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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1,686 comments on “The BEST Enchilada Sauce!”

  1. These are truly the BEST chicken enchiladas ever! My Mexican inlaws loved them.

    Rating: 5
  2. 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
  3. I have been making this sauce for about a year now. Deffinately my go to because I hate canned enchilada sauce! Recently I added about a 1/4 cup to the doubled recipe and really liked it. It just added a little bit fresher flavor and mellowed out the taste of chilli powder.

    Rating: 4
  4. 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
  5. This was delicious! In Seoul I can’t find enchilada sauce so this is a great solution!

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  10. 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….

  11. 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
  12. You were not exaggerating! Made this today and this is indeed the best enchilada sauce I’ve ever eaten!

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

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

    Rating: 5
  16. 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
  17. I made this yesterday and it was fantastic. Thank you for this recipe.

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

  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. This is “lick every speck off the spoon” good! Really good, and easy to make!!

    Rating: 5
  22. 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
  23. 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. :)

  24. 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
  25. 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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  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. Easiest homemade sauce recipe. Great taste which elevates the chicken enchiladas.

  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. Love this recipe. Do you think it would freeze well?

    Rating: 5
  36. Ali,

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


  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. Obsessed with this recipe! Our family loves it!!

    Rating: 5
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. Can It be frozen to use a week later?

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

    Rating: 5
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  45. Outstanding and easy enchilada sauce I have made a half dozen times in the past year. made even better if you can get a hold of some Chimayo, New Mexico, dried red chile powder. Otherwise, I did not change a thing!

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  47. 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
  48. 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
  49. 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

  50. Which brand of broth do you recommend? I’m looking forward to making this recipe (especially the sauce!) this week (: glad I found your blog. Pinning for later.

    Thank you!