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 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.

Just be sure to buy chili powder (not cayenne, also known as “crushed red chili powder”), and simmer the sauce for however long it takes to reach your desired thickness.  The sauce will not be super thick, but should not be overly runny.



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.

Again, I am using chili powder for this recipe, not cayenne.  From the comments, it sounds as though chili powders vary from country to country.  But the traditional American chili powder is fairly mild, and should not be overly spicy.

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. Leslie — January 30, 2016 @ 7:27 pm (#)

    I made this tonight using arrowroot powder in place of the flour.  The consistency was great and was the perfect sauce for my enchilada stuffed spaghetti squash.  Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 1st, 2016 @ 8:48 am

      We’re so glad you enjoyed this Leslie, thanks for sharing! It’s good to know the arrowroot powder works well in this! :)

  2. Kaylynne` — February 1, 2016 @ 12:02 pm (#)

    I am so surprised that tomatoes or tomato sauce are not in this enchilada sauce.  I am going to try this today.  If you should see this today, perhaps you can tell me if you think canned chicken broth will work just as well as canned chicken stock?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 1st, 2016 @ 12:56 pm

      We hope you enjoy this Kaylynne! We always use chicken stock for this — it tends to have a fuller, richer flavor.

  3. Nancy — February 1, 2016 @ 5:05 pm (#)

    Hi, question about the Chili Power, I have a bag of Reshampatti Chili Power, is this Chili Powder?  This stuff is sooooo hot! Thanks, Nancy

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 2nd, 2016 @ 9:50 am

      Hi Nancy! We don’t think that’s the one you’d want to use for this. We recommend a chili powder blend. We alternate between Spice Islands or Simply Organic.

  4. jonny — February 4, 2016 @ 8:53 am (#)

    I love this recipe and have been using it for a while, I am in the UK and there is no way I would put more than a teaspoon of my favourite chilli powder (Natco) in the mix. The sauce would be far too hot it would blow your head off. Luckily on  my first batch I only put a small amount in and tasted it and realised I didn’t need any more. 
    I usually make a big batch and freeze it.
    Thanks : )

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — February 4th, 2016 @ 10:15 am

      Thanks for sharing with us Jonny! We’re happy to hear you enjoy the recipe! :)



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