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


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Best Homemade Enchilada Sauce (And Quick!)

  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Course: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Author: Dinner, then Dessert
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.

Recipe Notes

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Nutrition Information

Yield: 12 servings, Amount per serving: 54 calories, Calories: 54g, Carbohydrates: 2g, Fat: 5g, Sodium: 153mg, Potassium: 60mg, Vitamin A: 11.9g, Vitamin C: 1.9g, Calcium: 1.2g, Iron: 3.7g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Best Homemade Enchilada Sauce
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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!
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!

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. That is so perfect! I love enchiladas and tacos. I actually put enchilada sauce on my taco instead of taco sauce or salsa. I’ll get some major use out of this recipe.

  2. We’ve never had enchilada’s so this would be nice to have on hand for when we do! My husband has talked about them often but I’ve never made.

  3. I’ve had a couple recipes lately that called for enchilada sauce, but I had to pass on them since I don’t usually keep it stocked in my cabinet. I’ll definitely be making this so I’ll (finally) have some on hand when I need it!

  4. Now this would be fun to try out. I’m willing to bet it’s delicious if you’re using it in so much of your home cooking! I’d love to try it with tacos or as a marinade!

  5. You know, you are totally right about spiciness an kids, and I love how versatile this recipe is, we like our food spicy, and we introduced our baby gradually too. Now he is a 2 year old toddler and eats spicy meals with us, such a relief, it makes cooking so much easier.

  6. This enchilada sauce looks so delicious. I love making Taco Salad and this would be perfect for it. I am going to try this recipe on the weekend.

  7. My boyfriend and I made these (after I cleaned up the kitchen he shares with 3 other guys) and put them on quesadillas because we were college students and wanted as few ingredients as possible. It was delicious! Little spicy, but not too bad. Thanks, Sabine!

  8. I’ve grown tired of paying $1.50 $1.75 for a 10 ounce can of enchilada sauce, so I thought I’d explore a homemade version. Your recipe stood out, so my wife and I decided to give it a shot. Bullseye! We didn’t have any chicken broth on hand, so we made some beef stock using base, and added some habanero chili powder for a little more kick. I will be hard pressed to buy canned sauce again, and look forward to trying this with chicken broth as well. Thank you, well done!

    1. This made my day! Thank you so much for coming back and telling me what you thought of it 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Made this sauce tonight for ground beef and black bean enchiladas and it was perfect – just as good as the sauce from our favorite Mexican place, and worlds above the canned sauce from the store!

  10. This is really good enchilada sauce but I have one exception… I couldn’t stop tasting it (you know, quality control and all) don’t know if I have quite enough. So YUM!

  11. It’s wondering why you use canola oil? I try to use better for you oils, or at least ones with better flavor. I’m trying this recipe using 1/2 butter and 1/2 avocado oil. Hope it turns out!

    1. 1/2 butter and 1/2 avocado oil sounds delicious! I use canola as my basic cooking oil as a matter of personal preference, but I would LOVE to know how your version turns out.

  12. Maybe I’m just a wimp, but do you really use 3 tablespoons of chili pepper? I tried it tonight with 3 tablespoons and it was delicious, but extremely hot. My nose is still running from the heat.

      1. Hi Sabrina, I made this tonight, but as my stomach cannot tolerate a lot of hot spice, I used 1 tbs of chilli powder instead of 3. My husband loved it, but it was still too hot for me (though very yummy!) I am in Australia, and can’t help wondering if what passes for chilli powder here is different than in the US. Or maybe it was just because I have only ever used Old El Paso’s sauce, which is extremely mild! Whatever the reason, I am not commenting to criticise your recipe, which was so easy and tasted so much more real than the commercial stuff. Just a warning to others to be cautious if chilli can upset your stomach. Next time I will only use 2 teaspoons… and then my hubby will probably feel slighted!

        1. I’m not sure of any difference but this can definitely be adjusted to your heat level. Maybe make two batches…one for you and one for your husband and then everyone will be happy!!

        2. If Australian chili powder is anything like the chili powder in the UK, then yes, it is quite a different thing to American chili powder. In the UK, it’s more for Asian dishes and it’s basically just very hot chillies (UK spelling) that have been dried and ground to a powder, a lot like cayenne. I learned this the hard way. 😉

          American chili powder is a blend of spices, used for the actual dish chili, but also Mexican dishes, etc. Not nearly as hot as UK (and presumably, Australian) chili powder. It’s easy enough to make your own version of American chili powder, though:

          1 tablespoon ground cumin
          2 tablespoons garlic powder (not garlic salt)
          1 teaspoon cayenne
          1 teaspoon paprika
          1 teaspoon oregano

          This comes to about 4 tablespoons, so enough for the recipe for enchilada sauce above. Hope this may still help you.

