Red Enchilada Sauce

Learn how to make homemade red enchilada sauce with this easy recipe!  It’s so simple to make, and so delicious that I bet you’ll never return to the canned stuff. 

This homemade enchilada sauce recipe is the BEST!!! It only takes about 20 minutes to make, it tastes great on all kinds of enchiladas, it's easy to make gluten-free, and it's absolutely delicious! |

Every time I make the sauce for my favorite chicken enchiladas, I feel like the enchilada sauce itself is so good that 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?


Homemade Enchilada Sauce Recipe Video (1-Minute!)


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.  :)

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.


5 / 5 (54 Reviews)
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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!



  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:

  • Morton & Bassett Chili Powder
  • Penzey’s Spices Mild or Medium Chili Powder
  • Spice Islands Chili Powder
  • Simply Organic Chili Powder
All images and text ©

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

This post contains affiliate links.

Looking for some good recipes to use this homemade enchilada sauce?  Here are some of my faves:

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1,525 comments on “Red Enchilada Sauce”

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  1. This is my go to recipe. I will never purchase canned sauce again. Please don’t ever delete or change the link to this post because my heart will break.

    Rating: 5
  2. Hi, wanted to say thank you for a great recipe. My fiancè does not eat condiments of any sort. And we all know you cannot have enchiladas without the sauce! I appreciated a non tomatoe based sauce for a change and he absolutely loved this recipe and so did I.

    I followed recipe, using homemade broth was only interchange I made. I will definitely be using this one again.

    Thank you for posting and sharing!!

    Rating: 5
  3. This was delicious! In Seoul I can’t find enchilada sauce so this is a great solution!

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  8. This was a wonderful tasting and easy to make recipe! I used it on Black Bean/tomato enchiladas. When I heated the oil, I added one medium chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Then I doubled the oregano and cumin and added a bit more salt. I also used Imagine brand Organic Vegetarian “No Chickenn” broth. It turned out fantastic! Will definitely make this again. Thank you for the inspiration….

  9. I’ve made this sauce at least 10 times and my family and I just love it – it is soooo good. Thank you Ali for this amazing sauce recipe!!

    Rating: 5
  10. You were not exaggerating! Made this today and this is indeed the best enchilada sauce I’ve ever eaten!

    Rating: 5
  11. Which broth is a better choice? I want to try this but not sure which one to choose!

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  13. This sauce is amazing. Thanks Ou for sharing it. I will never buy canned or packets of enchilada sauce again!

    Rating: 5
  14. This is truly a special sauce. I love that it is not tomato based and you can adjust the level of heat to your liking.
    Thank you for sharing!

    Rating: 5
  15. I made this yesterday and it was fantastic. Thank you for this recipe.

    Rating: 5
  16. Can I throw all of these ingredients into a slow cooker with my chicken?

  17. Best sauce ever. My family raves about it, makes for the best tasting enchiladas! So quick and easy I can whip it up after work for a super delicious weekday meal.

    Rating: 5
  18. Thank you so much for this AWESOME and EASY recipe. I used a bit of canned abobe sauce and gave it a delicious smoky taste. I used this to make the Enchilada soup which is equally delicious.

    Rating: 5
  19. This is “lick every speck off the spoon” good! Really good, and easy to make!!

    Rating: 5
  20. Made this several times. We use half chili powder and half cayenne pepper usually but today we are having some kids that can’t handle the heat so no cayenne this time.

    Rating: 5
  21. Is there much of a taste difference between the vegetable or chicken broth?

    • Depends on which brand you use, but it shouldn’t make a big difference in this recipe. The chili powder definitely is the strongest flavor. :)

  22. Ali,
    I have made several different recipes for Chicken Enchiladas and always felt they were bland. I attempted your recipe along with your homemade Red Sauce as the comments all said the sauce made the Enchiladas. The Red Sauce came out famously and I will always make this in place of buying a canned version from a store. My family loved the Enchiladas and Red Sauce, as well as your BEST Apple Pie Ever!
    Thanks for great recipe’s and easy to follow instructions!

