Enchilada Sauce

This recipe is gluten-free adaptable. Please see tips below…

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Enchilada Sauce

Yield: About 2 1/2 cups

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 20 min

I find the canned enchilada sauces to take on the flavor of the tin can. Ick. This easy-to-make sauce tastes so much better.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet to medium heat. Whisk in flour and chili powder. Reduce heat to medium and continue to whisk until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in tomato sauce, chicken broth, cumin, garlic powder, onion salt and salt. Stir until smooth, and continue simmering over medium heat about 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

2. Serve immediately, or keep in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Tips:

*If you are preparing this recipe as GLUTEN FREE- just be sure to substitute GF flour for the all-purpose flour. And make sure you are using a brand of chicken broth that is designated as GF (or use water instead).

Source: RecipeGirl.com (Adapted from Allrecipes)

Leave a Comment




98 Responses to “Enchilada Sauce”

  1. 1

    Samantha — November 2, 2011 @ 9:37 PM

    This all looks so good but I was wondering if it is spicy my husband can’t stomach spicy foods at all but seems to love Mexican I make him taco and fajitas all the time but I love enchiladas and was wondering if there might be a way to make them not spicy thanks for all your time.

  2. 2

    Lori Lange — November 3, 2011 @ 5:49 AM

    I would not characterize this sauce as spicy. My 10 year old eats it all the time, and he can’t do spicy so I would think it would be okay for your husband.

  3. 3

    Jim — November 13, 2011 @ 2:47 PM

    Just a little curious on why you use chicken broth a opposed to beef or vegetable broth? I am making enchiladas with minced ground beef, won’t the two tastes conflict?

  4. 4

    Lori Lange — November 14, 2011 @ 7:40 AM

    You absolutely cannot taste the chicken broth in the sauce. Use vegetable, beef or chicken broth- the flavor does not come through so much.

  5. 5

    Shanna "Urban Girl" Jones — December 10, 2011 @ 4:55 PM

    I have been looking for a great enchilada sauce recipe for a while now. This is really the most important piece of the dish. It will definitely make or break it. Looking forward to trying it out tonight! :-)

  6. 6

    Jerushayoung — January 9, 2012 @ 6:31 AM

    What kind of tomato sauce did you use? So excited to try this!!

  7. 7

    Lori Lange — January 10, 2012 @ 6:29 AM

    Nothing special… just regular canned tomato sauce!

  8. 8

    Kayla (soontobe) Ward — January 15, 2012 @ 6:48 PM

    Me, My fiance and his little brother tried this for the first time tonight and we absolutely adored it, no one talked while eating this! It was not spicy which my fiance liked. And it was perfect for my taste. And my brother in law actually ate 3rds he is now begging me to make this once a week! Thankyou for such a perfect recipe

  9. 9

    Anne — January 21, 2012 @ 10:43 AM

    Can this sauce be frozen? I have a feeling we would not use 2 1/2 cups in 3 days time.

  10. 10

    Lori Lange — January 21, 2012 @ 10:48 AM

    I haven’t tried freezing it. I would think it would be fine though.

  11. 11

    Cyndi Barbuscia — February 19, 2012 @ 9:26 PM

    This was absolutely amazing !!! Thank u soo much !! I had remnants of the sauce left in the pan and I made rice w it and used the broth from the chicken I had boiled. It was just the right amount of flavor to make Spanish rice !! Great meal !

  12. 12

    Janet Smith — February 28, 2012 @ 12:39 PM

    has anyone made enchildas and frozen them to use later…?

  13. 13

    Amber — March 5, 2012 @ 8:44 AM

    Do you have a suggestion for a substitution for the veg oil? I don’t keep veg oil in my house!

  14. 14

    Lori Lange — March 5, 2012 @ 8:49 AM

    Canola oil would work just fine too.

  15. 15

    Mimi — March 6, 2012 @ 3:49 PM

    Could I substitute cayenne pepper powder for the chili powder? And water for the chicken broth? Also, what can i substitute for the onion salt?