    1. I know this is an old post, but you’re not a wimp, Mrs. Hotdog. I’m honestly baffled by Sabrina’s response, in that she sticks by the 3 tablespoons. I’m not trying to be antagonistic, here – but I feel this is dishonest. I’ve been cooking & baking (very successfully) for nearly 30 years – and I could tell by looking at the recipe – that a couple things were off. But most notably – the amount of chili powder. Especially for a mere 8 oz. of tomato sauce (batch size). The pictures, which I presume are meant to be an actual capture of Sabrina’s recipe outcome, given the way they are presented & multiplied throughout this page – cannot possibly be a real example of her recipe. It would be dark brown with that amount of chili pepper. Aside from the fact that this amount would require dumping nearly half your bottle of chili powder (of standard size, anyway) into this small batch…an absurdity, to be sure – the reasonable amount would be closer to 1/3 of what she says. I have a savory tongue, and like to be generous in my own use of herbs & spices – so I’m not being conservative, here. Of course, it is a matter of taste – but there are still thresholds; a such thing as (way) too much. It’s not that 3 tablespoons would be too hot – at least, not for me; but it would be heartburn inducing, and pretty much ruin the dish. You wouldn’t taste or see, hardly anything – but chili powder. Just my two cents. I would only use this recipe as a starter for enchilada sauce, myself; it definitely requires some tweaking beyond mere personal preference.

      1. Hi Angele,

        I’m sorry the recipe seems off for you, but I can assure you I am not being dishonest nor would I have any reason to be. What would be the benefit for me to try and blow out your palette with a dish too spicy to eat? As you can see from other people’s posts about their experiences with it, this recipe is tried and tested by many people. I’ve used this recipe for clients for YEARS. That includes kids who’ve enjoyed the enchiladas made with it. Perhaps your chili powder is different than the one I use, but I can assure you my toddlers enjoy and eat this enchilada sauce on a regular basis.

        1. I added even a little more chili powder than suggested because I don’t have little ones to tame things down for;)
          I love this recipe! I use it all the time. Don’t think the proportions are off at all.

        2. Just made this – it was super easy & turned out great!  Not too spicy at all & I’m a 1 star spice person. It’s my new favorite enchilada sauce!

          PS, I once asked a Mexican chef how to make enchilada sauce.  He just uses chili pepper (the one that’s not hot, I forgot what it’s called) & onion & garlic. That’s it. It IS mostly made up of chili peppers. The tedious part is you have to char the peppers, then clean out seeds & blend it. I’m sticking with chili powder recipes 😛

      2. Thank you for this recipe! My son is sensitive to tomatoes — he can only eat a small amount — so I went online looking for a way to make enchilada sauce that wasn’t 100% tomatoes. (I actually have a recipe that involves canned carrots, pomegranate juice, lemon juice and chicken broth that makes a “faux” tomato sauce that I use in lasagna, etc.)

        But, I’m going to try yours — 8 oz. of tomato sauce spread throughout a whole casserole might be tolerable for him! And, it sounds delicious. I’m supposed to take a meal tomorrow to a family whose kiddo just had surgery, so trying an enchilada casserole for us tonight, and then probably making it again tomorrow for them, LOL.

      3. I think some people are using chili pepper and not the mixed chili powder. I’ve made this, it has a small kick but not enough that my 1 year old won’t eat it.

  13. I’ve been looking for a homemade enchilada sauce recipe and I would like to try this. Around how much sauce does this yield? My recipe for enchiladas calls for one 28 oz. can of pre-made enchilada sauce and 2 cups of chicken broth, which gives me the perfect amount. Thank you!

    1. I would say you should be good replacing the enchilada sauce with a doubled version of this recipe in addition to the two cups of broth. Depending on how much you let it cook down you may be a tiny bit over or under but you should have plenty. 🙂 I hope you love it!

  14. I just ran across your blog this morning. I was looking for a recipe for enchilada sauce as I am making them for dinner. I bought a can of sauce yesterday knowing that I would have to settle for it as I’ve never been able to find a recipe for it that I liked. After reading this I jumped up (coffee in hand, pj’s still on) and made it. Had to pump up the spice a little for us but it is soooo very good! Thank you! Thank you! Now to send it to my son and daughter they will love it!

  15. Just found you blog this AM. I am making enchiladas for dinner. After reading over the recipe I decided to try it as we hate the flavor of canned sauce. OMG! This is so very good! We pumped the spices up a bit for our taste, use fresh minced onion and garlic and avacado oil. Perfection!!! Thank you! Now to send this to my son and daughter, they too will love it.

