce that goes great with DTD’s beef enchilada recipe. My family was looking for a good make-at-home recipe for beef enchiladas just like you get at the Mexican restaurants. And, wow, DTD’s recipe for beef enchiladas really hit all the flavor bells on the tastes that I was expecting. However, what I would suspect, is that the recipe is based on this red sauce. So, I think the red sauce is what is the secret ingredient that we were missing when we made other Mexican recipes on the web. So, not only did we get a good beef enchilada recipe, but we also got a great underlying red sauce recipe that can be used on beef enchiladas or any other Mexican food. So, like Ms. Sabrina says, this type of sauce is something that she makes in bulk for her family …. Well, I see why now. It is that delicious.

  11. This is fabulous as is, but I added a tablespoon of peanut butter and agave to add touch of sweetness. Thank you for this delicious, easy recipe!

  12. This recipe was AMAZEBALLS. Seriously. This was so easy, so quick, and as an Arizona girl raised on authentic Mexican food, this was on point. My entire family was impressed and wanted seconds (even my parents-in-law!!). My family agreeing on anything, in and of itself, is no small feat!

    I am most definitely putting it in the dinner rotation. No more canned enchilada sauce! Woot! Woot!

    Try it. You will love it!

    Thanks for the great recipe!! You rock!

  13. Wow. This sauce was so simple to make and delicious. I made my enchiladas with shredded chicken, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and black beans. Used corn tortillas. The sauce added the right amount of spice. Definitely a keeper.

  14. Ours didn’t have the pretty red color like yours, I think because our chili powder is a very dark brown, but it was still delicious in our chicken tortilla soup. Thank you!

  15. Dear Cook enthusiast,

    I never have or take time to email authors/bloggers but please allow a moment. I was searching for homemade enchilada sauce because the few times I’ve purchased the canned product, I ended up discarding it, knowing my family would object. Your homemade recipe is wonderful- thank you!!

    This has lead me to other recipes on your site and I can tell you parallel my thinking about food; I won’t bother with something unless it is delicious and tempting to eyes and palate. I’m fussy and feel pride when serving fabulous food/desserts to all those I care about. What is it about that basic joy one feels when you feed folks, and feed them well??!!

    Best to you; stay well and healthy. I’m happy I found your site. Leslie

  16. My daughter wanted to taste the sauce as it was simmering and she absolutely loved it. She wanted to eat it as it was. I had to fight her off to have some left for the soup!!!

    So EASY to make.

    LOVE IT!!

  17. LOVED THE RECIPE! Made chickn enchiladas for dinner- children approved!!! Do you have any bread recipes? I tried your other recipes and so far EVERY single one was a success (banana bread, zucchini, and the blueberry lemon- ALL DELICIOUS). Can’t wait to try more.

    1. Yay!! You should be able to type in bread in the search box and all of them should pop up for you. Thanks for letting me know how much you love the recipes, Miah.

  18. Can this recipe be made with out flour my daughter has a wheat allergy and I want to make an enchilada sauce she can eat

  19. We have made this several times (I always double it). It’s amazing and I love the smell of it while it’s cooking!

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