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 124 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 was yummy!!!
    I added GF flour instead of regular and a tsp of apple cider vinegar for a bit of tang! So easy and delicious!

  2. It was great, however I did change a few things but wish I would have reduced the oil. I booked 2 guajillo chiles and blended all ng with 2 cups of vegetable broth (we are vegan). I will try it again with minimal oil as I don’t see it needing it.

  3. Because I’m paleo/AIP, I used avocado oil and gluten-free oat flour. I also added 1/2 tsp of nutritional yeast to further assist the thickening due to the lack of gluten. And I gotta say, this enchilada sauce is phenomenal! Spot on! Great share. Thank you. ??

  4. Awesome Enchilada Sauce! I made a double batch so there would be plenty to add extra on top and some for tostadas the next day. My family said, “Throw out the old recipe, this one is the best!”

  5. Sabrina, this recipe gets me rave reviews every time, and i send them all your link! Along with the chicken enchiladas, of course. Crazy good, simple, and made with kitchen staples. Perfect 5 stars. Thank you!

    1. I’ve gotten to the point that I know beyond any doubt that if Sabrina posted it, it’s great!!! I’ve been looking for a enchilada sauce recipe and I know I can adopt this one sight unseen. Thank you, Sabrina!

  6. was excited by all the 5 star reviews for an easy recipe but this has way too much chili powder in it ? luckily I had a canned verde enchilada sauce on hand so I mixed it in to dilute the flavor.

    1. Hi Jamie,
      If you live outside the USA, chili powder is a different thing. In the USA, chili powder is generally (in my experience At least) a spice mix with powdered chilis, oregano, cumin etc. To substitute this, I used 2 tablespoons of paprika, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and 1 teaspoon of what we in the UK, Australia and Europe call chili powder, which is literally just powdered chilis.

      1. Kate, you have just saved our dinner with company! We have just moved to Sweden from US and BOY, the chili powder is so strong here!! Thank you for your post!
        Sabrina, thank you for the recipe.

    2. I agree. I followed the recipe to the T and it would’ve been fine with 1 less tablespoon chili powder. (I didn’t use chili mix, but actual chili powder) I had to add another can of tomato sauce and it still looks nearly as thick as tomato paste, rather than a sauce.

      1. YUM! It’s not even on my enchiladas yet and I’m excited!

        I used gluten free flour as I am intolerant to gluten and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. Still soooo good.

  7. Love this recipe – so easy and so good. I used a 15 oz can of tomato sauce in error instead of 8 oz. Perfect, that’s how I make it now.

  8. I made this recipe but started by blooming the spices in a dry fry pan.
    I then whisked the flour in the hot oil to make the roux and cooked till it was medium brown. I know in Louisiana they say cook it till it’s copper but I didn’t go that long.
    I then whisked in the toasted spices.
    I ended up using puréed tomatoes because I didn’t have a small can of sauce and used extra chicken stock to thin.
    This sauce has so much depth and did not taste tex-mex.
    Five Stars

  9. Fabulous! I was going to put the extra sauce in a container to save, but my hubby put it all on tortillas with fresh cabbage and cheese.

  10. Absolutely 5 stars

    Quick note, I’m drained the liquid from canned vegetable and tomato and used the liquid as the based and as a result cut down the salt.

  11. Wow? This recipe was so delicious and easy . I did add 2 pkgs of stevia and a couple ounces of grated unsweetened dark chocolate , a dash of cinnamon , also used gluten free flour and chicken broth . I doubled the recipe, glad I did. Using it tonight in my tortillia casserole and then on eggs, and probably most other things? Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hmmm I like the idea of adding dark chocolate and cinnamon. I have become a fan of Indian spices and the depth of flavor they add. This would definitely deepen the enchilada sauce.

      This recipe is just FANTASTIC Sabrina!!!!

      I did not have 2 cans of tomato sauce so I added some crushed tomatoes and canned fire roasted diced tomatoes. I used Chicken bone broth and my Ancho Chili Powder and Cumin that I buy from Mexico. I did toast my spices before adding broth & tomatoes .

      This is so good that I’m considering caning it for gifts ?

      Thank you for sharing.

  12. I used to use a premixed sauce and spices from a well-known brand to make enchiladas, but had a craving one day and some spare time so thought I’d try making everything from scratch. SOOOO glad I did! This sauce recipe is just another world in terms of flavour and is so easy to do. It’s become a real family favourite. Thanks Sabrina!

  13. I went to crate and barrel website and tried to find those old-school French glasses that had the lids with them so that I could make the enchilada sauce and stored in there but I couldn’t find them can you help me find them

  14. I made this and it was yummy! I made it All backwards. But, it came out Great! I did not cooked the things first. I mixed the ingredients Then into the sauce pan and cooked.
    Thank you! For the recipe.

  15. Really good and tasty, and easy! I might cut back a tiny bit on the oil next time, and use water instead, but that’s about all I’d change. I think your technique of cooking the chili powder and flour with the oil is great and really enhanced the final flavor! Thanks for this recipe!

    1. Who knew that during this craziness I wouldn’t be able to find enchilada sauce and instead would be blessed to find a recipe that’s better than the canned!
      Right now, your food blogs are a GODSEND! ????????

