The BEST Enchilada Sauce!

Truly the BEST homemade enchilada sauce recipe!  It’s super simple to make, and a million times better than the canned stuff.  (Also be sure to check out my new recipe for Green Enchilada Sauce too!)

The BEST Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe

My best tip for how to make a killer pan of homemade enchiladas?

This homemade enchilada sauce recipe. 

It has been the secret ingredient in my favorite enchilada recipe for years.  And inevitably, every time I make a pan of enchiladas for a dinner party, or take some enchilada soup to a friend with a new baby, or whip up a quick batch of enchilada nachos, or add the sauce to some shredded chicken for Taco Tuesday — someone always asks for the recipe to this magical enchilada sauce.

It’s a million times better than anything you can buy in the can.  And even better?  It only takes about 20 minutes to make, and calls for simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.  Let’s make some!

Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Chili Powder for The BEST Enchilada Sauce recipe!

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce Ingredients:

To make this enchilada sauce recipe, you’ll need (affiliate links included):

  • Chili powder: As in, the classic American chili powder, such as this.  This is the main seasoning in this simple sauce, so I recommend buying a good-quality brand.  I sometimes also like to use a 50/50 blend of half chili powder + half ancho chili powder (or chipotle chili powder).
  • Garlic powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, and salt: These will be the other seasonings in your sauce.
  • Oil and flour: To make the roux to thicken the sauce. Any kind of mild-flavored oil or butter will do.  And if you are gluten-free, you can use an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend.
  • Veggie or chicken stock: This will form the broth for your sauce.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce Ingredients

How To Make Enchilada Sauce:

To make this enchilada sauce recipe, follow these simple steps:

  1. Make your roux: Heat your oil (or butter) in a saucepan.  Then whisk in the flour until combined, and cook for 1 minute or so.
  2. Stir in seasonings: Then add in the chili powder, garlic powder, salt, cumin and oregano and cook for 1 more minute.  This will help toast the spices just a bit.
  3. Whisk in broth: Next, gradually whisk in your sauce until most of the clumps have dissolved and the sauce is smooth.  (That said, it’s ok if there are a few small clumps.)
  4. Simmer and reduce: Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let it continue simmering until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.  I like mine just slightly thickened, but you can let your simmer for longer if you would like it to be really thick.
  5. Serve!  Then once the enchilada sauce has reached your desired consistency, it’s ready to serve!

How To Make Enchilada Sauce

My Favorite Recipes Using Enchilada Sauce:

There are about a million ways you could use this enchilada sauce.  But some of my faves include using it in:

Red Enchilada Sauce Recipe

Also, be sure to check out my new recipe for Green Enchilada Sauce too!  Enjoy, everyone!

This post contains affiliate links.

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Red Enchilada Sauce

My all-time favorite homemade red enchilada sauce recipe.  It’s quick and easy to make, and a million times better than the canned stuff!



  1. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk 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 slightly thickened.
  2. Use immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.  (I like to use mason jars or Weck jars to store this sauce.)

*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.  Or if you’d like a smokier sauce, I recommend using 3 tablespoons chili powder and 1 tablespoon chipotle powder.

Again, though, this recipe calls for traditional American chili powder, not cayenne.  From the comments, it sounds as though chili powders vary significantly from country to country.  But the traditional American chili powder is fairly mild, and should not be overly spicy.  Some brands I recommend include:

  • McCormick Chili Powder
  • Penzey’s Spices Mild or Medium Chili Powder
  • Spice Islands Chili Powder
  • Simply Organic Chili Powder

If making this recipe gluten-free, be sure to use 100% certified gluten-free ingredients.

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

How To Make Enchilada Sauce From Scratch

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1,684 comments on “The BEST Enchilada Sauce!”

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  1. This is hands down the best enchilada sauce I’ve ever had! Ever! I’ve made my own, used the dry packets,and tried canned sauce. Some were ok but I’ll never need to try another now that I use this recipe ‘ When I have company I make enchiladas with this sauce and they are always a huge hit! And I love that I don’t need tomatoes. I always have the other ingredients on hand. So so amazing and so flavorful! Thank you!!

    Rating: 5
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  4. Try using Mexican Oregano (also known as spicy Oregano) if you can find it. I grow all my own herbs so I have plenty. Also added about 1/16 tsp Ghost Pepper powder because I like it VERY hot

    fyi: Ghost peppers are about 10 times as hot as habaneros so be very very careful

  5. Really delicious sauce one of the best I’ve tried and I used the chicken bones from the rotisserie chicken for the broth so it was really rich 😬 thanks for sharing

    Rating: 5
  6. Hello, can I use chicken broth instead of stock?

  7. I love this recipe. I’ve made it a few times now and prefer it over anything store bought. I’m not a fan of cayenne anything (plus I’m in Australia so different) so I use chipotle in adobe sauce for the “pepper” flavours. I love the depth and smokiness the Adobe gives this recipe.

  8. So easy to make and delicious. Thank you for the recipe.

    Rating: 5
  9. Can you freeze this sauce? Love your recipes! Thank you!

    Rating: 5
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  12. I made this sauce tonight and used chipotle in it as well. I loved the flavor of this sauce. I even left for awhile and when I came home the smell of the sauce still filled my kitchen and it was delightful! Fantastic!

    Rating: 5
  13. Pingback: Green Enchilada Sauce – Cooking Recipes

  14. Any ideas why my enchilada sauce came out almost black?

  15. Loved this recipe, easy and delicious.

    Rating: 5
  16. Ali, this is the best Enchilada Sauce! It is now a staple in my kitchen. I so enjoy making homemade as much as possible. Thank you for such a great recipe that is so easy and equally delicious!