  16. Hi Sabrina
    I will be making this tonight! It sounds perfect. Do you freeze it in glass jars? I’m trying to eliminate plastic in my kitchen. It’s a challenge!

    1. No, I let it cool completely and freeze in ziploc bags and lay them flat to freeze, so they end up looking like thin squares. Then to reheat I drop it on the floor or tap against counter to shatter, add it to a small glass bowl and cover with a wet paper towel and microwave for 2-3 minutes on half power. 🙂

    2. @Sabrina, I too am trying to eliminate plastic from my kitchen. I froze my leftover in a glass jar. I have found that freezing in glass jars works but expect to have some crack/break. I try not to over fill so this doesn’t happen but… I have had success with freezing in ice cube trays or muffin pans freezing overnight then putting in whatever kind of container you want. Good luck!

      1. I used to freeze in trays, but its sort of the same process since you’re freezing in plastic. I normally don’t freeze in glass but when I have, I use pyrex and find I don’t get any breakage. I know people like to avoid plastics *and I totally agree with why* but I still do it for now until I can find an alternative that uses as small amount of space as possible. I tend to freeze a lot of sauces since I cook in volume, and freezing this way in my deep freeze I have a whole rack of sauces and because of the space saving, there are over 50 portions saved in one small hanging basket. If I could find a good plastic free alternative I would be all about it though.

  17. Wow! I have never left a comment about a recipe before today, and I have cooked a lot of them! Just made this sauce and it is fabulous! I could almost eat it as a soup! In fact, I am thinking this would be a good base for chili. Thanks so much for the great recipe! Making enchiladas tonight and can’t wait!

  18. I LOVED your enchilada sauce recipe. I cheated and used frozen chimichangas. Hubby love, Loved, LOVED it. I will be making again with homemade enchiladas, along with all the other recipes you have. It was super easy and I will be tripling my batch next time. Too good to just make one batch at a time. Thanks so much for posting this recipe.

  19. A lot like my father-in-law taught me except he used to add 4-5 canned (blended) tomatillos and a couple teaspoons of sugar. I didn’t have tomatillos but I did add the sugar. Made some basic changes: used one tablespoon less oil, sautéed the garlic in the oil then added the chili powder and cooked for a bit, added the liquid ingredients, then the spices and thickened at the end with cornstarch. I only had ancho chili powder so it was some very spicy enchilada sauce but the flavor was out of this world. Very good enchilada sauce recipe. For some reason it wouldn’t let me rate the recipe five stars. It would only highlight two stars and this recipe was much better than that so I left the stars completely off.

    1. Your revisions sound delicious! Thanks for pointing out the issue with the rating – I’ll get in contact with my recipe plugin developer to see if they can figure out what happened there.

  20. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!! I’ve tried several homemade enchilada sauce recipes that were a complete failure and vowed to not mess with it anymore. But I only needed a small amount for a Tamale Pie recipe I wanted to try last night, so my search began! The “QUICK” part of the title caught my eye and boy am I glad it did. You’d think that I’d slaved over it for hours! It truly was the easiest sauce I’ve made and taste better than ANYTHING I’ve ever had.
    I didn’t have any problems with it thickening, I actually had to add about 1/3 cup water to thin it out just a bit.
    Thank you SO much for authoring this jewel! It is definitely going in my HAND WRITTEN recipe book; that book is reserved for only the best!

    1. I’m so glad my recipe was the one that worked for you! I’m flattered that you have such high praise for it!

  21. I made this ahead for my dinner party tomorrow. I (I work full time and a weekday dinner party is sometimes hard) I doubled the recipe for my beef enchiladas and it was so delicious. I can only imagine how great it will be tomorrow when the favors Meld! Thank you! Don’t think I’ll ever buy the canned stuff again. <3

  22. I am so excited to find this recipe, because I can alter it by adding gluten free flour so my daughter can again enjoy enchiladas! I had to stop buying our favorite brand because of the wheat in it. And with the many good reviews, it sounds like this will be a keeper!

  23. I made this for my beef enchiladas. I didn’t have any sauce on hand and found this recipe! So glad that I did!
    Even my husband (who has a pallet of a 2yr old) LOVED IT!
    Thank you for sharing.

  24. I am going to make this tonight. I have alot of recipes for enchilada sauce ( used to date a girl from Mexico ) and wanted to try something new that was a little quicker and easier tonight. Im going to use one tablespoon of chili powder ( Mc cormick ) one of Guajillo chili powder and one of Chili Ancho powder. Adding a little Mexican Oregano as well. Hoping it will turn out good. Will let you know.