  16. 16

    Lori Lange — March 6, 2012 @ 5:58 PM

    I fear that cayenne powder may be too spicy! Water for chicken broth, but only if you have a bouillon cube to add, otherwise no flavor. I suppose you could just use salt.

  17. 17

    Mimi — March 6, 2012 @ 7:16 PM

    Would the bouillon cube have to be chicken bouillon or can it be veggie?

  18. 18

    Lori Lange — March 6, 2012 @ 7:31 PM

    Either… just something to give it some flavor. Of course, I’m just guessing since I haven’t tried preparing it that way!

  19. 19

    kimmer — March 10, 2012 @ 9:40 AM

    Hi Lori! Have question. I would like to use your sauce with a chicken enchilada recipe. My question is…the shredded chicken recipe calls for 1tsp cumin and 1 tsp taco seasoning mixed in with the chicken. Wondering if I should leave those two out of the chicken. Don’t want an overpowering taste and definately do not want it too spicey or family won’t like it. Not too experienced with making enchiladas and would appreciate your advice.
    Thanks!

  20. 20

    Lori Lange — March 10, 2012 @ 11:22 AM

    Hmmm- that’s totally up to you. The sauce turns out just like a regular enchilada sauce- not any more spicy than any others. I might choose to keep the spices in (or maybe cut cumin in half).

  21. 21

    kimmer — March 10, 2012 @ 12:38 PM

    Thanks Lori. I think you are right and will cut the cumin in half. Can’t wait to try your sauce!

  22. 22

    Christy — April 1, 2012 @ 5:04 PM

    I cooked this…OMG this was the best sauce I ever made..I used less chili power to make it milder..The family loved it..Thanks for posting your recipe

  23. 23

    Cynthia — April 18, 2012 @ 5:52 PM

    I love enchiladas but don’t like the canned sauce because it usually is too spicy. This recipe is fabulous and I’m so glad to have it! Thanks a million for sharing.

  24. 24

    Deb L. — May 5, 2012 @ 7:27 PM

    I made this tonight for dinner. YUM! & Thank You! My hubby LOVES mexican food but doesn’t like the canned sauce. I usually make green chili w/chicken. This was a HUGE HIT w/him & my girls. ( I only used 1 1/4+ Tbsp of chili powder.)

  25. 25

    Jennifer Reyes — May 14, 2012 @ 4:57 PM

    I MADE THIS TONIGHT IT WAS SO GREAT MY KIDS LOVED IT AND EVEN SAID IT WAS BETTER THEN THERE SCHOOLS. ITS THE BEST I HAVE EVER HAD ;-) THANK U

  26. 26

    Sarah — July 21, 2012 @ 11:38 PM

    Lori-your enchilada sauce recipe is AMAZING. We’re American expats currently living in Germany where it’s really hard to find Mexican food. THANK YOU for a great recipe that I can use when we’re craving enchiladas!!!

  27. 27

    Lori Lange — July 22, 2012 @ 1:44 PM

    Awesome!

  28. 28

    Kiki — August 1, 2012 @ 4:51 PM

    Fabulous sauce. I threw this together with the ingredients in my cabinet. The only thing I was missing was onion powder, but it was still very good. My boyfriend and I loved it. This will be added to my mexican food repertoire.

  29. 29

    Liz — August 20, 2012 @ 12:18 PM

    abt using the cajan spice, sub it with paprika not to hard on the stomach.

  30. 30

    Stuart Smith — August 23, 2012 @ 5:28 AM

    We increased the amount of spice that the recipe called for and added smoked anaheim and jalopeno peppers for some more heat

  31. 31

    Pam Hoffman — August 29, 2012 @ 3:20 PM

    Is there any way to use fresh tomatoes? I have bunches currently & no can at all would be involved!

    Thanks!
    Pam Hoffman

  32. 32

    Lori Lange — August 30, 2012 @ 1:36 PM

    Not sure… I wouldn’t be familiar with how to do that!

  33. 33

    Pam Hoffman — August 30, 2012 @ 3:26 PM

    OK, thanks Lori!

