Red Enchilada Sauce

The BEST Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce |

Every time I make the sauce for my favorite enchiladas, I feel like it deserves its own post.

Believe me, people.  This recipe will knock your socks offffffff.

I guarantee you will never go back to the canned store-bought stuff again.  This sauce is a breeze to make, calls for simple ingredients, and is insanely delicious.  Whenever I am making enchiladas, I will often whip up a double batch of the sauce to use in some chicken soup, as a marinade, or to some salsa or quesadillas up a notch.  Really, it is so good.

Just make sure that you pay the extra dollar for some good quality chili powder.  You will taste the difference.  And love it.

Did I say you’ll love it?

The BEST Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce |


The BEST Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce |

Update 3.31.14 — SO many of you readers have used and loved this sauce over the past few years that I decided to post some new photos of the sauce, after making it for the 492th time.  :)

The BEST Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce |

Also, a number of people have commented on the color of the sauce.  Different chili powders that I have used sometimes make the sauce more brown and sometimes more red.  I also always shoot my photos about a foot away from a window, so the backlighting can make the photos also appear more vibrant.  Whatever color it comes out, though, this sauce is always crazy good.  I hope you continue to enjoy it!  Here’s the recipe…

The BEST Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce |

The BEST Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce |

Red Enchilada Sauce

This homemade red enchilada sauce is WAY better than anything you can buy in the can, and quick and easy to make as well!


  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose or gluten-free flour
  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder (*not cayenne! also, see note below if you do not like heat*)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock


Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir together over the heat for one minute. Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through oregano). Then gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thick.

Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.

(*I consider this sauce pretty mild.  But if you are wary about heat/spice in your sauce, I would begin with 2 tablespoons chili powder and add more from there once the sauce has reached a simmer if you'd like.)

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Looking for some good recipes to use this homemade enchilada sauce?  Try these!

The BEST Chicken Enchiladas Ever | #mexican

 The Best Chicken Enchiladas EVER

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup | #crockpot

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

20-Minute Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup | #mexican

20-Minute Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup 

Chicken Enchilada Casserole | #glutenfree

Chicken Enchilada Casserole (“Stacked” Chicken Enchiladas)

Leave a Comment:


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  1. Colleen — May 11, 2015 @ 6:00 pm (#)

    I just stumbled upon this recipe and made it because I always am so-so on the canned sauce.  I will never go back! This sauce is incredibly easy to make and is oh-so good!!!I made a double batch and am going to try out freezing half of it in hopes that it saves for a while longer.  

    • Ali — May 11, 2015 @ 8:51 pm (#)

      Thanks Colleen, I’m happy you gave it a shot! : )

  2. hildert — May 17, 2015 @ 9:00 am (#)

    So I found your site awhile back, and since I’m trying to cook more from scratch this recipe sounded good! But I made it, and like you said I made it with 2 tablespoons (me and the kid are not big fans of spicy, the man is) but it is still to spicey, even the man said he thought it was to spicy!

    Is this maybe because I used chili peper???
    Is there away to make it less spicey now??

    Plus the link to the creamy soup doesn’t work… it looks delicious!!
    greetz from the Netherlands!

    • Ali — May 18, 2015 @ 7:36 am (#)

      Hi there! I’m sorry this still came out too spicy for you and your kiddo! Did you use red chili pepper flakes/crushed red pepper? For this recipe, you’ll want to use chili powder, but I would start out with 1 tablespoon next time, taste it, and adjust accordingly, since you can always add more. Please let me know how that works, if you make it again! Also, thanks for the head’s up about the soup link — I fixed it now, so it should work! : )

  3. Cathi — May 18, 2015 @ 5:43 pm (#)

    Bummed!! I made this sauce without success. It’s likely my chili powder, but I use bulk chili powder with nothing added, and always like it. My sauce is SUPER bitter-inedible. Also, I had to add flour to thicken it after 30 minutes of simmering. I’m going to let it cook a bit longer, but I don’t have a lot of hope. I’ll try again with a different chili powder, becuase I want to like this!! 

    • Ali — May 19, 2015 @ 8:03 am (#)

      Hi Cathi, I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you! Really not sure why it came out so thin and bitter. :( What is the brand of chili powder you used? Was it dark chili powder?

  4. serena bouzemann — May 19, 2015 @ 12:13 pm (#)

    I detest canned enchilada sauce.  This looks like a keeper! I had leftover tomato sauce in the freezer that I cut in with the chicken stock for extra flavor.  I’m making enchiladas tonight with leftover smoked chicken and I’m thinking this’ll be a perfect topper. I have some poblanos in the freezer I’m going to try out next time, cause we don’t mind some heat..  Thanks!

    • Ali — May 20, 2015 @ 8:41 am (#)

      Thanks, Serena! I hope you enjoyed this recipe! : )

  5. Jenny — May 20, 2015 @ 1:39 am (#)

    Holy cow, I want to put this sauce on EVERYTHING!! The first time I made it I followed the recipe exactly – I don’t know what I’m doing, I’ve never made enchilada sauce before! A-ma-zing!! The second time I made it, I didn’t even have to use exact measurements…..this recipe and I are totally in sync! I was a little worried at first that it’s too watery, but after tasting it I don’t even care what consistency it is…..I have enchiladas to soak it up! Flour and I typically don’t get along, but I may venture out to make it thicker. I did also on it the salt. The hubs has high blood pressure so I try to make everything as low sodium as possible. Thanks for my new saucy obsession!

    • Ali — May 20, 2015 @ 8:29 am (#)

      Thank you so much, Jenny! So thrilled that you love it! : D

  6. Syd — May 20, 2015 @ 6:03 am (#)

    I absolutely love this enchilada sauce!  I live in Mexico and had given up on enchiladas.  Of course all the  enchiladas here are made with the traditional sauce, which I just don’t like.   I’m so happy to have such a simple and yummy sauce I can whip up myself instead.  Muchas gracias!

    • Ali — May 20, 2015 @ 8:27 am (#)

      Thank you, Syd! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy this! : )

  7. Deanna — May 21, 2015 @ 6:11 pm (#)

    Tonight I make the red enchilada sauce. I am not a can food buyer so I wanted to give this a try. Was quick and simple to make. Had all the ingredients in the cupboard. Unfortunately I did not like it. I found the amount of chili powder was overwhelming for my tastes.  I may consider making again but reducing the amount. 

    • Ali — May 22, 2015 @ 8:35 am (#)

      Hi Deanna! I’m sorry this was too spicy for you. Definitely try it again, just starting with maybe 1/2-1 tablespoon. You can always add more from there if you like. : )

  8. Karen Sewell-Clark — May 22, 2015 @ 1:51 pm (#)

    I just stumbled across your homemade red enchilada sauce. Is it freezeable? I would like to make this for the enchilada soup and enchiladas but would like to make extra to freeze.  The favor of a reply is appreciated. 

    • Ali — May 22, 2015 @ 3:05 pm (#)

      Hey Karen, yes, it is freezable! : ) Hope you enjoy

  9. Kathy DeHoff — May 22, 2015 @ 3:32 pm (#)


    I’m making your enchiladas tonight and will be using the special sauce. I just realized I bought chicken broth, not stock.  Do you think it will taste as yummy or should I pack the kids back up and head back to the grocery store?! 

    • Ali — May 22, 2015 @ 3:44 pm (#)

      Hey, Kathy! Awesome! And no worries at all, chicken broth should be just fine, and have plenty of flavor. Save yourself another trip! Enjoy. : )


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