  25. I made this recipe tonight and it was a hit. I didn’t have tomato sauce, but I used tomato soup concentrate instead with chicken broth and added a smidge of cocoa powder. It was delicious!

  26. Made this enchilada sauce tonight and it was a hit. It was simple to make and the herbs blend well together and not too spicy. Thank you for sharing.

  27. I unfortunately don’t have cumin…will coriander work? I’m planning for turkey enchiladas with the inevitable leftovers we’ll have from (Canadian) thanksgiving and am hoping to avoid grocery stores in the days leading up to the holiday!

    1. Cumin is a pretty strong part of the flavor in this. Coriander would work but just expect it to be a little different. It should still be delicious, I love turkey enchiladas after Thanksgiving too!

  28. Made this today with my 11 yr old son. I like how you started with an oil based roux of sorts. Really added a rich touch 🙂 I didn’t have quite enough chili powder so added a lot of paprika and adobo seasoning salt.
    I’m 37 weeks pregnant and used this sauce to make a huge pan of ground beef and black bean enchiladas to freeze for after the baby is born.
    We ate one pan tonight:) yum! Totally not too spicy.
    I probably quadrupled the recipe here and have a 36 oz leftover to use at my leisure !

    1. Wonderful! Yes the oil and the heat helps bloom the spices too, so glad you enjoyed it and congratulations on your pregnancy! How exciting!!

  29. Simple, delicious, quick and convenient! Who needs canned enchilada sauce anymore?! This sauce has a wonderful authentic Mexican flavor, and I always have these items in my pantry. Love it, love it!

    1. Wonderful!! I am so glad you enjoyed it (we rely on this recipe for so many different meals) and that it was really easy and with things you had in your pantry already!

  30. Just made this sauce using canned tomatoes since I didn’t have tomato sauce. A quick pulse in the food processor with everything then all into the chilli mixture. It was easy and delicious. Mine was a little darker than the photo because I left the oil and chilli on for a little too long. I will definitely make this again (and maybe just eat it with a spoon)

  31. Fantastic enchilada sauce. I’ve made the sauce following this recipe and have always pleased myself and any guests. Now, I could live anywhere in the world and always have my favorite Mexican dishes! Thanks

    1. Sorry, I haven’t. If you decide to try, I’d love for you to come back and let me know how it turned out.

  32. I made this sauce last night to go with my One Pot Cheesy Mexican Lentils with Black Beans and Rice from Pulse Pledge and it was the star of the show! Now I have left over sauce and look forward to perhaps trying it in some burrito’s. Perhaps there will be a recipe from you that I could use it in as well. Cheers.

    1. Wow! Star of the show sounds pretty good 🙂 Since you have leftover sauce, you should try my Classic Chicken Enchiladas recipe. It’s so good!!

  33. I made this over the weekend and it is friggin fantastic. Everyone raved about it.

    In your top 10 ways to use this sauce you mentioned Mexican Lasagna ….recipe forthcoming…. I searched your site but can’t find it….can I talk you into posting the recipe? :):) love you for sharing!

    Around my house you are know as the “Chef Chick” and whenever I announce that I will be making one of the “Chef Chick’s” meals everyone is on time for dinner LOL. We love your recipes and every single one I’ve made has been a winner and requested all the time.

    I also want to thank you for posting affiliate links in your recipes. I live in a rural area with limited access to some ingredients so I truly appreciate the time you take to add links to products used in these delicious dishes. Many thanks Chef Chick!

    1. Beth you made my day! I’m so glad I can help get people to the dinner table! I always hope that the links are helpful to readers, I know sometimes it can be hard to know the difference between similar sounding ingredients, so seeing a picture of the exact ingredient can be helpful too even if it is locally available.

      Also, I do actually have one forthcoming, but probably in a couple of months 🙂

  34. Do NOT use canola oil EVER! It is full of pesticides & herbicides since it’s mostly GMO now. Use good quality olive or coconut oil instead. And I would also use organic tomato sauce since tomatoes are on the dirty dozen list. Otherwise, it looks like a pretty good recipe.

  35. This was actually my first time every having enchiladas…so i wasn’t sure about the sauce, but everyone loved it! Even my hubby, a grumpy retired Colonel approved! I used tomato paste with equal parts water in place of the tomato sauce, and added some cumin and oregano to it, too. Oh my! It was great! Thank you!!

    1. I haven’t tried canning it yet but I do make large batches and freeze them to use later. If you decide to try, I’d love to hear your process and how it turned out!

  36. My family and I absolutely LOVE this stuff!! I’ve been using your recipe for a couple years now! Always have to make a double batch, and when I do, the only thing I do different is not adding the extra 3 Tbs. of chili powder. Awesome recipe thank you!!