  34. 34

    Kacey B — September 3, 2012 @ 2:13 PM

    I got some inspiration from your recipe and some others that I found on Pinterest. I went ahead and linked yours to my post :0)

  35. 35

    Tifani Hardaway — September 17, 2012 @ 5:02 PM

    I am looking forward to tasting this one. I used to buy Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce but the quality has diminished so much that I refuse to buy it. I’ve been looking for a good recipe without luck so far but this one looks like exactly what I’ve been wanting. Thank you for posting!

  36. 36

    Carol — September 18, 2012 @ 2:53 AM

    I live in Australia and absolutely crave GOOD Mexican food. I have stop going to Mexi here, its is always a huge disappiontment!!!
    I tried this enchilada sauce recipe and my zucchini beef enchilada’s were to die for!!!!!

  37. 37

    Alicia G. — September 23, 2012 @ 8:45 AM

    I rarely leave a review but this enchilada sauce was AWESOME! I had to make chicken enchiladas for some friends, so I went to the store and bought some sauce. After reading the recipe, I thought let me try it and see. Well, it was great and my enchiladas were a HUGE success. I truly believe the chicken broth and onion salt make it very flavorful. However, the recipe does’t make enough for 10 enchiladas, so the second time I added 2 cups of broth and added more spices.
    Enjoy!!

  38. 38

    Wendy — October 17, 2012 @ 9:00 AM

    Can you use olive instead of veg. oil?

  39. 39

    Lori Lange — October 17, 2012 @ 3:12 PM

    I would think that strong flavored olive oil would give it an unpleasant flavor!

  40. 40

    Cassie — October 20, 2012 @ 11:40 PM

    I made this tonight and really WOWed all of my guests. It was great! I wasn’t sure when I tested it before baking, but it really transformed with the baking and cheese. It was awesome! Thanks!

  41. 41

    Lisa — October 27, 2012 @ 10:03 AM

    Dumb question…I have a huge bin of whole wheat flour I need to use up and have no all purpose flour. Can I sub the whole wheat flour with all purpose when making the sauce?

  42. 42

    Lori Lange — October 28, 2012 @ 12:27 PM

    I’ve never tried it with whole wheat flour.

  43. 43

    Samantha — October 28, 2012 @ 6:11 PM

    This sauce is delicious! I shared it on my blog with credit to you of course! Thanks!

  44. 44

    Mike — October 30, 2012 @ 1:06 PM

    YESSS! This sauce is a winner. Me and the gf survived frankenstorm thanks to this bad boy.

  45. 45

    Debbie — November 6, 2012 @ 12:03 PM

    This is an amazing enchilada recipe and this sauce is soooo delish!!!! This has become a weekly dish in our house!!

  46. 46

    Jody — November 28, 2012 @ 7:03 PM

    I made this sauce for the first time the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. My husband grew up in the city and his mom made everything from a can or a box…she worked fulltime. I grew up on a Iowa farm and everything came from the garden or the barn. :) I’ve made enchilladas for years but used the canned stuff so I wasn’t sure if my hubby would like the homemade. It was a HIT. I am keeping all the ingredients on hand and storing lefttover sauce in a mason jar in the frig. Thanks for this recipe…it is excellent!

  47. 47

    Irene Esparza — December 7, 2012 @ 5:09 PM

    I am an American of Hispanic descent and I have been trying for years to learn how to make the enchilada sauce. It always sucks when I make it.
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I will try it this weekend (0:
    It sounds good!
    Thanks again!

  48. 48

    Tracy — December 17, 2012 @ 11:37 AM

    I’m on a low-sodium diet and can’t eat most canned products like enchilada sauce. I tried your recipe, with a few minor adjustments, and it was wonderful! Thank you so much! You helped bring delicious back into my life!

  49. 49

    Lori Lange — December 17, 2012 @ 7:55 PM

    yay!

  50. 50

    joe — December 21, 2012 @ 9:49 AM

    is it tomato juice or tomato sauce?