  16. Yum! I make a similar sauce, but thicken it with masa harina instead of flour for a subtle taste difference.

  17. If I am wanting to make this a lot less spicy tasting, would I just scale back on Chili powder or cut the chili powder all together?

  18. hi great recipe, but if in the u.k like me please be aware that our chilli powder is very hot especially from asian grocers. and 3 tablespoons would blow your head off. i subbed some chipotle powder and some old bay and just used 1 tablespoon of chilli powder. really nice recipe love it.

  19. I found it to be quite bitter, but I’m not sure why. The only difference is that I used vegetable broth instead of chicken. It seems like it needs some sweetness to it. I’m baking some veggie enchiladas now, but I’m not optimistic it’ll turn out okay since the sauce tasted bitter on its own.

  20. I have never made my own enchilada sauce before, as I usually cook in the daytime when I can go buy a can of sauce, but tonight around 11pm I wanted enchiladas. So I had to make sauce myself, and let me say it is the best decision that I’ve ever made! This sauce is delicious, and very easy to make. I will never buy canned sauce again. This sauce is so tasty, and better than anything store bought. I added a bit more spice, and a can of tomatoes with green chilies, because I made too many enchiladas and not enough sauce, oops! It’s the best sauce I’ve tasted. Thank you for this recipe!!

  21. I cant wait to try this, have to watch sodium and msg , migraines, i don’t know how i missed seeing your recipe, will let you know how i do. THANKS

  22. I made some chicken, artichoke, green chili enchiladas & realized I didn’t have any sauce, found this recipe & love it, so much better than a can, thanks!

  23. Made this and added into slow cooker with chicken, 1/2 an onion, and 1 packet of slow cooker chicken taco seasoning. Holy Cow! Everyone went mad for this!! Served it with black beans and yellow rice.

    1. Forgot to mention, I didn’t have any canola oil so I used rice oil which has almost no taste of its own. It worked just fine!

  24. I NEVER comment on recipes – this is a first for me – but I had to.

    This tastes exactly like anything you’d buy in the store but much better! And it’s so simple!!

    I wanted to make some copycat Mexican Pizza because I’m no longer in the US (and even if I was, probably wouldn’t patronize Taco Bell) and needed Enchilada Sauce for the recipe. They don’t sell that in Belize.

    I made alterations but not before tasting the original recipe. I simply cut the chilli powder by half and mixed in some chopped chipotle (canned) and juice for the other half and it’s spectacular!

    GREAT job! Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

    1. Aw, that’s so awesome that you were able to recreate it and get the flavor you like! Being in Belize AND having Mexican Pizza copycat? Perfection! 🙂

  25. I have already made this twice in the last week. Thank you so much. Now I am following your Pinterest account. Made a double batch the second time and jarred half and put in fridge. YUMMY

    1. Thanks for the follow and I’m so glad you like it! That’s exactly what I do – make a double batch and store half!

  26. Hi..can this recipe be frozen?..i have a Foodsaver and usually freeze portion sizes of things.
    With just my Husband and me..i would not use this whole recipe at once..Sounds delish and can’t wit to try..tia for your reply..huggzz

  27. This has been my go-to for years, so I thought it was time I finally left a review. I sub gluten free flour and it’s perfect every time. Thank you!

  28. Was on the net looking for an uncomplicated enchilada sauce and found your site. Great sauce!! Thanks so much for the recipe. Did you ever post your Mexican Lasagna recipe?

  29. I don’t use canned tomato sauce.
    If your going to offer a homemade enchilada sauce recipe , why do you use canned tomato sauce? Doesn’t make sense.

    1. Umm Matt, she’s making enchilada sauce not tomato sauce so just do it how you want it and be quiet, her sauce rocks!

  30. Thanks so much, awesome sauce! I made homemade flour tortillas and stuffed them with white chicken chili no beans, cheddar rolled them up and then smothered them with your sauce and mozzarella and cheddar. Baked them for 10 then broiled for 5 to bubbly up the cheese. Definitely a keeper in my recipe list!

  31. OMG, SO spicy! (Probably my chili powder — it was a new one I just got from the bulk foods store. It was pretty brown to begin with, ending almost a chocolate color.) I had to dilute it. If you are used to more mild enchilada sauce or using a potent chili powder, be prepared to either use less chili powder or add more liquid. We’ll be serving our dish with LOTS of sour cream to cut the heat! Flavor is great though.

    1. Now when I buy bulk chili powder I always taste it first. I’ve had some really ‘eye-watering’ surprises. I live in New Mexico, land of the Hatch chile, and have come to realize that all chili powder is NOT the same. 🙁

    2. Many chili powders can vary in color and intensity. I mostly use dark chili powder and it naturally makes my dishes more “chocolate-y” color and a little more smoky & intense. I suggest having both light and dark chili powder for different dishes.

      Great and simple enchilada sauce. I had no tomato sauce so I used Knorr Tomato & Chicken Buillon cube (very common to use by Hispanics and Mexican food in Texas). Thanks?

  32. YUM! This recipe is so delicious and so easy. Nothing better than homemade enchilada sauce. I used bacon grease because that’s my preference (which I get that not everyone keeps) and I didn’t have chicken broth so I made some beef broth with beef base. Thank you! I’ll definitely be coming back 🙂

  33. I bought everything I needed…I thought to make my Frito Pie then I found I did not have any enchilada sauce, so I found this one and it was perfect! So quick, too!