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How to Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce

homemade enchilada sauce

If you’re like me, or many of us really, you’re probably used to enchilada sauce from a can. I won’t lie, I’ve eaten more canned enchilada sauce than I care to admit on anything from eggs to pizzas, and of course on enchiladas or a giant wet burrito. To be honest, the canned sauce isn’t bad, really. It’s not great, but it’s not awful either.

About 6 months ago I was eating at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in San Diego and I fell in love with their enchilada sauce. It was then that I realized I needed to step up my game and make my own enchilada sauce from scratch. When you search online for how to make enchilada sauce, or homemade enchilada sauce there’s no shortage of search results. I tried a handful of recipes that were posted but none of them were remarkably better than the canned stuff.

This enchilada sauce is super easy to make, which is one of the reasons I love this recipe. Easy now because I’ve made no less than 75 batches of this stuff over the last half a year to perfect it. That’s not an exaggeration, and 75 is probably a conservative estimate. Follow the few easy steps below and in about 20 minutes start to finish you’ll be tasting some truly incredible enchilada sauce. I promise you’re going to love this sauce.

What Do You Need to Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce

You probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry as we speak. Well, you might not have the Mexican oregano but everything else is pretty standard. Not sure what Mexican oregano is? Check my blog about the difference between oregano and Mexican oregano. Other things like butter and apple cider vinegar might seem out of place, but trust me on this one.

spices and herbs ready for enchilada sauce

How to Store Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I don’t normally add a section on storage to my recipes. I felt it necessary to do so for this recipe because this enchilada sauce will stain your typical plastic storage containers. Assuming you haven’t already lost the lid to the plastic storage container, staining them is another reason to toss them. Here’s a hint for those lost lids…they’re hanging out with the missing socks. Seriously, how is it that socks and storage ware lids seem to just walk off in the middle of the night? UGH! I digress, you’ll want to store this sauce in a mason jar, like how I store my homemade pickled red onions.

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Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Serves: 4 | Active Prep Time: 5 min | Cooking Time: 10 min

Ingredients
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp butter

How to Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce, Step-by-Step

Step 1: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients and set aside.

mortar and pestle for enchilada sauce

Step 2: Add oil to a medium-sized saucepan and place over medium heat just until oil begins to shimmer. About 2 minutes or so.

Step 3: Add dry ingredients to warm oil and whisk constantly until well mixed and the color is deep mahogany. You’ll be able to smell the chili powder really coming alive at this point as well. Whisk in tomato sauce and allow to cook for another minute before slowly whisking in the chicken broth.

ingredients in a saucepan for enchilada sauce

Step 4: Turn up the heat to medium-high, whisk in butter and bring the sauce to a low boil.

Step 5: Reduce heat to low, add vinegar and cook for an additional 5 minutes, whisking often to prevent any burning. The sauce will seem thin as it cooks, but it will get thicker as it cools.

enchilada sauce cooked and ready for serving

Step 6: Remove from heat, and use for my smoked chicken enchiladas recipe, or over your next breakfast burrito, or on pizza or throw some in a slow cooker with a pork loin and let it go to work. This sauce is good for so many things, don’t limit it to just enchiladas.

a bowl of homemade enchilada sauce

Make Homemade Enchilada Sauce:

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homemade enchilada sauce
Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

Follow a few easy steps in this recipe and in about 20 minutes start to finish, you'll be tasting some truly incredible enchilada sauce.

Course: condiment
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
Instructions
  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients and set aside.

  2. Add oil to a medium-sized sauce pan and place over medium heat just until oil begins to shimmer. About 2 minutes or so.

  3. Add dry ingredients to warm oil and whisk constantly until well mixed and color is a deep mahogany. Whisk in tomato sauce and allow to cook for another minute before slowly whisking in the chicken broth.

  4. Turn up the heat to medium-high, whisk in butter and bring the sauce to a low boil.

  5. Reduce heat to low, add vinegar and cook for an additional 5 minutes, whisking often to prevent any burning.

  6. Remove from heat, and use for my smoked chicken enchiladas recipe, or over your next breakfast burrito.