  51. 51

    Lori Lange — December 21, 2012 @ 1:59 PM

    sauce

  52. 52

    nicholad abrams — December 27, 2012 @ 11:01 AM

    I’ve made enchiladas countless times, but never thought to put zuchinni in them. What a great idea! I noticed, but the family was surprised after they ate and I told them. Thanks!

  53. 53

    Jeff — January 14, 2013 @ 6:32 PM

    Funny how you say that you don’t like the taste of canned enchilada sauce yet your recipe calls for canned tomato sauce. Hmmm…….

  54. 54

    Amy — January 14, 2013 @ 6:51 PM

    I was just setting up tomorrow’s dinner and didn’t have enough canned enchilada sauce. A quick Google search landed me here. I whipped up a batch of this sauce and got everything ready and now I CAN NOT WAIT to have dinner tomorrow night. Thanks for a delicious, quick, not to mention much cheaper, alternative. I will never buy canned enchilada sauce again.

  55. 55

    Lori Lange — January 14, 2013 @ 8:38 PM

    Yeah, I can handle canned tomato sauce- use it in all kinds of recipes, of course. But for me, canned enchilada sauce = yuck.

  56. 56

    Harmony — January 15, 2013 @ 11:04 AM

    I just wanted to say this has become out go-to enchilada sauce recipe. Since we have a 3-yd-old most of the time I half the chili powder and also only use the Ne Mexican mild chili powder. I also double the recipe each time I make it and freeze half for an easier meal later on. It freezes great. Thanks for sharing!

  57. 57

    emilsa — January 22, 2013 @ 3:49 PM

    I dont have any chilli powder can i leave it out?

  58. 58

    Lori Lange — January 22, 2013 @ 7:25 PM

    I wouldn’t do that… it won’t really be enchilada sauce without it!

  59. 59

    Debra — February 4, 2013 @ 12:49 PM

    Thanks for posting this! Found your beef/zucchini enchilada recipe on Pinterest, and of course, that led me here for this amazing sauce recipe.

    First off, maybe she figured it out, but in October Lisa asked about using WW flour instead of all purpose. I tried it last night and it turned out incredible! I haven’t made this with AP flour, but the natural nuttiness of WW flour was definitely a bonus!

    Regarding the spiciness, I was concerned about too much spice too (I have 1, 3 and 4 yr olds at home), so I made this sauce with only 1T of chili powder. Next time I think I will try 2. Kids didn’t say anything about spice, and I thought it could use a little more zing. Also, I LOVED the minced zucchini in here! As another commenter posted, my kids had no idea, and it adds a typically undesired veggie into their little tummies.

    Now on to check out your other recipes! Thanks again!!

  60. 60

    Lori Lange — February 4, 2013 @ 3:51 PM

    So glad to hear how well it worked out!

  61. 61

    Sara — February 10, 2013 @ 3:23 PM

    You might like it better if you leave out the tomato sauce, add about a teaspoon of oregano

  62. 62

    Crystl — February 25, 2013 @ 5:36 PM

    I loved this recipe! I live in NYC and the only enchilada sauce I can find is canned stuff at Whole Foods (for almost $5 a can!!) – and that canned stuff is not good! This recipe was delicious. I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the regular flour and also substituted water for the oil to make it non-fat. It was delicious. THANK YOU!!

  63. 63

    Stacy — February 27, 2013 @ 5:25 PM

    I can’t believe I haven’t commented on this before. I have been using your recipe for several months now. Every time we get a craving for enchiladas, I head over here and whip up some sauce. I always double it, as we like our enchiladas quite saucy. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  64. 64

    Ginger Ratsep — March 5, 2013 @ 11:14 AM

    Awesome recipe. Paired it with black bean and mushroom enchiladas. Was a huge hit with my husband and me.

  65. 65

    FARON TURNER — March 18, 2013 @ 10:03 AM

    I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR THE EXELENT ENCHILADA SAUCE EASY AS IT GETS GREAT TASTING LOW COST RECIPE ! WE ENJOY IT A LOT

  66. 66

    Miriam — March 26, 2013 @ 8:51 AM

    Made this last night to use with “Angela’s Awesome Enchiladas (allrecipes.com), and it was absolutely DELICIOUS!! SO much better than the canned stuff, and easy! Thank you, recipe girl! I’ll be using this often.

