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

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 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



Best Homemade Enchilada Sauce (And Quick!)

4.97 from 127 votes
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Course: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
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!


  • 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


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

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

Nutrition Information

Yield: 12 servings, Amount per serving: 54 calories, Calories: 54g, Carbohydrates: 2g, Fat: 5g, Sodium: 153mg, Potassium: 60mg, Vitamin A: 595g, Vitamin C: 1.6g, Calcium: 12g, Iron: 0.7g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keywords: 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!

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  1. 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!

  2. 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

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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

  10. 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!!

  11. 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.

  12. 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

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