  37. I chopped up and sauteed an onion rather than adding the onion salt (something in onion salt makes my husband’s breath stink) and used avocado oil because that’s what we keep on hand, but otherwise followed this recipe and it was a HUGE hit! My kids couldn’t get enough and were literally eating it by the spoonful. I used it to top black bean and summer squash enchiladas, and my daughter said it actually made the squash (something she normally turns her nose up at) taste good, so that is really saying something! She asked if I’d saved the recipe for this sauce, so I figured I’d better come back and give it the 5 stars it deserves 🙂 Thank you for sharing this easy, delicious recipe!!!

    1. Fantastic Anne! Such a bonus that your daughter was encouraged to eat something she normally wouldn’t go for just by putting the sauce on it…..I call that a parent win!!

  38. I was on the hunt for a new homemade enchilada sauce. I stumbled on this one at 3am, haha. I read all the reviews. I cook every night. I make homemade seasonings. I’d like to think I know my seasonings.. I too was skeptical about 3 tablespoons of chili powder. I started making it this morning and used only 1 tbsp at first. It was flavorless. So I added a 2nd and a 3rd tbsp. It is so FLAVORFUL and just the right amount of spice. I had my 4 year old, 10 year old and 18 month old try it. My older two gave me a thumbs up. I had to make ANOTHER batch because 1 wasn’t enough. I also had to stick it in the fridge, because I couldn’t stop eating it!!! I will never make another enchilada sauce recipe again. I’m also calling this Enchilada Gravy. It’s truly amazing. Thank you!

    1. I’m so happy you found me….even at 3am, haha! I take this as such a huge compliment and you’ve made my day! Thank you!!

  39. Never used any other than canned enchilada sauce before today, and have used it many times. I almost always adjust online recipes in one way or another, but I have to say that this is by far the best enchilada sauce I have ever used and I did not change anything.

    I will use this recipe until a better one happens by, but I do not see that happening.

    Try this recipe, it is outstanding!

  40. First time I’ve ever made enchilada sauce. I’ve never used canned either. I always eat moms only. You nailed this recipe. it’s definitely a keeper. I also used it as a chicken mole sauce. I used the broth from the chicken on the enchilada sauce. The amount of flour is spot on. You can add more or less broth/water to get the consistency you like. all the ingredients were in my pantry. It cost me nothing. This sauce explodes with flavor. I poured it over my rice and beans which is how I grew up eating it. Mom would approve.

  41. Hi there, sounds yum. I’m not familiar with US terms as I’m in England… I think English chilli powder is different to US. Here it is literally just ground chilli peppers. I believe in the us it is a mixture of different spices, is this correct? I’m not sure what to use. Thanks!! 

    1. Yes, you’re right. It is a mixture of spices. You can make your own by mixing 2 tablespoons paprika, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder and 3/4 teaspoons onion powder. You can always adjust the spices (more or less) to your liking but this will at least give you a starting point. Hope this helps!

  42. Thank you for this recipe! I have made it many times and we love it in my house.
    I usually double the recipe to make a double batch because I love this sauce so much.
    The chili powder may seem like a lot, but its not for our tastes. Although it is pretty spicy, we like it.
    Anyone who disagrees with the spiciness could of course add less chili powder.
    Once again, thank you for this recipe! It’s a KEEPER!

    1. Thank you so much Amy for taking the time to let me know how much you love it! It’s definitely easy to adjust the heat factor to anyone’s liking.

  43. Mmm this was good! Very nice, many thanks for posting. Only change was saute a bit of fresh onion first and then add some garlic powder later.

  44. UK visitor here – trying enchiladas for the first time. Never buy anything store bought so was looking for a good home made recipe and this is great! I eased up on the chilli powder, though. 3 tbsp sounds wicked hot. 1 was enough for the amount of tomato sauce – for me anyhow and I like hot things!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Chris! Everyone does have a different palate for spice so I’m glad you adjusted to your liking.

  45. Will be making this tonight, I don’t really know what you mean by chicken broth though? Do you mean chicken stock? Broth to me is something with potatoes, celery, pearl barely, carrots and other things which seems a bit strange to use if this is the case, anyhow I will make with chicken stock which should be better than water I’m sure. I will rate it after I have made it later, I’m sure it will be very nice.

  46. Thank you so much for this recipe. I was out of enchilada sauce and didn’t even have tomato sauce for my enchilada casserole I was making. Using your recipe and subbing a fresh tomato and some tomato paste, I made some bomb enchi sauce and will probably never buy the canned stuff again!

  47. AWESOME! Just made this last night for the enchiladas I was making. It was great! For the chili powder, we always have a large variety on-hand, so I used a combo of six different types – but the jar of pre-made powder I had on hand would have worked as well. I will definitely make this again!