  67. 67

    Stephanie — April 4, 2013 @ 6:04 PM

    LOVE this recipe! I won’t buy canned again. Only substitution I made was I used olive oil instead of veg. oil. You can’t tell the difference except it is way healthier than veg. or canola oil. It is perfect for my family since it is flavorful without being spicy.

  68. 68

    Sarah — April 6, 2013 @ 7:19 AM

    Oh my goodness! I followed your link from the enchilada recipe and decided to make the sauce fresh since you made it look so easy. The whole shabang was incredible. Even my 19month old gobbled them up. It wasn’t spicy, just super flavorful!
    Thanks for sharing!

  69. 69

    sosiboys — April 13, 2013 @ 2:46 PM

    I made this today and it was delicious. So much better than the can stuff and easy too. Make sure you double the recipe, its that good.

  70. 70

    Nickcole Jackson — April 24, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

    I am so excited to try this new dish. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas.
    Nickcole Jackson A.S.

  71. 71

    floyd — April 28, 2013 @ 3:55 PM

    can u substitute the oil with vinegar? my mom had a recipe that sounds similar to yours and she used vinegar

  72. 72

    Lori Lange — April 28, 2013 @ 9:59 PM

    I have not done it that way, but if you try it and like it… please come back and let us know!

  73. 73

    Deb Ng — April 30, 2013 @ 5:58 AM

    Made this and your beef enchilada (with zucchini) recipe for my family yesterday and they love, love, loved it. Apparently we are never going back to can or jarred sauce again. Thanks!

  74. 74

    teri — May 5, 2013 @ 3:38 PM

    Amazing!! Made this tonight and my husband says the best enchiladas ive ever made…and has banned me from buying canned versions. Thank you!!! (I used home made chicken broth)

  75. 75

    Caren — May 17, 2013 @ 6:06 PM

    Awesome recipe! My first attempt at enchilada sauce and I was extremely pleased. Don’t forget to kick it up a notch with a little cayenne pepper!

  76. 76

    Lisbeth Ramirez — May 19, 2013 @ 5:00 AM

    This is my second time making this sauce. For my husbands Birthday. We don’t like the store can enchilada sauce. This was a great recipe to find, so easy to make. Thanks for taking your time to post this. My children loved it too not too spicy and one can always add more or take some spice depending on taste. I don’t make enchiladas that often only for a treat and with your sauce it is really a treat better than restaurants for me at least. Have a great day.

  77. 77

    Elizabeth — May 20, 2013 @ 3:20 PM

    I’m so glad I ran across this recipe! I made it a few weeks ago for enchiladas (the recipe for which I also found on your site,) and we all loved it. I’m making it again tonight! I’ll never go back to store-bought enchilada sauce!

  78. 78

    Zulika — June 1, 2013 @ 8:16 AM

    I love this sauce !! I am native Mexican and wanted something quick and easy and mom’s sauce takes alot more effort ! My Gringo husband loves his Mexican so make these often ….. Thaanks

  79. 79

    Blair — July 8, 2013 @ 6:17 PM

    Recipe Girl…this enchilada sauce was delish! Took my first stab at Veggie Enchiladas for Meatless Monday with lots of leftover grilled veg, and it was superb. Never a huge fan of enchiladas, but this sauce was perfect. (P.S. was eating it by the spoonful while I reheated veggies…can’t wait to use the rest to make some sort of Mexican rice!)

  80. 80

    Holly — August 24, 2013 @ 5:44 PM

    I made your sauce tonight for a quick meal of pork enchiladas. It was great and helped me turn leftover pork into a new meal. Thanks!

  81. 81

    Erin — October 10, 2013 @ 7:11 PM

    I’ve made your Enchilada Recipe a bunch of times, but tonight was the first time I tried the sauce. It was fantastic. Who knew it would taste so much better than the store bought kind?

  82. 82

    Lori Lange — October 10, 2013 @ 8:43 PM

    I know, right? I’m so glad you liked it too!

