Enchilada Sauce

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This Enchilada Sauce recipe has been a very popular recipe for a good number of years!  Skip the canned stuff and make this homemade enchilada sauce (double the recipe, if you’d like).  Use it in all of your recipes that call for canned enchilada sauce.

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really care for the enchilada sauce that you buy in the can.  It always seems to have a bit of a metal taste to it.  The flavor isn’t there. It’s just not good.

This recipe is super simple.  It’s not made from fresh tomatoes, so you’ll see canned chicken broth and canned tomato sauce in the ingredient list.  But it’s combined with the right amount of spices, and it turns out a delicious enchilada sauce!

Enchilada Sauce

Here are a few recipes where you will need enchilada sauce:

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5 from 7 votes

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Much better tasting than the canned variety!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 5 servings (2 1/2 cups)
Calories 143kcal
Course Condiments
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword enchilada sauce


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


  • Heat the oil in a large skillet to medium heat. Whisk in the flour and chili powder. Reduce heat to medium and continue to whisk until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth, tomato sauce, cumin, garlic powder, onion salt and salt. Stir until smooth, and continue simmering over medium heat about 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  • Serve immediately, or keep in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  • If you are preparing this recipe as GLUTEN FREE- just be sure to substitute an alternative thickener in place of the all purpose flour.  Some people use a good GF flour (like Bob's Redmill), and others like to use sweet rice flour. And make sure you are using a brand of chicken broth that is designated as GF (or use water instead).


Serving: 1serving (1/2 cup) | Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 661mg | Potassium: 273mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1145IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1.4mg
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Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

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  • Ralph Caster wrote:

    Introducing New Englanders to “good” Mex. Food. Hard to find good ingrediants in this area so I order on-line from New Mex. Thought I was making a pretty good enchalada sauce (Mexican gravy), but this recipe certainly beats mine. I make two batches, one with mild chili powder (molida) and one batch with hot. Son-ln-law and I like a little kick. Last effort was flat beef,bean, and cheese enchalads with plenty of your sauce (gravy) and an over very easy egg on top. Boy! They cleaned their plates. ThanKS for recipe.

  • Afoodpoet wrote:

    What kind of chili powder?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Chili powder is a regular spice that is found in the spice aisle of your market.

  • Christina wrote:

    I tried this recipe last night. It came out well. I didn’t have any tomato sauce at home so I used a 6oz. can of tomato paste. It worked well. This was a very easy recipe to make. 

  • Jimmy Greer wrote:

    II will never understand why people will take a good recipe then change the ingredients then comment on the original recipe. Just make a recipe to suit yourself and don’t comment.

  • Manuela Carranza wrote:

    I used this recipe when I made my first enchiladas and they turned out “fantastic” my family now wants me to make enchiladas all the time! Thank you for your awesome recipe!

    • Lori Lange wrote:


  • Carrie wrote:

    Just made this, but changed it up a bit. Used hot chili powder, ghost pepper powder and added some mexican oregano. But we like things spicy 🙂

  • Sandy in SoCal wrote:

    I have never been a fan of enchiladas, mainly because I didn’t care for the sauce…but my boys recently requested enchiladas and I didn’t have a can of sauce in the pantry…so I googled a recipe and this one popped up.  After a quick check of the ingredients, I realized I had everything I needed, so I made it and OMG, I could not stop “sampling” it!  I have now made it four times…so much flavor, but not too spicy OR mild.  I will never buy enchilada sauce again – this is the BEST sauce!   My husband, who sells food to restaurants and resorts and institutions LOVES it as well (and he is just a tad picky)!  Will make again and share over and over.  Thank you!!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      happy to hear!!

  • Tim. Sims wrote:

    We use this recipe all the time thank you. It’s. The bomb. In oven for 20 minutes. At what temperature?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not understanding your question…

  • Karla Ware wrote:

    What kind of chili powder willbe best for this? Or which one do you use?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Just regular “chili powder” from the spice section… nothing special!

  • Monica wrote:

    Thank you for this great recipe! We are American expats in Belgium, and like another reviewer mentioned, it can be hard to find decent Mexican food here. This puts enchiladas back in play for us on a regular basis. 🙂 

  • Debra wrote:

    This is my favorite. I use this recipe every time I make enchiladas

  • Eileen Ross wrote:

    Hi everyone!  I am going to make this sauce tonight, but first, I would like to warn you all about canola oil.  Unfortunately, the “industry” would have us all believe that it is good for us, and coconut oil is bad.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Canola oil has been tampered with, and is worth your time to research it.  Here’s to all you great cooks, and also to your health!

  • Nicole wrote:

    Will definitely try this but will sub Avocado oil as we don’t use canola or veg oil. Sounds great 🙂

  • Charlene Hall wrote:

    Threw tomatoes/onions/garlic into a blender, puréed, and then poured into a pot and continued on with the recipe. Was great!

  • Alma wrote:

    What kind of chili powder do I use?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Just regular “Chili Powder” as you find in the spice aisle.

  • Sarah wrote:

    Tried making this sauce tonight, I was a little worried that it was going to turned out awful. Was dead wrong tasted great I also added 1/2 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper to give it a bit more heat. Awesome recipe!!!

  • Trisha wrote:

    Any ideas why mine may have turned out salty and not as tangy? 

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Did you use low sodium chicken broth and only 1/4 teaspoon salt?

  • Tracie wrote:

    This Enchilada Sauce is so delicious. My family can’t get enough of it. It’s perfect.. Thank you for sharing.

  • Lee wrote:

    Made this last night, my family LOVED it! Bravo…

  • Juliana wrote:

    Ladies,if you are worried about the level of heat in this sauce, just cut the spices in half the first time. I think the troublemakers would be the chili powder and cumin, so just do 1 Tbsp of chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon of the cumin.

    Now for my question, Lori, have you ever made a large batch and canned it in jars. My freezer just about bursts at the seams when I start baking for the holidays, so I’d rather not have to lose any space to the bags of frozen sauce. Anyone?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not a canner, so I can’t really give any advice on that.