    Also made the cilantro rice, which was also terrific, and will be made again.

    Thank you Sabrina!

  48. For those who don’t use chili powder often and are questioning whether 3 tbsp is too much, I would suggest you try to find Gebhardt’s chili powder. It is not hot at all and imparts a great chili taste without the heat. I can’t attest to other brands except to say that many can contain a lot of spicy heat. I like to control the heat in my dishes so when I want hot & spicy, I add cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, or fresh hot chilis diced up. My mom can’t take any heat at all so I always have to bring her some Gebhardt’s for use in Mexican dishes. It is a must-have spice in my kitchen. There are many dishes that do require at least 3 tbsp for the proper taste, but if you have a mild chili powder, you would be quite safe in using large amounts for any dish that required chili powder.

  49. I did half the cumin and 1/4 top of coriander for more of a roasted flavor. This is the best enchilada sauce ever ever had!

  50. Sabrina, I just found your site and printed off this recipe. I am making a southwest-flavored lasagna for a group and there is one in the group that can’t eat anything containing any type of onion product. So, I am going to try this, leaving out the onion powder and using olive oil. Do you know if this will give an off flavor?

    Also, just an FYI: I printed off the recipe and noticed there was no reference to the original source/web page/blog included.

  51. I needed a quick enchilada sauce recipe because I just don’t like the store bought brands. And so I typed enchilada sauce, which this came up as best sauce. I made this recipe and was a little hesitant on all the chili powder needed. Wow! This is by far the best sauce I made yet. Thanks again!

  52. I had to do the recipe in triplicate to accommodate my family’s needs but I have NEVER had better enchiladas! Thank you so much

  53. This sauce is really good! My entire family enjoyed the enchiladas with this sauce. Thank you for a simple yet great recipe! 

  54. mmmmmmmm. I’m not cooking for kids, so I sauteed some jalapeno in the oil before adding the flour … and then combined chili powder and chipotle powder … and some sour cream at the end (like you suggested). Aye caramba! I think I could live on egg, cheese, black bean and chorizo rolled up in any tortilla (heck, a newspaper) with this sauce on it for the rest of my life.

  55. An absolutely awesome recipe. Followed it exact – no substitutions and the results were outstanding! Thank you for a healthier more delicious enchilada sauce than any store bought may boast!

  56. I am wondering three things.
    1. How much is one serving? 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup ?
    2. Do you have the points value for one serving?
    3. In some of your recipes, you use this sauce as an ingredient (Like the chicken enchiladas) and I wonder if the sauce is included in the point per serving value of your recipes?


    1. A single serving would equal to 1/4 cup.

      Sorry I don’t have the nutritional facts for recipes on the site but I know there are a lot of free resources on the internet from when I’ve cooked for clients with low calorie diets.

  57. I just tried your recipe and loved it! Your instructions were simple to follow and made a yummy, savory sauce for my enchiladas. The heat was perfect!

  58. YESsssss!! (Fist pump) I just made this and followed the recipe to a T! (Something I NEVER do.) One spoon dipped in for a taster and I about screamed because it was SO FREAKING GOOD! Thank you for this! 

  59. I made a deep dish Mexican pizza with a ladle of this as the sauce. Topped with chorizo sausage, bacon, onion and jalapeno. It was MUY BIEN! Also used on Chile Rellenos. I am now a fan of this sauce!

  60. I was at the store looking for canned enchilada sauce and couldn’t find any – that turned out to be a blessing! I googled “Enchilada Sauce Recipe” right then and there and came upon yours. I made keto enchiladas and when my husband tried them, his eyes opened wide with delight! I will never buy the canned stuff now that I have this recipe! It’s uncomplicated, delicious, and keto-friendly! Thank you so much for sharing it!

  61. I tried making this today and my chili powder is super dark to begin with so it was never bright red. I prepared the separate bowl first and set aside. Then I heated the oil and added the flour and chili powder and it smelled awful and burnt. I added the separate bowl within a minute and it was way too hot and everything immediately hissed, spit, sizzled and completely burned. What did I do wrong? I heated the oil on medium heat like the recipe states.

    1. Sounds like maybe the pan and/or the oil got too hot, even on medium, before anything was put into it. I would try only letting it heat up for about 10-15 seconds the next time and you shouldn’t have that issue again.

  62. I have always bought enchiladas sauce. This evening my husband and I decided to make wet burritos however when I looked in the cupboard I realized I didn’t have any. So… I thought I’d look up a recipe and hope for the best. WOW!!! I will never buy canned enchiladas sauce again this is amazing. And my husband loves it as well. Thank you so much for posting.