  83. 83

    manal — October 11, 2013 @ 12:14 PM

    since you are using homemade sauce to a voide the metal can why dont you also make the chicken broth at home better and easier from cans you never know what part of chickcen they use to make thebroth

  84. 84

    Lori Lange — October 12, 2013 @ 6:21 AM

    I do this as well…

  85. 85

    roxc — November 3, 2013 @ 8:08 PM

    Can butter be substituted for the oil?

  86. 86

    Lori Lange — November 7, 2013 @ 8:32 AM

    I don’t think so… butter would tend to congeal.

  87. 87

    Dianna — November 20, 2013 @ 3:44 PM

    This is AMAZING and SIMPLE! We will never eat the icky canned stuff again! Full of flavor and not to spicy.

  88. 88

    Angelena Riggs — December 12, 2013 @ 8:22 AM

    I just made this and it is amazing! It blows away the canned stuff! I will never buy canned again! Thanks for sharing!

  89. 89

    Miami chic — December 12, 2013 @ 5:59 PM

    I’m sorry but I’m Mexican, and our enchilada sauce is no where near this sauce. Do you guys just make up a sauce?

  90. 90

    Lori Lange — December 12, 2013 @ 7:02 PM

    It’s the sauce that is most like the sauce sold in cans in the USA.

  91. 91

    Elizabeth — December 13, 2013 @ 3:58 PM

    Quite by accident, I quadrupled this recipe. Even then it turned out great. I don’t eat really spicy stuff that burns my mouth, but the flavors in this are great. And no mouth burning.
    I have made two pans of cream cheese Chicken enchilada’s and are freezing them to serve over the holidays.
    I also places the cooled extra into bowls to freeze. I will let you know how all this turns out.
    But wanted to tell you how happy I am with this sauce. I also used my own chicken broth since I had to boil so much chicken.
    Thanks

  92. 92

    Morgan Lear — December 23, 2013 @ 11:23 AM

    These are great enchiladas! But I change the sauce a bit. I found that using dried garlic instead of powder, chopped onions instead of onion salt, and fresh tomatoes along with the sauce really gives a natural taste without much more work. Because I like spicy food, I add hot peppers along with the chili powder, and some hot Hungarian paprika for a twist.

  93. 93

    Krystal — January 11, 2014 @ 8:02 PM

    I made this sauce tonight with beef broth and fried the onions and garlic at the start instead of using powders. It is the best enchilada sauce I’ve ever made. I won’t buy the canned stuff again.

  94. 94

    Colleen Smith — March 12, 2014 @ 3:23 PM

    Made this tonight and we loved it.

  95. 95

    Sachs — April 27, 2014 @ 1:39 PM

    Is chili powder is the US different to what is called chilli powder in the UK?

    I used chilli powder (I’m in Scotland) and 2 tablespoons nearly blew my head off! I love spice but this was insanely hot. My DH ate two mouthfuls and instantly got hiccups – which was funny, but a shame as he struggled to eat anymore due to the spice.

    I’m assuming US and UK are actually different things as you say the recipe is mild and I see in the comments others agreeing. Can anyone tell me the difference so I can adapt this and future recipes? And not make my husband cry ;)

  96. 96

    Lori Lange — April 28, 2014 @ 8:19 PM

    It’s just a mild spice here in the U.S.- definitely NOT spicy in the hot sense of the word. Sorry about the mix-up!

  97. 97

    DanaBee — May 4, 2014 @ 2:14 PM

    This is a nice, easy recipe that yields a smooth, slightly smoky sauce. I cut the chili powder in half to accommodate family preference, and it’s still a very good sauce. I also used vegetable broth for the vegetarians in the family. Next time I will omit the salt and perhaps use low-sodium tomato sauce, as the sauce is a bit more salty than I prefer. But the recipe is definitely a keeper, and is flexible enough to accommodate all these changes and still produce a great sauce.

  98. 98

    Nita — May 27, 2014 @ 10:25 AM

    Sounds like a good tomato soup recipe too.