    Rating: 5
  23. I tried this upon recommendation from the Well Plated blog. I made Erin’s Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas last night. On her recipe she suggested this recipe as an alternative to the store bought enchilada sauce.
    Boy, am I glad I decided to make this sauce! I wanted to drink it straight from the saucepan, it was that good! I used vegetable stock in mine and it was perfect!
    I am writing this recipe out on a card to go in my collection. I don’t think I’ll ever need to look for another Enchilada Sauce recipe. Love it! Thanks for sharing it with the internet!

    Rating: 5
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  25. Thank you so much for sharing, I’ve been using this recipe for my vegan enchiladas for many years now. Absolutely love it and so does my family!

    Rating: 5
  26. Hi Ali, I made your recipe then added it to a pan of sautéed (diced) onion, green pepper, celery, canned black beans and extra lean ground beef. We all agreed that it was delicious! This is my new chilli recipe since I too appreciate a non tomato based sauce. Thank you for sharing your awesome recipe!

    Rating: 5
  27. This is pure Red Chile Satisfaction. Always recommend red chile powder from NM, many sources it will make a difference.
    I love the video, the recipe and have saved it to my most precious file, DO NOT LOOSE

    Rating: 5
  28. Like some of the other comments, this is my go-to enchilada sauce! Bye bye, canned, this is the best! Your blog is my favorite food blog, thank you for the great content you provide!

    Rating: 5
  29. Easiest homemade sauce recipe. Great taste which elevates the chicken enchiladas.

  30. This was a good base recipe. I used Bob’s one-to-one flour for GF version. I added way more slat, cumin and some Adobo. I felt like it needed a little kick so I also added about a tsp of chipotle in adobo and 2 T tomato paste. It turned out delish.

    Rating: 3
  31. Delicious! Will never buy the store brand again. I tried this when my sister was visiting and since she is celiac this is a way better option. I have made so many of your recipes since finding your site and love them all!! Thanks!!!

    Rating: 5
  32. I made this tonight along with your enchilada recipe, and it was absolutely delicious! My husband ate most of it, so I’m glad I made extra! Thanks for sharing… : )

    Rating: 5
  33. Love this recipe. Do you think it would freeze well?

    Rating: 5
  34. Ali,

    Can I use freshly grated garlic instead of garlic powder? Can’t wait to try it.


  35. I got nervous because the sauce was awfully thin for the entirety of cooking time, but it thickened up a bit afterward to a consistency I was familiar with. My husband really liked it. We put it on your chicken and black bean enchiladas (switched up tortillas and used corn instead) and it was a hit with him. He was especially glad that this sauce was not tomato-based. Thanks!

    Rating: 5
  36. I have now made this several times. My family absolutely loves these. Great go to. The only think I changed was, I shredded the chicken while it was cooking. I like it either way but I have picky teenagers. Will always make these. And the sauce is the BOSS! So glad I found this recipe. Will pass it on to all I know!

    Rating: 5
  37. Obsessed with this recipe! Our family loves it!!

    Rating: 5
  38. oh my gosh! these were awesome and so easy to make. i only used 4 tsp of chili powder cuz of kids but it was good. everyone loved them. thank you, i will be trying more of your recipes.

    Rating: 5
  39. Best Enchilada Sauce ever. It’s the only one I’ll ever use. Don’t even bother trying others. Thank you for this recipe !!!

    Rating: 5
  40. Can It be frozen to use a week later?

    Rating: 5
  41. Vey good sauce! Better than store bought.

    Rating: 5
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  44. I really like this enchilada sauce. I used a fairly hot chili powder from Savory Spice. This will be my go to enchilada sauce in the future.

    Rating: 5
  45. So amazing! I couldn’t remember if I ever left a comment! I refuse to use store bought anymore. I have to admit, it was different at first, but now I love the flavor! Thank you for sharing. Making it up with your chicken enchiladas tonight, which have also become o huge favorite of ours especially after we have roasted a chicken and use the leftover chicken in them. Yum!

    Rating: 5
  46. Fantastic enchilada sauce. Healthy. I use salt free broth and olive oil. Best ever. Guests never know that they are missing salt. Thanks for your recipes. I use this one in a soup with chicken meatballs. Amazing

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