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 111 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. 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….

    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.

  2. 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!!

  3. 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!!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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! 

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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!!

  29. 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!!

  30. 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!!

    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!

  31. 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!!

  32. 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.

  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. 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!!

  35. 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

  36. 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)