  63. I really want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this recipe. This has been the best enchilada sauce i have ever tasted. I am new to cooking and this was so simple. It was so good i kept tasting it. It was definitely hot but like you’ve mentioned in several comments it depends what kind of chili powder you have!!! Thank you once again. You have given me confidence in cooking!!

  64. I made this but used 1-14 oz. canned, diced tomatoes as I was out of tomato sauce. It was great and cooked up just fine.
    The enchiladas tasted wonderful. Will definitely make it again—I have ditched the can!!

    1. I haven’t tested it using it so I’m not comfortable giving a recommendation. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turned out.

  65. Hi…i couldnt believe my eyes when it listed 3 TABLESPOONs of chilipowder???? Has anyone else actually made this?….well i did using “only” 2 tablespoons and still it was so strong I actually ended up adding double the tomato sauce (and a bit more onion powder) to thin the “heat” enough to make it edible….i did change the recipe a bit by adding a few tablespoons of sugar and a bit of fresh oregano and then let it simmer…and BAM then it was good……
    So…in other words….its a good start but am wondering if the chilipowder quantity was a mistake…many of the comments below dont say if the person actually made it….

  66. I have never commented on a recipe I made from Pinterest(that I can remember) but this one is worth taking the time. After avoiding making enchiladas for a couple of years because of the yucky canned sauce from the market I decided to make my own. Pinterest offered many, many recipes. This one caught my eye because of the cute glass container pictured. Logic is my middle name. I made a double batch of this because I had faith it would be good. Score! This is a definite keeper! I did only use 4 tablespoons of chili powder for the double batch). It was spicy enough for us but I may put in a scoshe more next time. I have enough left to freeze which Is great!

      1. We had one enchilada left from last evening’s dinner and some leftover Mac and cheese from a couple of days ago. We split the enchilada and had the Mac and cheese with it for lunch today. I put some of that awesome sauce on my m&c and OMG, it was sooo good. I love a recipe that makes me want to have it A LOT!

  67. I love your recipes! Please include a few of your favorite vegetarian dishes. Houseguests are coming…Thank you!

  68. Sabrina, as I reviewed the recipe for Frito Pie i was getting hungry! then I saw enchilada sauce and was almost set to delete it when I saw the HOMEMADE sauce! I have dietary restrictions and salt is one. This is why I love your recipes…not alot of canned and processed foods. Tomorrow is Frito Pie for me! Tytyty!

  69. I made this sauce today and it was wonderful!!! I love spice and flavor in general, so the 3 tbsp of chili powder wasn’t too much for my or my husband’s taste… I saw several posts stating that it was too spicy, but chili powder isn’t actually spicy (hot), but rather adds a deepness of flavor, I’d describe it more as smoky. It was darker than the picture, but that could be because I let the chili powder, oil, and flour cook for a few minutes longer.. Just a thought, perhaps some people might be confusing chili powder with a different hot spice containing chili peppers? Either way, Great recipe and I’ll never use a canned enchilada sauce again! Thanks for sharing!

  70. Way too much Camino (Cumin) for that amount of Sauce. Cumin leaves a bitter aftertaste if you use to much. 1 Teaspoon Cumin for this amount of sauce is plenty. Otherwise recipe very similar to Emiril Lagasse’s Easy Enchilada sauce.

  71. This was a very well balanced sauce, it starts savory, then the tomato, an follows with some heat. I did swap out 1 tsp. Of the regular chili powder for a tsp. of ancho chili powder to give it a smoky flavor.

  72. This was easy and very good. I had to add some more broth because it was too thick. I will keep this for sure and not buy canned sauce again. I’m sold!

  73. I was really surprised that I only found one comment about the amount of chili powder in this recipe. I checked several times to make sure I had done everything as the recipe said as I was confused because I never had a bright red (orange) color——it was a rusty brown right off the bat from the chili powder.I am going to try this recipe again as we did like the flavor but found it to be kind of bitter with all the chili powder——–I will use only 1 tablespoon next time.I

  74. Love your pics and recipes. Everything looks so inviting….you know how they say” YOU EAT WITH YOUR EYES….SO TRUE”

  75. I just made this sauce…absolutely amazing and easy!!! I cook mexican food all the time but have always steered clear of enchilada sauce because I so dislike the canned version. I found your recipe and decided to give it a try…thank you so very much!!! I can’t wait for my family to try it tonight!!! I totally give it 5 stars!!!