  17. I made this yesterday for my veggie enchiladas. It tasted pretty good after the enchiladas were cooked but I really didn’t like it on its own and I definitely wouldn’t use it outside of enchiladas. I used one of the brands of chili powder you recommended (Simply Organic) and followed the recipe to a T. It tasted too strongly of flour, almost doughy. I thought it was too salty as well. The texture and color were perfect. Next time I would change the ratio of chili powder to flour, or perhaps cook the flour for longer than only a minute to get rid of more of the flour flavor? I’m not sure what to do. Any tips?

    Rating: 3
    • Typically if you don’t cook down your flour enough is when you’ll get that flavor. Make sure you actually cook the flour with the oil beforehand enough to where it becomes an even consistency. This will ensure the flour flavor goes away. Cheers!

    • You may not have cooked long enough, usually if something tastes like flour that is the case!

  18. This sauce really is the best. So worth the extra effort.

    Rating: 5
  19. This sauce really is the best. I find 4 tablespoons of chili powder to be too spicy for my family, so we use about two. This makes the sauce quite as thick so you have to simmer longer or add less broth.

    Rating: 5
  20. Found you when I was looking for a sauce recipe and this one was a hit! Ridiculously easy too.
    Perfectly perfect.

    Rating: 5
  21. I love this sauce. I bet I’ve made it 30 times. I make a double batch and freeze some.

    Rating: 5
  22. Thanks, this is a great sauce and the only one I now use for enchiladas. Store bought sauce is not even comparable.

    Rating: 5
  23. So easy and so good. Used it to make some sweet potato, black bean, and collard green enchiladas. Everyone loved them.

    Rating: 5
  24. Pingback: Mexican Lasagna (or not really) – Messy Kitchen

  25. This homemade sauce is so much better than the canned stuff. Great recipe!

    Rating: 5
  26. I made this and the enchilada recipe last night and my family LOVED it! I’ve made enchiladas before using store bought jars and it doesn’t even compare. Everyone agrees this is absolutely the best enchilada recipe!

    Rating: 5
  27. I’ve been making this recipe for years. It truly is the BEST and EASIEST. Thanks for sharing it with everyone. I’m including it in my 2nd cookbook, which I hope to finish this summer.

  28. I wondered what this would turn out like if I used part tomato sauce and part stock for the liquid? Have you tried this before?

    • I too was thinking of trying it with some tomato sauce or canned tomatoes. Any one tried that yet?

  29. OH MY GOODNESS!!! This was soooo DELICIOUS! I wanted to eat it with a spoon like soup! I put it on GimmeSomeOven’s enchiladas and it made the dish taste outstanding! You will want to make this again and again! And it’s so easy!!! So so so easy! Divine!

    Rating: 5
  30. So yummy! Has anyone tried to can or freeze this to have in hand or give as part of a gift basket?

    Rating: 5
  31. I used 2 tablespoons chili powder + 2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder as suggested in the recipe, but WOW wayyyy too spicy for us! Next time I will stick with just chili powder and maybe add it cautiously!

    Rating: 3
  32. I made this last night and it was great!

    However the 4 tablespoons of Chili powder was too much for me (and I like spice) Had to add some tomato past plus more broth to calm it down a bit.

    If you don’t like it to hot I would recommend cutting measurement down by 1-2 tablespoons (again based on you heat preference)

    Made great enchilada’s though. Flavour fantastic.!

    Rating: 5
  33. This sauce is amazing. I use it as the base for my chicken tortilla soup.

    Rating: 5
  34. Always looking for a good sauce. Here is Texas, it’s pickyville. I used only 2 T of chili powder and could have used one more; however, it was delicious just the same.

    Rating: 5
  35. Can you can this sauce to be shelf stable?

  36. I didn’t have my usual big can of tomato juice on hand but I was determined to make chili, I used this recipe as the base for my chili and it came out Amazing. Sorry mom I just changed your 40 year old chili recipe, I’m never going back to tomato juice!

    Rating: 5
  37. Love this recipe. Its so delicious. Everyone always eats it up. I find using a blend of ancho and chipotle chile makes the sauce a decent level of heat and great taste. I also add a little tumeric too. I always recomed this recipe to friends who want to make their own enchiladas or hispanic dishes.

    Rating: 5
  38. YES!!

    Rating: 5
  39. Fantastic – my husband and I both loved it! We used Penzey’s Hot Chili Powder (2t) and Cayenne (1t) and the spice was just right. We used it to make chicken & corn enchiladas and they were to die for. Amazing result for such a simple recipe!

    Rating: 5
  40. Well – this recipe is more traditional Mexican and not the “mainstream” lighter sauce one may be used to. It has a bold and biting flavor, although not bad but liking the traditional enchilada sauce is a must. The roux should not be cooked for one minute and neither should the spices for an additional minute once added – I suggest no more than 30 seconds for both on medium low heat. If you like traditional enchilada sauce, follow the directions. If you like more mainstream (American) sauce, find another recipe. I added a small can of tomato paste hoping to temper the harsh flavors but did not work.

    Rating: 1
  41. Pingback: Best Ever Veggie Enchiladas Recipe - Build Your Bite

  42. Great recipe. Full flavor and easy to make. I used the veg stock. Added some red pepper flakes for heat. It is great to make a sauce rhat took me about 6 min to do. Thumbs up

    Rating: 4