Main dish

How to Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce

An easy and tasty red homemade enchilada sauce, Makes some of the. with some of the best enchiladas ever!

To recipe
homemade enchilada sauce in a pot after stirring.
Recipe insights & TIPS

Making your own homemade enchilada sauce is so simple and tastes much better and fresher than sauce from a can! With minimal ingredients that you probably have already, this sauce makes the best enchiladas.

homemade enchilada sauce in a pot after stirring.

Enchiladas are something that can be eaten in my house often and I'd never receive any complaints. Theyre easy to make and I usually always follow the same process for the filling. Chicken, cheese and usually some rice if I have it and that's it for the filling.

But for the outside where the sauce and the cheese cook together into a rich red cheesy sauce, that's important! Too much sauce can make things get soggy and not enough sauce can turn the enchiladas dry and sad. I always use about 3 cups of sauce for a 9x13 inch pan and that seems to be the sweet spot for consistency. Next time you think about making enchiladas, which for me is often,  try making this easy homemade sauce and taste the difference.

Ingredients needed for homemade enchilada sauce

  • Tomato Sauce- Find it in a can on the pasta aisle of your local grocery store. Make sure its the sauce and not crushed or diced tomatoes.
  • Tomato Paste- Add this to thicken the sauce and add tons of extra flavor.
  • Chicken Broth- You can also use veggie broth as another option.
  • Cumin.
  • Garlic Powder.
  • Chili Powder- I recommend using ancho chili powder for a great smoky deep flavor.
  • Paprika- Smoked is favorable though not essential.
  • Mexican Oregano- Regular oregano will also work but Mexican oregano has an amazing floral smell and flavor .
  • Salt and black pepper.

How to make this easy homemade enchilada sauce

  1. Prepping the sauce
    This recipe is so simple, all you have to do is begin by combining all of the ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan. Whisk together to get rid of any lumps or hidden clumps of spice.

        2. Cooking the sauce
            Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes to let the flavors come together. That's all it takes to make a delicious fresh tasting homemade enchilada sauce.

Tips for making enchilada sauce

  • Use a whisk to stir the sauce as it cooks. Whenever a lot of spices are being used, whisks are better at breaking everything down and making sure all the spices are evenly incorporated.
  • Add red chili flakes if you like your enchilada sauce spicy. Even with all of the spices in the recipe, the sauce is on the mild side but still packed with flavor.
  • Store the sauce in a sealed container and it should be good from 5-6 days in the refrigerator.
  • This is enchilada sauce but the sauce can be used on tacos, chili Colorado or as a topping for a "wet" burrito.
homemade enchilada sauce with chicken enchiladas in a skillet
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A fantastic and versatile enchilada sauce with spices and tomato sauce

Main dish
25 minutes
Total TIME:
35 minutes
10 minutes


  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Ingredient Swaps


  1. Place all of the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan and whisk until smooth.
  2. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
  3. Cook on low for about 20-25 minutes whisking every so often.
  4. Let cool before transferring to a container and storing in the refrigerator.
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