  76. Did I already review this recipe (I made it about a month ago)? I love this recipe! I made it the first time with tomato paste and water since I was out of sauce. It was fantastic, but I forgot to add what would have been the broth, so it made just enough for one tray. Today, I made it again with tomato sauce and veggie broth since I’m making vegetarian and vegan enchilada trays tonight. Even more outstanding! (I used ground guajillo chile powder to keep it mild for my kiddo.) I keep eating the sauce while I am making the fillings for the enchiladas. I’m so impressed you got this exactly right. Phenomenal, cheap sauce.

  77. Thank you again for this wonderfully easy sauce…I am making homemade chilli from scratch and decided to start with this sauce as my basic mix…smelling amazing in my kitchen currently!!!

  78. Hi Sabrina, trying this now but only have vegetable and olive oil. Would I be able to substitute? And which would be better?

  79. Thank you for a simple recipe that is going to work as a base for many yummy meals to come, tonight it’s enchiladas! I had a small can of sauce, but needed more. I had all ingredients on hand so I dove right in. So glad I did! Very good taste, too easy to prepare and the many different preparations you listed I’m sure will be sensational.

  80. Good idea, but IMO the proportions are wrong. 1.5 TBS of chili powder, not 3. 1 tsp of cumin, not 2. 1 tsp of onion powder, not 1/2. 1/2 tsp of salt, not 1/4. Finally, use a 14.5 oz can of chopped tomatoes, instead of an 8 oz can of tomato sauce.

    1. I’m thinking it could that the chili powder you’re using is darker than the one I’m using. Try using a lighter colored one and see if that helps. 🙂

  81. I just made this after realizing that the tomato sauce in my recipe would not do the trick, needed more! Thanks for sharing, never thought of making my own Enchilada Sauce. I found this a little too hot for me, guess I can just cut back on the chili powder.

  82. Try Gebhardt’s chili powder. It is not hot at all and gives a delicious chili taste. That way, you can add cayenne or other types of chili pepper powder and adjust to your heat level. Gebhardt’s is the only chili powder I use for seasoning and then I add cayenne powder to give it a little kick.

  83. This looks and sounds DELICIOUS! Can’t wait to try it!
    is it ok to use cornstarch instead of flour? If so, do we need to change the measurement at all?

    1. I’ve not tested it but the general rule is use half as much cornstarch as you would flour when substituting. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

  84. The sauce taste great but mine came out rather thick do u have any idea what I could have done wrong I cooked according to recipe with no changes. Thank you!

    1. If you followed everything, I’m not sure why it would be thicker. If you’d like to troubleshoot, send me an email at contact @ dinnerthendessert .com and we can try and figure it out.

  85. Many are talking about chili powder vs powdered chilis. This is the recipe I use all the time, just mix them up and wah-lah! Store bought, USA chili powder:

    2 tablespoons paprika
    2 teaspoons oregano
    1 1?4 teaspoons cumin
    1 1?4 teaspoons garlic powder
    1 1?4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
    3?4 teaspoon onion powder

    I saw a similar recipe but with way too much cumin, which tastes like tacos more than chili.

    Hope this helps!

    Ps. Excellent recipe, only I like 1 TBS of butter and three oil (instead of 1/4 oil). 🙂

  86. Made this tonight and it was really good!! I tripled the recipe , it was enough for two 9×13 pans of enchiladas with about a quart left over. I followed the ingredients as written, I was a little concerned it may be to spicy for my family but it wasn’t because they went back for seconds. I do find that some chili powder brands are spicier than others so maybe start with less to test the flavor and then ramp it up if you feel like the heat is okay for you. I have been using a different enchilada sauce recipe and wanted something thicker and this one is just perfect for me and so easy! Thank you!!

  87. Sabrina, this is an absolutely great, simple sauce recipe. I used brown rice flour instead of wheat flour to thicken it, and it worked just fine. I also added 1/4 tsp. of ground cloves. I made a double batch of the sauce and used it to make a layered chicken enchilada casserole in a 13×9 baking dish. Great way to use up leftover chicken and vegetables!

  88. Thus stuff is awesome. I used two fresh romas, boiled, skinned and hit with a stick blender instead of canned sauce. Perfect!

  89. Making it now, tastes so much better than anything in the store. I used Better than Bouillion Beef because I’m making enchiladas from left over carnitas (with cheese, chopped onion and cilantro). I know this sauce will make this a perfect leftover dish. Thank you.

  90. I made it for seven people. Way too spicy! When I looked back at recipe thought wow 3 tablespoons of chili powder. Was this an error? Do you mean 3 teaspoons? Might still use recipe but definitely reduce chili powder. I only use two tablespoons in a whole pot of my chili recipe.

  91. Me and my 13 yr. old son tried your enchilada sauce recipe and it is definitely delicious, it is now on our list of favourites, thank you very much 🙂